Trouble

Of the many complications experienced, one was training two battalion commands for combat operations. It became necessary for the senior officer of the cadre, who was also in charge of reconstitution, to collect his map and weapon on completion of mobilization and lead operations on the ground together with his commander, in a secondary function as operational officer in the second staff. All of these obstacles and difficulties were overcome thanks to a high degree of personal effort and devotion to duty on the part of each and every member of the troops, including civilian personnel employed by the force. During this time, in April 1984, Warrant Officer Class 1 G. Schmidt completed his 1000th (parachute) jump.

In March 1984, FJB 40 took part in the manoeuvre “JUG 84”, convincingly displaying its capability by establishing a bridgehead on the banks of the river Elbe, after a 90-man strong mass parachute jump. Sadly, we had to record the death of a comrade during this operation: Sergeant Kühl suffered fatal injuries in the course of the manoeuvre. In August 1986, the unit successfully took part in manoeuvre „DRUSBA-86“, which included the airborne landing of 184 parachutists. It marked the first time a FJB reconnaissance squad was deployed using parachute model RS-10/ST. In 1987, the Airborne Assault Regiment demonstrated the destruction of a command centre behind enemy lines after a combined air-landing (airdrop/ship to shore). The NATO observers, witnessing the manoeuvre, were duly impressed.

While companies and battalions were being trained to act as a unit, together with their own and attached reinforcement resources, the focus of interest remained on combat survival training. The issues involved in former task group tactics were cleverly dealt with and still practised under the regulation term “raid”. Survival and diversion training also formed part of the core training programme.

The typical routine for an all-round training session lasting several days would be:

–    troop alert,
–    march to the airfield,
–    preparation and execution of an airborne landing,
–    seizure and defence of a target,
–    end of engagement and
–    changeover to commando raids

Such an all-round programme could last 2-3 days and, quite frequently, involved covering distances of 80-120 km on foot.