Joint Command and General Staff Course 2018-2019 on Staff Ride "Kurland 1944-1945"

From 2nd to 4th of November, students and faculty of the Baltic Defence College's (BALTDEFCOL) Joint Command and General Staff Course (JCGSC) 2018-2019 conducted a Staff Ride to Kurzeme region in Liepāja, Latvia for in-depth studies of the WWII operations on the Kurland peninsula in 1944 and 1945.


The Staff Ride process started with several preparation sessions over the last two months, where students researched and presented on various aspects of the terrain; the capabilities of the land, maritime and air forces; and other historical contexts that had bearing on the battles. On the Staff Ride itself, the participants experienced first hand the impacts of the dynamic and challenging terrain Soviet forces faced through battlefield tours. Mr. Valdis Kuzmins, a researcher at the Latvian National Defence Academy’s Centre for Security and Strategic Research, escorted the group throughout the trip, providing in-depth analysis and background on the events, helping the participants better understand the complexities that each side faced throughout the operation. The Latvian Navy generously provided a patrol boat in order to give an overview of the maritime picture and a feel for the sea conditions typical of the Baltic Sea.


Following these tours, the faculty and students discussed their reflections and compared them to their earlier research, trying to better understand why commanders made the decisions that they did and learning important lessons about the benefits that integrated joint operations can bring to future battles.

The group also visited the local military prison and Holocaust memorial to gain a better appreciation of additional historical contexts that shaped the events and societies at the time.


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