TEXEL and VLISSINGEN, the Netherlands --- The Sea Battalion of the German Navy and the Dutch marine corps, the Korps Mariniers, are growing ever closer together. Commander Axel Meißel, commanding officer of the Sea Battalion, was invited to be present at a change of command ceremony among the Dutch marines and the subsequent exercise. The Sea battalion is part of the land-based units of the German Navy.
The North Sea island of Texel provided the backdrop for command over the Dutch Surface Assault and Training Group (SATG) to be handed over. This group is one of five subunits in the renowned Korps Mariniers. In presence of numerous interested guests Lieutenant Colonel Scheltema handed over command of the unit to Lieutenant Colonel Posthumus, who will now be responsible for the Surface Assault and Training Group.
Commander Meißel said, “It’s a special honour for me to have been invited to witness the change of command, and I’m very happy about this public sign that our Sea Battalion is successfully becoming more and more integrated into the Dutch Navy.”
Manoeuvres in the port town of Vlissingen in the south-west of the Netherlands were next on the agenda for the marines. The certification exercise CERTIFEX took several days and was intended to demonstrate the operational readiness of 1 Marine Combat Group, a Dutch battalion of marines. Under the watchful eyes of several SATG examiners, marines attacked two separate targets in the centre of the town to bring down a number of “insurgents” they had identified, while civilians went about their daily business. The Dutch battalion command planned and monitored the operation on board the landing ship “Rotterdam”.
The commanding officer had been given a particular challenge to cope with. In spite of the complexity of the mission, an artificial limit had been placed on the available resources. That is why mission command had only two Cougar Mk2 helicopters and four landing craft available to quickly deploy soldiers and vehicles.
“It’s impressive watching this exercise unfold. This would hardly be possible in Germany,” Meißel said. “To have boats and helicopters land at night-time, in the middle of partly closed-off but civilian areas of the town, and then conduct mock battles must require a lot of good PR work in the run-up to avoid confusion and fear among the general public! The locals and tourists certainly seemed to be very open-minded and interested,” Commander Meißel went on to comment.
The members of the Sea Battalion and the Korps Marinier will continue to work on German-Dutch military integration in the coming months. The next step is planned for September, when the two nations will get the opportunity to further develop and enhance joint procedures during the NORTHERN COASTS 2017 exercise and the Sea Battalion from Eckernförde will again play an active part in the manoeuvres.
On 4 February 2016, Germany and the Netherlands agreed to enhance their maritime cooperation. The Federal Republic of Germany benefits particularly in the areas of military deployability by sea and amphibious operations.
The general-purpose supply ship “Karel Doormann” is one of the vessels the Sea Battalion uses together with the Dutch in this context, allowing the Dutch Navy to put their ships through their paces more often.
This is an adapted translation of an article by the Naval Beach Battalion published on www.marine.de