About 6 thousand soldiers and about 2,000 pieces of equipment will take part in the Defender Europe 20 maneuvers at the Drava training ground.
Defender Europe 20 military exercises postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic began in Poland, in which thousands of US troops participate. The epidemic has changed our plans, but the main thing is that we quickly adapted to the existing reality. The Polish army has not lost its combat readiness for a minute, “said Polish Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak, opening exercises at the Drava training ground in the north-west of the country.
He thanked the command of the American forces for “being here and training with us, despite the problems that the whole world is struggling with.”
About 6 thousand soldiers (including 2 thousand from Poland), 100 tanks and more than 230 combat vehicles, artillery and missile systems, as well as aviation – in total about 2000 pieces of equipment will take part in Defender Europe 20 at the Dravsky training ground.
The Polish contingent will be based on the 12th mechanized brigade from Szczecin, as well as military personnel from the 6th airborne brigade from Krakow, the 9th Braniewsk brigade of the cavalry, the 2nd engineering regiment, the 2nd engineer regiment, and the 5th engineering regiment. From the Air Force, F-16 planes from the 2nd wing of tactical aviation and Mi-24 helicopters from the 1st brigade of the ground forces aviation will take part in the exercises.
On the American side, about 4 thousand soldiers from the command of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 2nd Brigade Combat Group, the 3rd Infantry Division, and the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade take part in maneuvers.
The participants of the event will check “the possibility of interaction between Polish and American troops in the framework of a joint military operation.” It is also planned to work out “the main tactical episode – forcing a water barrier with the participation of tank and airborne troops.”
The main objective of the exercises was declared “increasing strategic readiness and cooperation due to the possibility of rapid deployment of troops from the United States to Europe, as well as testing the ability of host countries to accept allied support.” It was planned that 20 thousand soldiers would arrive from overseas, they would be joined by 9 thousand soldiers already deployed in Europe.
The final part of Defender Europe, according to plans, was supposed to be held from April 20 to May 20 in the Federal Republic of Germany, Poland, and the Baltic with the participation of 37 thousand soldiers from 18 countries.
But in March, the United States stopped transferring its troops to Defender maneuvers and canceled four related exercises in Europe out of precaution in connection with the spread of the new coronavirus.