US Army fails to make top 3 in NATO tank challenge

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Berlin, May 18 (IANS) American tank crews failed to find place in the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, a competition co-hosted and sponsored by US Army Europe. The three-day event gathered the best NATO crews to compete against each other in a set of armoured warfare tests.

The Strong Europe Tank Challenge was jointly hosted from May 10 to 12 by the US Army and the German Bundeswehr at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, according to RT online.

The three-day event involved crews from Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland and Slovenia — each sending platoons of four tanks — and the US, which sent two platoons of four tanks.

The tank competition appears to be the first of its type to be held by NATO in Europe since 1991, the year the erstwhile Soviet Union was dissolved. Designed to develop armoured warfare skills, the tank challenge is also in line with the NATO trend of planning to counter what it calls an “assertive Russia”.

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Crews taking part in the competition conducted either offensive or defensive operations, including an obstacle course with 13 different sections, a shooting competition, and tank-based navigation. The platoons were given points for each event in an effort to gain the highest score out of 1,000.

The German team took top honours, followed by the Danish tank crew in second. Third place went to Poland. The teams representing the US Army — which sponsored and advertised the event on social media — failed to make the top three.

Notably, all the teams were allowed to use tanks of slightly different types. The German platoon brought a Leopard 2A6, one of the best NATO-developed tanks that features a modified turret, enhanced mine resistance and a longer main gun barrel.

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Denmark and Poland used Leopard 2A5s, an earlier version, while both Italy and Slovenia brought domestically-built Ariete and M84 tanks, respectively. The American crews competed in M1A2 Abrams.



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