St. Wenceslas Cup 2022: Unique challenging shooting competition once again tested the ability of members of the armed forces to use real weapons
St. Wenceslas Cup - who has experienced, knows, who has heard, guesses. This atypical shooting competition is unique not only in the Czech Republic, but also in Central Europe. This year's edition was again very "crowded" and the organizers invented and implemented a large number of new very interesting shooting stations (so-called stage).
Video: Report from this year's shooting competition St. Wenceslas Cup 2022 / YouTube
Individual stations very faithfully simulated real situations that a soldier, police officer or other member of the armed forces can get into during their service. Thus, the competitors shot from a simulated roof, from a moving boat, from a vehicle, underground in tunnels, etc., in various shooting positions, often very challenging.
The competitors could try firing different weapons in different stations. This year, for example, they were shooting with MP5SD6 and Scorpion EVO A3 submachine guns, Benelli M3 shotguns, vz. 58 submachine gun/assault rifle or Minimi machine gun, G1 grenade launcher, Bren 2 PPS, AR-15, etc.
One of the organizers of the competition, Senior Warrant Officer Michal Baka, before the start of the competition, gave us a detailed briefing about the individual stations and the tasks that should be completed on them. I could thus see for myself the difficulty and high sophistication of the stations. When I imagine the physically exhausted competitors (the competition lasts 4 days and 3 nights) working under time stress (each stage was time-limited), with a limited number of ammunition and at night (the competition was also held at night), the competitors had to really push themselves. It should be noted that the individual stages were not just about shooting, but the competitors often had to evaluate various sophisticated physical and mental tasks during the time-limited stretch.
The origin of this competition dates back to 2014, when its first year took place at the garrison shooting range of PS Dražice near Tabor. At that time, the birth of the event was led by a pair of instructors of the combat training group of the 42nd Mechanised Battalion, now Senior Warrant Officer of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, Michal Baka and the senior instructor of the Rifle School of the Military Academy Training Command, warrant officer Tomáš Růžička.
The St. Wenceslas Cup is, thanks to its difficulty and uniqueness, a popular shooting competition for domestic and foreign members of the armed forces (this year, for example, members of the German army took part), who often push their limits through the competition, but also take away from the competition very valuable practical experience, which they can then apply in their service. And this is one of the main goals of the competition - to show that it can be done in other ways and to introduce some elements from the competition into standard military or police training.
A total of 42 teams of two competitors took part in this year's competition, three of which were from the Czech Police and three from the 371st Battalion, 37th Brigade, 10th Armoured Division, Bundeswehr. Below are the teams that took the top positions in the competition:
1st place 42nd Mechanized Battalion Tábor sniper group
2nd place MP Protective Service
3rd place Shooting School VeV-VA Vyškov
4th place 43rd Airborne Regiment Chrudim
5th place 44th Light Motorized Battalion Jindřichův Hradec
The title of "The Best Rifleman" was awarded to the Moravian-Silesian Region Strike Unit.
We then asked the winning team about the following:
The main goal of the St. Wenceslas Cup is to broaden the existing experience, to break out of stereotypes and to push the limits of individual participants. To what extent was this year's competition beneficial for you in terms of the above goals? What did you take away? Which stage was the most interesting and which the most difficult for you?
42nd Mechanized Battalion Tábor sniper group: "You've got to break that pure shooting stereotype and tunnel vision". It's hard to pick the most interesting stage because we liked most of them, but if we had to pick only one most interesting one, for us it was the one from Jablonec Puppet where one team member was diving. It was a new experience for us. The most challenging one was the "Jablonec Roof" , where at first glance a very simple situation perfectly "trapped" the positions and inclinations of the weapon, including the physical aspect of taking these non-standard positions. The guys organizing the event showed us again our shooting weaknesses and showed us the things we need to focus on in our training.
Video: St. Wenceslas Cup 2022 - individual stations from the 1st person perspective (GoPro) / YouTube