“Knife-throwing, descending down a cliff by rappelling, water crossing, vehicle push, litter-carry, overcoming a contaminated terrain sector, memory tests and surprise tasks” – this was how Lieutenant Colonel Ákos Kreácsik, Commander, HDF 2nd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Regiment listed the events of this year’s Saint Martin International Reconnaissance Competition. The participants are to carry out the above-mentioned tasks during the three-day competition, which involves military units from seven Central European countries, among them two Hungarian ones.
Originally devised in Eger, the reconnaissance competition with an already more than ten-year history has by now grown into an international event: in 2023, three Slovak, two Polish, two Czech and two Hungarian teams, as well as an Austrian, a Romanian and a Croatian one are matching their skills. Accordingly, there is plenty of opportunity to get to know each other, all the more so since the declared aim of the competition is to establish closer ties among reconnaissance units, Lieutenant Colonel Ákos Kreácsik told us. During the three days, besides the exchange of experiences and information, the participants’ professional knowledge and endurance will also be assessed.
After an opening ceremony in the early morning hours, the first test of skills commenced in Hajdúhadház. During the target practice – which forms the basis for establishing the starting order of next day’s events – the competitors fired, in prone, kneeling and standing positions, at silhouette targets placed at a distance of 100 meters. To make the task more difficult, they had only three minutes altogether for firing ten shots, which resulted in a dynamic and spectacular shooting competition.
The participants also had opportunity to prepare for the quite colorful program of the following day. In what follows, the organizers are tracking the performance of the 12 teams in an electronic system, and each improperly performed trial will entail a penalty run or a separate task to be carried out with extra weight.
First Lieutenant László Basa-Tamás, the representative of the competing Hungarian team, platoon leader, 2nd platoon, long-range reconnaissance company told us that the primary objective of the competition is to make international contacts, while, at the same time, everybody is being driven by the competitive spirit. “We are expected to finish as medalists, and we’re striving to meet this expectation, of course in the spirit of fair play”, he stated.
The Hungarian participants arriving from the team of the ISR regiment have been selected on the basis of their annual PT results, mainly running, physical endurance and marksmanship skills. The unit led by the first lieutenant took part in an approximately one-month training, in the framework of which its members ran distances of 15-20 kilometers on flat and wooded terrains twice a week.
On Wednesday, the program continued on a cross-country course developed in the Lillafüred Adventure Park. The aggregate scores of the first two days will form the basis for the ranking relay race, which is to take place on Thursday, to be followed by the closing ceremony and the announcement of the results.