Change of command at the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle GroupLithuania, 8th rotation, will take place in Rukla on August 4: Lt Col Peer Papenbroock (German Armed Forces) will take over from Lt Col Axel Niemann. The ceremony will be attended by Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis.
104th Panzer Battalion homebased in Pfreimd, Bavaria, led by Lt Col P. Papenbroock will form the core of the 8th rotation of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group for the next six months again. The commander and the major part of his soldiers are well familiar with Lithuania and the assignment because they were the core of the 5th eFP rotation in 2018.
Germany forms its contribution in the NATO eFP Battle Group Lithuania by soldiers from across units and divisions of the Bundeswehr. The second most numerous eFP contingent is deployed by France , the rest of the forces are sent by the Netherlands, Norway, Czech Republic, Belgium, Iceland, and Luxembourg.
The 1150-strong multinationally formed group is integrated into the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, therefore the change of command ceremony ceremony will be presided over by Commander MIB Iron Wolf Colonel Mindaugas Petkevičius and attended by Commander Multinational Division North East Maj Gen Krzysztof Motacki.
The NATO eFP Battle Group comprises three tactical companies, combat support capabilities, one logistical supply company, military police, and paramedics, and has 700 vehicles at its disposition – battle tanks, armoured infantry fighting vehicles, wheeled armoured vehicles and armoured personnel carriers, and partly armoured trucks.
When the 8th rotation begins training, its companies and staff divisions will have joint exercises, live fire and training events in the military area, command post exercises to hone chain of command processes. The certification exercise this autumn will challenge the 8th ration to show it is ready to defend the country and the Alliance: it will be the most important part of the training.
Deployment of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland was a historical decision taken by the NATO Heads of State and Government in July 2016: to step up allied presence by deploying battalion-sized battle groups as the NATO enhanced Forward Presence as of 2017. The capabilities are primarily a response to the Russian military aggression in Ukraine, and increase of Russia’s military potential and show or force in the region. The NATO eFP BGs ensure a high level of readiness and interoperability in the region.