PABRADE, Lithuania -- For Soldiers attempting to take a city, a street-to-street battle is a nightmare. Casualty rates are often high.
Traditional means of fire support can be hard to employ because it is difficult to call in air strikes on small bands of urban defenders in heavily populated areas, and helicopters are more vulnerable to rocket-propelled grenades. So it is typically up to the infantry to take the town one building at a time.
The tactics used in urban combat were put to the test Tuesday during an urban warfare exercise, part of Exercise Iron Sword 2016 in Pabrade, Lithuania. That day, the Soldiers of Able Company, 503rd Infantry Regiment conducted an assault on an urban warfare training site. Joining them in the attack were Soldiers from Great Britain, Germany, Poland and Lithuania.
Iron Sword is a Lithuanian-led exercise designed to promote regional stability and security while strengthening partnership capacity and partnership capabilities between Lithuania, the U.S., and NATO member nations.
Working as part of a multi-national battalion, the NATO countries had been taking turns attacking and defending the site over a period of several days.
"We are partnering with our NATO allies to conduct an attack on an urban training site to practice our partnered capabilities and force projection between our allies," said 1st Lt. Logan Gallagher, a spokesman for the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat (Airborne).
After several hours of "fighting," the attack was called, and the Soldiers began preparing for the next day, when they would become the defenders.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe and is capable of projecting forces to conduct a full range of military operations across the United States European, Central and Africa Command areas of responsibility within 18 hours.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.