The army’s fire control orders take on a whole new meaning when the rounds are real, not blanks, as Cromwell soldiers from Bravo Company 2/4 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) discovered at exercise “Ramshead South” this month.

The officer commanding Bravo Company of Dunedin, Capt Duncan McEwan, said the live field firing exercise was the culmination of a lot of different unit level training exercises undertaken by the New Zealand Army Reserve Force soldiers in the weeks leading up to the event.

For many of the young soldiers, fresh off recruit courses, this was the first time they had experienced live field firing away from a dedicated shooting range.

“These live field firing exercises serve to heighten the skills of the individual soldiers and makes them understand what their roles are in a section.”

Capt McEwan said the training allowed the soldiers to develop their section battle drills which take on a very real meaning when live rounds are used, and their mates are running beside them.

Held at a high-country farm at the foot of the Rock and Pillar range, the two-day exercise allowed the soldiers and section commanders to practise live field firing skills and drills.

Live firing operations covered the new MARS-L individual weapon, the light support weapon, the heavier 7.62mm Mag 58 and 40mm grenade launchers. Another “first in a long time” was the opportunity to use tracer rounds during a night shooting session.

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