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Army reservists train with the Lithuanian Army’s Iron Wolf Brigade

Reservists from 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment, have been taking part in a large-scale training exercise in Lithuania led by Lithuanian Army's Iron Wolf Brigade.

The Brigade-level field training exercise involves 3,500 troops with fourteen different nations taking part and is designed to enhance the integration between NATO Forces across challenging and heavily wooded terrain.

The reservists were alongside dismounted infantry soldiers from the British Army's 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, who are currently deployed to Estonia leading the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup.

The UK is provided aviation support to the Exercise to demonstrate air and land integration amongst Allied partners provided by 4 Wildcat helicopters from the British Army's 1 Regiment Army Air Corps.

Exercise Iron Wolf is designed to test readiness of the eFP Battlegroup Lithuania, alongside the Lithuanian Armed Forces. It also aimed to develop the tactical procedures required for both offensive and defensive Battlegroup operations, with nations learning from one another and sharing skills and expertise in the process.

The Lithuanian Iron Wolf brigade leads the exercise on the main training area of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in Pabrade, some 140 km northeast of Vilnius. In addition to Lithuanian soldiers, eFP Battlegroup troops from Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg and Norway took part, along with troops from the United Kingdom, Estonia, Italy, USA, Canada, Slovenia and Ukraine. 

The exercise is designed to evaluate the readiness to plan and conduct military operations of the Battlegroup together with one of the Brigade's Lithuanian battalions. 

The current rotation of the eFP Battlegroup in Lithuania has previously finished several internal training cycles and last month conducted the Battalion-level field training exercise Beowulf, enabling them to participate in the Brigade-level Iron Wolf exercise. 

During the first week, the units conducted the integration of assigned formations. In the second week, the 'force-on-force' operations took place, where units train to fight against each other. 

Colonel Mindaugas Steponavičius, Commander of the Lithuanian Mechanized Infantry Iron Wolf Brigade, said:

"We conduct Exercise Iron Wolf to train and evaluate the ability of our units to quickly redeploy forces to any place in Lithuania and to carry out multinational defensive operations. This is the biggest exercise this semester together with our allies. We will train mobility, the ability to quickly reach any area to defend it against any enemy in the territory in Lithuania."

4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment is an Infantry Army Reserve Battalion, made up of over 400 soldiers who serve part-time. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions and have their headquarters in Wolverhampton with 10 further locations spread across the Midlands. The soldiers are trained to a very high standard on a variety of weapons systems and have the skills needed to deploy and operate in different environments. All roles are available regardless of gender and include opportunities to develop as a specialist operator, leader or in support roles such as chef, clerk, Large Goods Vehicle driver and combat medical technician.

The role of the Infantry Reserve has been significantly reshaped under Future Soldier, with battalions ready to support UK resilience tasks, such as natural disaster relief, as well as being trained and equipped to take their place alongside their Regular colleagues when required to protect the nation.

Since the start of 2022, the Battalion has been following a comprehensive training programme preparing soldiers to attend exercises with their Regular counterparts in the 1st Battalion, as well as for overseas deployments such as Exercise Iron Wolf.