“We Came to Understand What Defensive Democracy Means” –
A field report from the InfoDVag Heer 2023
A field report from the InfoDVag Heer 2023
The same is true in the defense industry as in all other industries: in order to develop suitable solutions and products, we need to precisely understand our customers’ requirements. In our case, this includes intensively studying the German Armed Forces’ procedures and deployment scenarios. The “Dienstliche Veranstaltung zur Information im Heer” (Official Army Informational Event, abbreviated InfoDVag H in German) offers the opportunity to gain real-world insights into the day-to-day operations of the German Armed Forces. Our colleague Bjane Jacobsen, Business Process Analyst at VINCORION, completed this one-week course. In the following blog article, he reports on his experiences with the German Armed Forces in Munster:
June 26, 2023 – “People from All Walks of Life”
The group participating in the course consists of a mix of people from all walks of life and regions of Germany, from 24 to 64 years old, male as well as female. It includes library directors, social workers, IT specialists, judges, government officials, mayors, pastors, and members of the German parliament. Upon putting on our uniforms, we set aside our everyday lives for a week. One of the toughest parts is not being reachable by phone for seven whole days.
After a brief introduction to formal duties – marching, saluting, mustering – we’re temporarily appointed first lieutenants of the reserve via a tap on the shoulder. A special highlight on the first day is our ceremonial pledge in the presence of our brigadier general, accompanied by the naval music corps from Wilhelmshaven, which came especially for the occasion, as well as an honor guard.
June 27, 2023 – ”The Only Constant Is That the Situation Is Always Changing”
5:30 a.m. – “InfoDVag, TIME TO GET UP!“ echoes through the corridors outside our rooms. Some of the group had wisely set their alarm clocks for a few minutes earlier, while others are now struggling to get out of bed. After eating breakfast together, the press review is conducted by the press officer of the Tank Force School. Our brigade general introduces us to basic training in the German Army. His presentation is followed by a lively discussion.
After that, we head out to the parade ground. As we get off the buses, two NH90 helicopters from the German Air Force thunder overhead. Fortunately, everyone has their safety goggles on, so the swirling branches and dust aren’t a problem.
Detailed safety briefings by the crews prepare us for the flight. Groups 1 and 2 can fly to the training area as scheduled. When it comes to the rest of the groups, the weather has other plans. Due to an approaching thunderstorm, groups 5 and 6 are forced to wait in the rain for the “air-to-bus replacement service,” while groups 3 and 4 enjoy their lunch at the Faßberg air base. As we come to find out, the only constant is that the situation is always changing.
Next, a Fuchs armored transport vehicle and ATF Dingo infantry mobility vehicle take us on a fast-paced, cross-country journey to the orientation march. Solving the tasks together builds camaraderie among the group as we move from activity to activity. One particular highlight is the task of overcoming obstacles as a group – like the “spider web minefield” and the ride in an inflatable boat.
June 28, 2023 – “A Day Dedicated to Heavy Vehicles“
This day is all about “heavy metal” – in other words, completely dedicated to the German Army’s large, tracked vehicles. We draw lots for off-road rides with the Marder, Puma, and Leopard 2 tanks. Barreling across the terrain at over 50 km/h, the tracks cut through the moorland sand, branches brush close over our heads, and dust clouds the sky. We experience the ride in the hull of the infantry fighting vehicles and are amazed at how cramped it is for the soldiers inside. An armored infantry tank demolition squad impressively demonstrates dismounting and reconnaissance.
Now we’re standing next to the trenches. In an equally impressive scenario, the tank force demonstrates to us its precise coordination of combined forces engaged in a firefight. We experience the Leopard 2, Puma, Marder, as well as dismounted armored infantry in live combat. We also become acquainted with the reconnaissance unit and its Fennek reconnaissance vehicle, Fuchs armored personnel carrier, and the Luna drone.
Business as usual: up at 5:30 a.m., breakfast, press review. Routine is setting in. Today’s special guest is the Inspector General of the German Army, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, who speaks about the future of the German Armed Forces and the political background behind decisions. It’s a lively discussion with the German Army’s top brass.
This is followed by an educational briefing on Army handguns, with a special focus on safety and shooting techniques. Highly skilled instructors from the ongoing officer training course provide valuable tips – first on the simulator, then out on the shooting range. At the same time, we learn about life in the field: starting a fire, collecting drinking water, and pitching a tent.
Another highlight is our visit to the Munster Tank Museum. Old equipment – intense emotions. The development of tanks over the years is fascinating – from the first models such as the A7V armored fighting vehicle to the Königstiger and the Leopard 2.
Conclusion: “The Combat Uniform Unites”
It’s an intense week packed full of extraordinary insights into the German Armed Forces – things we don’t experience every day. We’re all going to remember the wide range of events and activities – from technical presentations and lively discussions to extensive demonstrations and numerous first-hand experiences – for many years to come. Everyone that took part in the course was left with a rough understanding of what camaraderie means. The combat uniform unites.
The mood was cheerful, yet our minds were also on the serious things that the German Armed Forces also stand for: combat, wounds, and death. In the German Armed Forces of 2023, we encounter soldiers from Hungary, Thailand, Brazil, South Korea, Italy, and even Ukraine. We’re impressed by young women and men who are highly competent and motivated to complete their tasks. We owe a debt of gratitude to the members of the German Armed Forces who defend our democratic values and freedom. We, too, have come to understand what defensive democracy means and how necessary it is.
Fotos: VINCORION / Bjane Jacobsen
More information about the InfoDVag Heer 2023 is available here.