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Jan 25 2024

Video: NATO Allies train hard in the trenches

A well-dug trench can be your greatest friend – or your worst enemy. That is why two NATO Allies Estonia and France trained in the demanding art of moving and fighting through trench networks. 

French Army paratroopers and members of the Estonian Defence League put their close-quarters combat skills to the test during a multi-day exercise aimed at introducing themselves to the rigors of trench warfare. In the cold, wet mud, the soldiers spent hours learning how to quickly clear corners, root defenders out of entrenched bunkers and make fighting positions safe for follow-on forces. 

While trenches might conjure visions of the First World War, they are increasingly common in Russia’s war against Ukraine. Trenches offer advantages for defenders, and significant hazards for attacking forces. For Allied forces to deter aggression – and, if necessary, defend Allied territory – they must be fully prepared to effectively defend or neutralise trench networks. 

The training was run by soldiers from the French Army’s 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment, which arrived in Estonia in early September to train Estonian reservists in military operations in built-up areas.

Video by NATO HQ

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