January has witnessed US Army heavy armour returning to Europe for the first time since 2004 following the move of 2000 combat vehicles from the 3rd Armoured Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) of the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado to Europe.
Since arriving in Bremerhaven, northern Germany in early January the Brigade has moved to Poland and Latvia to participate in NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) exercises there. Following their conclusion the 3rd ABCT will commencing the first US Army nine-month European rotation, where this unit will take up station in seven countries: The brigade’s headquarters plus an armoured cavalry unit and a field artillery battalion will be deployed to Poland; a mechanised battalion to Bulgaria and Romania: a main battle tank battalion to Germany, and a battalion in the Baltic states allowing units to participate in a series of NATO exercises there in 2017.
The 3rd ABCT will be will be replaced by the 2nd Brigade of the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division in September 2017 which will also bring its own equipment. These are the first of several rotations that will see three US Army brigades in Europe in accordance with plans announced in March 2016. These deployments are being performed to deter potential Russian aggression in central Europe, according to General Philip Breedlove, the then Supreme Allied Commander Europe, in charge of NATO’s Allied Operations Command. Gen. Breedlove told the media in March 2016 that the deployment was intended to demonstrate a: “strong and balanced approach to reassuring our NATO allies and partners in the wake of an aggressive Russia in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.”