Cooperation put into practice in Kainuu
Exercise METSO 16, that is presently ongoing in Vuosanka, is a truly the place to shine for the troops involved. In addition to the exercise being the final exercise for some of the conscripts, also the international cooperation present has boosted the motivation and morale of the units.
The maneuvers have been intensive in Vuosanka, Kainuu as the exercise METSO 16 has deployed more than 3 200 soldiers from Kainuu Brigade, Jaeger Brigade, Utti Jaeger Regiment and Lapland Border Guard to train in the area. The objective of the exercise is to enhance the operational capabilities of the units to operate according to the reformed land warfare doctrine. This year the international cooperation has added a new and interesting aspect to the exercise as in addition to the Finnish troops also a mechanized infantry platoon from Swedish Norrbotten Regiment is participating.
The participation of the Swedish detachment is part of the bilateral cooperation between Finnish and Swedish armies aiming to enhance the interoperability and operational capabilities of the units as well as to create cost-effective exercise and training possibilities. In the exercise METSO 16 a particular focus has put on enhancing the leadership abilities, cooperation between the infantry and mechanized troops as well as the interoperability of the different army branches. METSO 16 is the first exercise led by Kainuu Brigade in which the Norrbotten Regiment is participating.
The Swedish exercise detachment, strength of approximately 50 soldiers, takes part in the exercise with four CV9040 infantry fighting vehicles, CV90 armored recovery vehicle and other transport vehicles. The troops work as part of the Finnish battle group in the simulator-assisted two-way maneuvers.
Lieutenant Per Zakrisson from the Swedish detachment explains that he has already previously been in the area getting to know the terrain and thus has a pretty good preconception what is to come.
- Luckily the terrain will from now on favour more the tanks compared to this thicket, he smiled after the first day of maneuvers.
From the beginning of the exercise the troops have been involved with intensive and fast pace combat operations. The progressive training of the conscripts as well as the many previous exercises they have participated during this spring have made the operations run very smoothly and effectively. The bilateral cooperation has, however, brought a new feature to the training. The exercise equipment as well as the techniques may differ so more accurate coordination is required in order to get everything going as planned.
- The use of infantry in the combat operations is slightly different here in Finland compared to Sweden. We emphasize very much the use of the tanks and other fighting vehicles. It has been very useful and educational to see how you work in certain tactical situations and thus become even more compatible, Zakrisson explains.
The troops have worked well together since the first day and especially the cooperation between the branches has been constantly improving. Zakrisson compliments the motivation and the expertise of the Finnish conscripts: the skills required to perform in specific tasks are mastered and new tactics and functions are learned rapidly.
Despite that the exercise has just started, the positive effect of the Swedish participation in the exercise can already be seen. In addition to the cost-effective training and improving the interoperability, the versatile training has boosted the motivation of the counterparts. The communication in English has been effective from the start and the two-way combat simulator system has brought additional efficiency to the training.
- So far the training as been very intensive and progressive, and I believe it’s going to continue like that, Zakrisson estimates.
All well and good as the exercise continues still this week in Vuosanka.