Gardelegen, 24 April 2017
23,000 hectares of training terrain, 1000 soldiers in action: for two weeks, the soldiers of the Franco-German Brigade have been practising high-intensity combat at Germany’s third-largest training area, in order to prepare for Enhanced Forward Presence deployment in Lithuania next year.
“Dismount! Assume forest combat formation!” orders Captain Thomas B., commander of the 3rd company of 292 Light Infantry Battalion of the Franco-German Brigade. The hatches at the back the GTK Boxers, the battalion’s transport vehicles, open with a whirring sound. Heavily loaded infantry soldiers jump down and swarm out to take their positions between the trees.
French and German soldiers training together
The soldiers’ objective is to reach the “Doller Graben” trench in the Altmark training area on the Letzling Heath. A platoon of the 3rd French Hussar Regiment from Metz reinforces the light infantry soldiers from Donaueschingen during the three-day field exercise.
A total of about 1000 soldiers of the Franco-German Brigade have been practising high-intensity combat at the training area for two weeks. The training conclude with a field exercise, which is important for preparing the light infantry soldiers’ commitment for NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania next year.
Wiesels gets support from tracked vehicles
The light infantry soldiers and the hussars have to get through a 17-kilometre attack sector. “Working together with the German infantry is an interesting challenge for us. With our different procedures, policies and equipment, we get to know and work with each other during these exercises and learn from each other too,” says the French reconnaissance platoon leader, Lieutenant Adrien.
Now his three AMX-10 RC wheeled armoured fighting vehicles and three light-armoured vehicles, called véhicules blindés légers (VBL) in French, are standing ready at Doller Graben to secure the right flank, along with the light infantry battalion’s Wiesel delivery vehicles, which are equipped with long-range TOW antitank guided weapons.
Lasers instead of cartridges
In spite of the intense fighting, not a single live round was fired. For training purposes, the soldiers and combat vehicles were equipped with the AGDUS direct fire weapons effect simulator. It includes senders which are attached to weapons and vehicles as well as sensors for the soldiers and vehicles which pick up the laser signals.
If a receiver is shot at and hit by an eye-safe laser beam, the control box gives off an acoustical signal A built-in display indicates the kind of damage caused by the strike, based on what part of the target was hit.
The movements of vehicles and soldiers on the battlefield are followed on computer screens, while radio communication is recorded and used for later evaluation. Umpires observe every part of the battle on the ground.
All information comes together at the combat training centre. Every movement made by 292 Light Infantry Battalion is directly observed by umpires and monitored on screen by evaluators too.
This is a translation of an article by Oliver Richter published on www.bundeswehr.de. It has been shortened to fit this webpage.
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