270 soldiers with more than 100 pieces of equipment trained in Engineer Spirit 2023
The largest engineer exercise of this year, Engineer Spirit 2023, has been completed by both Czech and Slovak engineers. Members of the 153rd Engineer Battalion, the 91st Engineer Regiment from Sered, Slovakia, and an engineer platoon from the 71st Mechanised Battalion from Hranice took part in the international exercise. The soldiers honed their skills primarily in the performance of engineer support tasks for the 7th Brigade Task Force within the NATO Collective Defence.
"In practice, this means that the headquarters of the engineer battalion receives requests from manoeuvre units. On the basis of this, the soldiers will plan and subsequently build a system of protective structures in the form of trenches, trenches for military equipment and shelters for the protection of soldiers," said Lieutenant Colonel Bohumil Falát, Deputy Chief of Staff of the 15th Engineer Battalion.
In addition to building protective structures, explosive and non-explosive barricades within the area of defense, engineers had to ensure the movement of maneuver units. "This includes, for example, modification of roads, overcoming water obstacles by means of ferry transport sites or the destruction of explosive ordnance systems," described other engineer tasks within the framework of pre-prepared scenarios, Major Ondřej Prokop, chief of the group of the role-play.
The soldiers were also involved in a number of incidents during the exercise, which reflected current trends and developments on the contemporary battlefields. "The activities of diversionary groups, hybrid enemy action, radio network jamming, to the use of reconnaissance drones, as well as drones carrying munitions," said Major Prokop.
The first year of the Engineer Spirit exercise was attended by 270 soldiers and over 100 pieces of equipment. The main part of the exercise took place at the Libavá military unit. However, the soldiers also trained on the Slovak side, in Seredi, where military divers and a pontoon platoon were operating. "For the Engineer Battalion, this training is crucial, because the last time we trained on such a large scale was before Covid. It's great to test interoperability with Slovak engineers and it shows that we are able to provide combat engineer support to manoeuvre units within the brigade task force according to their requirements," said Lieutenant Colonel Petr Moravec, commander of the 153rd Engineer Battalion.
The international exercise Engineer Spirit will continue in the years to come. Next year, most of the exercise should take place on the Slovak side and to a lesser extent on Czech territory. Subsequently, it will be repeated every two years alternately in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.