Marathon Targets was once again at the Australian Army Skill at Arms Meeting (AASAM) this year, providing targets for three matches; two in the sniper competition and one close quarters engagement (CQE) match.
The first sniper serial used a single robot moving laterally at 900m from the shooting position, with trees obscuring the target for periods of time. It required patient shooting and a good estimation of weather conditions; only three teams managing to make the difficult shot.
The second sniper serial utilised three robots at 350-400m and required the shooter/spotter to correctly identify a high-value target before engaging. Robots were dressed as a hostage, low-value target (LVT), and high-value target (HVT) with both clothing, faces, and weapons used to distinguish between them. The intent of the scenario was to exercise patience, restraint, and good observation. The LVT and hostage presented first, causing hasty teams to engage and lose the possibility of hitting the higher-scoring HVT who presented a few minutes later.
Snipers observing Marathon T40 targets (show in red circle)
The Close-Quarter Engagement (CQE) match was a very different pace to the sniper matches, with solo shooters being scored on the time taken to move through the scenario while engaging all targets. The range was set up with an integrated team of robots and pop-ups which competitors had to clear in a series of short-range engagements, including a target that charged directly at the shooter! The final section required the shooter to engage three fast moving targets which started 75m away and bounded towards the shooter while making use of cover; not an easy shot with an elevated heart rate after moving at a fast pace through the first section.
The CQE match was praised by shooters as the most realistic combat shooting experience they had encountered on a training range. “This judges your combat shooting. Anyone can sit on a hill and hit steel, running and shooting at moving targets is a totally different game.”