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Division 308’s experience in motorised infantry tactical training

Tactical training is an important part of a combat training programme and requires cadres and soldiers to master and flexibly apply their general knowledge, infantry and specialised combat skills, and fitness in each exercise, battle, and campaign. Tactical training is highly significant for motorised infantry units and aimed at providing a solid foundation for improving commanders’ skills in analysing and evaluating situations, and issuing combat determination quickly, correctly, enhancing troops’ capacity to use weapons and equipment as well as bringing into play the effectiveness of tanks and armoured vehicles in joint operations. Therefore, over the years, the Party Committee and Command of the Division 308 (under the Army Corps 1) have adopted many measures to raise the quality of training, with a focus on renewing and improving motorised infantry training practically in accordance with the Division’s operating areas, objects of combat, existing weapons and equipment, experience and tradition.

Grasping and executing higher echelons’ resolutions, directives, guiding documents on the training work, particularly the Directive on the military-defence work by Chief of the General Staff and the Command on the military work by the Army Corps 1’s Commander, on a yearly basis, the Division’s Party Committee issues a specialised resolution that considers training and combat readiness as the central task, while directing offices and units to develop their own resolutions and action plans/programmes with specific goals, targets, requirements, policies, and measures relevant to their particularities and organisational structure. In order to promote the leadership and direction role of all-level party committees and commands in organising motorised infantry training, the Division has required that all training plans/programmes, designed situations, and directing documents be approved by party committees and specific task be assigned to each party committee member. At the same time, cadres from the Division’s offices have been asked to help and inspect units, particularly sections performing the important task. In addition, the Division has enhanced the work of political education and ideological orientation to render troops fully aware of the significance, requirements, targets, and tasks of tactical training and exercises, the Corps’ tradition, difficulties, and challenges, cement all cadres and soldiers’ faith in weapons, equipment, and Vietnam’s military art, raise their responsibility for tactical training, and build up their incentive and determination to surmount difficulties and successfully fulfil their assigned missions.

Presenting the combat determination of an exercise on physical model

Although the Division has gained numerous achievements in training and exercises, it has been confronted with a lot of difficulties. To be more specific, it lacks cadres who was basically trained in motorised infantry, tank and armour, and engineering. Its facilities are not adequate, while its funding is limited. Its tanks and armoured vehicles have been in use for many years; therefore, their synchronicity has yet to be high. Meanwhile, its training grounds are increasingly narrowed. To improve the quality of motorised infantry tactical training, the Division has reviewed, adjusted, and consolidated its units’ organisational structure. Priority has been given to sufficiently staffing the units tasked with combat readiness and live-firing field exercises. It has directed its units to organise retraining courses, deploy cadres who had not been trained in motorised infantry to the Tank and Armoured Officer College, and stringently maintain refresher courses and training plans on a weekly, monthly basis for their cadres at all levels. Focuses of training courses have been placed on weaknesses of previous years, methods of motorised infantry tactical training, shooting, driving, and signal use on BMP-1, PT76, ĐM-2, T54, T55 tanks and armoured vehicles, general tactical exercises at infantry company and battalion levels, maps-based staff and command exercises, and live-firing field exercises. Significance has been attached to training cadres at platoon and company levels, heads of tanks and armoured vehicles, and new graduates. Emphasis has been placed on improving drivers’ skills in driving on slopes, in water and combat formations, and across obstacles.

In addition to human preparations, the Division has concentrated on developing training plans and ensuring facilities and training grounds. Besides, it has actively brought into play the internal strength and mobilised hundreds of millions of VND and thousands of working days to repair and upgrade specialised classrooms, manoeuvre roads, and target zones within its tactical training grounds. It has closely cooperated with other units, such as TB4 and Dong Doi Shooting Ranges in organising its training courses. It has executed the movement to promote initiatives and innovations on training equipment in a widespread, qualitative manner. In the past 5 years, it has had over 200 initiatives on training equipment, such as RP25 radio remote control and especially the fire and explosion warning system at depots and stations which had won the second prize in an Army-wide contest, thus significantly contributing to raising its quality of training and exercises.

In the War to Defend the Homeland (if it occurred), our enemy would have superiority in hi-tech weapons, manoeuvrability, modern means of reconnaissance, powerful electronic warfare, and flexible responsiveness. To meet the requirements set by the task of a strategic mobile unit of the Ministry of National Defence, the Division has renewed the contents, forms, and methods of motorised infantry tactical training in accordance with its mission, combat reality, and operating area, while updating itself on new issues relating to motorised infantry combat within the War to Defend the Homeland. Adhering to higher echelons’ directives and plans and its assigned task, in recent years, the Division has researched and included new points, such as manoeuvre associated with preventing and fighting back enemy attacks using hi-tech weapons, combat formation movement, camouflage and diversion, and electronic warfare prevention and control in training and general tactical exercises at motorised infantry company level. It has also increased exercises on attacking enemy airborne operations and organising provisional defence. Moreover, the Division has required training cadres to directly prepare, master and rehearse their lesson plans. Offices and units have been asked to resolutely, closely follow steps of training and exercises, ranging from shift of combat readiness state, manoeuvre for rendezvous, battle preparation to combat. In the training process, offices and units have strictly complied with the procedure, from infantry tactical training without vehicles to general training with vehicles at motorised squad, platoon, company, and battalion levels. They have also intensified night-time, situations-based training and improved troops’ capacity to use vehicles’ signal system and maintain combat coordination between infantry and tanks and armoured vehicles.

To make training relevant to combat situations and better commanders and offices’ capabilities in combat organisation and operation, particularly in their settlement of situations, the Division has directed offices and units to actively apply simulators to training and exercises at all levels. Offices and units have been required to closely, seriously organise long-distance loaded training marches in accordance with combat projects to increase troops’ endurance and manoeuvrability.

In addition to those-above mentioned measures, the Division has focused on combining tactical training with discipline management and military standard order building, while strictly maintaining reviews of training and safety assurance on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to draw lessons and settle weaknesses. It has also enhanced the Determination to Win Emulation Movement in tandem with training emulation movements. Thanks to its close, uniformed direction and proper, effective measures, it has witnessed a considerable positive change in its motorised infantry tactical training work. In the past 5 years, all affiliates and cadres of the Division have fulfilled the training task, 75%-80% of them have achieved merit or distinction. 100% of general tactical exercises at motorised infantry company level, maps-based staff and command exercises, and live-firing field exercises have been accomplished with merit and absolute safety. More importantly, in the Exercise DT-17, all forces of the Division excellently fulfilled their task and were commended by leaders of the Party, the State, and the Ministry of National Defence. Via training and exercises, all-level cadres’ capabilities in organisation, command, and management have been improved to contribute to raising the Division’s synergy and combat power.

The Division has drawn several lessons from its motorised infantry tactical training as follows.

1. Enhance party organisations’ leadership and promote cadres’ role at all levels in tactical training. Due attention should be paid to raising the quality of political education and ideological management to render all cadres and soldiers fully aware of the hostile forces’ plots and artifices and cement their faith in our military guidelines, art of warfare, existing weapons and equipment, and the possibility to defeat enemies in any situation.

2. Carefully, comprehensively make preparations for tactical training, namely personnel, documents, and training grounds. At the same time, it is necessary to maintain the technical day on a weekly basis to contribute to improving the quality of weapons and technical equipment and meeting the requirements of tactical training.

3. Increase refresher courses to better the training capacity and method of cadres, particularly cadres at platoon and company levels, heads of vehicles, drivers, and new graduates. It is important to maintain training rehearsals and encourage cadres to self-study and improve their professional knowledge and training method.

4. Renew the contents, forms, and methods of motorised infantry tactical training relevant to tasks, areas, and combat methods. Great value should be attached to organising night-time and manoeuvre training courses in harsh weather conditions and training troops to prevent and fight back enemy attacks with hi-tech weapons. Besides, it is essential to raise the quality of general and joint exercises.

5. Combine tactical training with discipline management and military standard order building. Due regard should be paid to taking care of troop health and maintaining reviews of training courses and safety assurance to opportunely detect and deal with weaknesses.

6. Step up the Determination to Win Emulation Movement in line with training emulation movements to boost units’ synergy and combat power.

Sr. Col. VU VIET HUNG, Commander of the Division 308

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