Exercises 2013/2014 Demonstrations of the Elite Serbian Units

Tactical Exercise of the Special Brigade "Thunder 2013"

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Posted in column: Tactical Exercises Photo: MC Odbrana

Joint Operation Command of the General Staff of the Serbian Army (Serb. Združena operativna komanda Generalštaba Vojske Srbije) in the period from 7th to 11th October 2013 organized very complex field exercise “Thunder 2013”, with about 600 participants in totally 16 tactical suppositions and on six locations in the Republic of Serbia.

The theme of the exercise related to the usage of quick reaction forces of the Serbian Army in crisis response operations, and exercise goal was to improve receiving of the intell, fast evaluation of the situations, quick decision making and transferring of the processed data in as short as possible period of time.

The planning of the exercise was entrusted to General Major Goran Radosavljevic, deputy of the commander of Joint Operative Command. The exercise was commanded by Colonel Zeljko Tramoshljika, and its chief on field was Colonel Sasha Stefanovic.

Operators of the 72nd Reconnaissance Commando Battalion-RCB of the Special Brigade successfully carried out action on 7th of October, on Frushka Gora mountain, in the wider area of Andrevlja.

Quick interseption and destroying of the terrorists confirmed high level of training of the Serbian elite soldiers. Photo: MC Odbrana

The scenario of this exercise related to the infiltration of the terrorist group in the area of Frushka Gora (Serb. Fruška Gora) mountain, with the intention to destroy radio telecommunication hub. Upon discovering their presence, a decision was made to activate counter terrorist group of the 72nd RCB with the task to locate and destroy entire group. For the purpose of camouflaging with the rural environment “Griffins” of the Special Brigade wore two-pieced uniforms with camouflage pattern M 10 that is adopted as standard in use within the Serbian Armed Forces. Their primary weapon were reliable HK 416 D.14 5RS assault rifles in 5.56x45 mm NATO, modified for the needs of close quarters battle by mounting red dot sights Aimpoint CompM4, as well as vertical handgrips of the Heckler & Koch manufacturer. In addition to these, some operators chose assault rifles Arsenal AR M1 in 7.62x39 mm whose operation system proved as reliable in rural environemnt, which were modified for the purposes of this exercise by mounting grenade launcher 40 mm. For secondary soldiers chose semi-automatic handguns CZ 99 of the national manufacturer Zastava Arms (Serb. Zastava oružje), as well as HK USP SD, all in 9x19 mm Parabellum/Luger. After organized field search, operators of the 72nd Reconnaissance Commando Battalion located positions of the terrorists, and then made a plan of action that involved surrounding of their positions in order to prevent eventual escape and enable utterly destroying of the group. After short exchange of fire, most of terrorist were neutralized, while several of them surrendered to the soldiers. Successful completion of the tasks congratulated Chief of the Directorate for Intelligence and Reconnaissance Operations of the General Stall, Brigadier General Slavoljub Janicijevic.

On October 8th operators of the Battalion for Counter Terrorist Actions-BCTA “Falcons” of the Special Brigade successfully carried out exercise of hostage situation in hijacked airplane at the Airport Batajnica.

Tactical supposition of this exercise related to the occupation of the civilian aircraft JAK 40, of the Soviet production, by small terrorist group who took as hostages all members of the crew. By field work it was discovered that terrorists were armed with light infantry weaponry and equipped with explosives. Organized crisis headquarters made a decision to activate operators of the BCTA in order to resolve crisis. After arriving at the area of crisis, sniper groups of the “Falcons” took positions in the area around the hijacked plane, in order to conduct reconnaissance, provide support to the assault groups and to neutralize terrorists, if possible.

PApproach to the plane from the direction that was estimated as the most reliable. Photo: MC Odbrana

After several attempts to establish communication and negotiations with armed terrorist that have not given any results, after a short briefing, a decision was made to activate assault groups. Assault groups used fuel tanks to cover their approach to the tale of the hijacked plane. By positioning beneath and to the sides of the plane, operators placed ladders, mined door of the plane, and with special explosive frame made of styrofoam, side windows were broken. Immediately after, using the element of surprise and disorientation of the terrorists, operators stormed the plane and terrorists were quickly overpowered. Red smoke in front of the plane signalized that all terrorist were successfully neutralized, and hostages released and then gathered at triage area for identity check. At the same time, counter diversion group conducted inspection of the plane and found explosive which was safely transferred out of the plane and secured. For the purpose of the intervention, “Falcons” wore two-pieced camouflage uniforms M 93 of the national manufacturer Mile Dragic. The same manufacturer produce ballistic products used by operators: ballistic helmets M 05 S in MICH design, as well as ballistic vests in black color. Mentioned products provide level of ballistic protection IIIA according to different NIJ standards. Primary weapon of the soldiers were assault rifles HK G36 C in 5.56x45 mm NATO with red dot sights Aimpoint CompM4, vertical handgrips and tactical lights. For secondary, Austrian excellent handguns Glock 17 Gen 4 in 9x19 mm Parabellum/Luger were chosen, as well as CZ 99 models in the same caliber, of the national manufacturer Zastava Arms.

Action conducting at the Airport was attended by Chief of the General Staff Dikovic, commander of the ViPVO, General Major Ranko Zivak and Chief of the Military Police Directorate, Brigadier General Dejan Jankovic.

In the south of the Republic of Serbia, on 9th October, the Search and Rescue Service at the Airport in Naisus (Serb. Niš) received, within the tactical exercise, information that the pilot of the Serbian Army has, for unknown reasons, catapulted out of the plane. Operators of the company of 63rd Parachute Battalion got the task to in as short as possible locate the position of the pilot and organize his returning to base. On of the suppositions related to the presence of the armed terrorist group in area near to the plane crash area. Field reconnaissance for gathering intell and locating the position of the pilot was carried out by elite paratroopers from the Mi 8 helicopter of the 119th Mixed Helicopter Squadron.

Preparation for transporting the pilot who is assumed to not to be able to move. Photo: MC Odbrana

After the pilot marked his position by smoke signal, helicopter landed near to him, so operators of the Battalion quickly unloaded, set up a defence perimeter through circular formation and secured the medical staff who had to stabilize the pilot and organize his transport to the heli. Elite paratroopers wore two-pieced camouflage uniforms with M 10 pattern, of the national manufacturer Jumko, while their primary were assault rifles HK G36 KV in 5.56x45 mm NATO. Rifles were modified for the purposes of close quarters battle by mounting red dot sights Aimpoint CompM4 and H&K vertical handgrips. For secondary, paratroopers chose handguns CZ 99 and HK USP SD, all in 9x19 mm Parabellum/Luger, holstered in green color holsters of the Mile Dragic manufacturer.

The execution of the task monitored General Major Goran Radovanovic, deputy of the Commander of the Joint Operative Command.

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