Armoured units, year by year, begin to regain their importance in Europe. This is also visible in the announcement, stating that a Strong Europe Tank Challenge event is going to be organized by the US Army, NATO, together with the Bundeswehr. The competition is to make it possible to select the best tank crews among the NATO armoured units. The last challenge of this type took place back in 1991.
In the period between 10th and 12th May, at the Grafenwoehr range in Bavaria, “Strong Europe” NATO tank challenge is going to take place, involving tank crews hailing from seven NATO member states. German and American forces will act as the hosts, since these two countries have an expansive military infrastructure established in the region. Besides the countries above, platoons from Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, and Poland also announced their participation.
The awards will be received by the best crews on 13th May, when the winner of the challenge is going to be announced. Before this happens, tasks need to be prepared, within which each of the participating, platoon-sized, teams would have to showcase its skills. The above refers both to offensive, as well as defensive operations, carried out with the use of armoured vehicles.
Organizers stress the fact that not only would such challenge make it possible to select the best tank crews, but it would also increase the interoperability capacities between the NATO partners, within the scope of the armoured components. The exercise in Grafenwoehr is going to be the first event of this type since 1991, organized by NATO in Europe.
The decision to organize the competition is symbolic, in a sense that it marks a return to the path potential development of the NATO armoured units, within a holistic, strategic approach, concerning the NATO member states. However, significant reductions and cuts have been implemented in the armoured units anyway since the beginning of the last decade of the twentieth century, if one compared their current status, with the one in the late eighties/early nineties. Meanwhile, when presenting the idea of selecting the best NATO tank crews, one cannot help but compare the event to the Russian tank biathlon.