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Strong Europe Tank Challenge

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  • Strong Europe Tank Challenge

    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 other 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 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.
    Well done to Germany, the Leo 2A6 looks like a nice piece of kit.

  • #2
    The only one who published any of their point results (partially) was Poland, and from that one can draw conclusions that other than hitting what they're aiming for 3-out-of-4 times they did not perform particularly great. With their relatively good results in comparison to the others in the firing parts - Germany was the only one on par - one can also draw a conclusion that gunnery ain't all that great in general nowadays.

    Slovenia kinda was semi-out-of-the-running btw since they did not do live fire (no training ammo available for their M-84/T-72). All placed teams used Leopard 2 in localized current versions.


    • #3
      Other than the obvious focus on COIN for the last 623 years, anybody knowledgeable want to comment on the US Army's non-placement?
      Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


      • #4
        I'm wondering if manual vs auto loading of ammunition played a part, or different emphasis in training such as popping out of cover to take a quick shot and getting back quickly vs shooting on the move etc.

        From what I've found the competition had 8 events over 3 days for a total of 1000 points: offense and defense lanes, 350 each; team PT, obstacle course, pistol shoot, vehicle ID lane, tank recovery lane, and IED lane, 50 points each.


        • #5
          Offense and Defense Poland got first in one and second in the other at around 275-280 points each, trading off with Germany. The points in these - with very slight modifiers, possibly including whether multiple shots had to be fired on a target - were awarded pretty much along the lines of how many targets were destroyed from defensive positions (with switching between positions inbetween) and an offensive war drive.

          Slovenia had a rather special position overall: they had the only auto-loading tanks, they were apparently firing laser instead of live ammo and they only had 3 men per tank along instead of 4 (due to autoloader).

          Tanks fielded were:
          - Germany : Leopard 2A6M
          - Denmark : Leopard 2A5DK
          - Poland : Leopard 2A5PL (note: not 2PL)
          - USA : M1A2 SEP (v2)
          - Italy : Ariete C1
          - Slovenia : M-84A4 Sniper

          The Italian team in their Arietes managed to routinely fire too low to hit their targets (below: offensive track), in a way that i've seen German tankers comment that they'd expect better of conscripts on their first live fire exercise:


          • #6
            P.S.: The seven platoons were:

            - Denmark : 1st Pl, 1st Coy, 1st Tank Btl, 1st Brigade
            - Slovenia : Wolf Pl, 45th Tracked Combat Vehicle Center, 157th Logistics Battalion, Logistics Brigade
            - Poland : 1st Pl, 1st Coy, 1st Tank Btl, 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, 11th Armoured Cavalry Division
            - Germany : C Pl, 3rd Coy, 8th Mountain Tank Btl, 12th Armoured Brigade, 10th Armoured Division
            - Italy : 1st Pl, 2nd Coy, 8th Btl, 132nd Regiment, Ariete Armoured Brigade, Friuli Division
            - US 1 : 1st Pl, D Coy, 2nd Btl, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
            - US 2 : 3rd Pl, C Coy, 2nd Btl, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division

            (Notes: Denmark only has one tank battalion left and Slovenia sent 20% of their tanks to Germany for this. The German unit is an active company cadre for a reservist battalion that's planned to be reactivated in the next 2 years.)

            2nd P.S.:

            Originally posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
            the Leo 2A6 looks like a nice piece of kit.
            The German tanks were about the oldest ones we have in active service. The 2A6 model introduced 15 years ago was superceded by the 2A6M (with more armour, specifically mine protection) about 5 years later and more recently since 2014 by the 2A7 for sand box deployments (new APU, central AC, Barracuda MCS cloaking system, new fire control and other electronics and new HE-MP-T ammo). Sometime in the next 1-2 years we'll introduce the 2A8, there's 84 old A4 units waiting for conversion at 8 million Euro apiece.
            Last edited by kato; 08 Jun 16,, 20:29.


            • #7
              Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
              Other than the obvious focus on COIN for the last 623 years, anybody knowledgeable want to comment on the US Army's non-placement?

              The US rarely places, most of the European teams are dedicated competition teams while the USAR has as a matter of course simply sent regular crews. We used to get stomped in Canada.... People thought we were over blown, until we went through the Republican Guard like a light saber through air smelling like butter...


              • #8
                None of the European teams are competition teams - we don't have enough men or tanks anymore to field that kind of thing (and there haven't really been any competitions of this type since the early 90s). The competition took place on the same training grounds that the unit that the US platoons are part of have been using since the beginning of their rotation to USAREUR.


                • #9
                  Interestingly two weeks after the Strong Europe Tank Challenge came the Nordic Tank Challenge - in Denmark, and somewhat biased towards Danish training. And not really much to do with tanks, since apparently there was no firing their guns...

                  That one included 16 teams (2 from each nation, 4 from Denmark), of which 14 used Leopard 2A5DK borrowed from the Danish Army. The only teams bringing their own tanks - and the only ones not using some Leo variant at home - was the US Army. Averaging the results of the teams, that one by score went: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, USA, Germany, Poland, Canada.


                  • #10
                    The Germans need to step up their game.


                    • #11
                      Jane's too - the 95 combat-ready include 5 Leos that are used for technical training - that is taken apart and reassembled on a weekly basis. The 53 with industry include all Leos currently in maintenance, not just those being upgraded to 2A6M+ (the 2A6M+ upgrade involves 50 tanks and started in 2015, conveniently also reducing tank numbers during 2016 - but these have been flowing back to the troops, somewhere around half are done).

                      It's mostly a gamble on budget distribution. Spare parts for those 86 are being delivered in February 2018, in other words such that they don't fall into the 2017 budget (okay, the MoD blames the industry for late delivery, but it's just so convenient...). The current readiness amounts to 52.5% for a target number of 70% - of tanks with the troops, not including those with industry. In absolute numbers it's a reduction of 30% in combat-ready Leopards compared to the year before.

                      Main failure on those not combat-ready are drive sprockets (the February delivery is for 4,000 units). The MoD blames the increase in exercises since 2015 for the increasing failure of these parts. They're also putting up a smoke screen in the press blaming vintage 1995 turret hydraulics, but none of the German Leo models are still using these (they're on the depot 2A4 models we're selling others though, and there they're one of the main points to get upgraded).