Tapa is a quiet little town with a population of about 6 thousand people in Estonia, lääne-Viru County.
During the Second world war, Nazi Germany occupied the town of Tapa, but the Soviet Union soon bombed it, erasing from the face of the earth, occupied the whole of Estonia and built in Tapa military base. When, after the collapse of the Soviet Union red army soldiers went home, the Estonia had left the tap run by the military.
Near the located near the railway of the city is one of the largest military bases in Estonia. It is now home to nearly 1,200 soldiers, including conscripts, contract soldiers and civilians.
A military base can be identified by a rumbling military vehicles in dark green and passing through the streets the soldiers in camouflage uniforms.
Since Soviet times, the picture has changed dramatically. Tapa became a military base of the coalition, ready to repel threats to Russia. In July last year because of the aggressive policy of Russia, NATO has taken the decision to increase the number of its troops in the Baltic States and Poland.
In March-April this year, the arrival of the British battalion — 800 troops. We are talking about the 5th infantry battalion of the Rifles, upscale unit with armored vehicles in service. The battalion will be in Estonia until the end of the year.
“Our task is to convince the Estonian government and the Armed forces of Estonia that we have made a commitment to defend another NATO country,” says the battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel mark Wilson (Mark Wilson) on the Internet page of the British army.
Long history of the battalion
Battalion Rifles long history. Stationed in Wiltshire, the battalion was formed in 2007 from four regiments, but the traditions go back in 1780-ies. The battalion participated in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He successfully participated in the battles 913, 117 of his men were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military award of great Britain. The main task of the battalion is to move ahead of the main force, the implementation of intelligence operations and the destabilization of the enemy.
The battalion has not arrived yet, but on a military base is already a stir. There are four new barracks for accommodation of NATO troops. The noise mechanisms are dealt with fenced sites, in addition to military vehicles on the streets of the military base moves construction equipment.
To strengthen NATO units to the 800 British troops will be supported by 200 Danish and French soldiers. In the first half of the year in Estonia will be housed soldiers from France in the second half of the year — the Danes. France would also deploy battle tanks “Leclerc”.
The commander of the first infantry brigade major Early in Rausic (Ranno Raudsik) met with the division in Germany during the last military drills before sending it to Estonia. He was stunned.
“I was amazed at the efficiency of the unit and his command. The arrival of the combat units will raise our skills and combat readiness to a new level,” says Rudzik.
Rudzik said that the battalion will become part of the team. Training of NATO forces will begin with the unification and exercises at brigade level in order to be able to act as one.
“We must be sure that you can communicate with each other via radio and other negotiation devices can cause fire and air support, and that we understand how to apply our forces.”
Finland will participate in the exercise “Spring storm”
According to Rudzica in the spring in Estonia will be held several military exercises, the largest of which are exercises of the defence forces of Estonia “Spring storm”. Finland will participate in the exercise.
Rudzik said that the international environment will be beneficial for everybody. Soldiers of urgent military service can work in joint with the international troops in action.
“It is important to see how others work. The NATO battalion will teach valuable lessons to our brigade and the Armed forces of Estonia”.
The major says that typically use mechanized units to fight similar. He calls the battalion effective shock unit.
“We are prepared to carry out tasks in wartime. We realize that our unit is too small to fight against the huge forces of the enemy. During the war our mechanized infantry units can be used for different purposes. For example, as a strike group against the mechanized infantry units of the enemy.”
On a military base is also a company of 120 soldiers. The unit arrived in Estonia after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in the spring of 2014. Companies are changing every three or four months.
Communicator Mandola sander (Sander Mändoja) said that American troops carry out exercises in conjunction with the defence Forces of Estonia and the volunteers of the organizations of defense.
“The Americans will meet with Estonia, our terrain and conditions. They can test their weapons in winter conditions and high humidity conditions. Their presence is testimony to the fact that America has an obligation to NATO, and they are willing, if necessary, to defend Estonia with us,” says Mandola.