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Nov 2 2021

Battle Group Poland's Storm Battery fires for effect

ORZYSZ, Poland - Serving alongside the U.S., British, Romanian and Polish Allies, the Croatian Army soldiers from 'Storm Battery' constitute an integral part of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group Poland. Since July 2021, the 8th Croatian contingent has participated in multiple Allied exercises across Poland including with the use of their Mobile Multiple Rocket Launcher M-92s, also known as Volacanos.
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U.S. Army Lt. Col. Craig Broyles, Battle Group Poland commander, fires a 122mm rocket out of a M-92 Vulkan

A highly lethal defensive force

 "Working with other nations allows us to accomplish our mission of defending NATO's Eastern flank. Our Allies bring incredible capabilities we wouldn't normally have. They make us a highly lethal defensive force," said Battle Group Poland Commander Lt. Col. Craig Broyles. Part of BattleGgroup Poland's defense capabilities lies with Croatian Armed Force's "Storm Battery", which provides timely and precise indirect fire in support of Battle Group Poland's mission.

Storm Battery gives Battlegroup Poland the ability to deliver incredible fire power at long distances. They are our deep strike capability, said Broyles.

The Croatian Armed Forces joined the Battlegroup in 2017. Currently, their 8th contingent serves the NATO Alliance here in northeast Poland. Before deploying to Poland, Storm Battery went through six months of intensive training in Croatia, which included dry training from individual to the battery level and two live-fire exercises. "Through the period of preparation, soldiers showed professionalism and readiness for the mission which they proved on the last exercise "Stability 21" in the Republic of Croatia. I'm proud as contingent commander and I know that the Storm Battery is ready to conduct our mission here in NATO's eFP activity in the Republic of Poland," said Capt. Dario Biljeskovic.

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Croatia Land Forces soldiers from Storm Battery load a 122mm rocket into a M-92 Vulkan

The M-92 Rocket Launcher

In order to accomplish the live fire, it was necessary to train throughout the contingent, from battery to squad. In the first two months, soldiers trained on squad level, all squads had to proof their tasks to work on the platoon level. A battery consists of three platoons; a headquarters platoon, which task is to support two of the fire platoons and provide indirect fire support. For mission success, all platoons must be well trained and synchronized in order to execute fire missions and support the Battle Group.

Storm Battery is fast and highly mobile, able to get anywhere, anytime and deliver massive fires when needed, said Broyles.
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Croatia Land Forces soldiers from Storm Battery fire 122mm rockets from a M-92 Vulkan   

Storm Battery: Fast, mobile and ready to deliver massive fire power

Headquarters platoon transports ammunition to the fire platoons and enables communication between platoons. Also, headquarters platoon has a forward observer team and fire direction team. The mission of the forward observer team is to observe and confirm the targets and also to adjust fires, while the mission of the fire direction team is to calculate the elements for fire missions.

The forward observer team is the eyes and ears of Storm Battery. Their job is to observe the target and after confirmation of the target, the team sends coordinates of the target to the fire direction team. Once they calculate the elements, they send them to the fire platoons. Fire platoons are on their fire positions and after they receive the elements, the crew of each Vulcano sets up the weapon system. When fire platoons launch their first rockets, the forward observers confirm that the shots were on target or if they need adjustment before they execute the command "fire for effect". After rounds are complete and before the battery moves to the next fire mission, forward observers provide a battle damage assessment. All those elements were trained in the past two months. Storm Battery proved their readiness and speed of deployment during two battle group emergency deployment readiness exercises. 

"Normally, U.S. forces do not get opportunities to train with the nations they will fight alongside with during a potential conflict. The time we train together builds lasting relationships and hones each other's skills so if the time comes we must act, we do not act alone but are Stronger Together," summarized Broyles.

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Croatia Land Forces Pvt. Marko Radman from Storm Battery, pushes a 122mm rocket into a M-92 Vulkan
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Croatia Land Forces soldiers from Storm Battery prepare some 122mm rockets for loading into a M-92 Vulkan
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A Croatia Land Forces soldier loads a 122mm rocket into a M-92 Vulkan

Story by Capt. Marija Tomic (Croatian Army), NATO eFP Battle Group Poland Public Affairs Office / Photos by Spc. Osvaldo Fuentes (U.S. Army), NATO eFP Battle Group Poland Public Affairs Office

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