Snipers from the regiment have kicked off the year with live-fire training exercises to hone their skills and build camaraderie.
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Personnel from 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR) have completed a week of training at the Wide Bay training area, near Gympie in Queensland, in an effort to bond in small teams and hone the marksmanship skills.
This included ‘truing’ — a highly mathematical process employed by snipers to finely tune their weapons, considering elevation and bullet flight time to optimise accuracy.
The two-person sniper teams, made up of a ‘number one’ and a ‘number two’, were also encouraged to engage in team bonding activities.
“While there’s a separation between the number one and number two in terms of leadership, the majority of the time we are discussing the mission on the same level,” Lance Corporal Reece Tomlinson said.
“It’s a very intimate team; we work closely with one another, so it’s essential we establish an effective working relationship.”
Sniper teams are deployed across a range of mission types during both operations and training exercises.
“We generally step off at night, working our way to different rendezvous points before pushing onto an observation point,” LCPL Tomlinson added.
“From there we observe the objective and relay information back to the headquarters, provide battlefield commentary for up to 72 hours and, if required, fire upon the objective.”
Snipers serve as one of the battalion’s forward observers.
“The responsibility we are afforded is what I love most about this role; we all work to a high standard and expect a high level of competence,” he continued.
“While we’re soldiers at a lower rank, we’ve received enough training allowing us to report to an officer in the headquarters, often the commanding officer, who will use that information to inform decisions on the battlefield.
“We work hard to learn this skill set and it’s rewarding to be given this responsibility.”
Private Jack Sendall, who passed the sniper course in late 2021, welcomed the opportunity to leverage his skills in support of Army’s operational objectives.
“As a sniper you’re trained to a high level in the basic marksmanship principles,” PTE Sendall said.
“Your breathing techniques, correctly positioning yourself behind the rifle, calming yourself down, firing accurately, maintaining a perfect sight picture – they all come together.”
PTE Sendall noted the importance of learning from more experienced peers.
“The number ones have a good amount of experience and are happy to share that knowledge, and often, as a number two, you understudy your number one,” he said.
“It’ll only take a couple of years and I’ll have enough knowledge to be able to step up to become a number one myself.
“Working within the sniper cell, you work with some really professional guys.”
[Related: Exercise Cope North 22 in full swing]