The last time the Malian military’s artillery capability performed a live fire exercise was seven years ago. This changed earlier this month with the help of the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM-Mali).
The EUTM-Mali Mortar Training Team finished its tour organising, supervising and executing the first artillery live firing exercise since 2009, EUTM-Mali announced on 24 April, in what was the final evaluation of the 36th Artillery Regiment.
This was the first time that EUTM-Mali has organised such an event. “It can be considered as an example of the European Union’s reform efforts for the MaAF [Armed Forces of Mali] which are clearly bearing fruit,” EUTM-Mali said.
The trainees of the 36th Artillery Regiment based in Kati attended a five-week training programme. The training focused on the handling of the soviet howitzer D-30, shooting calculations and the standard procedures for employing the artillery in support of combat operations.
This final exercise used two different artillery guns and fired twelve 122-mm high-explosive shells.
The life firing exercise was divided into three different phases: three shoots with the main howitzer (rehearsal, correction and fire for effect shoot); three shoots with the other artillery piece as above; three linear shoots with the two howitzers and three converge shoots.
The trainees were divided into different groups to execute the exercise. These groups were forward observers, Fire Direction Centre personnel, topography squad and D-30 howitzer platoon.
The execution of this type of training was a challenge for the Malian troops and European trainers as there are many differences between European and Malian artillery. As an example, Malian theodolites work in soviet thousands, and they force troops to convert the units of measurement in order to aim the barrels. In addition, these soviet howitzers are different from the Light-Guns used by the Spanish Artillery.
“Eventually, EUTM-Mali and the Malian Armed forces hope this live firing exercise be the first of many others in the near future. The final goal is to help the MaAF to be self-sufficient in order to defend the integrity and sovereignty of their own nation,” EUTM-Mali said.