Bundeswehr Schnutzenschnur Weapon Qualification
I recently was afforded the opportunity to qualify with the German Army and have a chance to win their Schutzenschnur award for rifle marksmanship. This qualification is on a minimum of two weapons. On this day, I was allowed to fire the pistol, machine gun, and service rifle. The award comes in 3 grades; bronze, silver and gold. You receive the medal corresponding to your lowest score. Some of you guys are thinking, "Dang, this guy is lucky; he gets to do all kinds of stuff." I agree, this was an awesome opportunity. It was one of those "Good days to be in the Army" kind of days and erased many of the boring hours sitting in a cubicle working on Powerpoint slides for some snapperhead briefing.
Motley Crew. The soldier on the left is a Captain with 3 pips while the soldier on far right is a Major and "political officer." I'm not sure what that means, but we don't have any of those.
Germans are famous for record keeping. This guy knows my name, social, number of rounds I have been issued and my scores. Good shootin' or not, I am now in the record books!
Same type loader as WWII. This machine inserts 7.62x51 loose rounds into this non-disintegrating link belt.
The G-3 looks a lot like a MG42, does it not? The only real difference is the caliber and the addition of the flip up AA site that is directly in front of the rear site. Cyclic rate is still 1200 rpm which means 20 per second. This turned out to be the hardest event. You are given 15 rounds and the target looks like a farm landscape. There are small silhouettes with a 4 cm and 10 cm circle around them. Keep in mind that 15 rounds means a .75 second burst. You have to make the 15 rounds last for at least 3 bursts by hitting 3 different targets. For gold, you need at least 4 bullets to hit the small circle and 8 to hit somewhere in the big circle for a total of 12 out of 15 hits. This thing jumps after the first round, so this is no easy task. I ended up with 4 in the small and 7 in the large which was one round short and qualified for silver. I had to shoot two different tables; one timed and the other was not timed.
We brought MREs for lunch and the Germans on the right really liked them. When choosing their meals, I told them "Alles schmeck wie die Sheisse" but they ate them anyway. The guy in the front right did not head my warning about the Tabasco. Now he is a believer in the potency of Cajun spices.
This is the new German service rifle by HK in 5.56mm. It has a nifty built in scope and would be excellent for jackrabbits.
You have to check in with these tough cookies before you start shooting. I told them I was from Texas, so they watched me really carefully.
This range is 200 m with guys in the rifle pit under the targets. The 10 spot is the size of a silver dollar and they call back on the radio to let you know where you are hitting.
The guy in the target pit pulls down the target and calls back on the radio where you are hitting. Your range coach then places the shell casings on the target next to you so that you know where you hit the target. In this exercise, we were given 3 warm up and 7 qualification shots at 200 meters. Max score is 70. I was using some unneeded Kentucky windage; this rifle was dead on target, but my initial set of 3 rounds hit high left so I was aiming low right. I had 5 in the 9 and two in the 8 for a score of 61/70.
I ended up with the silver. I scored Gold in rifle and pistol but the machine gun lower score determined the award. Enlisted are allowed to wear the Schutzenschnur on their greens, but since German officers do not wear the award, neither do the Americans. However, I had a blast earning it and hope to get the gold next time around!