In NATO tank competition, U.S. comes up short against Germany

May 16, 2016

German soldiers fire at their target during the Strong Europe Tank Challenge in Grafenwoehr, Germany, on May 11. (Javon Spence/U.S. Army)

Six NATO countries squared off last week in the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, a two-day competition that pitted some of the alliance’s best tank crews against each another in a series of events centered on armored warfare.

The challenge, which concluded Thursday and was held in Grafenwoehr, Germany, was the first of its kind there since 1991. The competition was designed to foster “military partnership” while showcasing the ability of NATO countries to work together, according to a U.S. Army statement.

Germany took top honors in the competition, followed by Denmark and Poland in second place and third place respectively.

The challenge, co-hosted by U.S. Army Europe and the German Bundeswehr, is a nod to the Cold War era and a tacit acknowledgment that NATO will need well-trained conventional forces if it ever has to go to war with a newly-emboldened Russia.

“You’ve got to continue to train; you have to invest the time and resources in the training to have the best possible deterrent force,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, told Stars and Stripes.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced it was quadrupling the 2017 budget for its “European Reassurance Initiative” and has indicated that the United States will soon rotate additional troops into the region in an effort to deter any future Russian aggression.

“This international tank challenge is a part of a series of things that helps us improve our skill,” Hodges added.

The challenge featured seven tank platoons in total. Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Poland all competed with one platoon, while the United States sent two. Each platoon included four tanks manned by four men. Germany took the gold in its Leopard 2A6 tanks, while the U.S. Army in the M1A2 Abrams didn’t place.

Events in the competition included an obstacle course littered with 13 different challenges, a shooting competition, and tank-based navigation. The platoons were given points for each event in an effort to get the most out of 1,000.

While the challenge could mark the beginning of a new trend for the United States and its European allies, Russia has long held, what it calls, tank biathlons. The Russian competitions feature a ballet-like spectacle of armored vehicles and are well-attended by civilians.

Last summer, Russia beat 16 other countries in its third annual international challenge of the sort, although no Western nations were present.



Update – NATO Europe Tank Competition 2016 – Video: HERE


One thought on “In NATO tank competition, U.S. comes up short against Germany

  1. pounce

    Competition such as this should be taken with a pinch of salt. For example when the British army fielded the Challenger 1 tank , it was entered into the NATO –Canadian Army Trophy- and did badly. really badly. This was down to simply not giving the troops selected time to practice. Yet only 4 years later, the Chally 1 in Kuwait performed brilliantly, outdoing every other tank going for no losses and recording the longest ranged tank kill in history:
    ” 4,700m first round FIN kill. It was a supreme technical achievement for man and machine. 4,700m, a shade under 3 miles, is more than three times the 1,200m battle range of the Challenger. The shot is written up in books, sometimes incorrectly, with one book saying it was a Depleted Uranium (DU) round, it wasn’t, it was a normal service FIN round while another book said it was at longer range, it wasn’t, it was 4,700m. I believe that it is the longest range direct fire kinetic round kill ever achieved by a tank on the battlefield.”

    Back to the article, the Danes,Germans are troops burdened by the diktats of political correctness , thankfully the Poles aren’t and neither are the US. Yes on Paper, the the first two look good in a fight, but having served alongside all 4 Nations, I would have the Yanks, Poles,Danes and then the Germans to watch my back



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