Estonia's largest annual defense training exercise, Spring Storm (Kevadtorm), which began on May 15 May, drew to a close on Friday. Nearly 14,000 conscripts, reservists, active-duty Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) personnel and members of the Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit) as well as soldiers from eleven different allied countries took part in this year's exercise.
"Spring Storm went very well and each successive Spring Storm has been better than the last. The most popular participant this year was the weather. It has been great, no one can remember a Spring Storm like it," said EDF Division Commander Major General Veiko-Vello Palm. "Of course, all the things we wanted to do tactically went well and proceeded exactly as we had planned and anticipated."
Major General Palm was impressed with the integration of Allied troops into Estonian units, adding that it is important to continue this kind of integration at all levels. "In Estonia, we are able to receive allies from any country. Some of them are closer to us than others, but every ally, even those that are a little more exotic for us, like the Italians, are a great addition," Palm said.
This year's Spring Storm, which took place for the 18th time, tested the synchronization of the Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) battle plans, cooperation between levels of command and the readiness of units to carry out combat missions. The exercise also served as a maturity test for the wartime units, which had completed their training during military service as well as providing an opportunity for reservists to refresh their skills.
Three infantry battalions were assessed during this year's Spring Storm, one of which was the Land Defense Battalion, which mostly contains members of the Estonian Defense League. "The main challenge for them has been training together. It's not easy to put together a battalion from people serving in different regiments and living in different places. They managed it well and so this kind of battalion can be relied on," said Major General Palm.
According to the division commander, Estonia's defenses are becoming stronger every year, with the biggest leap forward noticeable when it comes to the soldiers' combat readiness. "The work that our volunteers and junior officers have done with conscripts is impressive. They are articulate, they have a clear vision, they have a plan, and they want to take part in the war effort," said Major General Palm.
Spring Storm mostly took place in locations outside EDF training areas on both state-owned and private land.
Spring Storm is the EDF's largest annual military exercise, during which military operations planning and implementation are practiced, and cooperation between Estonian and allied units is enhanced. The exercise involves active-duty personnel, conscripts, reservists, Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit) members, and soldiers from allied countries.
Editor: Michael Cole