US tanks on rotation to Europe unleash fury on the range
By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 27, 2017
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Army tankers with the 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, let loose a hailstorm of 120 mm armor-piercing and multipurpose rounds from their M1A2 Abrams tanks during live-fire training on Tuesday.
“We are refocusing ourselves on building up our lethality and honing our fighting capabilities so we remain a strong deterrent to our adversaries,” said battalion commander Lt. Col. Jonathan Kluck.
The 3ABCT, based at Fort Carson, Colo., is on rotation as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S.’s commitment to secure and defend eastern Europe in response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Temporarily based at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, the tankers are preparing for Combined Resolve IX, their next exercise, in September. The tankers fired an estimated 837 tank rounds, along with 34,000 7.62 mm and 6,200 .50-caliber bullets during the training.
“We spent a lot of time fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now that we’re refocusing on our core set of skills in the armored world, we are fully ready to go and fight if necessary,” Kluck said.
The tankers began their rotation in January, when they conducted gunnery training in Poland. Soon afterward they conducted multinational exercises with NATO allies and partner nations in the Baltics.
M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks are ready to practice firing during live-fire training at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Army tankers with the 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team are on rotation as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
MARTIN EGNASH/STARS AND STRIPES