German Army Ready for VJTFVery High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023

German Army Ready for VJTFVery High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023

German Army Ready for VJTFVery High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023

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Since 2022, 37 Armoured Infantry Brigade "Freistaat Sachsen" has been providing troops for NATO's Response Force (NRFNATO Response Force) 2022-2024. This year, the Brigade assumes a responsible special role.

Two tanks drive one behind the other across a training area, whirling up dust.

During the 'Wettiner Schwert' exercise in April 2022, some 1,500 servicemen and women trained at the Army Combat Training Centre, here with the LEOPARD main battle tank.

Bundeswehr/Anne Weinrich

Since 1 January 2023, 37 Armoured Infantry Brigade has been the lead unit for the multinational land component of NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTFVery High Readiness Joint Task Force ), the powerful and highly mobile rapid response force of NATO. Let us take a short look back: Conferences, workshops and training areas – for the NRFNATO Response Force, 2022 was all about basic and advanced training. In March, April and May, about 90 percent of the 12,000 soldiers who form the NRFNATO Response Force land component trained together at least once, the command personnel at least twice. These exercises focused on capabilities like water crossing, leapfrogging (a specific type of troop movement), the reception and attack of units, night combat and multinational cooperation at command posts. The NATO Spearhead Force will continue to prepare for all these tasks in 2023.

The final certification of the brigade headquarters during the 'Cougar Sword' exercise last November provided all units and their capabilities with the NATO status combat-ready. "All nations have become well attuned to each other and form a good team. It has proven useful to integrate multinational representatives into our brigade headquarters at an early stage, including the relocation to Saxony," concludes Brigadier General Alexander Krone, Commander 37 Armoured Infantry Brigade and Commander NRFNATO Response Force (L) 2022-24/VJTFVery High Readiness Joint Task Force (L) 2023.

Looking Ahead

On a green field, two soldiers – one of them with a dog – kneel in front of two helicopters in the landing zone.

This spring, the NRFNATO Response Force will exercise almost simultaneously in three different locations – in Italy, Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony.

Bundeswehr/Sebastian Heissbach

This year's role as rapid response force will reduce the response time of the force to a maximum of one week. The short notice to move requires almost all vehicles and weapons to be at the ready in the field units. "We have tested the alert chains several times and integrated them into the different exercises," Krone continues. In spring, NATO alert exercise ‘Noble Jump’ is on the agenda. The aim will be to test increased readiness. A particular focus will be on the timely response to alert notifications, planning and the subsequent deployment of NRFNATO Response Force elements.

Irrespective of this, elements of 37 Armoured Infantry Brigade will exercise at the Army Combat Training Centre this spring. Here is a rough outline: The force will move with vehicles to the Klietz training area, subsequently cross the Elbe River and then start an exercise at the Army Combat Training Centre – under the lead of 371 Armoured Infantry Battalion. They will be joined by a Czech company, German engineers, medics and many more, bringing the number of military personnel involved up to a total of 1,500. At the same time, the 'Wettiner Heide' exercise will start at the training area in Bergen. "This will be an opportunity for all those not involved in 'Noble Jump' or the Army Combat Training Centre exercise to sharpen their marksmanship skills. 2023 will also see a trilogy of exercises, but instead of successively they will take place almost simultaneously," Krone explains the complexity of the planned projects.

Where Does the Shoe Pinch?

Numerous soldiers sit in a large tent at tables with computers.

During the 'Stolzer Wettiner 22' exercise, the strategic objectives were the smooth interaction of the brigade headquarters with the subordinate units and the enhancement of the digital command and control capability.

Bundeswehr/Anne Weinrich

"Our equipment is quite good now. We have almost everything in terms of materiel," Krone says. He still sees room for improvement and gives the command and control capability as an example. Some units, e. g. the Army ISRIntelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Corps, already have modern radio equipment. It is compatible with the systems of multinational partners. This improves radio communication significantly. From battalion level downwards, the use of modern battle management systems, that is command and control information systems, is intended to bring about a major breakthrough. The systems have already been purchased but will not unfold their full potential until all old radio sets have finally been replaced with state-of-the-art digital radio equipment across the board. Krone welcomes the possibility to integrate the armoured infantry companies equipped with MARDER infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) into the information and communication network of the LEOPARD main battle tanks. "Work in this field will probably never end, however, because there will always be new software or hardware. It is a continuous process – both at the national and international level. We have made considerable progress, but there is still room for improvement," Krone concludes.

Germany's contribution to the NATO VJTFVery High Readiness Joint Task Force Spearhead Force will rely on MARDER IFVs. Two armoured infantry companies with a total of 28 IFVs form part of the German battle group.

by 37 Armoured Infantry Brigade 

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