The Division Schnelle Kräfte is Germany’s primary Crises Response Force in charge of all Bundeswehr and Army Special Forces Airborne and Army Aviation assets, reports Carl Schulze.
Also assigned to the Division Schnelle Kräfte (Rapid Forces Division) or DSK is the 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade of the Netherlands Koniklijke Landmacht. Currently, as part of Exercise GREEN GRIFFIN, Dutch and German troops of the DSK are training to execute airborne and air assault operations within a NATO Article 5 Scenario in Lower Saxony.
Executed between 6th and 24th May 2019 Exercise GREEN GRIFFIN involves 2,500 Dutch and German troops, with hundreds of wheeled and light tracked vehicles. The fleet includes, among other vehicles: Waffenträger Wiesel 1 armament carriers fitted with 20mm automatic cannons and TOW anti-tank guided weapon systems; Wiesel 2 Sanitätstrupp tracked ambulances; Wiesel 2 Bewegliche Befehlstelle command post vehicles; ESK Mungo wheeled air-transportable troop carriers; Luchtmobiel Speciaal Voertuig (LSV) light trucks; KTM LC4 motorcycles; Suzuki King Quad all-terrain vehicles; Mercedes-Benz G280 CDI fire support and long range reconnaissance patrol vehicles; and Enok LAPV 6.1 light armoured patrol vehicles. The troops are supported by five Dutch CH-47D and ten German NH90 transporter helicopters, six Dutch AH-64D Apache and six German Tiger combat helicopters and a couple of transport aircraft, including one Dutch C-130H-30 Hercules.
Air Manoeuvre Task Force (AMTF)
The aim of Exercise GREEN GRIFFIN 2019 is to enhance the planning procedures and operational capabilities of a brigade-size Dutch-German Air Manoeuvre Task Force (AMTF) lead by the German Luftlande Brigade 1 airborne brigade and consisting of battle groups provided by the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 31 (airborne infantry regiment) and the 13 Infanterie Bataljon (Air Assault) Regiment Stoottroepen Prins Bernhard (air assault infantry battalion). Also part of the AMTF are the Luftlande Pionier Kompanie 270 (airborne engineer company) and the Luftlande Aufklärungs Kompanie 310 (airborne reconnaissance company, as well as elements of the 11 Genie Compagnie Air Assault (airborne engineer company), 11 Geneeskundige Compagnie Air Assault (medical company) and the 11 Bevoorradings Compagnie Air Assault (logistic company).
Rotary aviation support for the paratroopers and air assault infantry is provided by the German Transport Hubschrauber Regiment 10 and 30 (transport helicopter regiments) and the Kampf Hubschrauber Regiment 36 (combat helicopter regiment), as well as the Dutch 298 Squadron equipped with transport helicopters and 301 Squadron equipped with combat helicopters of the Defensie Helicopter Commando.
The first week of the exercise saw the troops going through a Capability Evaluation Training/Forces Integration Training (CET/FIT) phase. As part of this, the infantry assets were put through basic helicopter training in order to familiarise them with each other’s aircraft – the national ‘cross load’ procedures were one of the main goals. They also conducted a number of air assault raids in the vicinity of Nienburg and on the Bergen-Hohne Training Area.
The transport helicopter crews trained to pick-up, transport and drop external loads. The German engineers conducted river crossing operations with the Jet-Float ferry and bridging equipment. The German pathfinders of the Fallschirm Spezialzug of Fallschirmjäger Regiment 31 conducted HAHO parachute jumps.
The CET/FIT phase was followed by a Combat phase, during which the AMTF conducted two major operations, employing air assault tactics. As part of these operations, the force had to seize several bridges over the Elbe-Seitenkanal Canal, defended by enemy forces, using air assault tactics. The operations were conducted in order to deny an advancing major enemy force the ability to use the bridges. As part of the air assault operations hundreds of troops with their equipment and vehicles were inserted by transport helicopter. From the helicopter landing zones, they then closed in on the canal bridges and secured them. In some cases this involved heavy fighting.
[ Images © Bundeswehr: HptFw Carl Schulze ]
[ Images © Bundeswehr: HptFw Carl Schulze ]
Gallery image captions, from top left to bottom right:-
- Elements of the Jet-Float ferry and bridging equipment employed by Luftlande Pionier Kompanie 270 airborne engineer company are flown forward by a German NH90 transport helicopter.
- Near objective Gold-4 German paratroopers are inserted by Dutch CH-47D of 298 Squadron of the Defensie Helicopter Commando of the Koninklijke Luchtmacht.
- The German Paratroopers, with bergen rucksacks and support weapons, speedily head for the cover of nearby woodland.
- A Dutch CH-47D takes off after delivering a platoon of German paratroopers and a Waffenträger Wiesel 1 with a 20mm automatic cannon.
- During GREEN GRIFFIN ground troops were supported by six Dutch AH-64D Apache and six German Tiger combat helicopters (as picture).
- An AH-64D attack helicopter of 301 Squadron of the Defensie Helicopter Commando of the Koninklijke Luchtmacht provides close air support to German Paratroopers.
- A machine gun team of Fallschirmjäger Regiment 31 with a 7.62mm MG3 machine gun provides cover fire while German Paras attack Objective Gold-4, a bridge over the Elbe-Seiten canal.
- During an air assault raid German paratroopers close in on their final objective – weapons carried include 5.56mm G36A1assault rifles and Panzerfaust 3 shoulder launched anti-tank weapons.
- A breacher of C-Company, an SOF Support Unit from 12 Infanterie Bataljon (Air Assault) Regiment Van Heutsz employs a chain-saw to clear the way for his comrades during an air assault raid.
- Troops of C-Company, 12 Infanterie Bataljon (Air Assault) Regiment Van Heutsz advance through a village during their way to their objective.
- A German paratrooper of Fallschirmjäger Regiment 31 provides cover fire with a 7.62mm MG3 machine gun mounted on a tripod.
- German paratroopers fight their way through an objective during an air assault raid.
- Reconnaissance assets of the 13 Infanterie Bataljon (Air Assault) Regiment Stoottroepen Prins Bernhard are ferried over the river Weser on a Jet-Float-Ferry operated by German airborne engineers.
- Mission Accomplished – German paratroopers of Fallschirmjäger Regiment 31 are extracted by a Dutch CH-47D transport helicopter of 298 Squadron of the KL Defensie Helicopter Commando.