Estonia: Allied tanks to face off in final battle of Spring Storm exercise

  • 2017-05-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN  - Tanks of three allied nations taking part in the Spring Storm large-scale military exercise in Estonia were set to engage in mock combat in the final battle of the exercise that started on Tuesday.

The two-day final battle will be held mainly at the central training ground for the defense forces and around it, and it will differ from the portions of the exercise held so far in that the attacking and the defending side will both be able to use the maneuver capability, speed and firepower of the allied battle group to the full extent, military spokespeople said. The attacking side will use French Leclerc and British Challenger 2 tanks, whereas the defending side will use Leopard 2 tanks of the German Army.

In addition to the heavy armor of allies, the CV9035 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) bought by Estonia from the Netherlands lately will undergo their baptism of fire in so big a training battle, the spokespeople added.

The commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade, Col. Veiko-Vello Palm, said that conducting so large scale a battle on the central training ground means quite stringent constraints for a brigade-size unit.

"This rather is a challenge in the positive sense, because in real life too we must be ready to fight a war and win on every terrain under all conditions," Palm said. "The battles to date have shown that the units of the brigade are professionally trained, extremely motivated and fully prepared to demonstrate their best also in difficult battles."

Where in the first phase of the training battles that started last week the 1st Infantry Brigade was the defending side and the 2nd Infantry Brigade played the role of the enemy, now the brigades will swap their roles? During the course on Monday, the 2nd Infantry Brigade caved in thoroughly at the central training ground.

On Tuesday, the Scouts Battalion, the Kalev infantry battalion, the allied battle group and a U.S. company, supported by indirect fire from the Artillery Battalion and allied indirect weapons, will be the attacking side as part of the 1st Infantry Brigade. Airborne assets of the Air Force and the allies will support both brigades.

The defending party, the 2nd Infantry Brigade, is made up of the Kuperjanov infantry battalion, supported by a German armored company, Lithuanian and Latvian companies and pioneer units from the Netherlands, Finland, and Germany.

A military police unit made up of conscripts of the Guard Battalion will be present during the exercise.

The maneuver units of Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps which took part in training battles in the earlier phases of the exercise will not participate in the final battle.

The concluding meeting of the exercise will be held at the central training ground on May 25.