Armed Forces

Dutch Bison Exercise Begins in Drawsko. Largest Training Operation Since Years

  • Fot. Michał / Flickr
    Fot. Michał / Flickr

Dutch Bison Drawsko 2017 tactical exercise is about to begin at the Polish Drawsko Pomorskie field training centre. The exercise in question is planned to involve 4 thousand troops from six NATO member states.

Polish General Command of the Armed Forces announced that more than 4000 soldiers hailing from six countries are expected to participate in the Bison Drawsko 2017 allied tactical exercise which is scheduled to begin on 16th January. The Drawsko Pomorskie range will become an arena, within which, among other equipment, German Leopard 2A6 and Polish PT-91 main battle tanks, German Boxer and Polish Rosomak wheeled APCs, Dutch CV9035NL IFVs, Fennek reconnaissance platforms used by the Dutch infantry, anti-aircraft systems, Mi-24 attack helicopters and Su-22 and F-16 combat aircraft, would be utilized.

The exercise is organized by the Dutch Army Command, while elements of the Dutch 43rd Mechanized Brigade will play the key role within the operation. Brig. General Jan Swillens, commander of the aforesaid unit, is going to act as the director of the exercise. 

READ MORE: German-Dutch Armoured Units Headed to Poland

The first transports carrying equipment and troops have already reached the territory of Poland. Assets and forces deployed from Germany, Canada, Estonia and the US are also expected to participate in the operation. Along with the units above, more than 500 Polish troops will refine their skills during the aforesaid exercise too. The Polish soldiers involved in the exercise will be hailing mainly from the 12th Mechanized Brigade, equipped, inter alia, with the Rosomak APCs.

The Polish component is also expected to include a PT-91 Twardy tank unit, detached from the 9th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, as well as air defence elements of the 4th and 15th Anti-Aircraft Regiments, together with soldiers and helicopters of the 1st Army Aviation Brigade and of the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade. The land forces will also be supported by the Su-22 attack aircraft of the 1st Tactical Air Wing and F-16 jets of the 2nd Tactical Air Wing. Moreover, Kielce Centre for Preparation of Foreign Deployments and the Central PsyOPS Group of Bydgoszcz are also going to participate in the operation.

During the Bison exercise, training of the Dutch brigade in a new structure would be organized. The unit has been operationally subordinated to the German 1st Armoured Division, meanwhile, its composition also includes the 414th armoured battalion of the Bundeswehr (with a single Dutch company). The latter element was to originally play a reserve role, but in the light of the dynamically changing security context, it is gradually reacquiring full combat readiness.

The Dutch have announced that the Bison operation is one of the largest training exercise organized by the land forces since several years. According to the Dutch authorities, the operation is to involve, in total, up to 4.5 thousand soldiers, 3.6 thousand from the Netherlands and 900 hailing from the allied states, whereas some portion of the exercise is to take place on the training ranges in North-Eastern Germany. Nonetheless, Drawsko Pomorskie remains one of the key areas, within the scope of the aforesaid training.