The St. Wenceslas Cup was dominated by Special Forces troopers
Recently, the 7th year of the St. Wenceslas Cup shooting competition ended, where in addition to shooting, competing teams also completed various obstacles and tactical situations focused on fitness, agility, observation, alertness, the art of moving in secret, movement at heights, control of various types of weapons and the ability to readily evaluate the correct procedure and select the appropriate weapon. This year, a total of 42 two-member fire teams, 38 from the Czech Armed Forces, including Special Forces, and 4 teams from the Plice of the Czech Republic took part. In the end, representatives from the Special Forces Support Center (CPSS) scored the most in the competition, taking 1st and 2nd place in two-member teams. A CPSS representative also won the individual competition.
The origin of this competition dates back to 2014, when the first year of this competition took place at the PS Dražice garrison shooting range near Tábor. At that time, a pair of instructors of the combat training group of the 42nd Mechanized Battalion was at its beginnings. Today they are the Senior Warrant Officer (OR-8) of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, Michal Baka, and a senior instructor of the shooting school of the Military Command Training Command, Warrant Officer (OR-7) Tomáš Růžička. The modest one-day race had the only goal and idea, to show how to do it differently than according to the stereotypes, and that even training in which soldiers reach the end of their thether can be interesting and attractive. From these humble beginnings, the St. Wenceslas Cup has developed into a unique form and with its difficulty and complexity it certainly forms a unique event at least in the Czech Republic. In a way, the pair of main organizers was separated, while SWO Michal Baka continued to move the race as organizer and WO Tomáš Růžička participated as a competitor. It should be noted that very successfully, as he regularly placed on the podium.
Picture: The St. Wenceslas Cup has developed into a unique form and with its difficulty and complexity it certainly creates a unique event at least in the Czech Republic. | 4th RDB / Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic
However, in the 7th year of this competition, the forces were reunited and the old, proven team resumed preparations for the recently completed race. "We have a great relationship with Híťa (WO Tomáš Růžička) and clearly set roles in the team. We always go in one direction and we are able to learn from each other constantly. When I do A, he is able to work on B. My advantage is to see a few steps forward and in a wider spectrum, Híťa again can fine-tune the details and things that scrub me. We are a team! A team that knows how to peel a kiwi," SWO Michal Baka evaluates this year's preparations.
Over the years, the competition has moved from the modest conditions of the unit shooting range to the Boletice Military District, taking on the dimensions of 4 days and 3 nights and more than 50 shooting points. This year was the third time in Boletice and it was a little different. The competition develops as modern trends and knowledge in training demand. Yes, this competition is not just a competition, but it still aims to show how to do it differently and how to be prepared and not surprised, which is also reflected in the English motto of the whole competition "stay low, go fast, kill first, die last, one shot, one kill, no luck, all skill“.
Picture: Over the years, the competition has moved from the modest conditions of the unit shooting range to the Boletice Military District, taking on the dimensions of 4 days and 3 nights and more than 50 shooting points. | 4th RDB / Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic
The whole event has more than a year of planning process and this year, for the first time, the organizational team exceeded 100 people. Everyone deserves respect and admiration for the work they have done. Shooting points, so-called stages, are created in such a way that the main motive and direction of the race is under the baton of the main organizers, where one invents the point and the other subsequently critically evaluates it. The role is swapped on the next item. Then it is assigned to the referee, who has at least half the space to complete the situation according to himself. Thus, unique stages are created in which the same manuscript is not the same and the contestant must show constant situational observation, adaptability and the ability to react suddenly to everything that the given point hides. Therefore, it is very difficult to choose the most attractive stage from the organizer's point of view, because this year the participants were shooting at a height from containers, in an enclosed space that was simulated by a car model, FX ammunition was used for force on force scenarios, etc. "It was again a lot, a lot new and I believe pleasing. Therefore, I think that the competition itself should be evaluated especially by the competitors and they themselves should choose which point they enjoyed the most," SWO Michal Baka says.
Picture: There are unique stages in the competition in which the same handwriting is not the same and the contestant must show constant situational awareness, adaptability and the ability to suddenly react to everything that the given items hide. | 4th RDB / Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic
This year, a total of 42 two-member fire teams, 38 from the Czech Armed Forces, including Special Forces, and 4 teams from the Czech Police took part. In the end, representatives from the Special Forces Support Center (CPSS) scored the most in the competition, taking 1st and 2nd place in two-member teams. A CPSS representative also won the individual competition. The third place was taken by the team from the Rapid Deployment Unit of the Police of the Czech Republic (URNA PČR), with which the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade cooperates on the basis of professional training activities. In total, within the "top ten" we would find teams from the Czech Army’s Special Forces (4 teams), two teams from the 42nd Mechanized Battalion, one team from the 43rd Airborne Regiment and one team from the 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion. The Police from the Czech Republic was represented by a team from the URNA PČR and a team from the Intervention Unit of the Moravian-Silesian Region.
In connection with the above, we asked 3 participants (winners) from CPSS a few questions:
You are a member of the youngest special forces unit. What motivated you to join the Special Forces Support Center in Olomouc?
My main motivation was mainly working in a motivated and healthy team, which trains and moves on, which came true and I am very grateful for that.
Your training, including shooting, is different from the rest of the Czech Army. Did you feel a certain advantage from your training?
Training in shooting preparation is not so different. Basically, we practice everything according to the Czech Army standard, we just try to do everything precisely and thoroughly, which also costs a lot of time. It is definitely an advantage, but it is redeemed over time.
Can you assess the extent to which the individual shooting tasks were close to reality?
The vast majority of tasks carried elements of real situations. Anyway, it was a race where time and hits count - you try to do everything quickly. In a real shootout, you do everything with greater prudence, because you simply do not want to die.
Were you surprised by any shooting task in the competition?
We were most surprised by the situation where, according to the photos, we had to identify and destroy the target person using FX weapons. The scenario was located in a small enemy village, where many civilians moved and among them was the target person. Everything took place in civilian clothes and the weapons were not to be seen by the "locals". It was a truly unconventional situation that required the necessary dose of creativity.
Which shooting task was the most difficult for you or the most complicated?
The most complicated situation for us was where we had to deal with targets from the openings of the house, which were placed at different heights, in different sizes in different places, all night at night vision devices. Every shooter here had to fight with forced positions, tilts of the weapon and sometimes it was necessary to help in pairs. Such a situation will really test every soldier and show how he really is.
Your unit took first and second place in the competition. Can you evaluate how other teams performed?
Many excellent shooters from various armed forces took part in the race and I think they all did very well. Just finishing the race was no fun. Lack of sleep and tiring heat led to mistakes.
Did you exchange any experiences, knowledge, etc. with other competitors?
Although it does not seem so, each race is a great experience and it is good to share experiences with each other. We had discussions with other competitors on the topic of shooting almost throughout the race. So yes, we brought a lot of experience and inspiration regarding shooting training. Among other things, knowledge of how to make better use of military facilities.
Can you compare the St. Wenceslas Cup with similar foreign competitions, if you have completed one?
I think that, at least within Europe, it would be difficult to find something comparable to the last form of the St. Wenceslas Cup, which makes it a unique competition.
Has your unit established, even in the future, any cooperation with the participants in this competition?
The competition was very intense and time and physically demanding, so we didn't have much room for conventions. However, a preliminary agreement had been made, in particular regarding assistance with the organization of the next year.