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Brits conduct steel storm onto range

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by 2Lt. Alexis Mersch

First published in SFOR Informer #47, October 28, 1998

Glamoc - A few kilometres down range, six Challenger 1 Main Battle Tanks suddenly open fire. Suddenly, six others rush and spit fire at their targets. The second firing day of the annual exercise of the B Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Lancers (QRL) has just begun.

s981029j.jpg (20440 bytes)Near Glamoc, a town in the south of Multinational Division South-West, is the largest firing range in Theatre. From October 5-9, the QRL conducted its training. The Royal Horse Artillery (RHA), based in Glamoc, and the Light Dragoons (LD), based in Mrkonjic Grad, were also participating in the exercise, respectively firing 155 mm rounds from their AS 90s, and 30 mm rounds from their Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicles.

Four Troop, C squadron and 3 troop, D squadron of the LD started the exercise in the morning, by sending eight Scimitars down range for recce firing. "Unfortunately, we have to follow the truck lines because of the mine threat. In a normal situation, we would have been jumping from one position to another," a Scimitar driver said.

With three recce firings completed, the exercise employed fire support from two groups of Challenger 1 and three AS 90 of B battery of the RHA.

The AS 90s were commanded by Lt. Hayley May, from New Zealand. "It is a very good experience for us to be here. We can fire the same pieces of equipment here, we have at home, at the 16 Field Regiment, of the Royal New Zealand Artillery," she said.

There are 20 "Kiwis" attached to B Battery, RHA. "One of the AS 90s will fire one round to determine the aim. Once aim is established, all the AS 90s will open fire," she explained.s981029k.jpg (18941 bytes)

On the field, forward observers from the RHA are "the eyes on the ground for the H.Q.," said Sgt Marc Ibbotson. Deployed in a Saxon transmission APC, they provide information to the H.Q. based in Glamoc, and to the troops on the field. "We would normally be on foot, with the infantry. But, here we need to adapt to our environment," he continued.

s981029n.jpg (24704 bytes)Two Hornets also participated in the exercise. They worked closely with a forward air control (FAC) team, to enhance their target acquisition skills. The team is comprised of a Forward Air Controller (FAC), and a Spartan team, trained in signals and laser target marking. "We find and illuminate the target on the range. The plane is equipped with a laser spot tracker that indicates the target on a screen," explained Capt. James Clare.

In just a few hours, a LIVEX had been successfully completed, which marked an end to a week-long annual troop test exercise.

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