Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1

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Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) standing mine countermeasures immediate reaction forces.

Tasks and Mission[edit]

There are a lot of hazards on the bottom of the seas. Most of them have been delivered by man during times of war and local conflicts. It is estimated that during the First and the Second World War about 200,000 sea mines, torpedoes and bombs have been placed in northern European seas. Most of those devices reside in the Baltic, the Straits and the North Sea and still pose a serious threat.

The accident which happened in 2005 shows just how destructive mines can still be. The dormant mine lying on the sea bed for several decades turned deadly when caught in a net and hoisted aboard. Three Dutch fishermen were killed in the accident and many others injured.

In the 21st century there are other threats. Modern sea mines are both effective and relatively cheap, therefore are likely to fall into the terrorist's hands and to be used to wreak havoc across European ports. Since most of the basic commodities are being shipped to Europe by sea, one needs to remember that even a small number of mines laid in strategic points (harbor, straits, etc.) can cause large scale disruption and possibly disturb the flow of goods to the European countries.

The main mission of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group 1 is: "To provide NATO with continuous MCM capability for NRF and non-NRF operations and other activities in peacetime and periods of crisis and conflict".[citation needed]

Ship's equipment and abilities, as well as sailors experience, enable SNMCMG1 to undertake a wide variety of tasks. The Group is capable of supporting anti-terrorist operations and is ready to assist in the prevention of crisis situations and conflicts at seas. Units within the group are also able to assist in Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations and non combat evacuation operations, during which civilians are evacuated from threatened areas. These tasks clearly demonstrate that NATO in the form of SNMCMG1 and all NATO nations are determined to keep worldwide peace and safety at sea.

History of the SNMCMG1[edit]

SNMCMG1 is the oldest of four NATO teams operating in the international arena. It was formed in the Belgian port of Ostend May 11, 1973 and went by the name of Standing Naval Force Chanel being under control of so-called English Channel Force Commander. The purpose of the appointment of the Standing Group was primarily to ensure the safety of navigation and approaches to ports in the English Channel and the North-West Europe. In the event of a conflict with the Warsaw Pact countries the Group was to change the operating area for the North Sea over West Germany. Initially, the team was composed of mine ships from countries which also today make up the Group: Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands. Two more countries (Denmark and Norway) joined the team in year 2000, when the team was reorganized. The operating area of the Group was significantly expanded, and the name changed into Mine Countermeasures Force Northern Europe.

Defining new threats and increasing the spectrum of tasks led the team to becoming a global-scale group, which could operate in almost every corner of the world. Changes in the nature of the Group and the subsequent change of name to NATO Response Force MCM Force Northern Europe were approved at the NATO summit in Prague in 2002. In the same year the group was joined by the ships from new members of NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The first Polish ship operating within the Group was the minehunter ORP "Mewa" (October 2002).

The team changed its name two times since. In January 2005 that was: Standing NRF Mine Countermeasures Group One, and exactly one year later: Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One, which is the name used nowadays. In view of the fact that the Group consists of ships of different flags, its command is rotating annually.

There are four NATO standing maritime naval Groups. Two of them - SNMG1 and 2 (Standing NATO Maritime Group One and Group Two) bring together a large surface vessels like destroyers and frigates. Two other - SNMCMG1 and 2, are composed of minehunters and minesweepers. Groups designated as "One" operate on the waters of northern Europe, and those named "Two" operate in southern Europe. The changing geopolitical situation, and thus the emergence of new challenges and threats means that all teams are now able and prepared to operate on all the oceans, in almost every corner of the world, whenever there is need to use them.

Commanders[edit]

Rank Name Last name Assumed command Finished Country
cdr F. van Begin 1973.05 1974.11 Belgium
cdr P. McCaren 1974.11 1976.06 Royal Navy
cdr P.C. Bakker 1976.06 1977.11 The Netherlands
cdr P Marin 1977.11 1979.05 Belgium
cdr H.A.N. Willis 1979.05 1980.11 Royal Navy
cdr W.F. Harberts 1980.11 1982.05 The Netherlands
cdr F. Jacobi 1982.05 1983.05 Germany
cdr G. Busard 1983.05 1984.05 Belgium
cdr R.C. Moore 1984.05 1985.05 Royal Navy
cdr D.B. Sluyter 1985.05 1986.05 The Netherlands
cdr H.-J. Gennert 1986.05 1987.05 Germany
cdr R.E. Cuypers 1987.05 1988.05 Belgium
cdr P.J. Gale 1988.05 1989.05 Royal Navy
cdr A.L. Maas 1989.05 1990.05 The Netherlands
cdr D. Shreck 1990.05 1991.05 Germany
cdr S.G.G. Saille 1991.05 1992.05 Belgium
cdr T.I. Hildesley 1992.05 1993.06 Royal Navy
cdr T. De La Court 1993.06 1994.06 The Netherlands
cdr N. Walz 1994.06 1995.05
cdr Gilbert Legein 1995.05 1996.05 Belgium
cdr Colin Welborn 1996.05 1997.05 Royal Navy
cdr P.F. Hansen 1997.05 1998.05 Denmark
cdr G. Flage 1998.05 1999.05 Norway
cdr J.D.R. Kleywegt 1999.05 2000.05 The Netherlands
cdr H. Georg Buss 2000.05 2001.05 Germany
cdr John Saussez 2001.05 2002.05 Belgium
cdr Adrian P. Cassar 2002.05 2003.05 Royal Navy
cdr Michael Flagstad 2003.05 2004.05 Denmark
cdr Per Kartvedt 2004.05 2005.05 Norway
cdr Nico Vasseur 2005.05 2006.03 The Netherlands
cdr Andreas Stricker 2006.03 2007.01 Germany
cdr Serge Ots 2007.01 2008.01 Belgium
cdr Chris Davies 2008.01 2009.01 Royal Navy
cdr Henrik Holck Rasmussen 2009.01 2010.01 Denmark
cdr Krzysztof Jan Rybak 2010.01 2011.02 Poland
cdr Herman Lammers 2011.02 2011.07 The Netherlands
cdr Guy Terryn 2011.07 2012.01 Belgium
cdr Erik Hansen 2012.01 2012.08 Norway
cdr Yvo Jaenen 2012.08 2013.01 Belgium
cdr Piotr Sikora 2013.01 Poland
cdr Eirik Otterbu Norway
cdr Gunther BRASSEL Germany

See also[edit]

References and links[edit]