: Inspector General: “We have proven our ability to fight in war”

: Inspector General: “We have proven our ability to fight in war”

On NATO’s eastern flank, the German army and its allies are demonstrating how armoured units fight together. This is a “collective response to the dramatically growing threat from Russia”.

At the conclusion of the Bundeswehr’s multi-month exercise Quadriga 2024 in Lithuania, Inspector General Carsten Breuer reaffirmed the determination to deter and defend the NATO alliance.

“Quadriga is our part, our collective response to the dramatically growing threat from Russia,” said Germany’s highest-ranking officer at the Pabrade military training area, where the German army’s 10th Panzer Division practiced fighting attackers with partners and in “live fire.” The maneuver ended almost immediately on NATO’s eastern flank in Belarus. “Here in Pabrade, Putin’s sphere of influence is only 15 kilometers away,” said Breuer.

The Quadriga 2024 exercise, which began months ago, is the largest exercise the German army has conducted in decades and is part of the NATO maneuver “Steadfast Defender.” After being deployed by sea, rail, and in road convoys, the German army practiced how to repel an attacker or overcome minefields on Lithuanian military training areas. Combat helicopters were also involved in the demonstration exercise.

The Bundeswehr’s military capability has been proven

The final exercise will be held at the end of the initial alert of all units of the 10th Panzer Division “in the simulated phases of peace, crisis and war,” said Breuer. “And it worked.” And: “We showed in this exercise that we Allies can and will defend ourselves. We have demonstrated our ability to fight in war.” According to Breuer, the Russian armed forces’ own analysts say that it will take five to eight years for the Russian armed forces to be able to attack NATO territory. For their own military build-up, this means “we have to be ready in five years, and that is 2029,” said Breuer. “We have set ourselves this target and I see us well on the way to achieving it.”

Lithuania’s army chief Valdemaras Rupsys spoke of a “remarkable month full of exercises, training and exchanges.” He said: “Collective defense and the presence of allies are the best deterrent.”

Germany stations combat-ready brigade in Lithuania

In response to the changed security situation in Europe, the German government has promised to permanently station a combat-ready and independently capable combat unit in Lithuania. The brigade is to be operational by 2027. A permanent presence of around 4,800 soldiers and around 200 civilian Bundeswehr members is planned. The advance command with around 20 soldiers arrived in Lithuania on April 8.

Recently, public doubts have been raised as to whether the timetable for equipment and infrastructure is set. However, Lithuania’s military believes that the construction of the military infrastructure is well underway. By 2025, the barracks for the German soldiers will be built on the military training area near Rudninkai, not far from the border with Belarus, as the Lithuanian Colonel responsible for infrastructure, Rimantas Jarmalavicius, said at an on-site visit. By the end of 2027, several shooting ranges and a large training area for combat vehicles, as well as weapons depots and logistics areas, are to be built around the approximately 40-hectare construction area.

Construction preparations underway, costs borne by Lithuania

“We recently received the confirmed requirements from Germany for the infrastructure,” said Jarmalavicius, standing in front of a cleared area on which the accommodation and sports facilities for up to 5,000 German soldiers are to be built. According to his estimates, contracts with the construction companies could be signed in the summer and the actual construction could probably begin at the end of the year. The costs for this, which are not yet fully known, would be borne by Lithuania.

The barracks will be located within a 170-square-kilometer forested area that was designated as a military training area by special law in May 2022, shortly after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Since then, trees have been cleared and unexploded Soviet-era explosives have been removed from part of the site, Jarmalavicius said. Roads have also been built and other construction preparations have been made.

Source: Stern

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