A trained mortarman brings a strategic advantage to the battlefield, providing the capability to accurately engage enemy firing positions from a far distance.
When multiple insurgents attack a squad of Afghan National Army soldiers, a trained mortarman can bring the fight to the enemy from beyond 800 metres away. The Regional Corps Battle School (RCBS) prepares Afghan soldiers become professionally trained mortarmen.
During a four-week basic mortarman’s course at RCBS, ANA soldiers with the 7th Kandak, 215th Corps, are trained to accurately engage ground targets with the M37 82 mm mortar at distances from 100 metres to over 5,000 metres.
“I feel very good about the training taking place today,” said 1st Lt Nasir Ahmad, RCBS instructor. “The students are very proficient with the mortar systems and I am confident in their ability to use the mortars if needed on the battlefield.”
The soldiers are also given basic instruction on minesweeping and explosive ordnance disposal.
Upon graduation from the course, approximately three to five of the top class graduates return to be instructors for future students. The course is entirely Afghan-taught with assistance from Marines from the Regional Command-Southwest.
“The training is progressing with each class,” said Staff Sgt Joseph Hoffman, an operations chief with RC-SW. “Four weeks ago, they had no form of knowledge or know-how with mortar systems. Today they have proven themselves by acquiring their targets, making the correct adjustments and accurately engaging their targets from approximately 1,300 metres away.”
The return of the newly trained mortarmen to their original units throughout Afghanistan now brings an added advantage to the ANA and their growing arsenal against enemy insurgents. “I am very pleased with the students’ performance,” said Ahmad. “They have come a long way.”