Artillery vehicle

COMMON GUNNER 22 ~ The Belgian artillery of VJTF 23 prepares

The Belgian artillery battalion organized exercise COMMON GUNNER 22 in preparation for participation in NATO’s VJTF 23 mission.

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Press release, Brussels, 24 October 2022: [auto-translated] The artillery battalion held an intensive training week, COMMON GUNNER, in the week of October 17-21 at Camp Elsenborn. This exercise is part of the preparation for the participation of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 23 (VJTF 23). On October 18, a live fire exercise was carried out in the presence of the press.

Exercise COMMON GUNNER 22 [© Belgian Defence: Muylaert Adrien]

The exercise focused on training in a realistic operating environment where orders must be received, processed and executed correctly. They trained not only in contact with the enemy but also in medical incidents, logistical problems and learning to survive with a minimum of equipment.

Exercise COMMON GUNNER 22 [© Belgian Defence: Muylaert Adrien]

The artillery battery, consisting of two platoons of three guns each, was positioned on the ground. The ammunition is primed, the howitzers are aimed and six shells are fired in less than a minute. The cooperation and speed with which they worked was unimaginable. “Today we mainly train in the correct execution of manipulations and the smooth and safe firing of grenades,” says corps commander Erik Verstraelen.

In order to introduce the young soldiers of the battalion to the challenge linked to activation, such an exercise was launched in Brasschaat in the period from 10 to 15 October via an alert procedure. While several incidents took place in collaboration with the police and fire brigade, among others, everyone had to be ready in five days for an administrative transfer to Camp Elsenborn, where we moved on to a tactical maneuver.

Exercise COMMON GUNNER 22 [© Belgian Defence: Muylaert Adrien]

The artillery battalion howitzer battery will be part of a multinational field artillery battalion, led by the Germans, for the third time from 1 January 2023, within the rapid deployment brigade of the VJTF 23. This is part of the enhanced NATO Response Force. 23. (eNRF 23). For one year, 123 artillery soldiers with 60 vehicles will be ready to respond to a NATO call within five days. In total, just over 300 Belgian soldiers will be on call.

Exercise COMMON GUNNER 22 [© Belgian Defence: Muylaert Adrien]

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