Launched on 29 November, Exercise Citadel Bonus 2019 is gaining its momentum at the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The Rapid Reaction Corps-France (RRC-FR), from Lille, deployed to Bydgoszcz to practice its operational capabilities. Altogether 750 participants from 16 nations, to include 17 flag officers, are now operating at JFTC.
“Citadel Bonus 2019 is the fifth iteration of this exercise at JFTC. We are proud that hosting this important event at our premises has already become a good little tradition. – said Major General Adam Joks during the opening ceremony.
For the first time, the French Corps’ exercise has engaged a Franco-British division under the RRC-FR’s command. The 1st Division of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), created specifically for the exercise, is composed of members of the 1st French Division (located in Besançon, France) and British soldiers from different units. Also the Franco-German Brigade, the French 4th Air Combat Brigade, French 7th Armoured Brigade and British 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade take part in the event.
Exercise Citadel Bonus 2019 focuses on improving knowledge of missions and tasks of the CJEF and on enabling RRC-FR to adapt and refine its skills in order to command a NATO "Land Component Rapid Reaction Force”. Participants train on a scenario, filled with fictitious yet very realistic incidents they can encounter in current operations.
“It is a start of a long journey for Rapid Reaction Corps-France as we are preparing to be tested and certified as a Land Component Command Headquarters (LCC HQ) with Citadel Jupiter. We may have new staff in key positions and now it is the time to come together and start learning to work as an LCC HQ” – said Lieutenant General Pierre Gillet, RRC-FR Commander.
This year’s Citadel Bonus exercise is the largest to date. Preparations for the event started long before the execution, and required even more logistic support than usual. “We are fully dedicated to take care of everything that could prevent you from accomplishing your exercise objectives” – General Joks assured the participants at the start of the exercise.
Next year JFTC will direct Exercise Loyal Leda 2020. As both events share certain similarities, Exercise Citadel Bonus 2019 is a great opportunity for JFTC staff to enhance their knowledge through observation of French counterparts’ running an exercise of this size.