Cyprus' Next Top Shot: UK Troops Battle It Out To Be Best On The Island

Personnel from across the services have been putting their marksmanship to the test at this year's Cyprus Operational Shooting Competition ....

Personnel from across the services have been putting their marksmanship to the test at this year's Cyprus Operational Shooting Competition.

Seven teams battled it out for top honours at the day-long event, as forces shooters were put through their paces using a variety of weapons.

It is the core military skill: using a weapon correctly and hitting a target with accuracy.

Teams went head-to-head on the ranges at RAF Akrotiri, engaging in some friendly but fierce rivalry, with the aim of getting their hands on some silverware.

2018 Cyprus shooting competition

The competition featured seven teams of eight members, among them troops from the island's two infantry battalions: 1st Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (1 LANCS) and 2nd Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment (2 R ANGLIAN).

Captain Gary Black, of the Small Arms School Corps, told Forces Network that there was always competition to win between the infantry battalions, with all wanting the kudos of beating the opposite team, adding:

"But also the supporting units [are in the mix]. They want to try and get one over on the infantry regiments because effectively, they're the ones that are supposed to be better at shooting - and it doesn't always work out that way."

There were also competitors from the military police and British forces headquarters staff, as well as, for the first time, a team from the Cypriot National Guard.

On the 100-metre range, the troops were tested on their small arms skills using a nine-millimetre Glock 17 pistol.

This is a close-quarter assessment, with competitors progressively moving closer to the target, from 25 to 10 metres.

2018 Cyprus shooting competition

For all the teams, this is chance to see how their marksmanship compares with other units on the island.

Range officer for the day was Royal Military Police Corporal Danniella Clemson, who said:

"It creates that competition and you can see people getting quite competitive throughout the day, which is great.

"We've got a top shot... [who] got 151 out of 200, which is really good shooting." 

All the mechanical targets are coordinated from a control room, with the whole process computerised.

Also in action was a team of military police personnel, who are tri-service in Cyprus, with officers drawn from the RAF, Royal Navy and Royal Military Police.

1 LANCS sent two teams to the event, drawn from all its rifle and support companies.

2018 Cyprus shooting competition

Each member was selected after the battalion's own march and shoot competition.

Leading one of the teams was Second Lieutenant Sam Farthing, who said before the results came in:

"We share the island with the Anglians... so it's quite nice to have that competition as the other infantry battalion. 

"We've both got two teams here and we're looking to beat them - and I think we'll do well."

As it turns out, 2Lt Farthing was right. The Lancashire regiment retained the trophy, their 'B' team winning the competition overall, with their 'A' team runners-up.

Next, there'll be for the chance for them to compete against teams from across all three services at the Defence Operational Shooting Competition in Bisley next month.

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