Assigned to NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Poland, U.S. soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted weapons qualification on M2 .50-caliber machine guns mounted on M88A2 HERCULES (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lifting Extraction System) recovery vehicles. The training was performed on July 18 at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, northeastern Poland, where the Battlegroup is deployed. With the United States as the Framework Nation, NATO eFP Battlegroup Poland is currently led by the 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment and comprises three other Allies, i.e., Croatia, Romania and the U.K. They all work in concert with the Polish 15th Mechanised Brigade into which the Battlegroup is integrated.
The M88 Recovery Vehicle is one of the largest armored recovery vehicles (ARV) in use by United States Armed Forces. There are three variants, the M88, the M88A1, and the M88A2 HERCULES (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lifting Extraction System). The M88A2 is slightly larger than its predecessors, at 8.6 × 3.7 × 3.2 m compared to 8.3 × 3.4 × 3.2 m. It has a lower top speed (40 km/h) and a significantly lower road range at 322 km, compared to 450 km. There have been improvements in braking and steering. The M88A2 has upgraded armor protection including armored track skirts and applique armor panels, which both previous models lack. The later M88A1 and M88A2 models are equipped with Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) defenses and a smoke screen generator. The crew number decreased from 5, to 3–4, to 3 through the series.
Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) is a NATO-allied forward-deployed defense and deterrence military force in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. This posture in Northern Europe through Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and in Central Europe through Poland, Slovakia and Hungary and in Eastern Europe through Romania and Bulgaria, is in place to protect and reassure the security of NATO’s Northern, Central and Eastern European member states on NATO’s eastern flank. Following Russia’s invasion of Crimea, NATO’s member states agreed at the 2016 Warsaw summit to forward deploy four multinational battalion battle groups to areas most likely to be attacked. The original four multinational battalion battle groups are based in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland
Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) is led by the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and the United States respectively. The numbers involved, although a notable supplement to the armed forces of the country being defended, are limited so that they avoid seeming to threaten Russia. The chief value of the force is that it is impossible to invade Poland or the Baltic States without battling the soldiers and firing on the flags of the involved NATO states, giving cause for war. It is believed that the prospect of war with all those countries will deter aggression. Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing war in Ukraine, NATO members agreed to establish four more multinational battalion battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia led by Italy, Hungary, France, Czech Republic respectively at 2022 Madrid Summit.