Artillerymen successfully coped with hand loading in a live firing exercise, with each shell weighing 43 kilos

Autor: Nuala Casey, Oldrich Holecek

More than 250 fired artillery shells and two dozen successfully performed fire assignments was the outcome of the exercise, Grass Fire 2014, conducted by the 131st Artillery Battalion last week in Brdy.

"The main task of the exercise was to check the ability of this battalion, and for the members of the staff and units of the 13th Artillery Regiment to conduct, coordinate and provide efficient fire support to manoeuvring units of the 4th Brigade Task Force, since this battalion is earmarked for that," said the Deputy Commander of the 13th AR, who was the Director of this exercise at the Military Training Area in Brdy.

During the execution of the last firing assignment, a malfunction of an automated shell loader occurred with a DANA howitzer, therefore the crew had to quickly go back to hand loading of the shells, which is certainly a slower and more difficult procedure. It allows the firing of only two shots a minute, as the artillery shell weighs 43 kilogrammes. "Everything turned out well in the end and the target was destroyed," confirmed the Commander of the 2nd Fire Battery of the 131st Artillery Battalion, Captain Robert Hnilica.

More than 350 soldiers with almost 160 pieces of equipment participated in this exercise which was held last week. Each fire exercise was carefully observed by referees; specialists from Jince, the base of the 13th AR, and also from the Military Academy in Vyskov.

The preparedness of artillerymen, their equipment and fire skills was also observed by the Commander of the Czech Ground Forces, Major General Jan Gurnik, who highlights the irreplaceability of artillery fire support for any combat activities.

May 28, 2014