Reportage: multinational battle group in Slovakia receives NATO Combat Ready status
Our editorial team recently participated in the international exercise Slovak Shield 2023, which involved a total of 2,000 soldiers from seven different countries. As a result of this ten-day training, among other things, the Slovak Multinational Battle Group received NATO Combat Ready certification.
More than 400 pieces of military equipment were involved in the Slovak Shield 2023 exercise, so we could see, for example, Czech Pandur II 4x4 wheeled infantry fighting vehicles, Polish Rosomak infantry fighting vehicles, Gidrán armoured vehicles from Hungary, German Boxer vehicles or Slovenian Patria transporters. There were also short-range anti-aircraft vehicles for troop protection. The transport of troops and the removal of the wounded was provided by Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters.
Video: Reportage: multinational battle group in Slovakia receives NATO Combat Ready status / CZ DEFENCE
As part of the certification of the multinational combat battalion, the assignment was to simulate a real attack on the territory of the Slovak Republic, when the battalion, composed of combat units from five Alliance countries, was tasked with defending assigned areas, stopping the enemy attack and then pushing it over the state border. It was the response to individual incidents played out in the field that was the key area assessed during the certification exercise within the German methodology or concept of ITRI (In Theatre Readiness Inspection). The Commission was represented by 24 international inspectors, including two NATO monitors from the Hungarian Multinational Division Centre. A total of 5 areas were assessed - preparation, operations, support, communications and information systems and administration.
The certification element of Exercise Slovak Shield 2023 represented a key phase of the demanding training, which focused on joint training from the squad, platoon, company to battalion level. In a multinational battle group, each company is from a different country and it is very challenging to ensure that all these units are combat capable and work together.
Picture: Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters took care of troop transport and wounded removal during the exercise | Jan Juřica / CZ DEFENCE
Obtaining NATO Combat Ready certification thus confirmed the alignment and synchronisation of all units of the five participating countries not only in the field of tactical capabilities, but also in the field of communications, logistic support and reconnaissance.
Picture: The certification element of Exercise Slovak Shield 2023 represented a key stage of the demanding training, which focused on joint training from the squad, platoon, company and battalion levels. | Jan Juřica / CZ DEFENCE
Multinational Battle Group in Slovakia
The creation of the Multinational Battle Group Slovakia (MN BG SVK) is part of the effort to strengthen the eastern wing of the North Atlantic Alliance in the face of Russia's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine. NATO has therefore decided to provide an Alliance presence in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. As part of this grouping, on 24 March 2022, the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approved a mandate for the deployment of up to 650 members of the Army of the Czech Republic on the territory of Slovakia.
The command and control of the battle group is entrusted to the Army of the Czech Republic. At present, this is the 2nd rotation (the first soldiers arrived in April last year, but since they were deployed for less than 3 months, this rotation is counted as the zero rotation). The soldiers from the 41st Mechanised Battalion in Žatec were replaced at the end of last year by their colleagues from the 42nd Mechanised Battalion in Tabor. These soldiers form the core of the multinational battalion. There are currently over 1,000 soldiers of five different nations deployed in the Lest area. The main combat assets are Pandur II 8x8 armoured vehicles (Czech Republic), Boxer (Germany) and Patria vehicles (Slovenia). The total number of vehicles is around 200.
Picture: Approximately more than 1,000 soldiers from five different nations are currently deployed in the Lest area. The main combat assets are Pandur II 8x8 armoured vehicles (Czech Republic), Boxer (Germany) and Patria vehicles (Slovenia). The total number of vehicles is around 200. | VeKySIO MN BG SVK
The commander of the 2nd MN BG SVK is Colonel Ing. Karel Navrátil. The main task of the group is to demonstrate the Allies' determination to defend the countries on the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance, to deter a potential aggressor and to defend Slovakia in the event of an attack on its territory. The multinational headquarters also includes a national support element, the Military Police unit.
The multinational battalion, which is stationed in the Lešt' area, operates under the command of the ground part of the Multinational Battle Group. The commander of the multinational battalion is Lt. Jiří Staněk, who took over the operational task on 1 February 2023. He is in charge of the multinational battalion command and staff, combat units (each with company strength) from the Czech Republic (including AZ soldiers), Germany, Slovenia and the United States of America, including combat support units from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The combat support units are also subordinate.