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History of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion



According to one hypothesis, the name dragoons is derived from the French word dragon, or the Latin word draco, meaning a dragon. The dragoons were soldiers who could fight both on foot and mounted.
According to a second hypothesis, the name dragoon comes from a short barrel musket called dragon, which was originally used by dragoons. The emergence of dragoons in 16th century Europe was inspired by the ambition of accelerating the mobility of riflemen.
Lithuanian Army dragoons were first mentioned in 1618 during the military campaign of the Lithuanian Hetman Kristupas Radvila in Livonia. Organised, armed and trained in a western manner, the dragoons of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy army were part of the foreign legion established in the fourth decade of the 17th century (in addition to it, a national legion existed in the army).
Battle tactics differed little from that of other European dragoon armies of the time. They attacked on horse at a slow trot and used pistols and broadswords in close battles with the enemy cavalry.
There were four well-known Lithuanian Army dragoon regiments in the 18th century:
In 1795, after the collapse of the Polish-Lithuanian state, the Lithuanian army was disbanded. Lithuanian men were forced to serve in the armed forces of other countries.
Although in terms of the Prince Albrecht Lithuanian Dragoon Regiment No 1 of Prussia was a regiment of another country, it is important for Lithuanian history in that many young men from Lithuania served in it. Officers of the regiment were Germans, but the ethnic composition of the soldiers was different. In the 19th century, at least 30% of soldiers had Lithuanian surnames.
In 1917, with the beginning of the Lithuanian national movement, a Lithuanian Dragoon division was created within the 12th Russian army.
On 1 October 1920, the 1st separate centuria (100 men) of the Iron Wolf horsemen was formed in Kaunas. On 1 April 1922, the regiment was renamed the 3rd Dragoon Iron Wolf Regiment. The establishment of the regiment was specifically related to the independence struggle against the Poles.
The 3rd Dragoon Iron Wolf Regiment was revived on 15 August 1935. After the Soviet annexation of June 1940, on 30 August 1940 the Soviet Baltic Military District Command ordered the Lithuanian People's Army to be absorbed into the 29th territorial corps of riflemen of the USSR Red Army. The Lithuanian regiment was disbanded.



Establishment of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion



  • 19-07-1992 - 31-03-1995 - Klaipeda 7th Dragoon Coast Battalion of Iron Wolf Motorised Infantry Brigade.
  • 01-04-1995 - 30-11-1999 - Klaipeda 7th Dragoon Coastal Defence Battalion.
  • 01-12-1999 - 31-08-2004 - Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion of Western Military District Command.
  • 01-09-2004 - 31-12-2011 - Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Training Battalion of National Defence Volunteer Forces. 
  • 01-01-2012 - Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Motorised Dragoon Infantry Battalion of the Land Forces.
  • 01-01-2016 - Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon  Battalion of Motorized Infantry Brigade „Griffin“.



Battalion command appointment and rotation


  • On 19 July 1992, the Battalion was established and led by Lieutenant Colonel Rimantas Baltusis;


  • From 3 July 2002 to 2 July 2003, Lieutenant Colonel Nerijus Rimkevicius commanded the operations in the Battalion;


  • As of 2 July 2003, the Battalion has been given under command of Lieutenant Colonel Petras Milasius. 


  • From 4 December 2005 to 17 July 2009, Major Zigmantas Jankauskas commanded the operations in the Battalion;


  • As of 17 July 2009, the Battalion has been given under command of Lieutenant Colonel Saulius Paliulis;


  • As of 19 July 2011, the Battalion has been given under command of Lieutenant Colonel Algirdas Mackonis;


  • As of 28 June 2013, the Battalion has been given under command of Lieutenant Colonel Giedrius Anglickis;


  • As of 3 August 2015,  the Battalion has been given under command of Lieutenant Colonel Viktoras Bagdonas;


  • As of 27 June 2017, the Battalion has been given under command of Major Arnoldas Vasiliauskas.





During its 25 years of operation so far, the management structure and name of the battalion have changed.
The fact that Lithuanian dragoons have featured in history for a full four centuries now is a solid basis for the Battalion to continue its military dragoon traditions. Understandably, over time the weaponry, tactics and logistics have changed, but the spirit and the idea of the dragoons still inspires the soldiers of the Battalion today and it is no surprise that the Battalion's symbol - a three-headed dragon, a sinister creature - is prepared to meet the enemy with fire and sword, as are the dragoons, who wear this symbol on their uniforms.




Updated on: 2018-01-03
Sprendimas: Fresh Media