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More than 1,000 troops take part in Estonia's Winter Camp exercise

Exercise Winter Camp in Estonia. Saturday, February 10, 2024.
Exercise Winter Camp in Estonia. Saturday, February 10, 2024. Source: ERR

This weekend, around 1,100 troops from Estonia, France, the U.K. and the U.S. descended on the Central Training Area of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) northwest of Tapa for the annual – and aptly cold and snowy – Exercise Winter Camp.

Led this year by Col. Andrus Merilo, Winter Camp marks one of the most important exercises in the EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade training cycle.

This year's exercise, however, took training to a whole new level for participating troops as they employed British simulation systems in combat that helped make the action even more true to life.

Participants also trained doing wartime duties in extreme winter conditions, putting those troops more accustomed to milder climates to the test.

"It's the point where everything comes together – where we've learned to survive in this climate, we've learned to operate, and we're now learning how to fight," said Lt. Col., commander of NATO Battlegroup Estonia (NATOBGEst). "And the winter's a real challenge – particularly the cold."

According to Fern, the troops have to learn how to be able to fight the environment before they can "even think about" fighting their adversary.

"So the opportunity to get out and train – on days like this, where the temperature is as cold as it is – it is really, really important to us," the commander emphasized.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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