An enemy force takes over a territory near Brazil’s border with Argentina. The countries unite, forming the Guarani Combined Brigade to fight and resolve the conflict. The scenario, a simulated exercise of Operation Guarani, brought together 146 Brazilian and Argentine service members.
The exercise, conducted since 2007, includes the Brazilian Army’s (EB, in Portuguese) First Mechanized Cavalry Brigade and the Argentine Army’s 12th Mountain Brigade. The countries take turns hosting the operation every three years. The planning, simulated training, and live operation with troops on the ground take place during the three-year time span.
The planning meetings for the 2019 edition of Operation Guarani began in April 2017. Participants completed the training simulation in September 2018 in Brazil, at the Southern Military Command, in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul state. In September 2019, the troops will put their knowledge to the test in a live exercise.
“It’s very rewarding for the 12th Mountain Brigade and the Argentine Army to participate with our friends from the Brazilian Army in Operation Guarani,” said Argentine Army Brigadier General Juan Antonio Zamora, commander of the 12th Mountain Brigade. The officer coordinates the operation alongside EB Brigadier General Raul Rodrigues de Oliveira, commander of the First Mechanized Cavalry Brigade.
The simulated exercise of Operation Guarani consists of a war game. Participants use the COMBATER system, which simulates interactions based on information provided prior to the game—for instance, maps of the territory—and during the game.
Participants were first introduced to the exercise’s scenario: An extra-continental power invaded Brazil, identified as the green country. To fight the invader, the blue country (Argentina) assisted the green country, establishing the Guarani Combined Brigade.
The exercise leaders provided scenarios to the players, who organized into several teams made up of Brazilian and Argentine elements, to come up with a plan. Each plan’s information was then entered into the software.
“The software can create interactions between parties, the Guarani Brigade and the invading force. For instance, each time that a troop is deployed it can be observed by the other, possibly becoming a target for enemies. In this case, the software calculates the damage caused to the opposing force based on the characteristics of each force’s weaponry,” Brig. Gen. Raul said.
While participants watched as the system executed their command, they faced new challenges. “These are the so-called simulated military problems,” said Brig. Gen. Raul, providing another example: A troop from the Guarani Brigade traveled down a road. No enemy maneuvers were initially scheduled on that area. Leaders, however, opted to create a conflict situation to train the troop. The responsible officer received their order and devised a new plan and new maneuvers.
In this phase of Operation Guarani, the only simulated events are combat activities, which the software conducts. Participants’ discussion, planning, and decision-making are based on real commitment and doctrines pertaining to both countries. “This is the great gain and the main objective of the exercise: the teamwork from the higher ranks to those who execute the orders. The simulation provides a sense of what the interaction will be like, to test the planning efficiency, what goals were met, what can be improved, etc.,” Brig. Gen. Raul said.
Representatives from the First Mechanized Cavalry Brigade and the 12th Mountain Brigade will meet in May and July 2019. The final phase of Operation Guarani, scheduled for September 15-21, 2019, in Rio Grande do Sul, will take place 600 kilometers away from the Argentine capital.
Hundreds of Brazilian and Argentine service members are expected to participate in a binational joint training to combat invaders from another continent. Each country will deploy troops, equipment, and weaponry. The 12th Mountain Brigade will participate with their U.S.-made Humvees, while the Brazilian brigade will use the Urutu and Cascavel armored vehicles, made in Brazil.
Maj. Gen. Raul believes Operation Guarani benefits both countries on different aspects. The operation allows for language, culture, and doctrinal knowledge exchange. The exercise also strengthens cooperation and bonds of friendships between both armies.
“On the military level, it also enables a great exchange, especially regarding the operational planning systems of each force. As we get to know each other even more, we can perhaps develop a common method to plan military operations,” he said.