Soldiers from 3 RIFLES have been undergoing three days of high-intensity training in Scotland.
Working under pressure, they’ve been honing close range skills used when ammunition is low.
The battalion also held a competition to crown one of their riflemen the “chosen man”, with the soldiers taking on three days of challenging tests, finishing with an unexpected exercise.
Lieutenant Will Jackson, of A Company, 3 RIFLES, said: “[It] is a three-day long competition designed to test and find the best rifleman.
“We’re testing them on things like fitness, navigation, military knowledge, basic weapons handling skills [and] confidence, so this is the final culminating event for that.”
The training ended with the ‘sword lane’, a true test of skill under pressure.
It sees soldiers move from one end of a river to the other, on difficult ground, while attacking the enemy along the way with their bayonet.
Lt Jackson explained why the weapon is referred to as a ‘sword’:
“A lot of people get a bit funny about [it]… I’ll probably get grilled just because I said the ‘b-word!’
“It harks back to the Peninsular War, where the Rifles used a Baker rifle, which had a shorter barrel than the musket that the line infantry regiments units used. Because of that we needed a longer sword to attach onto the end of our rifles… to be effective at close range.”
The exercise is focused on aggression. It’s a technique that would only be used in desperate conditions, where ammunition is low and the enemy are fast approaching at very close range.
And all this hard work isn’t for nothing. Not only does the winner of the chosen man competition walk away with pride, he gets extra time off work as well.