Massive Deployment of American Tanks Against Russia

MikeG

Senior Member.
Atlantic Resolve.png
Political Insanity: Outgoing President Obama’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve” against Russia: US Sends 3,600 Tanks Against Russia – Massive NATO Deployment Underway

http://www.thelibertybeacon.com/pol...anks-russia-massive-nato-deployment-underway/

Author Michel Chossudovsky speculated in a January 9th article in Liberty Beacon that the Obama administration is deploying military forces against Russia as an “act of retribution” against alleged interference in the US election. It is a claim betrayed by an ignorance of the recent history of US military deployments, unit nomenclature, and overall American force structure.

First, why are US troops there?

Operation Atlantic Resolve began in 2014 as a response to Russia military moves against Crimea and Ukraine. The operation predates the US election by more than two years.

https://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0514_Atlantic-Resolve


Second, where did 3,600 tanks come from?

Apparently, Chossudovsky believes that the US unit deploying to Europe, the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division has 2,000 tanks. A quick look at its table of organization and equipment dispels that [my emphasis]:

Three identical combined arms battalions (CABs); flagged as a battalion of an infantry, armored or cavalry regiment. Each battalion consists of a headquarters and headquarters company, two tank companies and two mechanized infantry companies. The battalions field 48 officers and 580 enlisted personnel each – total: 628 soldiers. The HHC fields 1× M1A2 main battle tank, 1× M2A3 infantry fighting vehicle, 3× M3A3 cavalry fighting vehicles, 4× M7A3 fire support vehicles and 4× M1064 mortar carriers with M120 120 mm mortars. Each of the two tank companies fields 14× M1A2 main battle tanks, while each mechanized infantry company fields 14× M2A3 infantry fighting vehicles
Content from External Source
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformation_of_the_United_States_Army

So, an armored brigade combat team in reality has 87 tanks. If you add the variations of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, which is not a tank, the number does increase, but not anywhere near the original claim by Chossudovsky.

The other 1,600 claimed “tanks” are supposed to be at a Cold War era base in the Netherlands.

EYGELSHOVEN, Netherlands - U.S. and Dutch military and diplomatic leaders cut a ribbon to officially open the Army Prepositioned Stocks site in the Netherlands Dec. 15, which will store and service about 1,600 U.S. Army vehicles.

Located at the Eygelshoven Army Depot-BENELUX, the 500,000 square foot storage space is part of the European Reassurance Initiative and will house a brigade's worth of equipment, including M1 Abrams Tanks, M109 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzers and other armored and support vehicles.
Content from External Source
https://www.army.mil/article/179831/prepositioned_equipment_site_officially_opens_in_netherlands

In fact, most of the vehicles that will be at this site are trucks and cargo vehicles mixed with combat vehicles.

Lastly, if you look at force structure, American ground forces have been declining for the last four years.


WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 25, 2013) -- The Army announced June 25 that 10 brigade combat teams based in the United States are slated to be reorganized by the end of fiscal year 2017.

In addition to the 10 brigade combat teams, known as BCTs, announced today, the Army also announced last year it would cut two brigades in Germany that complete inactivation this fiscal year. These changes will reduce the number of BCTs in the Army from 45 to 33.

With the expected cuts in BCTs, the Army will be left with a mix of 12 armored BCTs, 14 infantry BCTs, and seven Stryker BCTs. Those numbers could change in the future. Campbell said he feels confident that the brigades identified already would be the ones to be "reorganized." But if the Army finds, in the future, that it needs a different mix of brigades than what has already been identified -- some existing brigades might instead be changed to meet the new requirements.
Content from External Source
https://www.army.mil/article/106373/Brigade_combat_teams_cut_at_10_posts_will_help_other_BCTs_grow/
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
There is a NATO exercise planned in Poland and the Baltic states for late Jan.
http://uk.businessinsider.com/r-us-...s-for-nato-exercises-in-eastern-europe-2017-1
BREMERHAVEN, Germany (Reuters) - Hundreds of U.S. tanks, trucks and other military equipment arrived by ship in
Germany on Friday to be transported by rail and road to eastern Europe as part of a NATO buildup that has drawn Russia's ire.

Two shiploads arrived in the northern port of Bremerhaven and a third was due in a few days, bringing the fleets of tracked and wheeled vehicles for use by around 4,000 U.S. troops being deployed for exercises in NATO states near Russia....

...In addition to U.S. troops going to Poland, NATO members Germany, Canada and Britain are also sending battalions of up to 1,000 troops each to the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

They say the four battalions, backed by additional U.S. forces on rotation, are justified by Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Those actions alarmed the Baltic states, which worry they could be the next targets of Russian pressure.

Among their equipment will be 87 Abrams M1A1 tanks, 20 Paladin artillery vehicles and 136 Bradley fighting vehicles.

The equipment will be used by the U.S. Army's 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, arriving this month from Fort Carson, Colorado for the first of what Washington promises will be back-to-back nine-month rotations in the "foreseeable future."

Beginning in February, U.S. military units will spread out across Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany for training, exercises and maintenance.

The Army is also sending its 10th Combat Aviation Brigade with about 50 Black Hawk and 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 1,800 personnel, as well as a separate aviation battalion with 400 troops and 24 Apache helicopters.
Content from External Source
Whilst there may be an aspect of NATO sabre rattling here, these exercises are not rare, and this one has been planned since the middle of last year at least. It must also be pointed out that Russia itself is not innocent when it comes to military posturing along it's boarders in the form of exercises. A quick google of 'Russian Military Exercise 2016' show exercises of various scales along the nations western boarders, the boarder with Mongolia and China, the Russian Pakistan boarder and overseas exercises in Serbia, Egypt and Belarus.

To those of us who lived through the last cold war, although this latest round of posturing isn't a pleasant development, it is nothing new, and both sides do tend to inform each other of these exercises in advance in order to stop mistakes happening that could put a flame under a cold conflict.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
Purely anecdotal but the numbers involved pale into significance when one thinks of the exercises that happened during the Cold War. I went on 2 exercises in Germany, Exercise Lion heart in '84 and Exercise Keystone in '87. Both were mainly British army affairs with a massive movement of men


LIONHEART comprised two interlinked exercises, FULL FLOW and SPEARPOINT, the former, a deployment through the Rear Combat Zone and the latter, the field training exercise for 1(BR) Corps.

Executed in 1984 that involved 131,565 UK personnel, regular, reserve and Territorial Army, the largest exercise since the end of WWII.

290 flights from the UK transported 32,000 personnel. This initial air movement was followed with 150 sailings across the North Sea and English Channel using civilian ferries. The sea routes carried 23,600 personnel with 14,000 vehicles and trailers.
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750 Main Battle Tanks were involved and most crossings over the Rhine were conducted with combat bridging, making the assumption that all civilian bridges had been destroyed. 1(BR) Corps were deployed with 3th and 4th Armoured Divisions and 1st Infantry Division.
Content from External Source
Providing the opposition (Orange forces) were 6,300 German (1 Panzergrenadier Brigade), 3,500 Dutch (41st Armoured Brigade), 3,400 American (1st Armoured Brigade)and 165 Commonwealth (from Australia, New Zealand and Canada) personnel. Lionheart was the first time US forces had operated in Europe with their new M1 Abrams MBT and M2 Bradley combat vehicles. The newly re-formed 5th Airborne Brigade also formed a second opposition group, joined by elements of the Life Guards and 10th Gurkha Rifles.
Content from External Source
http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2016/03/nato-knew-throw-party/

At the end of the day you were looking at an exercise with around 150,000 players. I am happy to stand corrected but the Warsaw Pact command were also invited as observers. The only reference I can find for this is with the Imperial War Museum here for Exercise Keystone


Full description
Tape 90: "15 October 1987" Views of helicopter with damaged tail rotor. Warsaw Pact officers, led by senior Soviet (Russian) Army general, stand talking with British officers before entering building marked "Exercise Keystone - Control Headquarters" and then emerging for group photograph and departure.
Content from External Source
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060018327

An interesting segment is found in Hansard 1988 with some questions raised over the costs of observers and it shows that the UK had sent observers over to the old Warsaw Pact nations as observers (15 in one year).


Mr. Archie Hamilton

Thirty British military personnel have observed 15 exercises at the invitation of Warsaw pact countries under the terms of the 1986 Stockholm document, at a cost to the United Kingdom of some £4,500.
Content from External Source
http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1988/dec/22/exercises

It's safe to say these exercises are not a new thing.
 
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Hevach

Senior Member.
3600 tanks is nearly half the US's entire force (just under 8000 M1s according to wikipedia, including reserve storage) and twice the total deployment from Desert Storm.

I can't actually find how many of tanks the US has on active duty and how many are in reserve, but moving half of the total into Germany can't leave many (if any) active duty tanks to cover everything else the US is doing around the world.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
3600 tanks is nearly half the US's entire force (just under 8000 M1s according to wikipedia, including reserve storage) and twice the total deployment from Desert Storm.

I can't actually find how many of tanks the US has on active duty and how many are in reserve, but moving half of the total into Germany can't leave many (if any) active duty tanks to cover everything else the US is doing around the world.

If the number of armored combat brigade combat teams in the Army (12) is correct, that accounts for over 1,000 tanks. The Marines have their own smaller number.

A fair number of M1A1's have been and still are exported. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, and Iraq are major customers.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m1-intro.htm
 

Auldy

Senior Member.
3600 tanks is nearly half the US's entire force (just under 8000 M1s according to wikipedia, including reserve storage) and twice the total deployment from Desert Storm.

I can't actually find how many of tanks the US has on active duty and how many are in reserve, but moving half of the total into Germany can't leave many (if any) active duty tanks to cover everything else the US is doing around the world.

This infographic puts the number of US tanks at 8,800 but I couldn't figure out their source either.



edit: I've tried to timestamp it to 1min in (the relevant section) but the embedded clip still plays from the beginning?
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
I think the 8,800 number is the total production run of all Abrams variants.

According to an article from last February, the US Army had 6,000 tanks in its inventory in 2016, but that does not mean they are all in active units.

The U.S. Army has 6,000 M1 Abrams tanks and for years has been saying that it doesn't need any more, but the service is requesting $558 million for more tanks in the latest budget.
Content from External Source
http://www.military.com/daily-news/...in-armys-budget-for-more-m1-abrams-tanks.html

The total probably also includes tanks assigned to the National Guard. According to Defense News, the guard has five armored brigades.
http://www.defensenews.com/articles/guard-bcts-face-tougher-training

The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team combines National Guard units from North Carolina and West Virginia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/30th_Armored_Brigade_Combat_Team

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team is part of the Minnesota National Guard
http://www.minnesotanationalguard.org/units/unit_template.php?unit=134bc
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
According to an article from last February, the US Army had 6,000 tanks in its inventory in 2016, but that does not mean they are all in active units.
My source was admittedly just Wikipedia's list of MBTs by country, which sources this website, which is undated but gives the US this inventory:

Army:
586 M1A2
588 M1A2 SEP
4393 M1A1
(total 5567)
Marines:
403 M1A1
(running total 7970)


It's definitely out of date, however, cross referencing with other sources from the wikipedia page. It has Egypt at 777, which they've expanded to 1130, and lacks several countries that have added Abrams variants to their armies in the last few years.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
The Center for Public Integrity wrote a good article on the overproduction of Abrams tanks back in 2012. (my emphasis)

After putting the tank money back in the budget then, both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have authorized it again this year, allotting $181 million in the House and $91 million in the Senate. If the company and its supporters prevail, the Army will refurbish what Army chief of staff Ray Odierno described in a February hearing as “280 tanks that we simply do not need.”

It already has more than 2,300 M1s deployed with U.S. forces around the world and roughly 3,000 more sitting idle in long rows outdoors at a remote military base in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
Content from External Source
https://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/07/30/10325/army-tank-could-not-be-stopped

CNN ran the same story in October 2012.
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http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/09/army-to-congress-thanks-but-no-tanks/
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
The total probably also includes tanks assigned to the National Guard. According to Defense News, the guard has five armored brigades.
I'm not sure if the National Guard uses the Abrams at all, but the army reserves and national guard currently have most of the remaining M60 Patton tanks.

Edit: Actually, they must. The guard's recruitment website has job information for an M1 armor pilot and armor crewman.
 

CeruleanBlu

Senior Member.
I'm not sure if the National Guard uses the Abrams at all, but the army reserves and national guard currently have most of the remaining M60 Patton tanks.

Edit: Actually, they must. The guard's recruitment website has job information for an M1 armor pilot and armor crewman.

Indeed they do, in fact, this past year the Guard group from my home state of NC took the US Army 1st place Sullivan cup at the tank competitions, making quite a few of the regular Army folks cringe at the "One weekend a month, two weeks a year," guys shining brighter than the guys doing it full time.

https://www.army.mil/article/167521/Army_Guard_tank_crew_wins_Sullivan_Cup

 

CeruleanBlu

Senior Member.
Yikes.. is it customary for National Guard members to wave their guns in the air at award ceremonies?

:D

When the specialized .45 Colt 1911s themselves are presented as an award for the achievement, yes, they wave them. (They're not loaded, don't fear.)

Here's a previous set of winners from '12 with their trophy .45s.

 
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