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Polish soldiers on patrol during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
Polish soldiers on patrol during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Polish soldiers on patrol during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
Polish soldiers on patrol during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
A Polish soldier walking to his post during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
A Polish soldier walking to his post during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
An M1A2 Abrams Tank is perched on a hill during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29.
An M1A2 Abrams Tank is perched on a hill during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
A soldier, armed with an AT-4, is set up to ambush the mock enemy during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
A soldier, armed with an AT-4, is set up to ambush the mock enemy during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army soldiers guarding their position during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
U.S. Army soldiers guarding their position during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Crane guards his position during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Crane guards his position during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Sgt. 1st Class Levi Osler prepares a training Claymore Mine during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise at Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29.
Sgt. 1st Class Levi Osler prepares a training Claymore Mine during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise at Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
A training Claimore Mine used during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise at Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
A training Claimore Mine used during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise at Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Spc. Rosa Bens walks through a field of mud during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise at Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
U.S. Army Spc. Rosa Bens walks through a field of mud during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise at Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
The enemy forces, in a training scenerio, signal to fellow soldiers using a spotlight, during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
The enemy forces, in a training scenerio, signal to fellow soldiers using a spotlight, during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
The enemy forces, in a training scenario, drive a modified M113-A3 vehicle to simulate a BMP armored personnel carrier during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
The enemy forces, in a training scenario, drive a modified M113-A3 vehicle to simulate a BMP armored personnel carrier during the Allied Spirit VIII exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

HOHENFELS, Germany — For the first time, a Polish brigade led the Allied Spirit exercise, which this year brought together 4,100 soldiers from the United States and nine other NATO and partner nations for a fight against a mock foe.

The three-week exercise, which began Jan. 15, wrapped up on Monday. U.S. soldiers played the enemy.

“This is a new experience for Poland, leading the exercise,” said the Polish brigade’s operations officer, Capt. Tomasz Klimczak. “It’s important that different nations like Poland can be in charge of a large exercise like this and work hand in hand with the American soldiers.”

During the mock fight, enemy forces use a variety of measures against the multinational force, including chemical weapons attacks, artillery bombardment and heavy tanks, to overrun the Polish-led force during the first few days of the fighting.

The large and varied enemy attacks have inflicted a significant number of notional casualties on the allied forces. The aim is to make the fight realistic and to test the readiness of their medical staff, said David Edwards, a medical observer, coach and trainer.

The allied forces set up defensive positions deep within the forests and stage ambushes to hold off the attackers.

The multinational force turned the tides of the battle on Jan. 23, going on the offensive.

“We have to be prepared to operate together and fight a battle like this because, nowadays we have the same problems,” Klimczak said.

egnash.martin@stripes.com Twitter: @Marty_Stripes

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