On Thursday, 13 May, manoeuvres of the Naval Task Force, which included various ships of the 8th Coastal Defence Flotilla, came to an end. After four days of intensive training in the waters of the Pomeranian Bay, the ships returned to the Naval Ports in Świnoujście and Gdynia.
In the training which started on Monday, 10 May participated ships and auxiliary units organised in the Naval Task Force separated from the 12th Minesweeper Squadron (minesweepers ORP Jamno and ORP Mielno, tug H-11 Bolko) and the 13th Minesweeper Squadron (mine destroyer ORP Czajka and minesweeper ORP Wigry).
The organisation of the exercise included carrying out two consecutive stages: the phase of forces integration and combat training after which the main part – the tactical phase was performed. The whole exercise was commanded by the deputy commander – chief of staff of the 12th Minesweeper Squadron together with the staff appointed for this purpose.
The essence of the training was the coordination and cooperation of the forces assigned to the Naval Task Force. At the same time, the crews were subjected to tests which were to assess their readiness to fulfil the tasks. What is important here are the skills and knowledge of individual sailors, the crew as a team and the harmony with other, jointly operating units.
The skills of the crews were checked e.g. in the field of combat use of military equipment, mine and artillery weapons and the implementation of mine defence, air defence, defence against surface ships and protection of own forces (Force Protection). All tasks were performed in different hydrometeorological conditions, at different times of the day, and the background for the exercises was a complex operational and tactical situation.
The main tasks performed by the units undergoing training at sea included perfecting the manoeuvring of ships in complex formation, conducting communication in accordance with NATO procedures, passing through and capturing the alarm area, replenishing ship’s and combat stocks under air threat conditions at the Kolobrzeg Basing Point.
Moreover, minefields were laid by a group of ships in order to clear the waterway of mines with the use of contact sweeps and to determine the boundaries of minefields with the use of hydrolocation stations. In the next stage it was possible to lead the vessels safely through the area originally threatened with mines.
An important test, apart from typical mine defence tasks, was the execution of artillery shooting at air and surface targets, including a mined sea mine. During the shooting not only the accuracy was evaluated but also tactical issues concerning the way of manoeuvring during the approach to and departure from the target, so that during the whole test the virtues of the weaponry and tactical-technical capabilities of particular units in the group were used to the best possible extent, ensuring at the same time a high level of safety.
Parallel to the combat tasks the ships’ crews practiced anti-breakdown defence including fighting with fires and punctures. The exercise scenario also included towing of damaged vessels at sea.