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Hot shots

By 1st Lt. Luis Snchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#126, November 14, 2001

The German Battle Group (GE BG) organised a marksmanship contest at Kalinovik Range (40 kilometres south of Sarajevo) Oct. 30 - 31. Marksmen from different SFOR units gathered together for a two-day competition giving their best effort to represent their contingents. Canadian, French, German, Spanish and Turkish teams trained together, shared their knowledge of weapons and competed at a high level.

Kalinovik - Shooting aptitude is one highly appreciated military skill and a contest is a good opportunity to test and improve it, promoting the spirit of competition and good sportsmanship. It was also a superb occasion to become familiar with other contingents' weaponry.
The event's goal
Annually, the GE BG organises a competition in which marksmen from all of SFOR's units are invited to participate. Brig. Gen. Bernd Kiesheyer, German Contingent (Land) commander, commented: "The main goal is to train and to prepare marksmen teams from different SFOR contingents. This is one more step in working together in SFOR."
The contest is a tradition for the German Contingent. "We have only this range and we have adapted the distances of the trials to the different technical weapons’ characteristics," explained Lt. Col. George Maeker, GE BG deputy commander operations.
The contest
Prior to the event, on the evening of Oct. 29, all the competitors met in the German Detachment Camp at Filipovici (some 60 kilometres east of Sarajevo). The competition itself took place during the following two days at Kalinovik range. Eight teams participated in the event, each of them comprised of a marksman and an observer. The challenge consisted of three trials. The first with the combat rifle, 11 rounds per entrant (distance 250 m). Before shooting at "reveilles" (circular targets moving on a pendulum ) it was compulsory to hit a balloon. The maximum score was 100 points. The second, marksman rifle (up to 930 m) was the main test, in day and night-light. Finally, there was a "hostage shoot" and a pistol competition (individual, 20 - 40 m).
In the "hostage shoot" the marksman had to shoot at photo reveilles, which showed a kidnapper, shielded by a hostage. Of course it consisted of shooting at the captor without injuring the victim. "It's the ultimate test. If you kill the hostage you loose the competition," commented Spanish Capt. Juan Cidoncha Dominguez.
The contenders
All the participants enjoyed the camaraderie that could be found in this friendly, well-run competition.
The Canadian team from the R 22 R ("Royale 22 Regiment Infanterie," 22 Royal Infantry Regiment) was equipped with the C-7, 5.56 mm rifle (similar to the M-16, modified), the C-3 7.62 mm sniper rifle and the Browning 9 mm pistol.
Two French teams from "27e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins" (27 Alpine Hunter Battalion), had the FAMAS 5.56 rifle, the FR-F2 marksman rifle and the PA (MAC 50) 9 mm pistol. French Staff Sgt. Vicent Casbas said, "The competition is original in the way of shooting."
The two German teams from the GE BG competed with the HK G36 5.56 mm rifle, the G-22 7.62 mm marksman rifle (which attracted great interest), and the HK P8 9mm pistol.
Two Spanish teams, from "Castilla 16" Infantry Regiment, had CETME LV and L 5.56 rifles and the LLAMA 9 mm pistol. "It's great, you know other contingents’ rifles and the quality of their marksmen. Usually the shooter is specialised in one weapon, rifle or pistol, here it's a combination," said Cidoncha.
The Turkish participated with a team from the Turkish Battle Group, based in Zenica, with the G-3 and M-16 rifles, the Draganov 7.62 mm sniper rifle and the Browing 9 mm pistol. They stressed the challenge of competing to represent their country.
A rare opportunity
When the competition finished, the shooters exchanged weapons with other teams and enjoyed firing them. Later, there was the awards ceremony and a friendly barbecue at Filipovici Camp that everybody enjoyed in a very good atmosphere of comradeship.
By the way, the winners of the Marksmen contest were the two German teams, in first and second place, followed by the Canadian team. In pistol shooting, the Spanish won the first three places.

Related link: Training and Exercises