VAASA-VASA18 high-level readiness unit exercise emphasized cooperation and clear command
The high-level readiness unit consisting of troops from the Pori Brigade and the Armoured Brigade trained in the VAASA-VASA18 exercise.
Currently, there is not specific threat directed at Finland, but the trend of crisis development shows that situations can escalate very quickly. This is why the Finnish Defence Forces have also taken steps to improve its readiness. One of these improvements has been establishing high-level readiness units in the Army. All of the high-level readiness units have the ability to rapidly react to changes in the operating environment in all conditions. Additionally, the units increase quick reaction capability all over Finland. The tasks of the high-level readiness units are combat, support and security providing tasks in the military defence of Finland. Furthermore, the units can be used to support to other authorities during disturbances.
The Pori Brigade high-level readiness unit is one of the Army’s high-level readiness units. It consists of soldiers from Pori Brigade and the Armoured Brigade. It is a unit formed during normal conditions and it is made up of both salaried personnel of the Defence Forces and conscripts currently doing their military service. In the Army's brigade-level units (except Utti Jaeger Regiment) 10 % of conscripts in every contingent are trained as members of the high-level readiness unit. The personnel and the conscripts in the high-level readiness unit are extensively trained, the unit is well-equipped and the equipment is modern. The challenging and extensive training guarantees that the unit has good capabilities and can fulfil its demanding tasks even in rapidly developing situations. The training of the conscripts that are members of the high-level readiness unit continues all through conscript service and it includes versatile unit training exercises that expands the previously gained training, develops the performance of the unit and tests the suitability of the training package.
One part of the training package for the Pori Brigade and Armoured Brigade high-level readiness unit was the VAASA-VASA18 exercise held 5-9 March 2018. In the exercise the troops in the high-level readiness unit trained and operated together as a unit for almost a week. The goal of the exercise was to train the operations of the high-level readiness unit and how to carry out its tasks as part of the larger combat operations of the Army. The emphasis of the exercise was in alerting the unit and cooperating with others.
The exercise included the entire high-level readiness unit, in both personnel and equipment. The unit includes soldiers from various branches of the Army. That is why the unit has such a variety of equipment: it enables versatile use of the unit for different kinds of tasks. The high- readiness unit has such equipment as the Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tank which is the primary equipment of the Armoured Brigade.
The exercise consisted of three main phases:
1. Alert and deployment
2. Live-exercise phase
3. Restoring combat capability
This exercise was the first time the entire unit operated together. That is why every phase required operating procedures and methods that had been agreed on in advance. Clarity of command, commander -driven operations and direct actions were highlighted all throughout the exercise. Combined arms operations and seamless cooperation between units made it possible to reach the training objectives.
Speed and the variety of equipment also brought challenges to the fore; logistics operations are a good example. Also, snowy conditions underlined the capability differences of equipment, particularly from the perspective of off-road capability.
Regular training and careful planning are required to achieve speed and readiness.