GAF Refreshes Conventional Warfare Tactics In ‘Exercise Starlight Stretch’


The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has rolled out training activities in preparedness to defend the territorial integrity of the country as part of the 2017 edition of its annual conventional warfare exercise codenamed “Exercise Starlight Stretch” in the Ningo-Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region.

Speaking at his HiCon (high command), the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Southern Command, Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Thomas Oppong-Peprah, said that this year’s episode is emphasising on operating in built-up or urban terrain.

He added that the brigade is putting to test the acquisition of new equipment and the recruiting of new personnel on how to use the urban terrain to the army’s advantage, to dislodge any potential threat to security.

The training exercise, which is not mission specific, is aimed at enhancing cohesion and esprit-de-corps among the units under Southern Command, as well as testing the commanders at various levels in the tactical handling of an infantry battalion and its sub-units operating within a combat team framework in a conventional setting.

Ghana is fortunate to have had its conventional weapons and tactics redundant since independence. However, current circumstances the world over and happenings in the West Africa sub-region, in particular, have reawakened once again  the need for GAF to resuscitate all means possible to help keep the nation in one piece.

“Exercise Starlight Stretch,” in times past,  had been held only once in a year by the Command for all the units under Southern Command, but this year round, each battalion under the Command (which has oversight responsibility for the Volta, Greater Accra, Eastern, Central and Western Regions of the country, defensively) is being exercised separately for improved results.

In this year’s exercise, three battalions under the Southern Command (First Battalion of Infantry – 1BN, Tema, Second Battalion of Infantry – 2BN, Takoradi and Fifth Battalion of Infantry – 5BN, Burma Camp), each supported by the 48 Engineers, 66 Artillery, Armoured Reconnaissance (Recce) and 64 Infantry Regiments will be exercised and competitively assessed separately on different dates, to bring out their best capabilities.

Each battalion will take their turn of two weeks to train and use the third week for a final training exercise (FTX) codenamed “Operation Cat-Chase,” which will be a field training exercise at the Ningo-Prampram District.

The exercise will involve the use of all infantry and support weapons with the following objectives: refreshing the skills of personnel of the Command to be ready to deal with perceived and potential threats to peace and security, assess the physical fitness of troops, battle procedure, conduct and execution of deliberate defence, advance to contact, house clearing, hasty defence, patrols, ambush and air mobile operations.

It is also to help assess commanders at various levels in practical leadership in command and control of troops in the field, to practice tactics and drills of conventional warfare and to enhance operational cohesion among the units under the Command.

The exercises, which started in early August, this year, with 1BN, has the 2BN taking its turn from Monday, 11th to Friday, 15th September and will end in the middle of October 2017, with 5BN, after which there will be a special parade for the entire Southern Command at which the GOC will declare assessments.

Day 1 – Move To Operational Area

The 2BN under the able leadership of their CO, Lt Col Emmanuel Opare Nyante, with a combat force under Captain Omari Boateng, moved from their concentration camp to take DEFENSIVE POSITIONS but on their way, one of the vehicles in the convoy which was carrying essential logistics, suffered a breakdown. The vehicle was quickly fixed by the Light Aid Detachment of the unit and put back into the convoy.

The combat force, finally, dug their trenches to take defensive positions to stop aggressor from making its way towards taking over the Port of Tema.

Day 2 – Mobile Operations

The very intelligent adversary, seeing that it would be too difficult to break through the defensive posture of the GAF, infiltrated the defensive position to effect a coup de main – a swift attack that relies on speed and surprise in a single blow – and attempt a capture of essential logistics installation of the GAF forces, from the rear.

This intention of the adversary to conduct this deep operation was picked up by GAF intelligence and thus HiCon of GAF deployed an air mobile force to intercept, since the coup de main force was too close to essential logistics at their rear.

The air mobile force of 24 quickly responded and the aggressor force retreated into an uncompleted four-storey building and thus the mobile team effected a house clearing operation.

This operation proved very expensive to the GAF forces as they lost 5 men until they finally cleared the house and later went into tighter defensive positions through the night, to allow HiCon to plan for the next day.

With this battle, both parties to the war became aware of each others’ actual capabilities on the battlefield. Stay tuned for Day 3.




Source: Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Ningo, Accra Plains

The Republic News Online

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