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The special forces of the Spanish army are increasing their combat capacity in the mountains

Troop members of the Special Operations Command (MOE) complete the mountain course in the city of Jaca, Huesca, after having passed the basic course for command entry, which in the case of this occupation takes place at their headquarters in Rabasa (Alicante). Since its inception, one of the keys to the Army’s (ET) MOE’s great effectiveness has been using the mountain areas as allies and as a stage for their action.

Spain is a country of numerous mountain ranges, including that of its two archipelagos. Even during the War of Independence against Napoleon I’s troops, this element was crucial for the Spanish guerrillas to keep the best army at bay for more than five years in the world of time. Among the unique combat capabilities in the MOE, it is likely that that of its Mountain Specialist Teams (EEMON) is the unique element available in the special operations of the national sphere, specializing in this more than sophisticated medium the MOE possesses. Similar to the Special Naval Warfare Force (FGNE) and the Parachute Sapper Squad (EZAPAC) emphasize this in the maritime sector and in the integration of air power.

To be a command (officers and non-commissioned officers) of the MOE, you must first pass the demanding course that takes place at the Military School for Mountain and Special Operations (EMMOE) in Jaca at the foot of the Pyrenees.

In this mountainous environment, the future command of the MOE begins to be forged with long marches between the peaks of this mountain range that separates Spain from France, resulting in training in snow-covered areas and very low temperatures, with mountaineering practices, mountain maneuvers, technical steps, evacuation of victims, survival, etc. The idea is, in addition to training specialists for operation in the mountains, also to carry out low-temperature scenarios such as those that occur in arctic and sub arctic regions or in the vicinity, according to an order of the MOE.

This important training so that some of these specialists (either commanders or troops) are integrated into the so-called mountain specialist teams with which the three Special Operations Groups (GOE) work: “Valencia” III, “Tercio del Ampurdn” IV and the Legion Special Operations Group (BOEL) “Caballero Legionario Maderal Oleaga” XIX. These EEMONs were reinforced in 2020 with the staff of the identical team that deactivated the GOE Granada II.

We are dealing with professionals who are tough in the rigors of the mountains and in extreme weather to accomplish their mission. The members of these teams offer the possibility of carrying out all kinds of SO (Special Operations) missions in an isolated environment, far from any support and usually in hostile territory, which above all requires a high level of mental resilience and good physical preparation.

The mountain course is highly specialized, the practices make up 80% of the teaching program. For years it has been a prerequisite that this course be led by one of the mountain specialist teams in addition to the logical command of the MOE. For the troops it was previously assumed that the training in the Special Operations Course and the tough and demanding preparation within the EEMON were sufficient, but in the present Mountain Course for EMMOE troops they were integrated for the first time Troop green berets.

The mountain specialist teams carry out their instructions in scenarios such as the Sierra de Aitana (Alicante), the Sierra Nevada (Granada) and in the Pyrenees of Huesca in areas such as Cerler or the Candanch ski area. They also train with ET Mountain Hunters’ two infantry regiments (Galicia No. 64 and America No. 66) and, to a lesser extent, with the French, particularly at the Arme de Terre facilities near Chamonix at the foot of the European Roof River, Mont -Blanc. Last year the pandemic prevented the planned missions in Norway and Chile and took advantage of the southern winter.

Currently, the traditional operating environment of mountain specialist teams is evolving to be used in extremely cold environments as well as vertical movement in urban areas (urban encroachments / confined areas) and overcoming vertical obstacles in infiltration / exfiltration transitions in a coastal environment. Another great capacity that EEMON offers is recreation (both of staff and material) in the mountainous or extremely cold areas where most of them are inaccessible.

With this in mind, an officer assigned to an EEMON tells us: our mission is to create teams both our own and autonomous and to facilitate the action of others in the MOE so that they can cross the above mountainous area. Likewise, we are increasingly incorporating our mountaineering techniques for vertical movements on mountain walls in a continuous training of fighting techniques in urban environments or close quarters battle (CBQ), especially in multi-story buildings, using the instruction tower with the one used in Rabasa and other settings .

The particular mobility capacity in these environments makes the mountain specialist teams an excellent element of special reconnaissance, thanks to their teams of snipers and the individual and collective armament (machine guns MG3 and MG4 as well as), even if they do not cease to have a good combat capacity Ecia 60 mm Commando light mortar).

These teams also find a great ally in the ET Aviation helicopters that make up the Joint Special Operations Force, or SOATU-RW (Special Operations Air Task Unit – rotary wing), whose transport models (Boeing CH-47D and Airbus Helicopters AS532) become deployed / folded on the mountainous stage using techniques for entering the zone: fast rope, abseiling; and the so-called SPIE techniques (Special Patrol Insertion / Extraction).

In this sense, another order explains: The helicopter EEMON binomial is very important for the special operations carried out in the mountains, they are more than an ally, therefore the joint work is encouraged and even tries to increase it for the next MOE- Mountain specialist exercise requested. (Julio Maz Sanz)

Photo: professionals from an EEMON carrying out a winter march. (MOE photo)

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