Team nine had a fantastic week in Romania—there was never a dull moment between teachings and demonstrations. We were also sure to throw in some leisure time and experience elements of the traditional culture.
Weapons used by the 33rd Mountain Battalion
To begin the week, our team was treated to a weapons and climbing equipment demonstration by the Romanian soldiers. We were introduced to a variety of their weapons, a few to include are:
Antitank Grenade Launcher RPG-7 V
AG-40 (Under Barrel Grenade Launcher)
162mm Sniper Rifle
545mm cal. Light Machine gun
5.45mm cal. Automatic rifle
9mm cal. Pistol
We were briefed on weapon performance and under what circumstances would each weapon be ideal. One of their tanks was also brought out for us to see—we had a lot of fun with this!
After the weapons training, we visited the small battalion museum where we learned a bit about Romanian history and the history of the battalion itself.
Knots and Climbing/Repelling
Next, we were guided towards a display board presenting different types of knots, rope, clips, and other climbing equipment used in various conditions. One of our own cadets, Cadet Zifchock, attended Mountain Winter Warefare Course earlier this year and was able to lead many of the discussions telling how the equipment was used. The Romanian soldiers proceeded to show us how their equipment was used by setting up a makeshift rappel station where cadets could practice rappelling without actually performing the act. Cadets became comfortable with the equipment and how to use it on a horizontal plane rather then the tactical vertical descent. We were taught two ways of repelling: the classical technique with your back to the ground during the descent and a second method in which a person’s face is pointed towards the ground and they proceed to “walk-down” the mountain—this is called a “face down repel.” The face down repel was created so that a soldier could hold and shoot a weapon in one hand while using the other to operate the ropes while they rappelled down the mountain.
Later that week, after the initial demonstration on base, the Romanian soldiers took us to the Cheile Argesului. This is a very beautiful mountainous area where the mountain battalion often practices their mountaineering skills. The diverse terrain in the area gives the battalion a variety of difficulty levels in climbing to choose from. Located through this area is a famous road on which the show Top Gear is often filmed.