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Soldiers bundle up and fire at frozen marksmanship range in Germany

U.S. Army Soldiers with 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, provide support by fire during a multinational training event for exercise Puma 2 with Battle Group Poland at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland on June 14, 2018 as part of Saber Strike 18. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Hubert D. Delany III /22nd Mobile Public Affairs. Detachment)

Trying to hit the center of a target three football fields away with an M-4 is hard enough, but soldiers with the Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment are also adjusting their marksmanship techniques to contend with the frigid cold and snow in Germany.

The troops are participating in Operation Kriegsadler, designed to improve the capabilities of platoon-sized elements in tactics and marksmanship.

They have had to deal with below-freezing temperatures since they arrived last week.

“The weather is treacherous,” said 1st Lt. Robert Bannon, a platoon leader. “Snowy, very cold … we’ve definitely had a lot of challenges with the elements, and we’ve had to coach our subordinate soldiers in how to survive in these conditions.”

The soldiers are wearing extra warming layers during the exercise. But this makes precision marksmanship much harder, Bannon said.

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Dismounted troops engaged enemy armor targets on the snowy range with anti-tank weapons, while their Stryker armored vehicles backed them up with machine guns and 30 mm cannons, unique to the regiment’s Strykers.

After the marksmanship training, the soldiers moved into the war games portion of the exercise, where they used the snow to their advantage to camouflage their positions and vehicles. The soldiers get to warm up once they get back inside their Strykers.

“The heating system inside a Stryker is actually very good,” Staff Sgt. Raymond Barnett said. “The heating system starts at the bottom, and warms your feet first, which is always our priority when we’re hiking through snow.

“It’s a big morale booster every time a cold soldier comes back into a Stryker to heat up.”

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© 2019 the Stars and Stripes

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