This summer saw two Sniper pairs from Sniper Platoon 1 R WELSH enter the European Best Sniper Team Competition (EBSTC) for the first time. The competition, hosted and organised by US Army Snipers, is run each year in Grafenwöhr, Germany, with the aim to test Snipers in all the Sniper core skills, from physical fitness to stalking.
Despite the competition being named the ‘European’ Sniper competition, there were Snipers from other NATO nations present who are currently deployed in Europe. In all, there were 32 teams from 18 different nations present. The competition consisted of 10 events over a 5-day period. Each Sniper pair had to complete each event with scores being tallied and the results announced on the final day.
On the first day of the competition, all teams were given the opportunity to ‘collect data’ firing at ranges from 400m to 1100m. Data refers to the information that Snipers enter into their rifle scopes when engaging targets, new data is to be gathered whenever possible, particularly important in this case as the weather was significantly different to the UK (40 Degrees Celsius).
Day 2 and 3 had the 1 R WELSH Snipers begin to compete in the first events. First up was a barricade shoot where Snipers had to advance at speed down a range engaging targets from designated positions using Sniper rifle, personal weapons and pistols. Following this our Snipers moved to the next events, next up was the Stalk. Stalking is what Snipers do best, it is the art of moving into a position, adopting a firing position, destroying a target and extracting, all while remaining undetected. 1 R WELSH Snipers train relentlessly in this aspect, this showed as they received the highest possible score.
On the fourth and fifth day, the competition the focus was firing from boats which is something that few British Army Snipers have attempted. All teams had to board a boat, paddle out to a nominated point, then, while attempting to remain still in the wind and currents, the Sniper had to set up his rifle and engage a number of targets.
Despite having never attempted anything like this, our Snipers did particularly well. After the boat shoot, the teams moved to the field fire range which was by far the most enjoyable event. Sniper pairs moved by HUMVEE from firing point to firing point, engaging targets at ranges from 400m– 900m with Sniper rifle and personal weapon, once all long-range targets had been destroyed the Snipers fought their way to a building, engaging targets with rifles and pistols as they moved. Once in the building they destroyed any enemy with their side arms before moving into the attic - once there, they were then required to set up their Sniper rifles for a ‘loop hole’ shot, firing through a small hole inside the building at a target 675m away. An exciting and particularly well organised event.
Once all scores had been counted, it was one of the French Sniper pairs who came out on top. Although 1 R WELSH Snipers may not have won the competition, we left Grafenwöhr as far better and more experienced Snipers, having had the opportunity to share a number of tips and best practice with other competitors. We were particularly proud to represent the Regiment and the British Army to a high standard.