Instructor and C2 training with assistance of BMATT at Gašinci

From one of the tallest points in the Training Range “Gašinci“ the team of the “Hrvatski vojnik“ magazine observed a grove 300 m off. “It is the Point Blackjack“, explained Captain Igor Vendl of the Infantry Regiment

From one of the tallest points in the Training Range “Gašinci“ the team of the “Hrvatski vojnik“ magazine observed a grove 300 m off.  “It is the Point Blackjack“, explained Captain Igor Vendl of the Infantry Regiment and the Croatian training administrator and Sergeant Major of the Army Dario Rosić, Croatian Army’s Command Sergeant Major; defended by the OPFOR squad, and the platoon has received the order to seize it. The “Hrvatski vojnik“ team follows the training safely  on the ground- the trainees are using the MILES 2000 symulation system and dummy ammunition. A platoon attacking an OPFOR is a normal scene at “ Gašinci“; to the left of the grove we spotted a group of four soldiers with the multicam pattern characteristic of the British Army, with their berets on,  aligning to the flank from the attacking platoon, communicating in different dialects and using gestures in order to assist with the platoon personnel overcome the opponent forces  which had seized good positions atop the hill.  We learned about the basics of the action during the preparation, watching the attack simulation on the Blackjack maquette on the ground. The Croatian platoon was non-standard, composed of officers and NCOs (platoon commanders or command sergeant majors)  of two guards brigades of the Croatian Army. They attended the course administered by the instructors of the British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT), headquartered in Vyškovo, the Czech Republic,who since 2000 have organised various military courses for the allied an partner nations (mostly in the central, south and east Europe) within the co-operation agreements with the United Kingdom. The Instructor Training and Junior Command and Leadership Course  was administered in the Training Range “Gašinci“ from 10 January – 2 February 2018, containing the preparation of training process, the tactical training up to the infantry platoon level. The last week the training featured field exercises (titled “Bohemian Resolve“), among which was attack on the point “Blackjack“. In each action the trainees succeded one another as platoon commander.  The training scenario allowed the officers to take the role of platoon command sergeant major, to allow better interaction between NCO and officer personnel at the platoon level. “The British team are flexible and have tailored the training programme according to our needs and requirements“, said Sergeant Major of the Army Rosić. The British team first scanned the knowledge and capabilities of the Croatian trainees, while in the second week assigned them tasks for autonomous planning and conduct (presentations, designing and administration of training processes); the field exercises summarised the preceding two-week programme. Captain Vendl, in charge of the logistic and infrastructure support, commends the utility of the BMATT training for young officers, as “added value to the skills acquired in the Croatian Armed Forces, in terms of the English language skills, the familiarisation with the doctrine ofb one of the world’s most respected militaries, and  the co-operation within NATO in general“. Any way leading to ready and trained unit is acceptable, although there may be differences in the approach itself.  It is useful to refer the members of the Croatian Armed Forces to courses abroad or invite training teams to Croatia to offer a different perspective, in addition to the national training systems“, says SMA Rosić. Both Cpt Vendl and SMA Rosić admire the British practice of using a maquette in sandbox or maps to plan the training scenarios or actions, and the presentations consulted in the field, thereby reducing the time spent in-building ( in the classroom) and the simple multi-media visualisation. A significant detail. The commander of the platoon attacking “Blackjack“ was 2nd Lieutenant Stjepan-Krešimir Grgurić (a member of the “Sokolovi“ Battalion of the Guards Armoured Mechanised Brigade) GOMBR. The action was demanding – act against an OPFOR composed of top soldiers (members of the Military Intelligence Company of the Guards Armoured Brigade; from their four well-fortified and connected positions, which enabled covering each other with fire, the platoon had to advance and seize foot by foot . “We applied the British tactics and tried their way; our platoon was composed of various units we fulfilled our task against highly trained and cold-blooded professionals with minimal casualties; the training was all but easy but in time we familiarised ourselves with their tactics well. Each new experience to learn from NATO soldiers, regardless of how relevant for our armed forces,  is precious, as we may end up side by side in the field one day”, commented 1st Lieutenant Grgurić.  Sergeant Tomislav Soldić of the Battalion “Pauci“ of the Guards Mechanised Brigade commended the a Croatian soldiers’ swift adaptation to the British practice and efficient conduct of all assignments. The biggest differences between the two forces consisted in tactics , while the administrative and order issuing procedures were pretty similar. “We need to expand international co-operation and familiarise with the foreign forces operation styles, to adapt more easily to international exercises, missions and operations. The Croatian platoon, although of interim structure, came together quickly. “We are all experienced and know our duties well“.