Stetten am kalten Markt, Baden-Württemberg, 3 May 2017
The servicemen and -women of the 2nd Battery of 295 Artillery Battalion will shortly be taking part in NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania for a total of seven weeks. They have therefore been engaged in intensive preparations at their base in Stetten am kalten Markt.

(© Bundeswehr/Schulze)
Markus P. has not been battery commander for long, having taken over on 2 March. “The big challenge for me,” the Captain says, “is to get to know my new troops while at the same time making sure everything gets organised and exercises are properly planned.”

Anything but boring

The next few weeks are clearly going to be anything but boring for Markus P. and the members of his battery.

In Stetten am kalten Markt, preparations for Lithuania have chiefly involved billet training. The soldiers had their own simulator to practise handling the weapons system – for example, stowing grenades in the munitions dump, loading and firing the howitzer, and fixing defects. They have also been practising recovering guns, in case that should become necessary.


The commander’s assessment of his battery’s training level is positive. It was only last December that the servicemen and -women took part in the Franco-German Brigade’s Feldberg exercise at the training areas in Bergen and Munster. “They are ready for their duties in Lithuania,” Markus P. says.

(© Bundeswehr/Schulze)
Military security, counter-espionage and Lithuanian culture

However, preparations for a role in enhanced Forward Presence are somewhat different compared to conventional deployments to training areas in Germany. They began with several information sessions – on Lithuania itself as well as on loading methods for rail transport, military security and counter-espionage. The soldiers are also preparing particularly for the task of repairing equipment locally.

Deployment to Lithuania imminent

Around 140 soldiers are about to head for Lithuania, taking six PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers (including two reserve guns) and their crews as well as recovery and repair equipment and the ammunition squad. They will have support from a meteorological squad and the COBRA reconnaissance system.

In Lithuania, the artillery battery will take part in various multinational exercises such as Iron Wolf and Flaming Thunder.

The best thing for a new commander

Captain P. is convinced that an exercise on this scale, especially one held abroad and shortly after his appointment, is the best thing that could happen to a new commander. It is, he says, the best and quickest way to get to know one another. “I expect that we will gel as a unit, create beautiful and positive memories for all servicemen and -women and gain more expertise in the field of artillery. Major multinational exercises like this provide indispensable experience for a unit like ours and are memorable events for every participating soldier.”

This is the translation of an article by Joachim Samse published on

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