EDF reservist boost to Defense League means more vehicles needed

Defense League personnel on exercise in 2020.
Defense League personnel on exercise in 2020. Source: ERR

A recent decision to boost volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) units with 10,000 Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) reservists, to form up a land-based defensive force, will require a larger number of vehicles to provide the necessary mobility.

Plans are being drawn up accordingly, which may, in conflict situations, include the commandeering of private vehicles of various kinds for military use, while the Defense League will also continue to use procurement for the purpose as well.

A plan of vehicle requirements has been drawn up, Alo Aulik, head of mobilization resources during the reservists' annual mass Exercise Siil, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Monday.

Aulik said: "Based on the current plans, we have promised the EDF that we will ensure the availability of approximately 2,700 vehicles."

"If 10,000 personnel are to be added [to the Defense League], these planning documents will set us a new goal. The EDF's needs represent a cross-section of the entire vehicular picture - ATVs, motorcycles, SUVs - both luxurious and more standard ones as well - trucks, tractors, cranes etc.," Aulik continued.

Scarcest are 4WD vehicles and six-wheel trucks.

Defense League stalwart and survival expert Erki Vaikre told AK that: "Our mobility cannot be inferior to that of the opponent. In this form, if we are talknig about an armed infantry but which does not have high-quality transport, not to mention transport that offers primary protection against shrapnel and bullets, then this is not a sufficient response to any possible attack."

"As the company commander, I also prepared the SUVs I had acquired, plus a large part of the special equipment of the rest of the company - from kitchen trailers to ambulances, armored vehicles," he went on.

The Defense League purchases a large part of its machinery at auctions, for instance trucks; this type of procurement, such as those of the range of Soviet-era BTR armored personnel carriers, were standard, as was customization of kit; training sessions for next year involving 10,000 EDF reservists along with Defense League personnel are planned, while this year's Exercise Siil rehearsed the sequestering of private vehicles for use in conflict scenarios.

Commandeering vehicles is only used in a conflict situation, while any damage is not compensated.

Alo Aulik said that the specific scenario of the exercise involved an owner being informed that their vehicle was needed. They were instructed to drive to a set point at a set time, to hand over their vehicle.

While the Defense League recruits volunteers regionally, EDF reservists had not been allocated to specific regions until the recent plan, which will do just that - in other words the roughly 10,000 reservists, those who have completed conscript training and remain on reserve lists, will be vectored to specific Defense League districts, under the new plan.

This is aimed at building up a purely defensive light infantry ground force, familiar with its local terrain and using lessons learned in the current Ukraine conflict. The two EDF infantry brigades consist of mechanized, heavy infantry.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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