Dutch to bring back Cold War warriors as trainers




A Dutch (R) and a German soldier take part in a joint military exercise on February 9, 2016 at the Oberlausitz army training camp near Werdeck close to Weisswasser and the Polish border in eastern Germany
A Dutch (R) and a German soldier take part in a joint military exercise on February 9, 2016 at the Oberlausitz army training camp near Werdeck close to Weisswasser and the Polish border in eastern Germany

The Hague (AFP) - The Netherlands plans to bring back retired military officers to train a new generation of soldiers in the "forgotten" art of Cold War tactics, including large-scale battles, a news report said Thursday.

"These former officers were schooled during the Cold War and can give tips and tricks for commanders when they have to direct brigades of more than 4,000 soldiers on the battlefield," the Algemeen Dagblad said.

"This knowledge has diminished due to the large number of peace-keeping missions since the fall of the Berlin Wall," in 1989 which also heralded the end of communism.

The Dutch army wanted to put new emphasis on large-scale warfare "now that tensions are on the rise on Europe's eastern border" with Russia, the popular daily tabloid said.

The idea to "re-recruit" former commanders comes from Dutch general Leo Beulen, who so far has been one of two retired soldiers to be pulled back in, with more in the pipeline.

"Almost everything we were taught in the past can be used," Beulen said.

One of the returning commanders, retired general Otto van Wiggen told the paper that much of today's combat knowledge was acquired during missions to Afghanistan.

"Most officers have been to Afghanistan, but there the tempo is much lower. There you usually have two weeks to plan a new mission," Van Wiggen said.

"The new adversary is much faster and won't stay in one place for two weeks. For that, you need to train," said Van Wiggen.

NATO said Thursday it will step up naval war games and surveillance in the Black Sea to complement its increased land and air force presence near a more assertive Russia.

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