Last week, the British Army´s Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup took over the lead role for the NATO enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia, ensuring a smooth transition from the outgoing 1 Mercian Battlegroup.
Around 800 soldiers from the 1 Mercian Battlegroup have now completed their six-month deployment in Estonia, having taken part in a wide range of challenging small and large-scale exercises such as Spring Storm and Furious Wolf.
"This was the first deployment of a Mercian-led Battlegroup to Estonia, and I can safely say that this has been a very valuable experience for the troops," said Lieutenant Colonel Dean Canham, Commanding Officer of the 1 Mercian Battlegroup.
"Maintaining our fighting capabilities, we became a fully integrated part of the 1st Estonian Brigade; we learned a lot from our Estonian colleagues and were also able to provide new experiences for them, especially when it comes to combined operations involving tanks and infantry. We wish the Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup well for a successful tour," Canham added.
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Worth, Commanding Officer of the Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup said the Royal Tank Regiment is honored and thrilled by the opportunity to deploy to Estonia.
"We have trained hard to reach the standard required for this demanding deployment, including a challenging six-week deployment in Germany, and are now ready to begin our mission. We are aware of the solemn commitment that the UK has made to the Estonian people and to our NATO allies, and are determined to deliver this important role to the best of our ability," Worth said.
"In particular we are really looking forward to working with our aligned French Squadron and to operate within the 1st Estonian Brigade – the mission will provide a great opportunity to learn from each other and to improve the way that we work together," Worth noted, adding that he personally wants to learn more about Estonia.
The Royal Tank Regiment is the oldest tank regiment in the world, tracing its origins to units formed in 1916, when tanks were first used in battles during the First World War.
During World War Two, Royal Tank Regiment units took part in numerous battles including El Alamein, the Italian Campaign and the D-Day landings in France. In recent decades, the regiment has been involved in various operations, including those in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. This year a squadron from the Royal Tank Regiment has been part of the outgoing 1 Mercian Battlegroup.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste