From February 1 through 10 mechanised infantry battalion soldiers with equipment will be arriving in Lithuania from Grafenwöhr (Germany) by air and railway. Over 450 German soldiers with their weaponry and over 100 military vehicles will form one of the maneuver units of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion, deployed in Lithuania alongside Dutch and Norwegian military personnel.
The first group of soldiers will reach Kaunas Airport in Karmėlava on February 1. They will be welcomed by Commander of the German contingent and the NATO eFP battalion in Lithuania Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Huber. He deployed in Lithuania last week with the first group of soldiers.
The deploying German unit is formed mainly by soldiers with the 12th Mechanised Infantry Brigade, 122nd Mechanised Infantry Battalion of the Bundeswehr. Throughout the rotation in Lithuania the German soldiers will be deployed in Rukla Garrison and train with Belgian, Dutch and Norwegian soldiers at field training exercises of different levels in Lithuanian Armed Forces’ training areas.
The German soldiers are coming to Lithuania with all dedicated equipment of the unit: Marder IFVs, Leopard2 A6 tanks, trucks and ATVs of different roles.
The German company will be redeployed by Lithuanian roads by the Belgian logistical company that arrived last week. Military columns escorted by the Lithuanian Military Police crews will move along main and regional roads of Šeštokai-Rukla route throughout the week.
The NATO enhanced forward presence battalion in Lithuania will be led by Germany whose military personnel will also form the core of the battalion. In 2017-2018 the battalion will be manned by Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, and France, in total, roughly 1,200 soldiers.
At peacetime, the NATO battalion will train together with Lithuanian forces, just like it will defend Lithuania alongside national forces and additionally deployed reinforcement in case of a crisis.
The multinational battalion will be based in Rukla, assigned to the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, Lithuanian Armed Forces, and train alongside its soldiers in its military training cycle.
The NATO battalion in Lithuania will be comprised on a headquarters and a headquarters company, logistic support company, and three-to-four combat companies, and different combat support units. Reinforcement to the NATO forward presence battalion will be deployed when necessary, i.e. when exercises are held or in case of threat. Such a deployment is already planned for the summer when an intense cycle of exercises will run: artillery, air defence, engineer, and other units, are planned to be sent in.
Lithuania will provide full host nation support to the battalion – living conditions, meals, other logistical support.
In the context of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and changed security situation, Heads of State and Governments agreed at the NATO Summit in Warsaw to enhance allied presence in the three Baltic states and Poland by deploying NATO enhanced forward presence battalion battle groups as of 2017.