German Panzer Brigade 12 ready for MINUSMA in Mali

In March 2021, soldiers from Panzer Brigade 12, supported by soldiers from Mountain Infantry Brigade 23 and other units, will be relocated to Mali for six months. In the north of the West African country, the soldiers will provide the contingent for the UNUnited Nations mission MINUSMA, the United Nations' multidimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali. Michael Plettl reports on Bundeswehr’s website.
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In Mali, West Africa, the soldiers will be equipped with the command and function vehicle Eagle IV and the Fuchs armored personnel carrier. (Picture source: Bundeswehr / Sebastian Ertmer)

Last week, the 12th Panzer Brigade from Cham and the operational soldiers completed the deployment preparation with a two-week training site. The completion of the training for the comrades took place in the combat training center of the army in the Colbitz-Letzlinger Heide, north of Magdeburg. The focus was on the reconnaissance forces of the reconnaissance battalion 8 from Freyung. "The main difference between the Letzlinger Heide exercise area and the Gao area in the north of Mali is not just 60 degrees Celsius," said Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Björn Schulz, in his final assessment of the exercise.

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During the preparation for operations in the army's combat training center, the Fuchs armored personnel carrier is used as a command vehicle. (Picture source: Bundeswehr / Anne-Kathrin Schmidt)

“The soldiers were able to train intensively at the military training area. Because on the spot in Mali it depends on each individual, there is sharp shooting and there is a threat of attacks, ”the general said. The troops made full use of the exercise opportunities. All strength and effort have been put into training for the upcoming deployment for MINUSMA, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. Every conceivable scenario was taken up as a training topic and practiced until everyone mastered it and the processes were almost perfect. In this mammoth task, the Freyung soldiers, who provide the lead unit for the mission in Mali, were not alone. Soldiers from seven other locations in Bavaria and Saxony trained with them.

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During the preparation for the mission, the field intelligence forces practice conversations with the civilian population. The focus is on people as a source of information. (Picture source: Bundeswehr / Anne-Kathrin Schmidt)

In addition to the battle situations, possible scenarios with the civilian population were also examined. The intention was to convey a realistic picture of the future application area. In this way, obtaining information from the population is simulated in order to obtain a picture of the situation in civil society and, if applicable, potential threats.

In the final meeting, the brigade commander and the instructors from the Army Combat Training Center assessed that all of the forces deployed were able to record “a steep learning curve upwards” in the past two weeks. The reconnaissance battalion 8 is once again providing forces for the mission in Mali, which is now one of the most dangerous foreign missions of the Bundeswehr. Violent clashes between the population groups and various terrorist groups are the main challenges for the soldiers. The core task of the German contribution in Gao is to provide information about the situation and situation of the conflicting parties and society to the headquarters of the UNUnited Nations mission.

With the successful completion of the exercise in the Altmark, the deployed forces demonstrated their readiness for action. The soldiers now use the remaining time until the transfer to prepare for the demanding time ahead with their families and relatives. In a few days, the six-month deployment will begin for around 240 soldiers of Panzer Brigade 12.


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