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Milan live-fire exercise

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.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: UK
Training and Exercises