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Jun 14 2023

NATO eFP Battlegroup Lithuania showcases combat readiness and integration into Lithuanian Army during exercise Iron Wolf

SZCZECIN, Poland - Conducted on May 8-20, the bi-annual exercise Iron Wolf served to certify NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup as a combat ready force, fully integrated into the Lithuanian Army. Executed in two phases, it was led by the Lithuanian Iron Wolf Brigade. With the Brigade's six battalions, the Battlegroup's troops and additional forces from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Poland and Portugal, about 3,500 soldiers from 13 nations took part in the exercise. 

Video by the Lithuanian Armed Forces

The exercise is designed to maintain combat readiness of the Iron Wolf Brigade and synchronize procedures between the Lithuanian Army and Allied troops in joint operations. This year, soldiers with the Brigade and NATO's eFP Battlegroup Lithuania employed their heavy armored equipment, including main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers in a “force on force” training supported by the Lithuanian Air Force's NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) and an MQ-9 combat drone armed with Hellfire missiles remotely controlled from the United States.

Aside from combat tasks, Iron Wolf's most recent iteration also focused on interoperability with public institutions. Joint medical evacuations by land and air were practices in cooperation with the hospital of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, while the Jonava city authorities were involved in a signal communication training where simulated operations were conducted.

A Dutch Stinger platoon provides an air defence cover for the eFP Battlegroup during exercise Iron Wolf. The Stinger is a passive surface-to-air missile that can be shoulder-fired by a single operator. It can be used against planes and helicopters at a range of up to five kilometres. The Royal Netherlands Army has two types – a portable one fired from the shoulder and once which can be mounted on an armoured vehicle © NATO eFP Battlegroup Lithuania
Military and civilian medical personnel perform simulated patient care on a casualty during exercise Iron Wolf. The exercise laid stress on military-civilian integrated cooperation, including in medical field © Lithuanian Armed Forces   
The German Army 1LT Lara S. makes operations plans at the Iron Wolf exercise forward command post © NATO eFP Battlegroup Lithuania  

The field portion of Iron Wolf was preceded by an intensive preparation phase, during which preliminary orders were given and positions for combat companies were reconnoitered. Deployed with the German 401st Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 1st Lieutenant Lara S., who is an S3 officer at the Battlegroup (responsible for operations planning), said: "Although our NATO partners have different procedures in staff work, we have synchronised them through daily cooperation." As an S3 officer, she was assigned to the exercise's forward command post alongside other multinational service members. During the ongoing battle, she briefed the Battlegroup Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Lars Neitzel so that he always had an accurate and complete picture of the situation for his decisions.

Tactical activities on the battlefield were assessed by the so-called "observer/controller teams". Iron Wolf culminated with a counterattack on the opposing force, which conclusively proven the capability of the Battlegroup to conduct operations in concert the Lithuanian Army.  

Video by the Lithuanian Armed Forces

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office in cooperation with NATO eFP Battlegroup Lithuanian and the Lithuanian Armed Forces

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