World War III could start in Lithuania

How can the crisis of the blockade of Kaliningrad end? And what is the Lithuanian army in case of a new

“special operations”. Discuss

Table of contents

  • Potential conflict
  • Army of Lithuania
  • Other NATO
  • Possible conflict

The review of the armies of our potential opponents has become a permanent rubric, since if there is stability in something now, it is in their appearance. Japan, Finland, well, now also Lithuania.

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But if in other situations we just grabbedhype topic, then in this case everything is already quite serious. Many of you have already expanded your geographical knowledge with the phrase "Suwalki Corridor". If not yet, then we explain - this is the Polish-Lithuanian border, one end resting on the Kaliningrad region, and the other on Belarus, only about 65 km.

The strategic importance of the "corridor" is great for all parties

Briefly, what is it about

Jakub Luczak

  • For the Russian Federation, this is an overland supply route for the Kaliningrad region, where, in addition to the immediate population, there is alsomany military units - aerospace forces, navy, Iskander divisions on duty, air defense and ground forces, in total under a hundred different units. And Poland and Lithuania can quickly cut off the region from the rest of Russia.

  • For NATO, this is also a vulnerable area. - a counter strike by Russian and Belarusian troops is capable of quickly cutting off the Baltic states from land communications with the “mainland” represented by Poland.

Problems with sea transportation to Kaliningradbegan a long time ago, but the land blockade along the Suwalki corridor arose quite recently, after the decision of the Lithuanian government not to let Russian trucks through. In an already tense situation, the stakes jumped even higher. More than a million cut off citizens will not suit Russia in any way.

Potential conflict

Intelligence unit of the Lithuanian army

Despite the fact that the actions of Lithuania do not causeunanimous support neither in Europe nor in NATO, the country retains the right to regulate transit through its territory. And the position of the Lithuanian leadership is still unshakable. What could be the result? World War III as an option, because at the same time Lithuania is a member of the alliance, so any invasion of its territory is tantamount to declaring war on the entire NATO.

Russia's position can also be understood, becauseThe Kaliningrad region is more than a million citizens and a huge military group. It is clear that the region is very vulnerable in the event of a major conflict, and if the transport crisis cannot be resolved, a preemptive strike is extremely likely. This is indirectly confirmed by the supply of weapons to Belarus and, according to rumors (and it is not clear to believe today who and what), the hidden mobilization of the Belarusians.

Of course, speeches about the invasion of the entire territoryLithuania does not go - the military goal will be to seize control of the Suwalki corridor. In this case, Russia could somehow justify its actions not by aggression, but by humanitarian tasks - they say, we cannot leave a million citizens in a situation of blockade.

Paratroopers of the Baltic Fleet on exercises in Kaliningrad

© Press service of ZVO

In this case, speed will be the main trump card -high for the Russian-Belarusian offensive (without the involvement of the Belarusian military, most likely, there is nothing to catch) and, on the other hand, the low speed of decision-making in NATO. As long as the bureaucratic apparatus of the alliance has time to react, it is possible to take control of the corridor, and stop the operation there, showing other countries that there is no direct threat to Lithuania.

But, of course, the situation will hang by a thread, and its development is generally unpredictable. But that's why it's a crisis - there are no simple solutions in a crisis.

Army of Lithuania

The country's armed forces are what will stand in the way of a potential operation, so it's time to take a look at what they are.

The army of Lithuania is the most powerful and numerous of allBaltic. 18,400 people regularly serve (of which about 13 thousand are ground forces). They are joined by about 5,000 people in the Volunteer Forces for the Protection of the Territory, something like the national guard. And, finally, the Union of Lithuanian Riflemen is already completely civilian, undergoing general army and partisan training on their own initiative in the centers of the Ministry of Defense (14,000 people).

Iron Wolf Brigade exercises

The most combat-ready of all - mechanizedbrigade "Iron Wolf", and it is supplemented by a mechanized brigade "Zhemogitia". The remaining forces are deployed after mobilization (about 90,000 reservists). In recent years, the Lithuanians have spent quite generously on military equipment, so their small army is quite well equipped.

The basis of mechanized units is wheeledBMP Vilkas (Wolf) based on the most expensive and advanced German armored personnel carrier Boxer. The armor of the vehicle is designed to protect against any autocannons in the frontal projection, and from 14.5 mm KPVT in the rest (due to the canopy of additional armor, all projections can be protected from 30 mm).

According to NATO canons, the combat module is equipped with 30 mmautocannon Bushmaster II Mk44 with guided projectiles and ATGM Spike. This is an uninhabited Samson Mk II tower from the Israeli company Rafael, and optionally it is equipped with a Trophy active defense system capable of fighting any anti-tank missiles. For 2020, Lithuania had 91 units of such vehicles, and in 2021 it decided to increase the number to 200 in order to transfer the entire Iron Wolf brigade to these infantry fighting vehicles.

Lithuanian BMP Volk

Artillery support for the elite brigade is carried out by the German self-propelled guns Pz 2000, already known to us from deliveries to Ukraine, we wrote in more detail in this article.

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Well, air protection is provided by Norwegianmedium-range systems NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) - resistant to electronic warfare and having today, perhaps, the best performance in its air defense class. The height of the defeat is up to 16 km, and the range depends on the missile and can range from 55 to 180 km.

Other equipment consists mainly ofobsolete vehicles of American, Swedish and German production - M113 armored personnel carriers, M101 towed howitzers and Humvee armored vehicles. Outside of the Iron Wolf brigade, the Lithuanian army’s arsenal is geared up for large-scale guerrilla warfare on its territory due to the trained reserve and its special equipment with light artillery (mortars), ATGMs and MANPADS.

Lithuanian reservists from the "National Guard"

Accordingly, the entire military doctrine of Lithuania is notimplies attempts to repulse the enemy immediately upon invasion - both the Iron Wolf and Samogitia are located in the center of the country, and the Suwalki corridor will rely only on border guards and territorial defense. The enemy will be let into the territory, where they will give him all the delights of a partisan hell in a dense wooded area, where trained militias will be like a fish in water.

Other NATO

However, this will not only be a problem for Lithuania,after all, the border, we recall, is Lithuanian-Polish. In the 2000s, both Poland and Lithuania disbanded large miles near the "corridor", which, probably, they regret today.

Since 2018, Poland has reorganized itsarmed forces to restore combat capability at the Suwalki corridor. The 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division and the 18th Mechanized Division of Tadeusz Buk are aimed at this. If the 16th division is equipped as a reserve - these are the T-72M1 and PT-91 tanks (Polish modernization of 72ki in the 90s) and the BMP-1 in the main - then the 18th has a shock fist in the face of a tank brigade with Leopard-2 A5 and modern howitzers Crab.

Obviously, to carry out the operation without hittingPoland is impossible, so not including these forces in the calculation is naive. In addition, unlike Lithuania, Poland has serious aviation in the region and can act more actively, not to mention other aviation from NATO bases nearby.

Possible conflict

Leopards of the 1st Warsaw Tank Brigade of the 18th Mechanized Division

Despite the bravura claims on the TV show,The enemy is not as simple as it might seem. From Kaliningrad, Russia has a motorized rifle brigade and a separate motorized rifle regiment (with the support of engineering, missile units and special forces). The Belarusian forces are more serious - the 6th (directly at the border in Grodno) and the 11th (Slonim) mechanized brigades with the support of aviation from airfields in Lida. Although it is obvious that this will not be enough without pulling together and transferring additional forces.

Polish-Lithuanian strategy can be calculatedon drawing the enemy into their territory, imposing a guerrilla war on him (which will not make it possible to carry out the operation quickly and will not make it possible to make transit through Suwalki safe). This will be followed by counter attacks by Polish divisions and Lithuanian brigades.

"Shooter" from a paramilitary Lithuanian organization

In this case, the corridor cannot be held.If the entire operation is concentrated only in the area of ​​the Suwalki corridor, one way or another it will be necessary to threaten a larger area in order to keep the most combat-ready Polish-Lithuanian units in tension. But even in this case, NATO countries will have plenty of time to transfer additional tactical groups.

And all this does not take into account NATO's carte blanche on otheractions throughout the geography of possible contact with the Russian Federation. Whether we have the strength for such a conflict, even in its most modest incarnation, is a rhetorical question.