Defend the German Ruhr area against an advancing enemy: The German-Dutch Division Schnelle Krafte faced this task during exercise Green Griffin. The rapidly advancing enemy had to be stopped and pushed back with the help of airmobile operations.
Around 3,000 soldiers participated in the 2-week exercise. The Netherlands supplied five Chinook transport helicopters, six Apache combat helicopters, 250 soldiers from the helicopter command and nearly 500 soldiers from 11 Airmobile Brigade.
Dutch Chinooks are ready for action.
Major Sander Spithoven was commander of the Dutch squadron: “With German-Dutch formations up to 22 helicopters, we have stopped the enemy and supported our ground forces. We have learned a lot from each other and have both reached a higher level. By jointly planning, flying, briefing and debriefing, but also by coordinating procedures and techniques. We were really one team, with one task. "
The German and Dutch helis formed a combined helicopter task force for the occasion. In addition to the Dutch aircraft, it consisted of ten German NH90 transport helicopters and six Tiger combat helicopters. To ensure that all these people and resources worked well together, the first week was all about coordination.
Then the real work followed. The simulated enemy pushed on from the northeast towards the town of Celle. Their goal: to get hold of the Ruhr area. The enemy consisted of four divisions with serious air defense means. To stop them, four bridges at Wieren had to be freed from advanced enemy troops. This happened with airmobile promotions.
Prior to this, scouts, including Dutch soldiers, provided a real-time sketch of the situation from the ground up. Subsequently, the Chinooks and NH90s and a Dutch C-130 transport aircraft flew in more than 600 soldiers and dozens of underslung loads. This happened in six waves, while Tiger and Apache combat helicopters secured this deployment.
This was managed logistically thanks to a pick-up zone for loads and passengers and 2 F (A) RPS (forward arming and refueling point). Bad weather unfortunately prevented a so-called 'hasty extraction' exercise a day later.