The Exercise Rodhope is a training activity that the Bulgarian Armed Forces carry out every two years at the Smoljan training area, home of the 101st mountain regiment and has the aim of conducting various training activities Mountain Living e Mountain Warfare.
Its peculiarity consists in the involvement of units of the foreign Armed Forces present in Bulgaria, belonging to the Nations of the Atlantic Alliance.
In the 2023 edition, a platoon of the Italian contingent, a platoon of US Alpine troops and a platoon of special forces from the Czech Republic were invited to participate.
The activity, which took place from 9 to 21 September 2023, began with the opening ceremony and continued with a 20 km march to reach an altitude of 1.897 m. of Mount Perelik, where the soldiers organized themselves to spend the night. In the following days, fire activities were also carried out with portable weapons and exercises specific to Alpine units, such as zipline, climbing, via ferrata and fast rope.
The Italian scout platoon, made up of Bersaglieri of the 6th Trapani regiment, under the multinational battle group Bulgaria, was placed in a company-level organic unit together with two platoons of the Bulgarian Army.
The tasks assigned to the Bersaglieri were those of reconnaissance of itineraries and areas.
After a week of initial adaptation to the mountain environment, the exercise got underway, with the study and planning of the mission, which consisted of acquiring the position of enemy elements to delay their progression and avoid a counterattack on friendly units.
The "Rodhope" represented an important training moment and opportunity for professional growth for the Italian soldiers, as it allowed participants to interact with foreign personnel and familiarize themselves with the equipment of other NATO armies.
The operations and training activities conducted by the Italian Armed Forces on the eastern flank of NATO are arranged by the Chief of Defense Staff and are under the coordination and direction of the Joint Forces Top Operational Command.