Czech soldiers are included in the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force for 2020

Czech soldiers are included in the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force for 2020
Author:|Caption: 7th Brigade's IFV's (BMP-2) transported by rail to exercise in Poland
06 / 01 / 2020, 09:15

For the period of 2019 - 2021, a thousand Czech soldiers from a task force of the Army of the Czech Republic, which was established on the basis of the 71st Mechanized Battalion (7th Mechanized Brigade), are included in the NATO Response Force. Since early 2020, they have been on highest alert. Czech soldiers together with the battalions from Poland, Spain and Great Britain are part of an international brigade, approximately 5,000 soldiers strong.

The Czech Task Force comprises a thousand soldiers and consists of maneuver units of the 71st Mechanized Battalion from Hranice and other specialists from a total of sixteen units of the Army of the Czech Republic. The group is also strengthened by a Romanian company. Throughout 2020, Czech soldiers will be placed on the highest alert within NATO (VJTF - Very High Readiness Joint Task Force). This year, they must be able to respond to threats to Alliance member countries in just five days. At present, there is no unit in the Alliance forces that would be more operational.

“The prerequisite for inclusion in these units was to achieve training on the battalion level. Intensive preparation therefore began as early as 2018, ”Lieutenant-Colonel Petr Blecha, Commander of the Task Force, said.

The theoretical preparation was followed by exercises with the participation of troops. The 71st Mechanized Battalion began training the Task Force, which culminated in checks of consistence of respective companies and tactical exercises with combat fire with combat support by tank and mortar platoons and also air support. The preparation included the deployment of the 1st and 2nd Task Force mortar batteries in Latvia as part of the eFP (enhanced Forward Presence).

See also: Czech Troops take part in Dynamic Front 2019

Lampart 2018 international exercise in the Polish training area for the Czech side was attended by more than 250 soldiers with 60 vehicles. Followed by other exercises with excellent ranking and in June 2019 with the participation of NATO evaluators, the entire brigade received international certifications during the Dragon 2019 exercise.

Exercise in unknown environment of Romanian mountains

“A separate chapter is above-standard cooperation with the 811th Infantry Battalion of Romania, whose infantry company is included in the structure of our battalion. For example, in September 2019, the joint Transylvanian Dragon I international exercise took place in the Romanian mountains, where our soldiers had a unique opportunity to try combat tactics in the mountains and a totally unfamiliar environment, ” Colonel Blecha added.

Elements of combat support from the 13th Artillery Regiment, from the 22nd Helicopter Air Force Base, elements of combat service support from the 14th Logistic Support Regiment participate highly on the high degree of training of the Task Force. An important part of the preparation in recent years was also cooperation with members of the Air Force bases in Náměšť (helicopters) and Čáslav (tactical jets). A live-fire training with the L-159 light attack jets and Mi-24 attack helicopters within combat fire maneuver units is already an integral part of the preparation of individual exercises.

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

In 2020, VJTF Task Force units based on the 71st Mechanized Battalion will participate in several foreign exercises in Poland (LAMA 2020), Lithuania (Briliant Jump and Iron Wolf 2020) and Romania (Transylvanian Dragon II and III). On the territory of the Czech Republic the task force will then test its capabilities during Adamant Warrior 2020 exercise with the participation of 150 soldiers from Romania and NATO observers.

VJTF forces consist of a brigade of approximately 5,000 soldiers, supported by air, naval and special forces. The objective of the VJTF is to ensure a highly professional and very rapid response when it is necessary to protect the integrity and integrity of NATO territory. The VJTFs are capable of performing a wide range of tasks, including immediate response to collective defence of Alliance members under Article V, providing crisis management operations, immediate deployment capability to secure deployment conditions, support for peacekeeping operations and disaster relief and critical infrastructure protection.

Source: Captain Radek Hampl, Czech Army

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