The last quarter of this year was busy for all EUR SOF units. A major joint training operation was conducted in Europe. This is why this Episode of Europe’s Finest will be dedicated to the Cobra-13 Multinational SOF Exercise.
The exercise was started on November 20 and lasted through November 30 at various proving grounds in Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovakia. The operation was aimed at proving the joint operation capabilities of various SOF units operating within the NATO Response Force. The entire exercise was also a test and certification for the Special Operations Command Component (SOCC) organized in Poland. This has allowed Poland to join the elite club of countries that have the possibility to organize such a structure (others being USA, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey).
During the exercise soldiers from different countries were conducting a series of operations on land and sea. For this purpose, the units were divided into several Multinational Task Forces (TF).
Marine SOF units from Poland, Norway and Finland joined their efforts during several maritime training operations that included seizing enemy vessels (in this case Polish Navy’s ORP Zbyszko and ORP Kopernik). Maritime units are often believed to conduct operations on or beneath the water, however, in reality, these units have to be capable of conducting a much broader spectrum of ops to include land and airborne as well.
Cobra-13 has proven to be very successful for all participants. Some 120 Slovakian SOF operators took part in the operation ahead of their combat deployment to Afghanistan. The exercise was highly praised by the Slovakian soldiers and provided invaluable experience that will greatly benefit the unit in the future.
Exercises such as Cobra-13 provide a unique opportunity for soldiers from various nations to share their experience with their foreign colleagues. The invaluable help that can be provided by a well organized and commanded multinational SOF Task Force has been put to a test and the results are flawless. Efforts will continue to better the cooperation among the many participating units and similar events are set to provide future opportunities to gather Europe’s Finest.