The artillerymen will soon replace their colleagues in Mali

 31. 03. 2021      category: Army of the Czech Republic

In the Březina military district on the outskirts of Vyškov, the preparation of a new task force, preparing for deployment in Mali, is culminating these days. It consists mainly of members of the 132nd Artillery Battalion. In about two months they will replace their colleagues in the African country, also from the Artillery Regiment.

"As artillerymen, we are used to a different type of military equipment than the light armored vehicles used in this foreign operation. We had to get used to them, as well as to the tactical drills that are commonly used by mechanized units," the commander of the task force, Captain Radek Miriťuk explains part of the difficulties of demanding training. He points to the fact that while in Africa they are mainly guarding the mission headquarters and training base, or escorting important people. Their usual task is fire support for mechanized units using the DANA self-propelled cannon howitzers.

07_útok je třeba odrazitPicture: The preparation of a new task force, preparing for deployment in Mali, is culminating in the Březina military district on the outskirts of Vyškov. | mjr. Ladislav Kabát / Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic

They also had to deal with the limitations associated with COVID-19. Although the pandemic literally cripples life in the country, the training of military units for foreign operations continues. However, the group must comply with the applicable restrictions, they train in small groups, respirators are a matter of course. Thanks to the fact that training soldiers are regularly tested, they can take them off when training for possible incidents outside of their base.

The preparation of the 5th Task Force is thus approaching the very conclusion. These days, the comprehensive field training is directly followed by a certification exercise, which will check the readiness of the new task force to perform the tasks of this foreign operation. "It's my first mission, I expect a lot from it. I respect it, but I'm looking forward to it. We have worked hard on ourselves and I think we are well prepared. We owe a lot to colleagues who were already in Mali, they give us the maximum experience, and they work here as referees, carefully evaluating how we deal with individual situations," Sergeant M.H. describes his feelings. Within the unit there is more than half of the "recruits" like him, who have not been on the mission yet. Their more experienced comrades-in-arms have been deployed in Afghanistan, the Balkans or in Mali, where members of the 13th Artillery Regiment were already active at the turn of 2017 and 2018.