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Aug 10 2022

11th rotation concludes tour of duty with NATO enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania

RUKLA, Lithuania – On 10 August, German Army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Andrä relinquished command of NATO enhanced Forward  Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Lithuania to German Army Lieutenant Colonel Marco Maulbecker. Under the leadership of LTC Andrä, the Battlegroup's multinational soldiers from the 11th rotation participated in multiple exercises, strengthening the partnership with the Lithuanian Allies and demonstrating the continued commitment to protect the security of the Baltic Sea region.

The German-led 11th rotation took over on 9 February 2022. At that time, Russia had been already generating tensions with more than 100,000 Russian troops massed at the border with Ukraine. 24 February 2022 marked the turning point for the European security and, consequently, the Allied soldiers in Lithuania. "From the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the soldiers of eFP Battlegroup Lithuania were aware of the increased importance of their deployment on NATO's eastern flank," LTC Andrä says. NATO's decision to further reinforce the eastern flank required the Battlegroup to receive and integrate additional forces within hours. 

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 The 11th rotation's multinational soldiers line up in Rukla, Lithuania marking the official start of their deployment, 9 February 2022 / Photo by eFP LTU PAO
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LTC Andrä, Commander 11th rotation NATO eFP Battlegroup Lithuania, runs an operation from his mobile command post / Photo by eFP LTU PAO

Aware of the growing threat, the 11th rotation's personnel enhanced their mental and physical readiness during numerous exercises. As planned, the Battlegroup's training and exercise programme was broad and intensive. It started with exercise Hunter, which was followed by Rising Griffin. This two-week tactical training event integrated defensive activities at the Battlegroup level. Rising Griffin required the interaction between different forces and sub-units—from battle companies to support companies, from air defence to artillery. They all had to be commanded in a concerted manner. Translating planning processes to actions on the ground, the Battlegroup was constantly improving its manoeuvres.

Throughout their tour of duty, the soldiers exercised alongside other NATO's eFP troops. Exercise Ajax Town saw the Allies from Battlegroups Lithuania and Latvia increasing their capabilities together.

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The 11th rotation's multinational soldiers participated in multiple exercises, strengthening the partnership with the Lithuanian Allies and demonstrating their continued commitment to protect the security of the Baltic Sea region / Photo by eFP LTU PAO

The rotation's undoubted highlight was the certification exercise Iron Wolf. Under the tactical leadership of the Lithuanian Army 'Iron Wolf' Brigade, various scenarios were practised, all of which depicted a full-scale, high-intensity operation with a Lithuanian motorised infantry battalion acting as the opposing force. While summarizing Iron Wolf, LTC Andrä stated:

Conducted together with our Lithuanian Allies, exercise Iron Wolf proved once again that we all have the same goal: protect every inch of NATO's territory. We are capable and ready to fight.

The intensive tour concluded with the final live-fire exercise Victorious Griffin. During a multinational parade preceding the 11th rotation's end of duty, their achievements were recognised by the Commander of the 'Iron Wolf' Brigade with the Lithuanian Army medal. LTC Andrä summarized: "The Commander of the 'Iron Wolf' Brigade said that it is a good feeling to have friends."

On behalf of all our multinational soldiers, I would like to put it clear and simple: We are here for you. You can rely on us.
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During the course of their deployment, the 11th rotation practiced a variety of defensive scenarios for a full-scale, high-intensity operation, making the most of their heavy equipment, incl. the German Army's Leopard-2 main battle tanks / Photo by eFP LTU PAO

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office based on an article by NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania (11th rotation)

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