Rain. Some hikers were certainly extremely surprised at the beginning of this week when the Bavarian Forest Grenadiers abseiled down the Rissloch waterfalls or crossed the old railway bridge in Bettmannsäge. This training was part of a large-scale exercise in which the participating soldiers started out on the Arber and from there had to “make their way” to the barracks for two days. Break through – in the military, this is usually a scenario in which one has been separated from one’s own troops through combat operations and has to break through to them again. As quickly as possible, but quietly and camouflaged, avoiding confrontations with the enemy, over sticks, stones and water.
The third company of Panzergrenadierbataillon 112 in Regen carried out this two-day team-building event. It was extremely demanding, both physically and psychologically, for the soldiers who took part. Not all successfully complete such an exercise. In addition to the aspect of team building, such exercises are also important for military training and show each and every individual the extent of their own capabilities.
Like civilian employers, the Bundeswehr attaches great importance to so-called team-building measures – only usually with a military connection. Team building has been an important part of any work environment since the 1970s. Such measures are intended, among other things, to create a pleasant atmosphere in the workplace and to increase motivation and performance.
Joint successes increase motivation and strengthen team spirit. So the Bavarian Forest Grenadiers grit their teeth and spurred each other on to top performances.
The first hurdle: Abseiling at the Rissloch waterfalls
Exhausted after the initially long combat march, but still in good spirits, the group reached the first reporting point – the Rissloch waterfalls. Now it was time to cross it. Nothing can stop the Bayerwald grenadiers – not even fear of heights. With well-trained movements, they secured themselves to a tree and then routinely abseiled one after the other while securing their own strength.
The second hurdle: the way to the other side of the street in a different way
Overcoming your own fears is part of the soldier’s job. For some it’s the height, for others it’s the tight spaces. The next challenge was narrow tunnels under a busy road. Two tunnels: one had a stream running through it, the other was narrower and narrower. After thorough investigation, the group leader decided which tunnel the group would take. He opts for the smaller and narrower tunnel. Clear instructions to the group who belays and in what order we go through and off we go. It’s tight and even tighter with gear. But in no time the group is through and marches on.
The third hurdle is already waiting: crossing the water
The next day of this experience-oriented training begins. The soldiers had only moved into their hiding place very late, when they were already given their next assignment: in a fast march, gaining a crossing over the Regen River 1,500 meters away using a rope bridge. This challenge was also mastered by mobilizing the last of our strength. However, the soldiers were not fast enough on this march and the crossing point had already been dismantled when they reached it. All that remains is the old railway bridge in Bettmann saw. A detour of 1500 meters. At temperatures around 35°C and with around 40 kilos of luggage, this is the next challenge that the young soldiers have to overcome.
The group had already been on the march for two days. Suddenly it echoed through the forest “enemy from behind”. The deputy squad leader scouts an enemy vehicle that is approaching the firing line at high speed.
The deputy squad leader and his neighbor routinely opened fire on the enemy. The group uses the fire superiority they just created to take cover. The fire of the whole group finally forces the enemy to dodge. The attack was repulsed.
The joy is short-lived—a comrade is wounded, his right thigh is shot through. The group cared for and transported the wounded comrade to the pick-up point under self-protection and with great physical effort. No one is left behind – that is an important principle in the troop, a symbol of camaraderie and cohesion. Everyone must also be aware that in such situations every second counts.
The joy can hardly be put into words: the goal has been reached!
All efforts are quickly forgotten as the groups collectively reach the truck that marks the end of the 72 hours of continuous training. The Bavarian Forest Grenadiers have experienced a new high point in their military careers and are all leaving physically and mentally strengthened.
Experience-oriented training: Great effort with an even greater effect
The young soldiers should be challenged physically and mentally. It also shows them how highly stressful situations can be mastered routinely through training.
With comradeship, servicewomen and men can be strong together. The aim of this measure was to improve the resilience and robustness of the participants.
With its many different stations and a duration of 72 hours, this exercise is both physically and mentally demanding for the young servicewomen and men.
Overcoming the obstacles in time is a feat of strength alone with your personal equipment on your back. But what would a job be without challenges?
When overcoming these obstacles, what counted was a strong will and the camaraderie to be able to master this challenge as a group. These are all core qualities that the ‘soldier’ profession represents and that characterize a good military member. It is precisely for this reason that the training of the Bavarian Forest Grenadiers is demanding and focuses on technical ability and physical performance.
Text: Celine Amse
Photo: Celine Amse, Bw