Conscript Training

Conscript Training

Before 1961 military training relied on the Soviet model. Training manuals and materials were translated from Russian into Albanian. But even though China replaced the Soviet Union as Albania's foreign patron, the Chinese apparently made few basic changes in Albania's military training programs. Most conscripts received considerable physical conditioning, drill, and other basic training in school and through the communist youth organization. This foundation allowed the military to move conscripts rapidly into tactical combat training and small unit exercises. Tactical training typically involved preparation for fighting in defensive positions in the mountainous terrain characteristic of the country's interior. It emphasized physical conditioning, employment of light weapons, and the use of minimal amounts of matériel and other support. At least until 1991, the training program also devoted substantial time to political indoctrination conducted by political officers.

Service within the naval forces was somewhat of a specialty, and many conscripts from Vlorė or Durrės were assigned to the naval forces because of their familiarity with small craft and navigation. As a result, they rarely served their term in the military out of sight of their homes, and because the level of naval deployments and training was low, they remained available for part-time fishing or other work.

In general, the frequent use of conscripts as laborers on economic projects detracted from military training. They were often used in the construction of factories, oil refineries, and hydroelectric plants; during harvests; and for land reclamation efforts.


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