And finally… toy soldiers



An army rifleman was reprimanded after going on a killing spree – in a virtual battlefield.

In the computer game which soldiers are required to train on, he shot dead a comrade and destroyed vehicles in order to kill others.

The Edinburgh-based soldier is thought to be the first to be punished under British military law for offences in a virtual scenario, The Mail on Sunday reports.

Defence sources say the man got fed up “playing soldiers” and decided to go rogue.

But while his actions amused his comrades, commanders said he lacked professionalism.

One source said: “We’d spent two weeks sitting in front of laptops pretending we were in a really hostile urban environment – I’d challenge anyone to take it seriously for that long.

“All this was taking place in an office at our headquarters, when we’d rather be doing real-life soldiering outside in the fresh air. But there’s less of that sort of exercise these days because the Army has committed to Unit-based Virtual Training.

“We were supposed to imagine we were travelling in armoured vehicles through a really hostile built-up area. One of the lads just lost his rag and ‘opened fire’ as it were, killing the soldier next to him. He then drove down the street deliberately smashing into cars. It’s safe to say the officers in our battalion did not find it as funny as we did.”

The unnamed soldier has been ordered to spend a week carrying out guard duties at the 3 Rifles base at Redford Barracks in the Scottish capital.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “We take the training of our service personnel very seriously and anyone who is disruptive to this training will receive disciplinary action.

“Virtual reality training programmes are able to deliver greater flexible training and replicate complex scenarios allowing for rapid experimentation, development of tactics and ability to test new vehicles in multiple environments.”