Exercise Saxon Shield: Army Reservists Test Marksmanship

British Army reservists from 4 Mercian have been on Exercise Saxon Shield, taking part in their annual combat marksmanship test (ACMT). 

The training at the Otterburn Training Area is designed to make sure the reserves maintain a high standard of skill and readiness to deploy with regular units, as and when needed.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the reserves were called to support Operation Rescript, which meant some of their training had to be pushed back.

Last March, they were among the first reservist units to be called to support COVID test sites. 

Now, they are being put through their paces with simulated live-fire scenarios aimed at getting the best assessment of their overall skill.

Captain Richard Peacock, Second-in-Command of D Company, 4 Mercian, outlined the training facing the battalion.

Ex Saxon Shield 4 Mercian Reservists during annual marksmanship test otterburn training area 05032021 CREDIT BFBS
Reservists are training under a number of different simulated conditions.

"It's an annual combat marksmanship test which is at various different distances that you're firing the rifle at, at two different sizes of targets depending on the distance that you're firing at from prone, standing, kneeling, within a fire trench, supported by a post," he said.

"Various things that you'd find in real life that you're then trying to replicate on the range to allow people to sort of have a representative test of their skill."

For many of those being tested, this time with the reserves is acting as a welcome break from their day-to-day lives and civilian jobs.

Private Harry Lymer is one of them, and he expressed relief at the change of pace.

"I'm a physiologist dealing with respiratory patients, so it has been a tough last year or so, so it's really good to get out and do something completely different to the civvy job, sort of switch off a little bit and do something completely different," he said.

"I love working with the NHS patients, but it's something completely different so I can leave that behind when I come to here, I've not got to think about my civvy job at all, [it's] quite a big responsibility and here I quite like to just get out and be with the troops."

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