Czech Lizard 2019 – NATO VJTF certification exercise (71st Battalion)

Czech Lizard 2019 – NATO VJTF certification exercise (71st Battalion)
Author: kpt. Mgr. Ladislav Kabát,|Caption: BVP-2, 71st Battalion
25 / 04 / 2019, 10:00

On Tuesday 23rd April the Czech Lizard 2019 exercise was launched in the Military Region of Libavá in Moravia. It is a NATO VJTF (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force) certification exercise conducted according to the CREVAL (Combat Readiness Evaluation) to ensure and verify the effectiveness and interoperability of the troops which are, in case of this particular exercise, the battalion task force based on the 71st Mechanized Battalion of the 7th Mechanized („Heavy“) Brigade of the Czech Army. The exercise was opened by the Land Forces Commander, Major General Josef Kopecký.

The 71st Mechanized Infantry Battalion is based in Hranice, and equiped with the BVP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Command Post Vehicles R5M and R5M1 built on the BVP-1 IFV to provide continuous command and control for a mechanized force, AMB-S tracked ambulance based on the OT-90 armoured personal carrier (a light Czech variant of the BVP-1) or the BDRM-2ch armoured vehicles for chemical reconnaissance.

See also: Czech Mechanized Infantry joins the NATO Force Integration Unit Lithuania

The Czech mechanized infantry squad carried by one BVP-2 consists of six troopers (commander, two riflemen with BREN or BREN 2 assault rifles, two machine gunners or automatic riflemen with either the Universal Machine Gun Model 1959 or the FN Minimi, AT rifleman with the RPG-7, and marksman with SVD). There are three squads per platoon, three platoons per company, and three companies per battalion + the battalion HQ, the Command Company (Command Platoon, Sniper Group, Engineer Platoon, Communications Platoon, Reconnaissance Platoon), the Mortar Battery (three platoons of five squads each), and Logistic Company.

kpt. Mgr. Ladislav Kabát,

In total the major phase of the exercise will see about 1000 soldiers and 200 vehicles, including the Infantry Fighting Vehicles and the Main Battle Tanks. The battalion actually started its preprations within the Czech Lizard 2019 on 8th April. Now it has been joined by other 7th Brigade’s elements such as combat support, brigade HQ elements, and the 73rd Tank Battalion with the T-72M4CZ Main Battle Tanks in the role of the opposing forces.

See also: The Czech Ground Air Defence joins the NRF

The VJTF is a joint force, consisting of a land component, supported by air, maritime and special forces. It is the core of the larger NATO Response Force (NRF) which is about 40,000 troops strong. To participate to the NRF the troops must meet strict standards. During the 6-18 month period prior to assuming the role of an NRF high-readiness unit, various training and exercises are held to integrate the national contingents and standardize their procedures. Such as the Czech Lizard 2019.

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