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Urgent Victory

In a perfect training world, V Corps would put the entire corps in the field: three or more divisions, V Corps headquarters and all the attached support. The Corps would train across 100 or more kilometers of front, in a battle box several hundred kilometers deep, including the airspace above. Clearly, in this modern world, in peacetime, this will never happen. There is no room to stage the 40 or 50 thousand troops and equipment involved, nor room to maneuver. Simulations and computers make the impossible possible. Urgent Victory trains and evaluates all the commanders and staffs of all the headquarters elements of the entire V Corps in their fundamental go-to-war mission. This is what training is all about. All V Corps command and control groups, from the Corps main command to every brigade, exercise its primary mission tactically and is evaluated formally.

Urgent Victory 1999

Urgent Victory began in 1999 as part of the Battle Command Training Program (BCTP). BCTP is a corps- and division-level training effort based in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and designed to exercise senior leaders and their staffs throughout the Army.

The Army National Guard's 28th Infantry Division deployed 600 leaders and battle staff members to lead a V Corps assault against a foreign enemy on a bloodless, digital battlefield in the five-day warfighter exercise Urgent Victory at the sun-bathed Grafenwoehr Training Area. It was the first time a Guard division was taking part in the corps-level warfighter exercise in Europe. In all, 1,000 Guard members from 11 states and 400 members of the Army Reserve were engaged in the 4,000-soldier training exercise.

Urgent Victory 2000

The V Corps exercise Urgent Victory 2000 [3-14 April 2000] was a Warfighter exercise conducted at Grafenwoehr Training Area (GTA). It is the Army's foremost Corps-level training exercise, providing an opportunity to fight a tough and resourceful enemy under the conditions on the battlefield of the future. More importantly, participants get almost instantaneous feedback from a group of Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) Observer Controllers and senior mentors that is absolutely second-to-none. During the Warfighter exercise, the V Corps mission is to restore the international border between Homeland and Northland, fictitious countries located in Central Europe.

Forces deployed at the Graf Training Area to make Urgent Victory happen included:

  • 3,200 soldiers from the active duty side of V Corps.
  • Approximately 1,100 German soldiers from the II Korps (1,000 of these troops are with the 5th Panzer Division).
  • 560 soldiers from V Corps headquarters at Heidelberg.
  • 750 soldiers from the 1st Armored Division headquarters at Baumholder.
  • 10 soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division headquarters in Wurzburg.
  • 8 separate brigade headquarters manned by 1,870 soldiers.
  • 2,087 soldiers from 23 Army National Guard units.
  • 306 soldiers from 16 Army Reserve units.

In order to meet the standard for Warfighter, 25 brigade headquarter-size elements were brought to Germany to round out the task force. An additional division headquarters-size element is also part of the V Corps force. Battalion- and platoon-size elements are participating as well. Many types of units make up the reserve forces. From the National Guard there are infantry, armor, field artillery, engineers, aviation, signal, military police, public affairs, combat service support (CSS), and rear area operations (RAOC) elements. The types of Army Reserve elements participating include command and control augmentation teams, chemical, civil affairs, psychological operations, public affairs, legal, CSS and RAOC elements. The current Warfighter scenario fairly represents the types of units that would be called upon to support V Corps, should it receive a combat mission, anywhere in the world.

Urgent Victory as a whole made history, with over 1,000 troops from the German II Korps, 5th Panzer Division, integrated with US soldiers to help complete the mission. A total of about 6,500 troops made Warfighter possible. The RSO (Reception, Staging, Onward Movement) involved bringing in approximately 2,400 Guard and Reserve personnel for the exercise.

This exercise includes the conduct of a wide variety of operations across the high-intensity spectrum, including deep operations in concert with the 5th Panzer Division and synchronization of the use of aviation assets with ground forces. Most importantly, Urgent Victory includes the command and control of a corps fight, which includes transferring control between the Corps Main Command Post and TAC, then jumping the Main to a new location.

The V Corps exercise Urgent Victory 2000 was conducted in Grafenwoehr, Germany in early April 2000 as part of a larger exercise called Warfighter. Urgent Victory is not as spartan as it could be. Because of the need to continue V Corps day-to-day business, Urgent Victory makes use of the garrison capabilities available at Grafenwoehr Training Area

The Simulations Center in Grafenwoehr receives information directly from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where the majority of Warfighter was being fought. Once information arrives, the Simulations Center sent the information through organic communications to its higher level field tactical operations center, which is at battalion or brigade level. Then, the field TOC consolidates the information and sends it to its higher level, the main corps TOC, through organic communication. There information is reviewed and a fragmentary order which directs the next line of action is sent down the lines the same way it came up.

While the Warfighter exercise is conducted every year, it's not evaluated to the extent the Urgent Victory 2000 Warfighter was. There were three main areas of focus in Urgent Victory 2000. They are: interoperability with counterparts in the German II Korps, a more streamlined field headquarters setup, and integration of Guard and Reserve units in the Corps structure.

Approximately 1,000 soldiers from the German 5th Panzer Division participated in the exercise in 2000, which was the first time the Corps was evaluated on a binational level. That part of the exercise is interesting because V Corps really got to put communication and command and control systems to the test. Exercises with NATO partners are nothing new for V Corps. However, this marked the first time since 1994 that V Corps had conducted anything on this scale.

The Corps' ability to be more flexible, more agile, and move with quicker response was analyzed. The new command post (CP) was designed to be more deployable. With the old system, modules mounted on five-ton trucks were the work areas for Corps staff. Now, the tent-based design consolidates the staff into smaller areas and allows the headquarters to be deployed with fewer strategic aircraft. V Corps went from needing 64 C-5 Galaxy or C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to 7. In addition, the new, lighter system is focused on the use of the C-130 Hercules, which can operate on much smaller airstrips and is more readily available in the European Theater. This is all in accordance with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki's intent to increase the strategic responsiveness of our Army.

The third area Urgent Victory was focused on was Reserve Component integration. Roughly 21 percent of the forces deployed were not part of the active duty component of the Army. Having the Active, Guard and Reserve soldiers train together has distinct advantages. The active component is dependent on the Guard and Reserve components, and the Guard and Reserve components are every bit as trained as the active component. Guard and Reserve soldiers bring other skills from their civilian lives that most active duty soldiers don't have. They also offer different perspectives for those of us who work in the active duty way of thinking on a daily basis.

Victory Vanguard, a high-tempo mission within Urgent Victory that involved the transfer of command and control from the main command post (CP), which was located at Motor Pool 26, to what was called the "jump TOC," located at Motor Pool 14, in the GTA. This had never been done before at the corps level. During the course of Urgent Victory, the main command post will be moved to what's referred to as a "jump TOC," a smaller version of the main CP, then moved back. The main CP would then be restored to its original configuration. All this has to happen within a certain period. More precisely, around 48 hours. This phase of Urgent Victory has been named Victory Vanguard. The "jump" will prove that the new tent-based housing for the Corps headquarters is more deployable than the five-ton trucks that were once used as the headquarters during exercises and deployments.

The centerpiece of Urgent Victory 2000 was the "jump TOC" process. Moving the main command post to the tactical command post site (TAC), transferring command and control to the TAC, then moving the main CP back proved to be a tremendous undertaking. The move began at midnight on 11 April. Half the interior contents, what was called "fluff" - sofas, chairs, microwaves, and other furnishings - had been removed by the second hour. By 0410 hours, command and control had been transferred (to the TAC), and after six hours, the entire interior contents had been removed and the tent was brought down. As of 09:30 the morning of 12 April, only one major obstacle prevented the transfer of authority from the TAC to the main CP. That obstacle was what is called "The Trojan." The Trojan links up to the main military satellite. The delay was not because of anything here in Germany but was due merely to the time difference between Grafenwoehr and Fort Belvoir, Va. It was three o'clock in the morning in Virginia and there was no one to tie in the links with the Trojan. Later Wednesday afternoon, at around two o'clock, the transfer of command and control took place, still ahead of schedule.

Urgent Victory is not as spartan as it could be. Because of the need to continue V Corps day-to-day business, Urgent Victory makes use of the garrison capabilities available at Grafenwoehr Training Area through satellites. Warfighter is accomplished through organic communication, which are tactical lines set up through cables and antennas. Soldiers in the Battalion Maintenance Operations, Special Troops Battalion, V Corps, underpin Urgent Victory 2000 with constant strength, flexibility and persistence. The corps Battalion Maintenance Operations maintains 24-hour operability to ensure essential functions are at 100 percent. Battalion Maintenance Operations began preparation for Urgent Victory early. Soldiers verified quality control and worked long hours checking generators, vehicles, equipment and plans weeks before supporting Urgent Victory. Corps Battalion Maintenance Operations work during the exercise includes power generation, with air conditioning and heating for the V Corps Main Command Post the Life Support Area, and the Jump Tactical Operation Center.

In September 1999 V Corps soldiers participated in the RAMPEX exercise at Coleman Barracks in preparation for the upcoming Warfighter exercise in April 2000. The training objectives of the RAMPEX are to establish and operate V Corps main, tactical and rear elements. Soldiers of the 440th Signal Alpha Company Charlie support the rear element of the RAMPEX. For this two-day exercise they are out for 10 days. All the vans support a different section and are called Small Extension Node's (SEN). Each SEN supports 58 to 60 subscribers, although they rarely have that many subscribers on one SEN. Currently each SEN is hosting about eight to 12 subscribers during this exercise. Each SEN communicates with each other, and all of the SEN's information is sent to the antenna. The antenna then sends the compiled information to the main node.

Urgent Victory 2001

The 1st Armored Division, with a brigade deployed to Kosovo to support peacekeeping operations there, learned late in the game that it still would be participating in the Warfighter exercise. Planners had to come up with units to augment the 1st AD - primarily V Corps units not deployed to Kosovo and Reserve and National Guard soldiers from the States who normally participate in the exercise anyway.

A March 16 emergency order from the German Ministry of Defense, issued to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Germany, almost canceled the exercise. Instead, the nearly 9,000 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers, as well as civilians and contractors, are restricted to paved areas, such as motor pools and permanent structures [see related story at right]. The Ministry of Defense also granted V Corps special permission for units to drive on Germany roadways to participate in the exercise.

Urgent Victory 2002

The Army's V Corps in Germany began the yearly Urgent Victory war-fighting exercise in late March 2002, using a scenario focused on the Persian Gulf. About 9,000 Army troops participated in the Urgent Victory 02 exercise. V Corps' 1st Infantry and 1st Armored divisions are contingency forces for the Gulf region.

Four countries -- allies Blueland and Greenland, their foe Redland, and neutral Orangeland - makes up the scenario. Blueland and Greenland have requested the aid of the United Nations Security Council to help protect their borders from Redland forces. As part of the U.N. response, V Corps has been called upon to support a multinational coalition. Each unit within the corps becomes a playing piece in the game. As the corps commander decides to move one of those pieces -- for example an infantry unit -- another unit must move with it, to cover its back.

More than 9,000 soldiers and airmen decended upon the Grafenwoehr Training Area for Urgent Victory 2002, but when the word came for the corps headquarters to move out, fewer than 100 of them had the difficult job of "jumping" the corps' massive main command post. "Jumping the CP" is key to keeping the corps mobile and rapid on the battlefield. As a wartime or training scenario changes, the command post has to move with it-quickly- without any loss in the corps' fighting ability or command and control. Even though Urgent Victory's battle scenario is based on a simulated electronic war that matches "Redland" against "Greenland," everything has to move as quickly and efficiently as it would on a real battlefield. As the process begins, the staff shifts to a Tactical Operations Center. The TAC is a small command post that remains in place and allows the main command post to move. For Urgent Victory, every vehicle is then convoyed to a simulated jump point two hours away. The personnel and equipment are then brought back to the site to the new main CP in the new location. Once the structure is in place, the staff takes their positions there, and the "jump" is complete.

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