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Jan 13 2023

Exercise Resolute Stallion confirms tactical prowess of enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania

RUKLA, Lithuania – At the turn of November and December, soldiers of enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Lithuania concluded Resolute Stallion, the biggest live-fire exercise (LFX) of their rotation. Amid the harsh Lithuanian winter at the Pabradé and Gaizunai training areas, this two-week training event enabled the Battlegroup to practice tactical scenarios in a defensive operation. 

The exercise’s decisive phase saw all combat units of the Battlegroup synchronizing their capabilities at the battalion level. On the largest firing range of the Pabradé training area, Leopard 2 main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, a platoon of self-propelled howitzers (Panzerhaubitze 2000) and hundreds of soldiers displayed their prowess under the lead of the Battlegroup's Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Marco Maulbecker. For many nations involved, a live-fire exercise of this magnitude is not an everyday occurrence. While executing Resolute Stallion's complex tactical scenario, all multinational assets worked in concert to strengthen NATO’s capabilities to defend the Baltic Sea region and its populations. “Live firing using all capabilities of the Battlegroup is like conducting an orchestra,” Maulbecker said.

Everything has to be precisely synchronised in time and space. Every single soldier had to be in the right place at the right time, which requires a lot of planning.
 German and Norwegian Leopard 2 main battle tanks together with Infantry Fighting Vehicles form the backbone of the Battlegroup in Lithuania / Photo by Christian Endres 
A German Leopard 2 main battle tank fires rounds during Resolute Stallion's live-fire phase / Photo by Christian Endres 

Consequently, the culmination of Resolute Stallion was preceded by a detailed planning phase conducted by the staffs and leaders at Camp Adrian Rohn in Pabradé. In the process, the entire tactical plan was evaluated and theoretically played out. Conducting a complex defensive operation with four combat and several support companies, and live munition requires close coordination and excellent situational awareness at all stages of the operation. For many nations involved, a live-fire exercise of this magnitude is not an everyday occurrence.

One of the scenarios rehearsed was a delaying operation. While the Battlegroup’s reconnaissance troops had to evade opposing forces, the first fire orders were given to the artillery. The German Panzerhaubitzen 2000 fired both high-explosive and smoke grenades. Thanks to the heavy artillery, the enemy was routed. From their prepared fighting positions, the German and Norwegian combat companies continued the operation with main battle tank. At the same time, the Belgian Army dismounted infantry troops were conducting their tasks on a flank, in a think forest area. The next morning, the Battlegroup launched a counterattack, taking advantage of the favourable conditions created during the delay phase. Through a series of complex tactical manoeuvres, the enemy was pushed back.

Resolute Stallion was supervised by the Commander of the Lithuanian Mechanised Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf”, Colonel Aurelijus Motiejūnas. The eFP Battlegroup forms part of the Lithuanian brigade and is ready to defend the eastern flank of NATO within the framework of the integrated Lithuanian defence plan. 

The Battlegroup Deputy Commander briefs the Lithuanian "Iron Wolf" Brigade Commander and the Lithuanian Battalion Commanders / Photo by André Forkert
Belgian infantry soldiers secure a flank while dismounted / Photo by Tomas Vlach

Norwegian grenadiers fire on an enemy battle tank with a Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon / Photo by Tomas Vlach
German soldiers operating a self-propelled howitzer (Panzerhaubitze 2000) support attacking troops with indirect fire / Photo by Tomas Vlach
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 fires up to 10 times a minute / Photo Christian Endres

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office based on article by Lieutenant Colonel André Forkert, NATO eFP Battlegroup Lithuania

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