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  • Estonian Defence Forces

    Time to revive threads about minor nations too.

    EDF english news:
    http://www.mil.ee/en/news

    EDF photo album:
    http://pildid.mil.ee/

    Online archive of "Soldier's newspaper" magazine, produced monthly by the journalism-enclined conscripts:
    http://www.mil.ee/et/pressiruum/sodurileht

    and their youtube channel. It's in estonian, but you can search using exercise/unit names or weapon system designations as keywords:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/sodurileht

    Sometimes nice pictures can be found on those facebook accounts:
    https://www.facebook.com/s6durileht?fref=ts - "Soldier's newspaper"
    https://www.facebook.com/1jalavaebrigaad?fref=ts - 1st Infantry Brigade
    https://www.facebook.com/2JVBr?ref=ts&fref=ts - 2nd Infantry Brigade
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kuper...503568?fref=ts - Kuperjanov Inf Bn
    Last edited by hythelday; 28-04-2015, 09:28 PM.

  • #2
    "Siil" is a good name for a exercise for a small country with a big, dangerous neighbor, as it means hedgehog in Estonian.

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    • #3
      As I posted on MP.net before, spring is always a time of intense exercises for EDF conscripts. Each battalion conducts own major exercise before final "Kevadtorm" ("Siil" this year). You can check out video of Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion exercise "Tormihoiatus"("Storm Warning") here

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHIZyS9iCpw

      As you can see soldiers trained for both urban and forest combat, in offence and defence. Also, please note the brave soldier who conducted room clearing with both G3 and CG M2, oh my god, he must have liked it .

      The picture gallery is here:
      http://pildid.mil.ee/Tormihoiatus-24-04-2015

      Comment


      • #4
        Several exercises took place in Estonia past week:

        "Locked Shields 2015"
        http://pildid.mil.ee/NATO-k-berkaits...d-Shields-2015

        This was a cyber defence exercise. While "Blue" forces were operating from home countries, all OPFOR and coordination was done in Tallinn.

        "Trident Jaguar 2015"
        http://www.act.nato.int/trident-jaguar-15
        As much as I understood, it was an HQ exercise on how to operate SOF and QRFs.
        On this video you can see what exercise HQ looked like in Pärnu:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29dgHrnVuII

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        • #5
          Originally posted by hythelday View Post
          Several exercises took place in Estonia past week:

          "Locked Shields 2015"
          http://pildid.mil.ee/NATO-k-berkaits...d-Shields-2015

          This was a cyber defence exercise. While "Blue" forces were operating from home countries, all OPFOR and coordination was done in Tallinn.

          "Trident Jaguar 2015"
          http://www.act.nato.int/trident-jaguar-15
          As much as I understood, it was an HQ exercise on how to operate SOF and QRFs.
          On this video you can see what exercise HQ looked like in Pärnu:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29dgHrnVuII
          does Estonia have a national QRF in place?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by QuaPatetOrbis View Post
            does Estonia have a national QRF in place?
            Yes, but very small.

            Estonia has only one unit of professional soldiers - Scoutspataljon (mechanized infantry battalion)

            They are considered national QRF. The problem is that BALTBAT - joint Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian battalion, that is scheduled to be part of NATO QRF, draws 1 infantry coy, HQ elements and mortar battery from the same Scoutspataljon. Which leaves only 2 Coys back home. Same was during deployment in Afghanistan - one company was always away.

            In theory, members of Defence League (volunteer home guard) can be called up quicker than reservists, as they keep most of their equipment at home and the units are formed on areal basis. So that could be considered a QRF also. IIRC, that was used at least once, in 2007.
            Last edited by hythelday; 29-04-2015, 10:25 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hythelday View Post

              Yes, but very small.

              Estonia has only one unit of professional soldiers - Scoutspataljon (mechanized infantry battalion)

              They are considered national QRF. The problem is that BALTBAT - joint Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian battalion, that is scheduled to be part of NATO QRF, draws 1 infantry coy, HQ elements and mortar battery from the same Scoutspataljon. Which leaves only 2 Coys back home. Same was during deployment in Afghanistan - one company was always away.

              In theory, members of Defence League (volunteer home guard) can be called up quicker than reservists, as they keep most of their equipment at home and the units are formed on areal basis. So that could be considered a QRF also. IIRC, that was used at least once, in 2007.
              Aha but only 1 ? Isn't there a professional unit within the other battalions ? I get they still have conscripts but are the other units 100% conscripts?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by QuaPatetOrbis View Post
                Aha but only 1 ? Isn't there a professional unit within the other battalions ? I get they still have conscripts but are the other units 100% conscripts?
                Broadly speaking, yes.

                Air Force is 100% professional soldiers. It is also less than 400 people (land-based services, JTAC, HQ, some helicopter and small plane pilots)

                Estonian (Military) Intelligence Center is most probably 100% professionals. Supposedly some really smart IT kids get drafted there, but even if they do, that don't really count as "conscription". Estonian SOF (which is probably less than 100 people) is also part of this organization. All this is also top-secret so I posess no other solid knowledge other than those units actually exist.

                Navy. Conscripts get drafted there but they are trained to be coastal defence infantry with limited "marine" training - as in landing operations from ships using speedboats. They dust off their sailor's uniform only for Independence Day parade. I highly doubt that any conscripts sail the high seas on our Navy's ships - primary objective of Estonian Navy is disarming mines, such line of work requires serious training. One EOD diver actually died in an accident recently, imagine the shytestorm if he was a drafted conscript.

                Army is by far the most numerous and capable branch of EDF, however, only one battalion is fully manned by professionals - Scoutspataljon. Only those guys and gals can be sent abroad (parlament has to approve mission first). It is also the only war-time unit that operates in peace-time.

                All other units (http://translate.google.ee/translate...stus%2Fvaeosad) are peace-time units where conscripts are being trained and taught war-time specialities (hence the generic names like Anti-Aircraft Battalion). In those units only senior NCOs and officers are professionals, privates and junior NCOs are all conscripts. So the max number of troops on active duty is ~6000 people, and halves after training cycle ends in the end of May and conscripts are sent home.

                In case of defensive military actions, war-time units would be formed from reservists - i.e. 11th Inf Bn, 21th Inf Bn, 1st AA Bn, 2nd Artillery Bn etc.

                All in all having under 6000 professional troops in all service branches may seem like crazy small number, but consider that 1) EDF is geared towards defensive actions 2) Estonia's tiny population of 1,34 million people. Check this list out (not really accurate, but accurate enough) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...tary_personnel - Estonia ranks 16th in the world by number of active military personnel per capita. If we had a bigger professional fighting force, that would take too many healthy young people away from private sector and be pretty bad for economy in the long run.
                Last edited by hythelday; 29-04-2015, 02:46 PM.

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                • #9
                  Going to Siil on the 4th, might do some photos if not lazy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Some pictures from "Hunt" 2015 via 1st Squadron (Airborne), 91st Cavalry Regiment facebook account. Also, from DVIVDS.

                    M1A2 Abrams fire demo album:
                    http://pildid.mil.ee/USA-tankide-demolahing-30-04-15

                    and video:
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v2f0STRS9E

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Oow yisss!

                      A-10s from 354th expeditionary fighter squadron landed in Ämari Airbase today, they will take part in operation Siil. Only four of them, but it is nice to this legendary plane here. I
                      https://www.facebook.com/USNATO/posts/10153408263377313

                      https://www.facebook.com/warthognews...type=1&theater
                      Last edited by hythelday; 03-05-2015, 11:08 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Massive gallery concerning "Siil 2015":
                        http://pildid.mil.ee/SIIL-2015

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                        • #13
                          There's just too much info pouring in to post it individually, check out Sõdurileht youtube/mil.ee picture albums to follow the action.

                          This exercise so far is a great success and a real proof that EDF/MoD have done well with all the planning and long-term strategies.

                          For additional info, check out this google-translated Siil-dedicated news portal:
                          http://translate.google.com/translat...ostimees.ee%2F

                          Highlights of operation "Siil 2015" so far:

                          1) Mobilization and equipping of reservists of 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades - I was called from reserve for four days and have to reassure you it went successfully. Formation of units went much quicker and more organized that I would have imagined. Granted, not 100% of personnel showed up, but formation still took less time than expected. Commander of EDF was impressed.

                          2) Tanks live fire - for the first time in modern history, US (or any) tanks conducted tank live fire exercise on Tapa Central Training Grounds

                          3) Artillery Battalion live fire - for the first time in modern history entire Artillery Battalion of 1st Infantry Brigade conducted a live fire exercise on Tapa Central Training Grounds. All 24 155mm howitzers were operational and manned.

                          4) Massive air force build-up - as far as I understand, there are close to 30 war planes operating in Estonian airspace during Siil, which serves to prove that Estonian AF and Ämari Airbase are fully capable of sustaining such a force for a prolonged period of time. I am not very well versed in the art of aerial warfare, but I am pretty sure two squadrons of fighter planes is enough to cover space above Estonia in case of full-on armed conflict.

                          5) Expect to see entire 1st Infantry Brigade along with materiel and weapons in one picture on Thursday, when active "battle" phase of "Siil 2015" conclude.


                          I was with 2nd Infantry Brigade only for four days, and didn't see much action. I am fairly sure somebody on this forum was doing some fighting with the 1st Brigade, so I urge you all to post your pictures here

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                          • #14
                            Nice little compilation made by a reservist taking part of the drills.
                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQuu6A1Y8yI

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                            • #15

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