Klaipeda, 30 May 2017
Members of enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania are awaiting a special cargo at the docks of Klaipeda. Their wait is rewarded shortly before dawn, when the cargo vessel Hartland Point appears on the horizon carrying numerous tanks, HGVs and equipment from the Norwegian army.

Image 1
(© Bundeswehr)
The 135 wheeled and tracked vehicles and a large number of equipment containers were loaded onto the ship in Rena, Norway, two days before. The Hartland Point was accompanied by the Norwegian frigate Roald Amundsen.

Arrival in Klaipeda

Shortly after arrival, the gigantic cargo ship opens its loading bay. The dull rumble of engines can be heard from the bowels of the vessel. Then the first Leopard 2 battle tank rolls the length of the loading ramp and onto dry land.

Norwegian First Lieutenant Erik O. puts the moment into words: “We are very proud to contribute to the NATO mission. What we are seeing here is a historic moment, because this is the first time that Norwegian battle tanks have been deployed abroad for a NATO mission.”

Image 2
(© Bundeswehr)
The battlegroup is complete

Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Huber, commander of enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania, is there to welcome the Norwegian soldiers. Clearly satisfied, he says, “With the arrival of this equipment today and the soldiers who will get here in a few days, the battlegroup will be complete from the end of May on.”

Just a few hours after the vehicles and equipment are unloaded, a large convoy composed of numerous heavy-goods vehicles sets off on the almost 250-kilometre drive to Rukla.

“It is good that the Norwegian servicemen and -women are now arriving in Lithuania. They are needed here. Their capabilities will enrich and reinforce the battlegroup,” Huber says.

The multinational battlegroup now comprises around 1000 soldiers.

This is the translation of an article by Elisabeth Rabe published on www.bundeswehr.de

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