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Entrevista a un soldado de Caballería

Interview with a cavalry soldier

In this post we are going to conduct an interview with a colleague from Caballería, the questions have been taken from the participants of our Discord channel.

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So far during my stay in the cavalry I can say that it is a weapon in which work is carried out mainly in a vehicle and that therefore it is not as physically tough as any light infantry can be, although that does not make it any less operational.

What is the difference between Mechanized Infantry and Cavalry?

Mechanized infantry are essentially semi-armored vehicles that support cavalry against infantry units, which are the ones that can really hurt the cavalry. Mechanized I. vehicles have greater mobility, speed and even greater capacity for personnel deployment and exploration due to their characteristics. In the cavalry the most important thing is the tank, except for some vehicles, its function is not to deploy personnel on foot. They have great similarities, but they are not the same.

What is the adaptation phase like?

After basic training at CEFOT, unit training arrives and is usually harder than basic training. Physically, it becomes much more demanding, as now you have to truly prove your worth to the unit you are going to serve in. The first contact with the cars is also made. Then, when you are in the squadron, it is not difficult to adapt, a few weeks with the "veterans", learning about the cars you will work on and you are ready.

What vehicles are used in cavalry?

In cavalry, reconnaissance type vehicles such as the VAMTAC, VERT, or even VEC are used, their replacement is expected by the VCR dragon 8x8, anti-tank type such as the BMR, also armored type such as VRCC CENTAURO or LEOPARD and also in some platoons of Mortars are used in some units. We could say that these are the vehicles most used in cavalry.

What do you like most about cavalry?

What I like most about cavalry is precisely the pure contact with chariots. You and your crew are in charge of making everything work, tinkering with the vehicle every day, fixing it, perfecting it and testing it. Use it in maneuvers and enjoy its movement, its shooting and even the sound of its engine. It is a great feeling of a job well done and militarily speaking there is nothing that gives me more.

What is day-to-day life like in cavalry?

The day in a cavalry unit begins as in the rest of the units, with an IFM (Military Physical Instruction) session. Afterwards, we go to the lines (where we have all the vehicles) and work on them. They are carried out from the most basic maintenance, such as: checking the levels of the vehicle, hours in use, kilometers traveled, etc. Even activities such as: barrel cleaning, undercarriage inspection, battery power, vehicle cleaning, etc.

And last but not least, the training of the position inside the vehicle: shooters, loaders, leaders, drivers, scouts. What corresponds to each type of vehicle.

Can only members of cavalry access Cuirassiers and how to access them?

In general, the cavalry has the majority of armored vehicles. The ease of access depends on the unit, if they only have armored vehicles everyone will enter. If they have other less "comfortable" vehicles such as a VEC, the most modern soldiers usually go and when they become older they are more likely to go to battleships.

Each vehicle position can have an exam to pass or fail in order to acquire the aptitude of shooter, loader, driver, etc... There are also other units with armored vehicles, mechanized infantry is an example.

What motivated you to choose chivalry over others?

Chivalry always caught my attention. The feeling of being in a battle tank is something incredible. The immensity of its size, weight and power combined with speed is something that impressed me since I was little.

How operational is Cavalry?

Cavalry is a weapon with high operability. We can carry out both attack operations, with intelligent deployments since our vehicles have different conditions for different terrains. Likewise, they also have different calibers and ammunition for a wide range of targets, whether enemy personnel on foot or in vehicles.

We also have the ability to continue attacking during the retreat thanks to the versatility of our combat, our conditions and guns. So you could say that we could be deployed in any environment, against any enemy, and either to attack or to defend.

What makes the difference in chivalry?

What I mainly see different from other weapons is the relationship between different uses and ranks. In the battle tank, there are jobs, but they experience the same loneliness, the same cold, the same heat, the same sleep and the same tension as you. This means that while you are inside the car, they are at the same level as you. All of this helps to make the more equal treatment between boss and subordinate easier and more normal on a day-to-day basis, since they know that you will end up working practically under equal conditions. The ease of soldiers in relating to officers and non-commissioned officers and even the friendship outside of work that arises is what I see as special about cavalry, the brotherhood.

What is the unit like? Do you do a lot of shooting exercises?

As we say in my unit, cavalry is sometimes "running to wait and waiting to run." By this I mean that sometimes it can be a relatively calm work day, but another can be much more intense due to external factors. In a cavalry unit, due to the economic situation, it is difficult to always be trained, since everything related to tanks is expensive: fuel, large-caliber weapons, expensive spare parts, etc. There are shooting days, but it is not as common as in other types of units, in terms of individual weapons. As for shooting exercises with the tank, there are several times a year, but not very regularly. That is why you have to take advantage of every shot, so that the crews are trained in it.

Do you usually go out of maneuvers a lot?

It depends on each unit. As I already explained, it is a weapon that depends a lot on the money it has allocated and budgeted. It will not go out as much as other infantry units or sappers, but when it does go out it is usually important maneuvers in the sense of instruction, with all types of exercises, positions, exploration, shooting, assaults and reconnaissance. So you could say that you don't get out as much as you would like, but when you get out of maneuvers you make very good use of them.

To put a figure, you go out more or less 4 or 5 times a year, some of them for 2 weeks in Zaragoza.

What is the issue of camaraderie?

In my personal experience I can say that I have been very lucky. I have met many colleagues of different seniorities and ages and for the most part, they all have a very adequate treatment, even since you arrive as a newbie. We all help each other, we help those who are least able, and we stop those who go a little too far. In short, if you are a good partner they will be good with you.

What function do you perform in the maneuvers?

In the maneuvers there is usually a "theme" to carry out, lasting more than 24 hours, with a specific mission that has already been stipulated, which involves attack movements, camouflaged listening posts, ambushes, and shooting. During the first days we rehearsed those movements separately and then applied them to the mission. Reconnaissance and information gathering missions are carried out, reaction training to improvised explosives...

There are maneuvers that are developed in conjunction with other weapons such as sappers and artillery that help complement the situation and give us even more instruction.

Finally, what advice would you give to those who want to follow in your footsteps and enter the cavalry?

I would tell them to come in with a desire to work and learn, and I would also let them know that the most important value in this weapon is camaraderie. You can be the fastest, the strongest, the best in close order, the best in topography, the best in everything, but if you don't have camaraderie, everything else is of no use.

Your managers and colleagues are going to be locked up with you for hours in a vehicle and they need your help, your initiative and your respect so that everything goes well. It is important to listen to those who have been doing this for more years than you and when you have the knowledge and can teach, do it with the respect and enthusiasm that you would like them to have with you.

Do you usually go abroad?

Yes, the cavalry usually has several missions abroad, being a weapon with operational capabilities. Lebanon, Mali, Latvia. They are usually some of the most requested for the field of cavalry. Within the unit they will take the oldest volunteers first and then they will take out the rest of the necessary people.

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Jose - August 15, 2022

Me sangran los ojos de leer esto, 28 años en caballería y me entero de sandeces por aquí, serán las nuevas generaciones de soldados que no dicen mas que tontadas.

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