The Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) annual large-scale, multinational Spring Storm exercise has entered its most crucial phase — a week of mock battles involving all 9,000 troops participating in this year’s exercise.
Following a week of preparations, all 9,000 troops — including active EDF servicemembers, conscripts, reservists and allies from 17 countries — are prepared to put their skills to the test during five days of mock battles, reported ETV news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera.”
Units participating in Spring Storm have already moved into place, and mock battles are beginning on Monday during a phase which is to last through late Thursday evening.
ERR sports journalist Jr. Sgt. Alvar Tiisler is among the thousands participating in this year’s exercise. “One must always be prepared, both on the sports editorial staff as well as in battle,” Tiisler replied when asked whether he was prepared for the mock battles.
Tiisler, in turn, asked Col. Vahur Karus, commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade, what the brigade’s task was at the exercise.
“First to delay, then direct the enemy to a specific place, and then crush them — in other words, do everything to ensure that the enemy feels disgraced,” Karus replied.
The commander noted that reservists’ attendance at the exercise has been surprisingly good.
2nd Lt. Marko Tooming, himself a reservist, said that the exercise provides a good opportunity to break out of one’s routine and do something new. He also affirmed that the 1st Infantry Brigade has done everything possible to ensure that reservists feel good at the exercise.
Spring Storm focused in Northeastern Estonia
Over 9,000 participants from more than a dozen countries are taking part in the 16th annual Spring Storm military exercise, which began last Monday and will continue through Friday, May 17.
Among Estonian troops participating in the exercise are units of the Estonian Land Forces, the Estonian Air Force and the Estonian Navy alike, including from the 1st Infantry Brigade, the 2nd Infantry Brigade, Support Command, and the volunteer Estonian Defence League (Kaitseliit).
Joining them are troops from NATO Battle Group Estonia as well as allied and partner states that traveled to Estonia especially for the exercise.
The bulk of the exercise is taking place in Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru Counties in Northeastern Estonia this year, but parts of the nearly three-week exercise will affect Harju and Jõgeva Counties as well.
Much of Spring Storm will take place on the territory of Alutaguse, Lüganuse, Jõhvi, Toila, Vinni and Viru-Nigula Municipalities and the cities and towns of Kohtla-Järve, Sillamäe and Narva-Jõesuu.
Military police personnel from Estonia and the US have been on exercise together for the first time ever, BNS reports, at Spring Storm, the large-scale annual military exercise which started this week.
The two MP platoons – the U.S. contingent coming from the Maryland National Guard – are subordinate to the Estonian 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Service Support Battalion, and intend to U.S.e this debut cooperation to develop personnel skills.
“During the first days already, I have found myself on many occasions thinking: ‘Wow, this is a great idea! We should U.S.e this tactic as well.’ I hope that our Estonian colleagues will get some new ideas from U.S., too,” Capt. Timothy Reynolds of the Maryland National Guard said.
Over 9,000 participants, from approximately 13 countries, are set to take part in Kevadtorm, from armies, navies and air forces alike, BNS reports.
Units involved include the 1st Infantry Brigade, elements of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, units from Support Command, as well as other units of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) and the volunteer Estonian Defence Leage (Kaitseliit), and personnel from the British-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) are also set to take part.
Much of Kevadtorm takes place in the hinterland of Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru Counties, though some maneuvers are to be carried out in Harju County, surrounding Tallinn, and Jõgeva County in south-central Estonia, it is reported.