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US armour brigade begins rotations in Europe to counter Russia

10 January 2017
Combat vehicles with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, disembark at Bremerhaven, Germany, on 6 January 2017. The equipment is to be shipped to Poland for certification before deploying across Europe for partner training events. Source: US Army/Sergeant 1st Class Jacob McDonald

A rotational US Army brigade combat team arrived in Europe on 6 January as part of an effort to reassure Eastern European allies who fear Russian incursions.

The first equipment sets from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), 4th Infantry Division, disembarked at Bremerhaven in Germany on 6 January, marking the start of back-to-back rotations of US soldiers and armour in Europe.

"The brigade equipment, about 2,800 vehicles and containers, is scheduled to move from Bremerhaven by rail, commercial line haul, and military convoy to training areas at Drawsko Pomorskie and Zagan, Poland, where the brigade will consolidate before relocating units across countries from Estonia to Bulgaria beginning in February," the US Army said.

Under Operation 'Atlantic Resolve', US Army Europe has planned for continuous rotations of US-based ABCTs, as part of a wider effort to balance against Russian influence in the region with US presence, known as the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).

This first ABCT rotation will include "training with seven countries" and deployments to existing Polish military installations in Boleslawiec, Skwierzyna, Swietoszow, and Zagan. It will also move a battalion to the Baltics that will "remain positioned there until NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence, or EFP, battlegroups are in place" to support 'Atlantic Resolve' mainly in Bulgaria and Romania, and another battalion to Germany's Grafenwöhr Training Area to conduct training and maintenance activities.

The 3rd ABCT will conduct a capstone training event in Poland in July and be replaced by another ABCT in September.

This incoming brigade will deploy across Europe from Bremerhaven, enabling the US Army to evaluate infrastructure capacity for moving an ABCT from a single port. The army will consider landing at and deploying from multiple ports for the rotation that begins in September.

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