Poles Win Third Place of the Strong Europe Tank Challenge. “Leopards’ Domination”

14 maja 2016, 12:28
Image Credit: 11th “Lubuska” Armoured Cavalry Division
Image Credit: Spc. Nathanael Mercado/US Army.
Image Credit: Pfc. Javon Spence/US Army.

Polish crew hailing from the 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade took the third place during the “Tank Challenge” competition. The event was won by the Germans, with the Danish crew taking the second position. All three crews have been operating the Leopard 2A5/A6 tanks.

According to the release published by the US Army, the Bundeswehr's crew of the C3 Platoon of the 8th “Highland” Tank Battalion of the 12th Armoured Brigade won the challenge. The second place was taken by a crew hailing from Danish 1st Platoon of the 1st Company of the 1st Tank Battalion, while the Poles, from the 1st Platoon of the 1st Company of the 1st Tank Battalion of the 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, came in third.

All of the three crews listed above used the Leopard 2 main battle tanks, with the Germans using a 2A6 platform, Danish crew using a 2A5DK tank, and Poles utilizing a 2A5 version of the vehicle. The partial results publicized by the Polish press department make it possible to conclude that the 34th Brigade tank crew took the second place in the attack competition, and first place in the defensive operations stage of the event.

Moreover, the competition also involved two US Army platoons, the units which co-organized the event (using the M1A2 Abrams tanks), an Italian platoon (utilizing the C1 Ariete tanks) and a Slovenian unit, with the M-84 vehicles. Among the participants, four-man crews were the majority, with the exception of Slovenians.

In total, the crews could gain 1000 points. 350 could be achieved for offensive and defensive operations, while the remaining 300 points were distributed across six crew competitions, including an obstacle course, personal weaponry shooting, vehicle identification, NCBR weaponry environment decontamination and rescue procedures, IED-response skills and medical support.

The competition took place in Grafenwoehr, Germany, and it was organized jointly by the Bundeswehr, in collaboration with US Army Europe. This is the first competition of this type that has been organized by NATO since 1991. It is stressed that this type of operations makes it possible to raise the quality of training and improve the interoperability skills between the NATO armies.

Strong Europe Tank Challenge is also significant due to the context, within which NATO member states are getting interested in the armoured weaponry again, in the light of the growing international tensions. This is expressed, e.g. by expansion of deployments of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles in Europe by the US Army. Moreover, representations have been made, claiming that full brigades would maintain rotational presence overseas. Additionally, ultimate quantity of the Leopard 2 tanks serving in the front-line units of the Bundeswehr has been increased. Secondly, Germany and the Netherlands decided to create a joint armoured battalion.

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