Exercise Report : Alpine Exercise 5 Torri
Italian Army Alpine Exercise - 5 Torri 2016
Report and photos by Claudio Toselli of the 2016 military alpinism and mountain warfare exercise at the Five Towers in the Dolomites with Italian Army Aviation helicopters detached to the Italian Alpine task force.
In the magnificent setting of the Ampezzo Dolomites and the small mountain complex of Cinque Torri (5 Towers) belonging to Nuvolau group, a mountain range among the smaller groups of the Dolomites, but characterized by impressive rock formations and peaks, a large military interforce and international exercise took place on 6 and 7 July 2016. Organized by COMALP (Alpine Troops Command) subordinate of the Comando delle Forze Terrestri of Italy, the theme was the Task Force Alpina on reconnaissance in combat.
The exercise saw the Italian Army Alpine Troops give a demonstration of their ability to operate in the mountains with techniques to ascend mountain walls of up to 8th grade difficulty, rescue manoeuvres with and without the help of Army Aviation helicopters, and simulated combat in the mountains.
The exercise involved two distinct phases. The first phase consisted of the mountaineering activities and rescue from the rock wall on the south side of the Towers, the second saw a demonstration of tactical operations and realistic combat incidents against opposing infiltrated elements causing "trouble" in the magnificent natural amphitheater in front of the “Rifugio Scoiattoli” mountain hut. In conjunction with the Alpine Troops, Army Aviation Helicopter Regiments "Altair" of Bolzano and "Antares" of Viterbo took part. One CH-47F from the latter, and two UH-205 had deployed to the airport of Dobbiaco for the occasion, but set up an operational zone at the small runway of the closed Cortina d'Ampezzo-Fiames airport, which was built for the VII Olympic Winter Games of 1956, but abandoned now.
Nowadays the area where this exercise took place is designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is an "open air museum" where the impressive trenches and fortifications built during the First World War are still visible and can be visited. The Ampezzo Dolomites were the scene of fierce fighting between forces the Italian and the Austrian-Hungarian forces, especially on the north side of the five towers where the Italian artillery command was positioned, able to control and pound the enemy positions with cannon fire. Today it is possible to visit these places of suffering for thousands of soldiers with spectacular walks that, aside from the history of Italy, allow you to enjoy stunning panoramic views.
The main characteristics of the alpine exercise, besides the Task Force Alpina operation, consisted of actions that demonstrated the main aspects of mountaineering techniques applied to military alpinism, with special regard to movement and rescue in the mountains.
- The aim was to verify the attained training level to conduct mountaineering activities:
- Movement along bolted climbing routes by fully equipped units
- Mountaineering progression techniques
- Self-rescue techniques and organized rescue
- Preparing for traversing high altitude terrain
- Improving the cooperation with Army Aviation
- Cooperating in mountain operations with other armed forces of Allied countries
The "5 Torri" exercise of 2016 was also characterised by the remarkable technology that is available to the Italian Army today and the training of all its units in battlefield surveillance, in a training scenario with a strong emotional impact.
The units involved in the exercise consisted of a riflemen platoon, mortar team, sharpshooters team, and anti-vehicle team with Spike man-portable ATGM, a 3rd generation anti-tank guided missile system that has replaced the obsolete TOW and MILAN systems.
- The task force consisted of the following elements:
- the 8° Reggimento Alpini of the Alpine Brigade “Julia”;
- two Mountain Warfare teams from the “Julia” and the “Taurinense” Alpine Brigades;
- a “Ranger” Team from the 4° Reggimento Alpini Paracadutisti;
- a Canine Unit from the Centro Militare di Veterinaria in Grosseto;
- a MTCA team from the Reggimento Lagunari “Serenissima”;
- a counter-air team from the 17° Reggimento Artiglieria Controaerei “Sforzesca”;
- the CH-47F (ICH-47F Chinook) of the 1° Reggimento AVES “Antares” from Viterbo;
- two UH-205 (AB-205) helicopters of the 4°Reggimento AVES “Altair” from Bolzano;
- an aircrew of the 3° Reggimento Elicotteri per Operazioni Speciali AVES “Aldebaran”.
Report and photos by Claudio Toselli ( view portfolio )
Last Modified: 2 August 2016