Expansive artillery drills involving 400 US soldiers also test NATO’s new model
Stars and Stripes February 5, 2024
STUTTGART, Germany — U.S. soldiers and allies from across Europe on Monday launched the Army’s largest annual artillery exercise on the Continent, where a new command and control arrangement for NATO also is getting a trial run.
Dynamic Front 24 brings together about 1,000 troops, who are coordinating simulated and live fire rocket attacks over a 10-day span, U.S. Army Europe and Africa said in a statement Friday.
About 400 U.S. soldiers from the 56th Artillery Command and 3rd Infantry Division are taking part.
“This year we continue to enhance our ability to synchronize fires and logistics under multinational command and control structures,” Maj. Gen. Andrew Gainey, head of the 56th Artillery Command, said in the statement.
The exercise area spans 4,300 miles from the Baltics to the Black Sea, Gainey said. It will take place in Germany, Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey.
The exercise will incorporate NATO’s Spain-based Rapid Deployable Corps headquarters, which for the first time will lead participating forces from more than 20 countries, USAREUR-AF said.
The drills call for a series of missions that will test capabilities connected to NATO’s new regional defense plans, which were adopted by allied heads of state last summer at a summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Over the past several years, the Army has renewed its emphasis on artillery capabilities in Europe in connection with concerns about potential Russian aggression. The moves started even before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.
In 2021, the Army reactivated the 56th Artillery Command to coordinate its artillery missions in Europe.
The command was a major force during the Cold War, but like many other Army artillery units in Europe, it went away as part of the long drawdown that followed the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.