Germany

German Army Train At Sennelager During British Absence

British military exercises at Sennelager have been suspended due to COVID-19 but that does not mean the training centre has been empty.

German soldiers have been taking advantage of the Sennelager Training Area during the absence of British troops. 

The German Army is usually guaranteed at least 10 weeks at the centre, near Paderborn, each year.

But after British military exercises were suspended at the site due to coronavirus in March, the Germans have been able to use training slots originally allocated to the British.

Captain Martin Waltemathe, spokesperson for the 21st German Panzer Brigade, told Forces News: "You can simulate some parts of the training for the platoons and for the soldiers, nothing is better than using the tanks on the training area on the ground, in the forest."

Some members of the brigade will be deployed to Afghanistan next year, and Sennelager's small arms moving target range is ideal for German close protection soldiers.

"This is a big advantage for us because the smaller shooting ranges that are closer to all German barracks do not have these moving targets," said Captain Frank Fischer, a small arms weapons trainer.

Ahead of the mission in Afghanistan, the Germans' Quick Reaction Force is rehearsing how to respond to insurgent attacks.

German Army soldier with Puma vehicle at Sennelager ranges 270820 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
The German troops used the Puma infantry fighting vehicle during the training.

The soldiers have been using 'Tin City', an urban facility where British troops prepared for Northern Ireland decades ago.

It resembles parts of Belfast, so the German soldiers need to use their imagination and picture it as Kabul. 

Captain 'Sven', Company Commander, said: "Maybe the framing of the houses is different to an area of operations in Afghanistan, for example, but the basics are the same and the basics we can train here."

British soldiers are expected to return to Sennelager in October.

In the meantime, German forces have not been the only ones who have made use of their absence.

Belgian, Dutch and French forces have also trained at Sennelager, as well as civilian authorities such as the police.