On November 18th to 20th, 2016, the King’s Own Calgary Regiment participated in a joint C6 Machine Gun Camp with the South Alberta Light Horse, at CFB Suffield, Alberta. This exercise provided soldiers of the regiment the rare opportunity to fire live ammunition from the C6 General Purpose Machine Gun from a vehicle mount, with each soldier receiving 660 rounds during the day, and 330 more at night, with the targets illuminated by parachute flares.
During the day shooting on Saturday, the troops in the field hosted an Executrek. These civilian employers of some of the soldiers of the regiment were introduced to the C6 GPMG and had the opportunity to fire some rounds from the cupola of the G-Wagons. They also had the opportunity to sample the IMP rations that are near ubiquitous fare for soldiers in the field, including the sometimes inconsistent heating of the meals.
I found the training to be extremely valuable for my personal development on this weapon, as I have only had the opportunity to fire it once before, and the coaching and corrections on this occasion were much more effective to my learning style. I was particularly interested in developing my shooting methodology, including following tracers instead of becoming focused on my sights, and using shorter bursts at extended ranges to ensure my rounds landed in the correct place.
During the nighttime shoot, I was given my first opportunity to practice the use of the parachute flares, as I had never previously been given an opportunity to fire one. I found that opportunity almost as exciting as the machine gun shoot itself.
It is also worth mentioning that soldiers of both regiments were given ample opportunity to practice the methods used to extinguish prairie grass fires, as both the machine gun tracers and illumination methods were igniting the dry grass downrange of the firing line.
It is my opinion that weapons training is extremely valuable for armoured reconnaissance soldiers, as the nature of our work puts us at the very pointy end of any foreseeable mission. Training on the C6 is particularly important for us, as it is the primary defensive armament for our G-Wagons, and the same weapon is also used on many other armoured vehicles of the Canadian Forces.
This particular exercise seemed to be well received. Many troops I spoke with, as well as myself, have positive opinions of the accommodations, the fresh breakfast on Sunday morning, and the opportunity to practice their weapons skills on a live range.
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