Polish soldiers of the 6th Airborne Brigade were involved in the US Army Allied Spirit IV staff exercise. The wargame was yet another stage of preparations involving the Polish paratrooper units, prior to the Swift Response 2016 exercise, which is the largest NATO airborne forces exercise planned this year. The event is going to take place in Poland, among other locations, and it is going to involve deployment of NATO forces to Poland as well.
The staff training was led by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Infantry Group at the Italian Vicenza base. The event constituted a continuation of the exercise that had been carried out by the Brigade in the German city of Hohenfels. The Polish soldiers got a chance to get acquainted with the American planning process regarding the operations that would involve the airborne units. The hosts, during the exercise, made significant effort to replicate the conditions in which the commander and the staff would work after the drop operation is carried out. The command post did not feature computers, projectors or phone, and map was the main tool used by the commander of the Brigade, and the representatives of all of the key branches of staff.
According to Cpt. Marcin Gil of the 6th Airborne Brigade, the officers were using solely their own notepads during the operation, along with the auxiliary documents prepared prior to the drop, and the radio and satellite communication devices, with the use of which they were able to contact the battalions they commanded directly. Until the second day of operation, the commanders had no command vehicles and additional equipment at their disposal. Delivery of extra equipment resulted from the fact that increased quantity of forces, that were to be involved in the simulated battle, was deployed in the area of operations. Additional assets were transported via an air bridge.
The Polish paratroopers also had a chance to get acquainted with the preparatory system used by the elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, prior to the drop. The drop support element responsible for carrying out the aforementioned tasks is stationed at the Italian Aviano airbase. Specialists of that unit prepare the parachutes, for personnel and cargo, prior to the drops.
The procedures similar to those used during the Allied Spirit exercise shall also be utilized during the Swift Response operation, planned to happen in June, in Poland. This exercise is going to involve airborne units from several NATO member states, including: France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.