All of us are witnesses of US Special Operations Forces (SOF) continued activity in the Baltic region. This fact is demonstrated by the participation of the V-22 Osprey convertoplanes in the military exercises, which take place in the Baltic countries regularly. The US SOF staff are studying the Baltic battlefield diligently -- this is how NATO considers the territory of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
It's necessary to mention that the V-22 Osprey is the primary assault support aircraft for the U.S. SOF and Marine Corps. And several SOF convertoplanes were spotted in the Baltics.
By the way, the presence of SOF operators in this region was officially recognized in January 2017. Even the Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command General Raymond A. Thomas stated that SOF personnel will permanently carry out a special mission in the Baltic States.
The nature of these "special" missions remains unknown. But it is commonly known, that one of the main functions of the US SOF is the organization and training of irregular fighters and counter-guerrilla units, their management and supply. And the V-22 Osprey convertoplanes with their long flight range are particularly used for these goals.
Special Operations Forces and bush-fighters
The authorities of the Baltic republics began to prepare for guerrilla war against Russia intensively right after the appearance of American SOF. The leaders of these countries constantly declare that Moscow is about to unleash a war and occupy the Baltic countries.
It's not a secret that Colonel Kevin Stringer, the Deputy Director, Strategy, Plans, and Policy (J5) at Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), supposed the Baltic state's strategy should be based on the Swiss experience during the Cold War.
The basis of this strategy is the immunity of the local population to foreign propaganda; the creation of effective civil defense system; compulsory military service. The main task for the Swiss citizens was to disable the most important infrastructure facilities. As a result of such actions, the aggressor will get nothing but ruins and well-armed and motivated population for guerrilla warfare. Taking this into account, the aggressor is meant to perceive the complete futility of occupation.
It is worth mentioning that some paramilitary irregular units have existed in the Baltic countries for the last years. Manned mostly with nationalists, they haven't been very popular until recently. However, they began to grow in leaps and bounds with growing state support after receiving instructions from Washington.
It's remarkable, that the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union, the Estonian Defense League and the Latvian National Guard "Zemessardze" have been conducting exercises almost nonstop for the last two years. The US SOF instructors teach them how to set ambushes, as well as how to hit low-flying air targets and to conduct reconnaissance behind enemy lines.
The budget requests of the Pentagon for 2019 include $59 million for the purchase of weapons and equipment for the US SOF in Europe; $36 million for the deployment of Special Forces; and $56 million for joint work with allies in Europe.
Hold out or sit out?
The militants of the irregular formations are preparing for the fact that they will have to hold out for two weeks following the defeat of the national armies by the Russian troops. NATO will be able to bring up its forces and to stave the enemy during this time.
However, experts suggest a less optimistic scenario for the Baltic States. The RAND Corporation analysts say: "Britain, France and Germany will be able to deploy a heavy brigade of their armed forces only a month after the conflict begins. At the same time, Russia is capable of pulling up to 150 thousand soldiers to the area of conflict within a couple of weeks". Speaking about the US, analysts say that it will take Washington a few months to deploy the same contingent across the Atlantic Ocean.
Experts are convinced that the Baltic countries will be captured in a few hours in case of armed conflict with Russia. And it's as plain as daylight that any attempts of regular forces or especially "partisans" to resist will lead to casualties and destruction. Guerrilla warfare will be beat down from the start.