Pabrade, Lithuania, 31 May 2017
The turret of the battle tank moves with a soft whirring sound, seconds later a bang can be heard. “One enemy infantry vehicle destroyed. We continue observation,” the commander reports. Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania’s final four-day exercise has begun.

(© Bundeswehr)

Contrary to the week before, soldiers and combat vehicles haven’t been equipped with tactical engagement simulators. This time, live fire will be used during the delaying operation.

Surveying the terrain, engaging the enemy

The German mechanised infantry company trains during the first part of the operation, then it is the Dutch company’s turn. During the entire exercise, a tank platoon consisting of four Leopard 2A6 will support the two companies.

The soldiers’ orders: surveying the terrain, engaging and delaying the enemy – gaining time for the rest of the soldiers. To achieve this, they have to temporarily give up terrain and defend it from prepared positions. Their goal is to contain and slow down the enemy forces with the help of engineers so they can be broken up in a counter-attack.

(© Bundeswehr)

Fighting enemy forces and counter-attack

The delaying operation has several stages. After the battle tanks engaged the enemy at the flank, the delaying forces are being picked up by the armoured infantry fighting vehicles. These then move into position to engage advancing enemy forces together with the battle tanks. In the next stage, the battle tanks and armoured infantry fighting vehicles retreat.

Several hours later, the company begins its counter-attack. During their exercise with live fire, the advancing soldiers receive artillery and combat aircraft support.

This is the translation of an article by Elisabeth Rabe/Oliver Richter published on

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