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    The Rhythm of Battle: 1st Inf. Div. Continues to Develop in Series of Multi-National Exercises

    The Rhythm of Battle: 1st Inf. Div. Continues to Develop in Series of Multi-National Exercises

    Photo By Sgt. Charles Leitner | U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John V. Meyer III and Command Sgt. Maj. Clarence Raby, command...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Charles Leitner 

    19th Public Affairs Detachment

    FORT RILEY, Kan. – The conference room at 1st Infantry Division headquarters is active with a steady flow of military personnel preparing for the first of four multi-national training exercises designed to enhance capability and interoperability on Fort Riley, Kansas, Aug. 25, 2023.

    Professional conversations can be heard as defense forces from each country engage with Soldiers of the Big Red One to discuss various military strategies to synchronize combined forces efforts and enhance future joint combat operations.

    “Both The Big Red One and Estonian Division were established in 1917 and have over 100 years of history, albeit with a gap of 80 years of inactivity for the Estonian Division due to the Soviet occupation. Now we must close this gap and catch up,” said Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm, commander of the Estonian Division. “The Warfighter exercise gives us a great opportunity to take significant steps towards this goal. We re-established the divisional structure in our defense forces less than a year ago and we are still learning how to think and act as a division. Warfighter has a very important role for us in improving our ability to orchestrate large-scale combat operations.”

    Expectation and reality often converge during training exercises such as these, where simulations of combat scenarios facilitate discussions among military leaders as the logistics of organized battlefield movements play out on a computer screen.

    “What’s critical here is the ability to command and control,” said Lt. Col. (retired) Terry Ferrell, a senior mentor of military strategy working with the Mission Command Training Program in Leavenworth, Kansas. “We’re talking about one aspect of the overall operation. One of the biggest challenges in the Warfighter exercise is the ability to move forward.”

    On paper the goal seems simple; synchronize multinational and joint combat elements across time and space.

    “This is the opportunity for the division to come together and rehearse specific events that will allow us to conduct operations,” said Maj. Gen. John V. Meyer III, commander of the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley.

    But how do you do this with division-sized elements with thousands of cogs moving alongside multinational forces looking to maintain a lethal battle rhythm? How do you visualize the warfighting capabilities of such a large force looking to orchestrate reliable reconnaissance with heavy artillery, armored infantry units and attack helicopters in order to shape the enemy, while preserving and sustaining combat power? Practice.

    “Terrain management is critical,” said U.S. Army Maj. Shaun Gilbert, an observer working in the MCTP, during a session focused on wet gap crossings, an extremely vulnerable movement for large ground forces. “Really, it’s a timing and area problem.”

    Knowing this, leaders within the 1st Inf. Div. and multinational defense forces conducted numerous academic development sessions, alongside experts in military strategy from the MCTP, to foresee potential points of failure and troubleshoot any faults that could arise in an actual combat environment. It allows for units to fine-tune their mechanics, adjust where needed and account for various outcomes to react in coordination with one another.

    “The sequence of how we do it is important,” said Col. Brandon Smith, chief of staff of the 1st Inf. Div.

    In a combined arms rehearsal, emphasis on critical events facilitated dialogue between 1st Inf. Div. commanders. Layouts of a battle plan were addressed, re-addressed and then molded further into a fashion that aims to utilize the many capabilities of the Big Red One.

    Speaking as though he were talking inside a huddle before the first snap, Smith stressed hypothetical combat events by the minute to articulate the precise coordination required to be successful in large-scale combat operations.

    “That’s the kind of synchronization we need to have in a fight,” said Smith.

    Effectively synchronizing the many functions of a large force grants freedom of action and, perhaps more importantly, freedom of movement. In turn, this is a confirmation of adequate control of time and space which allows Allied forces to maintain logistical superiority while disrupting enemy movement and their ability to regroup.

    “We’re trying to get to a position of advantage,” said Meyer, as he discussed the development of friendly operations over time that impact the enemy’s decision making on the battlefield.

    Over the following several months leading up to the Warfighter exercise, a capstone training event where corps and divisions prepare for multi-domain operations at scale, the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley will continue to host multinational training exercises in order to maintain readiness among its Soldiers.



    Date Taken: 08.25.2023
    Date Posted: 10.16.2023 17:36
    Story ID: 455885
    Location: FORT RILEY, KANSAS, US

    Web Views: 290
    Downloads: 0