Participants in the Spring Storm 2020 (Kevadtorm 2020) military exercise of the Estonian defense forces are making final preparations for starting active combat training, military spokespeople said on Saturday.
"As part of Kevadtorm, we have 11 days in woodlands and a lot of combat ahead of us," Pvt. Sven Allmere from the Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion said, adding that it was a pity reservists could not attend this year's exercise.
At a ceremony in the Tapa compound held before the start of exercise activities, the Logistics Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade was supplemented with a unit of conscripts who had completed their training in the Logistics Battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade.
The unit will be tasked with the provision of logistical support, such as supply, repair, maintenance and medical aid, and their reserve service will also continue as part of the Logistics Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade.
Under the plan, the units and subunits taking part in Spring Storm will rehearse cooperation among them in the performance of battle tasks, the exercise has been divided into two. A field exercise will take place from April 25 to 30, during which the participants will go through the given tactical situation, while live-fire exercises will take place on the central training grounds from May 1 to 8, during which the cooperation of infantry and combat support units in a real battle situation will mainly be trained.
The main trainees of the Spring Storm exercise are units trained on the basis of the Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion and the Viru Infantry Battalion. During the field exercise, the 1st Infantry Brigade, the main strength of which will consist of the Scouts Battalion and NATO allied battle group on infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), will play the role of the enemy.
Spring Storm scaled down due to coronavirus
Spring Storm is being held in a reduced format this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year's exercise included around 9,000 participants but only a "few thousand" personnel will be deployed this year.
The EDF's commander, Maj. Gen. Martin Herem said reservists should also not participate, only active regular personnel, conscripts undergoing training, and NATO personnel at the U.K.-led NATO battlegroup stationed at Tapa being involved. Additional allied units usually participate in the training exercise but will not do so this year.
Spring Storm traditionally marks the end of conscripts' yearly training cycle, before their assignment to reserve units.
Spring Storm is an annual spring training exercise of the Estonian defense forces. The first Spring Storm exercise was held in 2003 in Lääne-Viru County. Last year, the exercise took place from April 29 to May 17 in Lääne-Viru County, Ida-Viru County, Harju County and Jõgeva County.
Editor: Helen Wright