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GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Task Force White Eagle artillerymen from the Self-Propelled Artillery Squadron, 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade, held training on the 152mm self-propelled howitzer, called “Dana,” Nov. 13. The 152mm howitzer is Czech made from the 1980s, but with a modernized command and control self-propelled artillery system called “Topaz.” (Photo by Polish Warrant Officer 2 Adam Roik, Combat Camera Operational Command)GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A fire at the mouth of the barrel, a deafening roar, then a shock wave raises dust clouds that, for the moment, completely hide the howitzer. After a while, a dozen miles away, a shell hits the target.

Task Force White Eagle artillerymen from the Self-Propelled Artillery Squadron, 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade, held training on the 152mm self-propelled howitzer, called Dana, Nov. 13.

"The goal of training was to improve and maintain individual and team skills," said Polish Capt. Pawel Fornalczyk, Fire Support Group commander, Self-Propelled Artillery Sqdn., 10th Armd. Cav. Bde., TF White Eagle, who conducts fire training from Tactical Operations Center.

"Our mission here was also to improve the task planning, preparation and execution from the Fire Direction Center to the artillery fire subdivision and the coordination between TOC and Fire Directing Center” said Polish Lt. Szczepan Piaskowski, platoon commander, who led the shooting at fire position.

In Poland, the basic weapon of the 10th Armd. Cav. Bde. is the 122mm self-propelled howitzer “Gozdzik”. In Afghanistan, they use the 152mm howitzer “Dana,” so training was needed prior to their arrival in Afghanistan.  

"It took almost nine months and prepared us well for the mission to use Dana howitzer,” said Polish Warrant Officer 2nd Pawel Jankiewicz, howitzer commander and the only gunner from the 23rd Silesian Artillery Brigade from Boleslawiec. "Shooting from Dana 152mm or Gozdzik 122mm is not much different, artillery is artillery.”

The difference comes from the altitude and air pressure. It is much higher than in the country and the air pressure affects the artillery shell range. "This is a typical mountain shooting," said Jankiewicz.
Fire training requires the unit to secure the area the shell hits. The area is observed by reconnaissance officer, Polish Capt. Tomasz Speina, and a commanding team. They identify targets and provide commands and, if necessary, corrections.

"This training is a test for us and, at the same time, it confirms our ability" said Polish Warrant Officer 4th Slawomir Janiak, the second howitzer commander.

They like their job and when training was complete, the artillerymen said, "despite many years in the artillery, each fired shot is an adrenaline (rush)."GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Polish Lance Cpl. Mateusz Waligora, a 152mm howitzer crewmember, 10th Self-Propelled Artillery Squadron, 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade, Task Force White Eagle, sits inside a howitzer Nov. 9.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:40


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