Estonia: exercise Spring Storm 23 enters its most active phase

Source: Estonian Defence Forces

After initial days of unit formation and refresher training, the Estonian Defence Forces, Defence League members, reservists, and allies participating in Exercise Spring Storm 23 are ready to begin the more active phase of the exercise.

‘Compared to previous Spring Storm exercises, we are not focusing so much on what is happening directly on the battlefield, but rather the division is focusing on how to defeat the enemy in depth. The goal is to inflict losses on the enemy that weaken them before close combat and prevent them from winning the battle. Although we established the new division at the beginning of the year, the management of Spring Storm and tactical activities are already under their guidance,” said said Major General Veiko-Vello Palm, the division commander.

During Exercise Spring Storm, allies also have the opportunity to practice outside of the Defence Forces training areas. “This is not a common practice elsewhere in the world and makes Estonia a special place,” added Major General Palm. “We can prepare for the defence of Estonia in a realistic environment. The fact that soldiers train in a civilian setting, where they interact with ordinary people and take them into account, is highly valued by all allies.”

The commanders of units operating under the leadership of the 1st Infantry Brigade in Spring Storm have coordinated their plans and according to Colonel Andrus Merilo, the brigade commander, everything is ready for the start of the phase of combat training. “The 1st Infantry Brigade is always ready for real combat, and the ongoing combat exercise is one of the stages where we practice our operations,” said Colonel Merilo. “We maintain a high level of combat readiness every day to fulfill our tasks.”

In addition to the organic units of the brigade, the Spring Storm exercise involves the Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, which is subordinated to the 1st Brigade for the exercise, as well as allied units from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. This adds up to nearly 4,000 personnel in uniform.

“The number is large, but the entire brigade is not in the field,” Colonel Merilo added. “Only selected units participate in Spring Storm, giving them the opportunity to train under the command of the brigade commander and staff. Considering that we have added allies whom we need to integrate into our battle plan, the main challenge is coordination at all levels, focusing on the task, and anticipating and resolving any potential problems on the fly.”

Spring Storm 23 is the largest exercise of the Defence Forces of the year, focusing on practicing military operations planning and implementation, as well as enhancing cooperation between Estonian and allied units. The exercise involves active-duty personnel, conscripts, reservists, Defence League members, and soldiers from allied countries. For the first time, the exercise is led by the division established last year.



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