45 Commando nurture Lithuanian Army leaders

Royal Marines shared their experience of decades of war-winning leadership with Lithuanian troops to bolster the Baltic nation’s army.

Green berets of 45 Commando hit the ranges at Barry Buddon – just along the Angus coast from their home at RM Condor in Arbroath – to demonstrate how the Corps nurtures tomorrow’s battlefield leaders.

Exercise Condor Command is a five-day test of aspiring junior leaders to make their mark, using their initiative and experience to make decisions under pressure and carry the men under them to victory.

The training included lectures, section and troop attacks, the art of drawing up and issuing, night-time navigation, and living in the field, culminating in a 48-hour test exercise – all played out in front of observers Corporals Dovydas Stonys and Laurynas Kazlauskas from the Lithuanian Army’s Griffin Brigade, based in the port city of Klaipeda.

There’s a lot of similarities between what you guys do and what we do, but the biggest difference is that we don’t have a preparation course such as this.

Corporal Dovydas Stonys

“It was great to have the Lithuanians on board, shadowing the training team,” Sergeant Alex Sorrel, 45 Commando’s physical training instructor.

“It’s always useful to learn from each other and find out how they operate, and it’s been an interesting opportunity to compare how we do things. Hopefully we can take this relationship further and work together again in the future.”

Lithuania has an army just 12,500 troops strong – about twice the size of the Royal Marines – assigned to a series of mechanised brigades which are charged with defending their 2.7m fellow citizens spread across an area three times the size of Wales.

The link-up between the Condor men and the Griffin brigade was a direct result of this summer’s Baltic Protector deployment by the Royal Navy, which dispatched a sizeable amphibious task group to the region to work with allied forces in the region.

While in Lithuania, Royal Marines Arctic warfare and logistics specialists provided training to test the mettle of potential future leaders and after this exercise in Angus, the two forces intend to continue sharing knowledge and training opportunities.                                                                                                                

“There’s a lot of similarities between what you guys do and what we do, but the biggest difference is that we don’t have a preparation course such as this,” said Corporal Stonys.

“It’s useful as it gives the guys confidence giving orders and leadership before going on for further training. The training package is something we would look to take on back in our units in Lithuania.”