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 Sep 21 2020

Ongoing exercise series TobruQ Legacy derives its name from historic tradition

RAMSTEIN, Germany - NATO Surface Based Air Defence Exercise Tobruck Legacy is underway in Lithuania. Ensuring NATO air defence forces are trained and prepared to protect the skies.

Allied air defence units from the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and the United States and additional participants from Estonia, Italy and Poland have started training serials, refining their tactics, techniques and procedures to NATO common standards.
NATO faces a wide spectrum of new potential air threats from Mini Unmanned Air Vehicles, Unmanned Combat Air Systems, 5th Generation platforms through to state of the art standoff munitions like supersonic cruise or ballistic missiles. This training helps ensure air defence forces are able to face an evolving battlefield. 

The Tobruq Legacy exercise series has been conducted since 2015 and is based on close cooperation between Czech and Slovak republics in the Surface Based Air Defence domain. Even the name of the exercise has its own story to tell.
During World War II, the first Czechoslovakian Anti-Aircraft unit was created in Palestine on May 22, 1942. The 200th Czechoslovak Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment was moved to Tobruk In December 1942 and from January 2, 1943, the regiment took over tasks in the anti-aircraft defense of the port of Tobruk. 

The gunners scored their first success on February 20, 1942 when they were credited with downing a Junkers Ju-88 Bomber. After the war, the unit survived and was commissioned as the first air defence unit in the new Czechoslovakia. 

After separation of the former Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic created an air defence regiment with honorable name “Tobrucky” (coming from Tobruk). In a separate uncoordinated event, in Slovak republic, an air defence brigade was formed with honorable title “Defenders of Tobruk”. After some time the two Allies decided to come together to implement common training and exercises in Ground Based Air Defence domain. Bringing both units back together, the name of the Exercise - Tobruq Legacy was created. 

This tradition was revived in 1995 and both Allies have taken an active lead in bringing together and promoting Surface Based Air Defence disciplines among the NATO Allies. Today Exercise Tobruk Legacy is conducted annually, hosted by different NATO Allies on a rotational basis with participants from all across the Alliance.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

One of the Czechoslovakia
anti-aircraft firing positions in the port of Tobruk. Photo courtesy of VHÚ.
Czechoslovak officers during a tour of the wreck of a German bomber Junkers Ju-88, shot down in Tobruk on February 20, 1943. Photo courtesy of VHÚ.
Modern day air defence operators train against new threats on 
Ex Tobruk Legacy. Archive Imagery 

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