A unique capability partnership that began 40 years ago has been further recognised when engineers from the Bundeswehr 130 Pionerbataillon and elements from 75 Engineer Regiment formed a 250m amphibious crossing across the River Elbe at Artlenburg near Hamburg.
The crossing involving 21 M3 Amphibious Rigs was a recreation of the start of the formal collaboration between the two nations that begun in 1977 and took place in close proximity to where Field Marshal Montgomery’s army conducted its own amphibious crossing of the River Elbe as the Second World War neared its end in April 1945.
Applying skills that had been honed most recently on NATO exercises in Poland and Lithuania the M3 Amphibious Rigs sublimely entered the water and in a vivid demonstration of the interoperability which exists between the two units quickly formed a bridge that spanned the free flowing river; impressing both the military and civilian spectators alike.
Major General Nick Borton Commander of 3rd (UK) Division, who is responsible for delivering the British Army’s fighting capability in the form of an Armoured Division remarked:
“The critical importance for a war fighting formation is its ability to manoeuvre and that means crossing major obstacles like the River Elbe, without the ability to cross these obstacles we cannot deliver our job, thus the M3 Amphibious Rig is a very important capability and we really support the ongoing work with the German Army delivering this.
It is a great privilege to be here to watch the demonstration, but more importantly to celebrate the close working relationship between our Amphibious Engineers.”
Speaking of the key relationship that cannot be rivalled anywhere else in NATO Lieutenant General Jacobson Commander Operations/Vice Chief General Staff Bundeswehr commented:
“It is great to be here to celebrate 40 years of partnership, it is a marvellous example of a unique capability and a win-win for both nations bringing the same equipment, the same training and the people together to form an operational unit that has already exercised throughout Europe.”
With the bridging demonstration complete the day concluded with a short presentation where the two units exchanged certificates to denote the significant of the day and a short musical performance by the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.