Home » Poland phase of huge NATO exercise draws to a close

Poland phase of huge NATO exercise draws to a close

The Poland phase of NATO’s Exercise Steadfast Defender has concluded.

The exercise, designed to enhance interoperability among NATO members, saw the participation of approximately 2,500 personnel and over 800 vehicles from the UK’s 12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team, based at Bulford on Salisbury Plain.

Brigadier Henry Searby OBE, Commander of the 12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team, praised the performance of his troops: “From the moment our first Challenger 2 tank rolled onto a train at Folkestone en route to Poland, we have been testing ourselves and learning hard. Projecting a force of thousands of people and hundreds of vehicles across Europe into NATO’s eastern flank is a substantial challenge. The process has run smoothly, we’ve integrated with our allies and are running highly effective training missions day and night. Our soldiers have fully embraced this exercise and I am both proud and impressed with what our soldiers have achieved.”

During the first week, the troops conducted lower-level training, working with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and military working dogs, and performing combined arms attacks with tanks and armoured infantry. They also practised moving armour and infantry across a ‘wide wet gap’ using British and American amphibious vehicles and bridges.

Brigadier Searby expressed gratitude to the Polish hosts: “We are incredibly grateful to our Polish hosts for allowing us to train on this vast and beautiful training area. It provides challenging terrain, firing ranges and river crossing sites set to rehearse and test the Brigade’s capabilities. I have personally very much enjoyed working with the Polish and American Armies who provided formidable combat power, and with whom we are able to integrate very well.”

Major General Joseph DiNonno, Commanding General of the US 29th Infantry Division, highlighted the longstanding cooperation between the US and UK: “Our training with the 12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team for Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024 builds on a long history of cooperation and partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom. Here at Drawsko Combat Training Centre, they’ve demonstrated themselves as an incredibly robust, capable and combat credible force able to swiftly integrate with our NATO partners to overcome any obstacle.”