By Cpl. Rob Knight
First published in
SFOR Informer#111, April 18, 2001
Manjaca - It is another warm, sunny spring day at
Manjaca Ranges March 16 as the MILAN anti-tank platoon from A
Company, the Second Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment,
based at Mrkonjic Grad Shoe Factory, prepares to destroy the T-55
tank discovered hidden at a farmhouse near the town of Prnjavor,
RS, last December.
Lance Cpl. Trev Barrett is looking forward to continuing his 100
percent record of K Kills - those that would totally
destroy the target, rather than merely disabling it.
"While I can't admit to there being any gambling going on,
it would be fair to say that there are a few beers riding on this!"
he said with a grin as the firing posts were set up.
To make the exercise a little more realistic, the troops were
required to complete a short battle run in NBC kit (Nuclear, Biological
and Chemical warfare suits) and respirators, carrying a full battle
kit plus one missile each.
Two main targets have been set up: the T-55 and a crashed mini-bus
as well as a number of silhouette targets, all at the maximum
safe peacetime range of 1,750 metres.
Barrett's first missile snaked away down range, the hissing roar
of the rocket motor echoing around the valley. The bright white
flare of the missile's exhaust betrayed its position as it made
its final dive onto the target - as a deception technique, the
missiles are deliberately aimed off-target to avoid alerting the
crew until the last moment when it's too late to evade.
The missile scored a hit just above the track, below the armoured
skirt of the tank; a brief puff of dirty grey smoke followed a
few moments later by a dull 'crump' as the sound of the warhead's
detonation reached the soldiers. It's a K Kill - the
warhead penetrated through to the crew compartment - had the vehicle
been carrying a full load of ammunition and fuel, there would
have been a huge explosion. Instead, the remnants of the crew's
seats, some oily rags and whatever lubricants and residual fuel
remained began to burn, dull orange flames and greasy black smoke
curled into the sky.
In all, four more missiles found their mark on the tank's hull
and Barrett was a happy man. "I won't have to spend any money
in the bar for about the next two weeks," he said as he laughed.
Nations of SFOR: UK
Training and Exercises