Army

Mortar Mode: Reservists Practise Firing On Salisbury Plain

Soldiers from the Army Reserve’s London Regiment have been building their mortar skills.

Soldiers from the Army Reserve’s London Regiment have been building their mortar fire skills on Salisbury Plain.

The Mortar Platoon of A-Company fired more than 200 live rounds in day and night exercise.

For some, it was a chance to refresh and develop their skills, but for eight of the reservists, it was a test to complete their cadre and qualify with the 81mm mortar.

Private Emma Elder, London Regiment, is a trainee paramedic in her day job:

"There's lots of really good links - the training's linked really well and I think a lot of paramedics are reservists in their spare time and then vice versa.

"I've always wanted to go into a combat role in the long run, so doing this was a great opportunity."

Looking out at the range during firing.
For eight of the reservists, it was a test to complete their cadre and qualify with the 81mm mortar.

The targets for the cadre were the rusted hulks of old tanks that litter the range.

It was a test of numerous skills, from targeting to teamwork, as well as being technically proficient with the mortar and ammunition.

Those hoping to qualify had help on hand from more experienced colleagues.

Lance Corporal Henry Lam, London Regiment, was impressed: "They're actually doing brilliantly - from seeing them from day one picking up the mortar kit and so on, and now they're laying on relatively swiftly.

"They've done very well."

Precision is key during the exercise.
Precision is key during the exercise.

Some of those getting to grips with the mortar for the first time do have plenty of soldiering experience already.

A number of the London Regiment’s reservists joined after leaving the regulars.

For Corporal Reuben Woods, London Regiment, this cadre was an opportunity he did not get as a full-time soldier:

"I didn't want to leave the regular one behind, I've really enjoyed it.

"I just want to further myself in other areas, but still maintain those skills and drills. I still want to go on ops, and that kind of stuff."

"It's just kind of keeping your foot in the door while you still further yourself in other areas."

Old tanks provide the targets.
The targets for the cadre were the rusted hulks of old tanks that litter the range.

The London Regiment works hand in hand with the Guards' Regiments, who want the reservists to deploy with them.

Major Jamie Barklem, London Regiment, added: "We were approached by the Household Division about nine months ago, and the ask is a potential operational tour over the next 12, 18, 24 months.

"What these soldiers could potentially be doing is going out on operations and working alongside the regular counterparts with that same capability to be able to work on a mortar line together."

These reservists have chosen to serve with an infantry regiment.

For them, this is not about being weekend warriors, but getting soldiering skills that they aim to use for real.