The NZ Army combat shooting team struck gold recently at the world renowned Central Skill at Arms (CENTSAM) military shooting competition.
Split into two teams, the 12 Kiwi shooters competed in team and individual matches winning a number of events and finished a creditable third and fifth overall.
"It was an excellent result considering many of the teams competing train all year round. The standard of shooting our guys produced was exceptional," said officer in charge Captain Jason Tinsley.
The CENTSAM competition is possibly the best known of all international military shooting competitions and is held at the famous Bisley ranges in the United Kingdom over the period 04 to 09 July. The competition is attended by military shooting teams from around the world.
Out of 240 individual competitors, Staff Sergeant Darryn Mitchell of 1 RNZIR finished third overall and Corporal Mark Duncan of 7 WNHB finished fifth overall. Staff Sergeant Kurt Andersen competed throughout the competition with a wrist broken in two places and finished a very credible 67th overall.
"I am very proud to be part of the NZ Army Shooting Team and all the hard work we put in prior to the competition has paid off," says team member Corporal Mark Duncan.
In the highlight of the week, the NZ Army team retained the prestigious Parachute Cup . The team also achieved solid results in the Methuen Cup, United Services Cup, Urban Contact Match and International Service Rifle Match.
The Parachute Cup is a fire team match for four personnel requiring a 500m run in patrol order wearing body armour and helmet in under three minutes. It is followed by a continuous run down march from 600m – 100m firing at each mound using different fire positions. Movement between mounds is done by fire and movement (without the firing).
In the Methuen Cup, a six man team competes against the six best firers in each of the Corps of the British Army and six firers from each of the RF infantry brigades. The NZ team performed exceptionally well, beating all 17 domestic teams.
The United Services Cup is competed for by international teams and teams representing the British Army, British Territorial Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force (RAF). The NZ team finished 3rd overall.
The Urban Contact Match resulted in yet another third with some top individual shooting within the team.
The final event was the International Service Rifle Match, which saw the international teams take on the Great Britain Combined Services Team. The NZ Army team finished a credible third behind the Omanis and British.
In all, the team won the following awards:
(1) Individual Gold: 3
(2) Individual Silver: 4
(3) Individual Bronze: 3
(4) Team Gold: 4
(5) Team Silver: 1
(6) Team Bronze: 4
Shooting is a core skill all NZ Army personnel require. Soldiers receive basic weapon training from the first day they enlist in the service and continue to build on these skills throughout their career. It is important that all members of the NZ Army are proficient in the use of personal weapons to ensure they can defend themselves and those they are protecting while deployed on operations abroad.
For more information please contact Maj Kristian Dunne on (04) 496 0285 or 021 478 574.
Background - CENTSAM
Combat Rifle Shooting, as its name suggests, is combat focused. The maintenance of combat focus was enhanced at CENTSAM 2008 by the wearing of body armour while firing. Competitors must now wear a helmet, body armour, webbing of no less than 7.5kg, carry a gas mask, and at times run and shoot in the gas mask.
The make up of various matches is also designed to replicate shooting in a combat environment. This includes urban styled matches, moving targets, fire team matches, snap shooting, reactive targets, plenty of running, fire and movement, and the odd obstacle.
To be successful at CENTSAM and other Combat Rifle competitions, firers must therefore be able to shoot as well as be physically fit. Firers must also learn to adapt their shooting styles to work effectively while wearing body armour and helmet.