The Allied Command Europe Mobile Force was a small NATO quick reaction force, headquartered at Heidelberg, Germany, active from 1960 to 2002. It formed part of Allied Command Europe (ACE), headquartered at SHAPE at Casteau, Belgium. The land component of the force, consisting of a brigade-sized formation of about 5,000 personnel, was composed of units from 14 NATO states.
ACE Mobile Force (Land)[edit | edit source]
The ACE Mobile Force-Land or AMF(L) was intended as a multinational force that could be quickly despatched to any part of ACE's command area - from North Norway, to Germany, to eastern Turkey - to demonstrate the solidarity of the alliance and its ability to resist all forms of aggression against any member state. During the Cold War the AMF-L did frequent exercises in North Norway (Exercises Adventure Express, Arctic Express & Ardent Ground, among others) and in other areas. The Bundeswehr responded to the request of NATO from December 9, 1960, from January 1961 to provide a paratrooper battalion, a medical company, an airborne telecommunications company, a squadron easier combat aircraft[Clarification needed]
and air transport units.
In October 1961 Bundeswehr units, including parts of the 1st Airborne Division (the Parachute Battalion 262) in the AMF in October 1961 in Sardinia during Exercise First Try in part, on the Belgian, British and American soldiers were also involved. In November 1965, the Parachute Battalion 262 took part in the AMF maneuver Eastern Express II on the southeast flank of NATO, which took place in Turkey under the leadership of the AMF commander Major General Michael Fitzalan-Howard (UK). In total, 3,500 soldiers from the US, UK, Belgium, Germany and Italy participated in the maneuvers. In 1967 the maneuver Sunshine Express in Greece, also with German participation.
In 1970 at Narvik in northern Norway on the north flank of NATO, the AMF United maneuver Arctic Express with 4000 soldiers.
It was first deployed operationally in 1991 during the Gulf War, when part of its air component was dispatched to watch the Turkish borders, in the face of a potential threat to a member's territory. The AMF(L) was one of the NATO formations deployed to Norway during Exercise Strong Resolve 1998.
The AMF(L) formed the core of the Albania Force (AFOR), a NATO-led international force responsible for establishing and delivering humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo in Albania during the Kosovo crisis in 1999. It was led by Major General John Reith, Commander AMF(L).
The Immediate Reaction Task Force (Land) (IRTF-L) was a novel command and control concept successfully developed and evaluated by the AMF(L) between 1999 and 2001. The IRTF(L) concept allowed the AMF(L), an existing Immediate Reaction Force multinational brigade HQ, to command a divisional sized force with minimal augmentation and no intermediate HQs. The trial concluded in December 2001. HQ AMF(L) was disbanded on October 31, 2002 and has since been replaced by the NATO Response Force.
References[edit | edit source]
- NATO Handbook, 50th Anniversary Edition, 1998–99, p. 253, 255
- NATO website describing AFOR
- See also Exercise Adventure Express 97 at Globalsecurity.org
- See also Maloney, Sean(2004) 'Fire Brigade or Tocsin? NATO's ACE Mobile Force, Flexible Response and the Cold War', Journal of Strategic Studies, 27:4, p. 585 — 613
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