UK-led battlegroup moves heavy armoured vehicles across Estonia in bid to be combat-ready

The UK-led Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup (eFP) based in Estonia has tested its ability to move heavy armoured vehicles across the country in the event of a crisis. 

Exercise Crimson Arrow saw British and Danish tanks, armoured personnel carriers and wheeled vehicles from the Nato Battlegroup travel 100km over Estonia's road network.

The alert exercise saw 22 military vehicles moved from their base at Tapa camp to Johvi Military Base before returning the next day.

This included five Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks, four Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks, nine Wheeled Armoured Vehicles, two Bulldog Armoured Fighting Vehicles and two Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles.

The exercise also allows military and civilian organisations to work together and practice collaboration, with police and local authorities assisting the convoy – which took a total of nine hours.

Heavy armoured vehicles moved across Estonia (Picture: MOD)
The eFP moves heavy armoured vehicles across Estonia (Picture: MOD).

The exercise complements training earlier this year which saw the Battlegroup deploy tanks to the island of Saaremaa during Exercise Tollu Rusikas – marking the first time British tanks had been transported on ferry to the island in more than 50 years.

Estonia lies west of Russia, on the same latitude as parts of Sweden, Norway, and Canada, and to deter adversaries, the troops in the eFP battlegroups are constantly undertaking exercises at different times of the year.

With temperatures in the winter ranging from zero to lower than -20°Celsius, it is essential that personnel and tech remain combat-ready in the cold eastern European climate, ready to move across the country during frosty winter months in the event of a crisis. 

British troops have been deployed to Estonia since 2017, leading the battlegroup established by Nato to enhance European security in 2016. 

In response to the build-up of Russian forces around Ukraine in February 2022, the UK doubled the number of personnel deployed to Estonia with the deployment of an additional battlegroup on a bilateral basis.

Operation Cabrit is the name of the UK operational deployment to Estonia, which as of October 2022, has two separate battlegroups in the Baltic country. 

About 900 British personnel rotate on a continuous basis in Estonia as part of Op Cabrit alongside Danish, French, and host nation Estonian forces.

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