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First Shots in Anger!
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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J.McGillivray
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:31 am
Post subject: First Shots in Anger!

Cdn tanks fire in battle for 1st time in 50 years
Updated Sun. Dec. 3 2006 12:57 PM ET
Associated Press
MA'SUM GHAR, Afghanistan -- Canadian tanks fired their cannons in battle for the first time in half a century Sunday, replying to a Taliban rocket attack on their forward operating base.
The squadron of Leopard Tanks arrived at the base Saturday, rolling through the nearby village of Panjwaii with an impressive show of force for local citizens and the Taliban.
The Taliban obviously noticed. Two rebel rockets landed near the base at twilight Sunday, shattering the relative calm with a loud explosions. Canadian troops responded with two mortar bombs, the flash on the mountain top clearly visible from below in the fading light.
Then, at 5:10 p.m. local time, a Canadian tank fired its first shot in combat in five decades. It was followed by a second blast at the Taliban a few moments later, the boom of the 105-millimetre cannon echoing off the rocks.
"They know we're here ... (and) we think they're somewhat nervous of us,'' said Cpl. Andrew Baird, 23, of Parry Sound, Ont., who arrived with the squadron on Saturday. "I think it surprised them that we arrived and we're here now and we're here to stay.''
"The Taliban refer to the tanks as the superbeast. They used to refer to the Russian attacks as beasts and we're called the superbeasts now.''
The squadron made little attempt to hide its arrival and a few of the Leopards left on patrol to a local strongpoint early Sunday morning.
Their first target was an abandoned grape drying hut with metre-thick mud walls said to have the resiliency of bullet-proof armour.
But against the tank guns, the hut never had a chance. A line of Leopards took turns firing rounds at the hut, the sound of the shots surprisingly quiet considering the damage that was being inflicted.
The shells punched holes through the mud walls and blew the roof off in a dramatic plume of smoke and dust.
Sunday's foray by the tanks was their first into a countryside dotted with marijuana fields and small villages. Canadian casualties have been high here due to attacks by suicide bombers. The arrival of the armoured giants is a morale boost for everyone.
"It does bring a few things to the table. The Battle Group is extremely well-equipped and prepared for their mission,'' said Maj. Trevor Cadieu, commander of B-Squadron.
"We're here to augment it with increased fire capability. We have the ability to reach out and touch up to several kilometres,'' he added.
The initial euphoria brought on by the arrival of the squadron subsided a little Sunday as members of the tank squadron settled into life at the camp and did maintenance on the vehicles after travelling the 70-kilometre route from Kandahar Airfield.
"The soldiers are extremely pumped,'' acknowledged Cadieu. "We're looking forward to the challenges that this operation is going to bring to the squadron and to the Battle Group.''
Cadieu declined to disclose the military's plans for the Leopards other than to say they would be "used as required.''
Members of the squadron were relieved to finally arrive in the Panjwaii district after waiting for a month in Kandahar. Cpl. Gerri-Anne Davidson, 24, of Penticton, B.C., a gunner, wasn't quite sure what to expect but knows the tanks arrival will make a difference.
"Being out here for the rest of the military that's out here, that's the thing,'' Davidson said. "People would say to me, so when are the tanks going to come out? They were all anxious to have the tanks come out here and give them a hand.''

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