March 16, 2012 —
Artillerymen from the Afghan National Army Artillery Battery, 4th Kandak, 2nd Infantry Brigade, 203rd ANA Corps, fire the D-30 howitzer for the first time during a training exercise at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, Feb. 9. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Zack Burke, 55th Signal Company)
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (March 16, 2012) — The D30 artillery battery of 4/2/203 ANA was certified for real-world operations in Paktika province by the [Afghan Ministry of Defense] following a successful battery-level live fire here yesterday.
During the one-day exercise the eight-gun battpakery fired 96 high explosive rounds and 41 smoke rounds and will now relocate to Orgun, eastern Paktika province, to integrate lethal indirect fires into CF and ANSF operations along the Pakistani border.
Capt. Dawood Shah Han, commander of the artillery battery, explained the live fire certification process. “We fired 137 rounds in 16 fire missions,” Han explained. “With a five kilometer range, we were accurate within 100 meters with the first round every time.”
Brig. Gen. Zmaray Khan, commander of the 2nd brigade, 203rd Corps ANA in Paktika province was excited about the practical application of the battery in eastern Paktika. “Previously, we did not have indirect fire support from the Afghan side in Paktika,” Khan explained. “Our D30 artillery is all we need to defeat the insurgents once the Americans leave. With accurate artillery, we will never lose an engagement.”
Staff Sgt. Afwhan Attaullah, first gun chief, explained the battery’s proficiency. “We understand deflection, quadrant elevation, and how to make adjustments after the first round,” Attaullah said. “When we get back to Paktika, we will have four guns available to shoot all the time and our fire direction center will always be available.”
Staff Sgt. Ahmed Alimzai, second gun chief, spoke optimistically about the battery’s future. “We will fire on the insurgents with pleasure,” Alimzai explained. “This spring, the enemies of Afghanistan will find that they cannot cause problems in Paktika province because of our artillery.