Sniper School: The Challenges Of Rural Training

Forces News has been given special access to the British Army's marksman training programme in Wiltshire - the Specialist Weapons School.

Working as a sniper platoon is vital when preparing to fight in future operations.

In rural Otterburn, the snipers need to work together to get into an enemy position without being seen and take the vital shot.

The terrain in Northumberland is "complex" and the vast landscape of the Otterburn ranges is the perfect ground for the sniper instructors to put all of their skills into practice.

"It is a different terrain that not a lot of people use," said one of the snipers.

Snipers could face the enemy just like any other regiment.

The aim of the training mission is to get into an enemy position without being seen ahead of carrying out a coordinated shoot.

"They know where they are from the start, so they get given a good view of the area they go to, and they have to make their way as a platoon across the ground through challenging terrain," explained one of the instructors.

Accuracy, silence and remaining unidentified until the time is right are the key to success.

Multiple snipers firing on a position means a disorientated enemy unable to locate where the shoot is coming from.

"The more barrel you have on the target, the more chances you have of actually impacting it," said a sniper.

"If anyone was to hear the shot, they could not possibly identify where that shot came from, because it is spread across a big area."

During this part of the training, the snipers are working together as a platoon.

Much about being a sniper is about waiting patiently, but when on the move they could face the enemy just like any other regiment.

Dealing with these moments as a group is vital, especially on a course like the one Forces News was given special access to, where they are working with different infantry units and learning from one another.

Once into position they must locate and confirm the enemy and every bit of detail they can identify is key.

Any change, from clothing to position of the target, can signify a change in the mission.