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IRON WOLF 2017 Underway In Lithuania

Norwegian snipers recce uncharted forest tracks on Polaris ATVs [© Bob Morrison]

The FTX (Field Training Exercise) phase of IRON WOLF ’17 is now in full flow and C&S joined them on the ground on Saturday (17th).

Following a briefing in the PIC (Press Information Centre) inside the Lithuanian Iron Wolf Brigade’s Tactical HQ to the east of Kaunas, on Friday afternoon, on Saturday morning we joined Norway’s contribution to the NATO eFP (enhanced Forward Presence) battlegroup in Lithuania (BG LTU). For several hours we followed a pair of snipers on their Polaris 6×6 ATVs as they patrolled the FLOT (Forward Line of Own Troops) to recce ambush positions and esape routes they could use when the enemy next advanced. Behind them Norwegian Leopard 2 main battle tanks from the Telemark Battalion patrolled forest tracks and infantry supported by CV90 AIFVs occupied defensive positions.

A LITHSOF JTAC and US SOF team in civilian clothes wait in a treeline for the heliborne Royal Marines task force. [© Bob Morrison]

In the afternoon we headed south into the Suwalki Gap, the 100 km Polish / Lithuanian border area between Belorus and Russian Kaliningrad where ‘Men In Blue’ OpFor were blocking the route of expected reinforcements from the NATO eFP battlegroup (BG POL) stationed in Poland. What the OpFor defenders did not know was that just before dusk a combined force of British Royal Marines,  Polish Air Cavalry and US Infantry would be flown in from Latvia in two waves of helicopters onto two Landing Zones to neutralise the threat before the US 2nd Cavalry battlegroup, including Polish self-propelled infantry and UK Light Dragoons, passed through their lines on Sunday in three convoys protected by Apache gunships and Lithuanian fast jets.

That, however, is a story for another day…..

A Norwegian Leopard 2 from the eFP BG LTU patrols through forested terrain [© Bob Morrison]

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