Engineers in blasting and river crossing exercises

Autor: Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

Brigade task force combat support, provided during high intensity military operations, was the main focus of the field training exercise conducted by the 151st Engineer Battalion at the Boletice Training Area last week.

Any military operation can achieve success if, as well as possessing effective logistics, it has decisive and timely support from combat engineers. A combat engineer’s duties involve facilitating the defensive and offensive operations of the combat forces, and maintaining and supporting strong defence positions by preparing advance routes, constructing and repairing roads and bridges, general construction, e.g. storage or fortifications, clearing and constructing obstacles and roadblocks, and planting and sweeping mine fields.

"The main task of the combat support team for the 4th Brigade Task Force was to ensure clear movement of friendly forces while impeding those of the enemy. This was the focal point of the exercise. Moreover, we were training alongside the pontoon company from our battalion which has been designated to the NATO Response Force (NRF)," said Major Zbynek Koza, Deputy Commander of deployment operations at the training area.

Major Koza explained that engineers had laid mines using mine throwers and, by carrying out simulated explosions of an old, immobile tank and other armoured vehicles, were able to experience first-hand the effects of these live blasts and also greatly improve their mine disposing and planting skills.

"The soldiers were able to appreciate the consequences and impact of controlled ‘real-life’ explosions, something they would never get from the instruction books," said Lieutenant Ivos Machacek, Leader of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group.

More than 250 participants of the exercise also took part in general combat training exercises which included the live firing of small arms and grenade launchers, as well as carrying out procedures to improve their decision-making process used during real-life, high intensity operations.

By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

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October 27, 2016