Between 28 August and 8 September 2023, the NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence together with the Croatian Armed Forces of the Republic conducted a two-week course in Knin, Croatia, training small unit leaders in the basics of Mountain Warfare.
A total of 47 team, squad and platoon leaders from 8 different NATO countries attended the course, and were introduced to the comprehensive operational environment of the Mountain Warfare by an international team of lecturers, instructors and SMEs.
First, the students were taught the specifics of mountain environments, weather & terrain impacts on operations, parameters for the decision making process, and to the way of identifying hazards and managing risks in the mountains. In continuation, they went through case studies of the most recent military operations in mountain environments and learned about the decisive factors that mountains offer. Finally, students learned and practiced how to plan, prepare and conduct activities in the mountain terrain, climate & weather, and how to use ropes, mountaineering equipment & climbing techniques to enhance the safety of their unit and overcome obstacles such as vertical terrain, canyons and rivers.
Set at the base of the Dinara Mountains, the area around the city of Knin was chosen because it offers an ideal landscape for military & mountaineering training, having difficult terrain, vertical walls, quick-changing weather, rivers, canyons and military facilities. Also, in 1995 it was the battlespace of the most recent Mountain Warfare operation in Europe and ultimately set the grounds for the Croatian Army’s victory in its Homeland War, which added even more value for our Mountain Warfare community.
One of the goals of the course was to promote a large scale of multinationality, both in terms of participants as well as instructors, and this provided a good opportunity for everybody to exchange knowledge, share ideas and make bonds with other nationals from different NATO member countries. This will enhance NATO forces’ interoperability and trust at tactical level during multinational activities and will continue to do so far into the future, as each of the students will be leaders or trainers of their own team, squad or platoon.