Spring Storm gives Defense League first taste of artillery

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D-30 on the firing range. Source: Defense League.

Volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) personnel have been training with artillery pieces as part of the large-scale Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) military exercise, now in its final week.

The Defense League has no artillery units of its own, but on Monday personnel got to grips with 122mm D-30 field howitzers.

"This is an experimental unit," Lt. Col. Jaanus Ainsalu, commander of the Defense League's northeastern district, said.

"It will be developed from the [Defense League's] northeastern district, with the regiments in our district contribute, but all reservists who have completed the training in this weapon system are welcome," he added.

The unit will be using the D-30, and in addition to Spring Storm, Defense League personnel will get the opportunity to train again with the artillery pieces in November's Exercise Põhjakonn ("Dragon of the North"), ERR reports, while new volunteers are welcome to take part in that also.

Spring Storm is the annual culmination exercise for Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) conscripts. This year, largely as a result of COVID-19 requirements, the number of reservists has been kept to a minimum, though Defense League personnel and NATO personnel have also been taking part, as well as regular EDF members.

The volunteer Defense League recruits territorially and, while its units are largely land-based, also has a naval unit based in Tallinn.

EDF conscripts who complete their training are placed on reserve lists and liable to attend future training sessions.

The D-30 was Soviet made; it and its derivatives are used by the militaries of dozens of countries internationally. The regular EDF has already taken delivery of South Korean-made K9 Thunder Self-propelled howitzers.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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