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SÄKYLÄ, Finland – U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, along with their allies from the United Kingdom, Latvia, and Estonia, participated in high-intensity, live-fire force-on-force engagements during the exercise Arrow 22, May 1-14, 2022. Exercise Arrow is an annual planned multinational pre-exercise event where visiting forces train with the Finnish Defense Forces to increase military readiness and develop combat interoperability between nations participating partners.

The multinational soldiers simulated combat scenarios where dismounted and foot soldiers fought while using the Multiple Integrated Laser Combat System, or MILES. They jumped, took cover behind trees to fire, and reloaded just as they would in real combat. Soldiers also used drones, artillery and minefields, while armored battle groups simulated combat using their nations’ respective vehicles, which included American Strykers, British Challengers and Finnish Leopard light armored tanks. Finnish commanders moderated the wargame, informing the soldiers when their deaths were simulated, taking them out of the game [of the scenario].

“I don’t think I expected it to be as realistic and challenging a training exercise as it has been,” Outlaw Troop platoon leader 1st Lt. Nicky Manitzas said. “They have pushed me as a leader out of my comfort zone in a way that gives me more confidence that I will be successful on the battlefield.”

Manitzas said fighting alongside allied and partner nations opened his eyes to the importance and ubiquity of battlefield fundamentals. “You realize there are so many ways to skin the cat,” Manitzas said. He explained about this by pointing out that regardless of the country one comes from, decisive action achieves victory, key terrain is vital, and certain weapon systems are important at specific times, no matter what nomenclature is used to refer to the weapon. The language barrier was the only challenge that presented itself and Manitzas found it easy to overcome if one was deliberate.

The first part of Exercise Arrow 22 began in Niinisalo, Finland. The groups then moved to Säkylä. This provided the opportunity to train in a wide range of terrain, from wooded hills more favorable for dismounting to open fields more suitable for armored vehicles. Manitzas said it was beneficial for teams to practice in various settings, especially dismounts because they needed to get more involved in the fight and practice low-key moves.

Manitzas also said that the opportunity to work with a wide variety of nations was rewarding. “Being able to participate in an exercise at the level of Arrow 22 is extremely rewarding for me because I never thought I would work with Latvians and Estonians, Brits and Finns in the same exercise.”

She recounted an especially significant moment during a battle delivery. His platoon had just dropped off dismounted soldiers, also known as dismounts, when they made contact with enemy vehicles.

Manitzas made the difficult decision as leader to leave the dismounted on the ground and drive the vehicles back. (Stopping to retrieve the dismounts before breaking contact would have taken too long, risking both the vehicle and the lives of the dismounts.)

The platoon moved on and encountered an element of friendly tanks waiting to come forward and assist them. Manitzas said that while sitting aboard his Leopard, the Finnish commander described how many dismounted and enemy vehicles were still on the ground, which painted a beautiful picture of the battlefield. for her. The friendly tank then allowed Manitzas’s platoon to change course so that the friendly Finns could advance and continue the fight.

“Knowing that my dismounts were still out there while these tanks came in and took out enemy targets made me feel safe and like I was supported in a way that I couldn’t give my own dismounts,” Manitzas said.

“Despite any language barriers, knowing that we could have that face-to-face contact and then communicate exactly where the enemy was, and that they could successfully move forward and give my people the support they needed to survive was an incredible feeling.” said. Manitzas. “It was electric.”

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