Kein Mensch auf der ganzen Welt
kann die Wahrheit verändern.
Man kann sie nur suchen
sie finden und ihr dienen.
Die Wahrheit ist an jedem Ort.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Integration of 10th Polish Armoured Cavalry Brigade into 7th German Panzerdivision

Address of the Commander 7th German Panzerdivision, Major General Juergen Ruwe, on 17 September 2003 in Sennelager

Ladies and Gentlemen,

we have also gathered this afternoon in order to mark the conclusion of the integration process in due form. 7th Panzerdivision and 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade have been looking forward to this day for a long time. This integration provides the ARRC – and hence the Alliance – with a division efficiently composed of German and Polish reaction forces, tailored for NATO missions.

ARRCADE FUSION 2002 presented 7 (GE) Panzerdivision and 10 (PL) Armd Cav Bde with a real challenge, as it was the first time that both units operated jointly in an international framework. In my position as Division Commander I can assure you, General Samol, that I took great delight in commanding your Brigade during ARRCADE FUSION. You and your soldiers did an excellent job!

Both our formations got prepared for this event as far back as 18 February 2000, the day when – on behalf of our ministers of defence - the integration of 10 (PL) Armd Cav Bde into 7 (GE) Panzerdivision for ARRC missions was agreed upon. Both nations then committed themselves to stimulate military co-operation with the aim of reaching today's level of readiness. Since then we have made considerable headway. First contacts were established during visiting trips, followed by workshops and seminars attended jointly by our respective key personnel. We agreed upon joint SOPs laying down a common tactical and operational understanding - the preconditions leading us eventually to the mission capability we demonstrated these days.

During the last three years five SOP seminars were held in Düsseldorf and Swietoszow. We developed a common mindset for the basic structures, operational procedures, organisations, and operational principles for joint missions. Fundamental training has been intensified with numerous drills and exercises which have been conducted in Poland as well as in Germany. Besides common training at formation and unit level, an impressive number of Polish soldiers have been trained in Germany.
These include:
- about 50 commanders for armoured units,
- about 50 military drivers and 10 military driving instructors for the Leopard 2 main battle tank,
- more than 200 tank crew members,
- almost 40 operators for our command, control and communication system HEROS, and
- more than 150 logistical specialists.

I take great pleasure in remembering the joint SOP-seminars and – above all – the exercises Springendes Ross 2001 and 2002 during which 10 (PL) Armd Cavalry Brigade fought shoulder to shoulder with the organic brigades of my division. Each project presented us with a renewed challenge and each exercise advanced the unification and efficiency of our two units.
Very helpful to improve interoperability was the Polish decision to take over major German equipment. This includes among others
- 128 main battle tanks Leopard 2 A4, of which 30 have already been taken over,
- CP-vehicles,
- more than 100 wheeled vehicles and
- 220 radio sets.
This standardised equipment facilitates the co-operation and mutual support in operations. It also allows joint training activities, as we can witness these days at the battle training centre ZAGAN where 64 German Armoured Battalion from Wolfhagen and 1 Polish Armoured Battalion conduct a joint exercise.

The integration of a Polish Brigade into a German Division, however, is more than a simple accumulation of military skills. It symbolizes the formidable development of the good neighbourhood of the two countries in Europe and our partnership in the North Atlantic Alliance. The virtues we hold in highest esteem – freedom and democracy – were ultimately responsible for the break-up of rigid and unwanted structures and the emergence of a united Europe. The guarantor of these achievements is NATO – the most effective security system that was ever in place. Beyond the overall political environment, however, it is the merit of our soldiers that we could come together. Integration must be lived and filled with substance.

Therefore, everyone of you was heavily committed in this process, so that our goal has been accomplished. Your skills, your motivation and your openness to find ways and common solutions has been the key to the fortunate outcome we are celebrating today. I thank you all for your excellent performance and commitment, and particularly General Samol, who was involved in this process – as I mentioned before - right from the beginning. Let us continue in the same way. Our professionalism, our knowledge and our common ground can only subsist if we renew them persistently.

I would like also to thank very much COMARRC and his staff, who allowed us to conduct a particularly enriching exercise. ARRCADE FUSION proved to be outstandingly educational and instructive. Our operators and soldiers accumulated these days a vast amount of experiences and got an insight what types of challenges a multinational operation will imply. Gen Drewry, I am very happy that you gave us this opportunity, and I thank you for your kind support and advice for the integration process.

I conclude in reporting publicly and formally to the national superiors of our formations as well as to COMARRC: The integration process has been completed. 10th Polish Armoured Cavalry Brigade has become an integral part of 7th Panzerdivision for operations, ready for any given NATO missions and hoping by that to contribute to the peace in the world.
Thank you very much.