Gemengliche Verdeedegengs Truppen

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The Gemengliche Verdeedegengs Truppen are the civil defence forces of Van Luxemburg, responsible for the support of the national defence force, the Arméi, in times of conflict, but also for providing disaster relief and technical support in case of major emergencies. The force consists of volunteers, with only a small professional core.

History

Due to its size, the Van Luxemburger Arméi is historically supposed to be unable to completely defend its territory when several regiments are fighting overseas in a war situation. Due to the somewhat explosive situation on Van Luxemburgs’ southern borders in the last two centuries, the Gemengliche Verdeedegens Truppen were founded in 1896 as a military unit that primarily consisted of voluntary reservists that would defend the Grand Duchy in times of need. The units were briefly called upon during a period of conflict (the first Dié Intervention) in the early 1940’s, but have never been actually seen any combat. Over the last few decades, from the 1950’s on and especially following the Five Years War, the GVT also assumed disaster relief functions in order to secure the continuity of the Van Luxemburger state in times of conflict or emergency.

Organisation and Equipment

In total, around .2 percent of the Van Luxemburger population have volunteered for the GVT. This means that roughly 1 million persons are available as volunteers for the GVT, and can be called upon any time. The GVT’s are organised on a municipal level, and are commanded by a professional officer who has a function as public safety advisor to the local mayor. He is responsible for the management of the GVT’s equipment and storage capacity, as well as human resource management within his own GVT unit. He also serves as a liaison officer for the police, fire brigade and medical services, in case the GVT is called upon. In times of conflict, he is also the person to receive orders from the Arméi or other military units.

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GVT soldiers on a military exercise

The unit under his command consists of persons in the age category of 18-55 years old, who have underwent a basic 12-day military training with the Arméi and a further 30 days of disaster relief training, which consists of emergency medical response training and a basic firefighter training. The latter is often spread out over several weeks, in the evening hours. A GVT member may not respond to any call in case he has not finished both training procedures. Usually, after the basic training is complete, the members have educational evenings every week, sometimes up to two times per week. Other members receive specific training, for either military or disaster relief tasks. Several certificates can be earned in GVT service, ranging from being able to handle anti-armour weapons to being able to set up a water supply and water treatment system. A GVT unit typically exercises a weekend once every month. On one day, the civilian aid duties are exercised, while the other day the GVT’s military duties are tested. Occasionally, the two are combined in a larger two-day exercise.

As every municipality has its own GVT unit, these troops have their own equipment stored in a bomb-proof location, often an underground bunker under a governmental facility such as a fire station or municipality office. This location should be able to accommodate at least a small part of the population in the event of a nuclear attack, and in order to meet this requirement, local governments have often spread the GVT locations out over their villages or neighborhoods, in order to be able to accommodate local refugees.

The equipment and organization of a GVT usually consists of a platoon (Bäistoenspeloton) that has one four-person staff group (Stabgrupp), and at least three ten-person Grupps of which two are trained for general disaster relief duties and are equipped with multifunctional trucks and a firetruck-like vehicle, while the other groups have underwent specialist training and have specialist equipment, for example for setting up a water treatment facility, for Search-and-Rescue duties or for debris-clearing services. These units are often equipped with specialized trucks.

Most vehicles of the GVT are painted in a plain olive green camouflage scheme, as are the uniforms of the GVT members. However, in most situations the GVT is called upon, a civilian task is required and thus the personnel will often be clothed in clothes not too dissimilar from the intervention clothing of a fireman. Every single GVT member has a full set of intervention clothing, as well as a full uniform for field use. Ceremonial uniforms do exist, but are hardly ever handed out. Furthermore, every GVT member is handed out a personal defence weapon that he or she is required to carry when there is a serious security risk during an intervention or mission. This weapon, designated AGM-01L by the Ministry of Defence, is often stored in a personal vault at home. A full battle rifle, ex-military Müller G66’es as of 1987, is stored in the bomb-proof storage locations of the GVT, for every member in service. Other weapons are occasionally carried by specialized GVT personnel.

Some local GVT units also have invested in mechanization of their defence equipment, a movement that primarily gained popularity during the Five Years’ War and the years afterwards. Many different vehicles appear in GVT service, as every local unit is allowed to invest in their own vehicles, as long as the ammunition supply can be guaranteed. Mechanical parts are usually of lesser importance as the vehicles will most likely not leave their municipality in times of conflict.

Deployment

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GVT members demonstrating Search-and-Rescue tasks

Deployment of a GVT unit usually takes place by pagers, which every every new GVT member receives. The pagers are set to multiple specific unit channels (usually the municipal unit but also the specific Grupp the member belongs to), and can be set off by the communications centre of all Van Luxemburger emergency services, which is also responsible for answering 112 calls. Alternatively, in the event of a widespread disaster or urgent event, the local civil defense sirens may be used to warn the population. In the case these sirens are used, GVT members must immediately report to their local unit, at a preset location. In most situations, a GVT unit does not have first response tasks, and therefore has more time to prepare their deployment from their rallying point. Nevertheless, every vehicle that is vital for civilian emergency responses is equipped with blue lights and a two-tone pneumatic horn, that gives the GVt the right of way in situations this equipment is used.


Industrial Defence Unit

Sometimes, companies that can be considered strategical industrial targets have their own partly-government funded defence force. Technically, they do not belong to a GVT, but often operate under the command of the local defence department. These companies often oblige a certain percentage of their personnel to take part in their defence force, exempting personnel that is already part of a local defence unit. These men and women are also often trained in the usage of anti-air systems. Industrial Defence Units are operated by (e.g.) VLT Automotive, Walter Technologie and Müller Waffenwerke.