M1 Abrams tank (courtesy cherrylola.com)

“In a significant move to deter possible Russian aggression in Europe, the Pentagon is poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 American troops in several Baltic and Eastern European countries,” nytimes.com reports. “The proposal, if approved, would represent the first time since the end of the Cold War that the United States has stationed heavy military equipment in the newer NATO member nations in Eastern Europe that had once been part of the Soviet sphere of influence.” Stored. I like that. So when can I store a proper fully-automatic rifle in my gun safe? *crickets chirping* Anyway, considering the size of the Russian forces amassed on its borders, the U.S. stockpile is small beer, a symbolic move . . .

The “prepositioned” stocks — to be stored on allied bases and enough to equip a brigade of 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers — also would be similar to what the United States maintained in Kuwait for more than a decade after Iraq invaded it in 1990 and was expelled by American and allied forces early the next year . . .

As the proposal stands now, a company’s worth of equipment — enough for about 150 soldiers — would be stored in each of the three Baltic nations: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Enough for a company or possibly a battalion — about 750 soldiers — would be located in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary, they said . . .

American military specialists have conducted site surveys in the countries under consideration, and the Pentagon is working on estimates about the costs to upgrade railways, build new warehouses and equipment-cleaning facilities, and to replace other Soviet-era facilities to accommodate the heavy American weaponry. The weapons warehouses would be guarded by local or security contractors, and not by American military personnel, officials said.

What could possibly go wrong? Other than Russian special forces parachuting in and taking over in about, what? An hour? Still, it’s a start. And good luck to American military personnel in these states if the excrement hits the rotating air circulation device.

69 Responses to U.S. Sends the Big Guns to Eastern Europe. Well, Some . . .

        • I think “overload” was a better translation. Either way, she blew her SECSTATE debut good with that.

        • she thought that the “reset” button was the staples “easy” button. she put about as much thought, research, and planning into it as you would put into buying a box of envelopes at staples.

  1. Yeah. Bad bad Russia. Here’s the story. China and Russia smart enough to do there energy trades OUTSIDE the bullshit fake Dollar backed by NOTHING by the West cartel.

  2. The only other options are to pre-position our equipment in the USA where there is no chance to move it forward in time; place it on preposition ships which would need limited (or nonexistent) port access year round; or keep it in western Europe, which means using rail and roads that cross several frontiers and require the permission of those countries to enter. Forward deployment is the only logical option, and yes it does entail some calculated risk. It cannot compensate for faulty leadership, but that’s an issue beyond DoDs control.

    • so a bde’s worth of stuff unmanned, in storage, dispersed all over eastern europe could be over-run before it could be manned.

      seems like a token effort.

      • Aaron, I spent many years working deployment planning and pre-positioning (PREPO) of equipment at US Central Command (CENTCOM). Much of it was stored in locations relatively far from any potential battlefront, and the rest was kept on ships. Attacking such sites would be difficult for most countries because it means placing combat forces behind enemy line without any realistic means of resupplying or reinforcing them. A modern brigade set is massive. I’ve looked at the field of equipment we had stored in one Kuwait location and was stunned to learn it was only part of a single brigade set. Insurgents or an airborne assault force could do some damage to those assets, but it likely would be at the cost of losing the entire attacking force, which is being penny wise but pound foolish. Those assets are not stored without protection from both host nation security (countries which happen to be very pro-USA) and our own quick reaction forces which could be flown in. So yes, there is a risk associated with forward pre-positioning of material, but it is less of a risk than trying to bring equipment and personnel in after the fighting has started. Personnel falling in on PREPO assets can be in combat within 48-72 hours. All others will take 30 -90 days to get there in force, marry up with their assets, and move into the fight. The units that fall in on PREPO may be considered speed bumps by some, but they are much more than that. The lethality of a modern armored combat brigade equals or exceeds an Army corp in WWII. The Russians are not good at power projection, but they like to pretend they are. It’s all part of a massive psychological warfare program they call MASKIROVKA (deception, deceit, treachery, sabotage, etc.). The only real wildcard in the game is the will of American leadership. A president like Reagan would have no qualms about taking a risk to deter and, if necessary, blunt a Russian assault. A risk-averse president might squander any opportunity, no matter how much equipment and personnel were available to the task. It really boils down to attitude. If the Russians can convince us we have no chance of victory, then they already have won without ever firing a shot or crossing a border.

        • yes, i know all about heavy brigade combat teams. as powerful as it is, it wouldn’t last long fighting dispersed against a force 10 times as large.

          yes, a unit alerted and ready for deployment can get to the equipment in eastern europe rapidly..but not as rapidly as the area can be over-run. don’t have to capture or destroy each kasern. just make it dangerous to get there.

          commercial airliners need safe airspace. even cargo aircraft need safe airspace.

          the real point of prepo’ng a mere BCT is to show Putin that we have skin in the game.

        • Having skin in the game is part of it, but there is more. A BCT need not disperse and engage with every element invading an allied nation. And they will not be operating alone. Host nation forces will be engaged in combat before our ground forces arrive, and NATO air power, particularly US air power, also will be engaged early in the fight if we decide to commit to action. Invading forces cannot advance far without massive combat service support, and air power will be effective in choking their resupply routes and destroying their reserve stocks. As with anything relating to war, there must be an assumption of risk. Given all the other options, short of having a large permanent military presence, this remains the best way to counter any Russian intentions, and let them know we are serious about defending our friends. If we fail to do so, we send them quite the opposite signal and court disaster.

        • the message this sends is that we are half-hearted. better than not caring at all, i guess, if you want to look at the glass half-full.

          but a single BCT is essentlially immaterial, except as a tripwire and token. if war were to break out, a single BCT would be quickly swamped by superior numbers.

          just like American BCTs have grown in firepower, so has everyone else’s ground units. a BCT is certainly worth more than one Russian BDE. but how many? 3? 9? Still gets destroyed.

          certainly you can’t possible believe a single dispersed BCT changes the balance of forces. if you say the allies could hold the line until the BCT was manned, then the allies don’t need the BCT anyway.

        • Don’t focus on the single BCT. It is just one part of a larger plan, and in time that number will grow if the plan is implemented. That is a political decision that I expect the next president will exploit.

        • “show . . . that we have skin in the game.” Isn’t that the central point of pre-war activities?

          In the lead-up to WW-II the Brits told Hitler how much he could take of other peoples’ territory without fear they would intervene. And so, they took that much; and, then they took more. And all the while, Germany was building its capacity for war.

          If, instead, the Brits and French had put skin in-the-game at the first evidence of belligerence perhaps WW-II might have been averted.

          Obama drew a line-in-the-sand on chemical weapons in Syria; and, when that line was crossed, he promptly re-drew the line to show that the US had no skin in-the-game.

          Admittedly, it’s expensive and risky to put skin in-the-game before there is a wholesale break-out that directly affects our core interests. But waiting until our core interests are invaded has the downside of being more expensive still.

        • BTW, let me add this: Reagan would have NEVER played “chicken” with only a BCT. You may recall that when Reagan was president that the US had something like over 300,000 Army troops in Europe, plus plenty of Air Force assets and significant naval assets.

          Even in the 90’s there were two heavy divisions and four Apache battalions, plus corps artillery.

          My real point is that drawing down to one Stryker BDE at Graf and one Airborne BDE in Vincenza is too light a footprint. We have taken economy too far. prepo’ng a BCT, all spread out, is just a token effort.

        • I agree we’ve taken our force levels far too low in Europe. And the senior leaders in place there know this, but they cannot arbitrarily raise them. All they can do is make requests to the Joints Chiefs of Staff and try to convince the SECDEF and president to take appropriate action.

        • one last point, Bill, I bet the Poles would love to have the US set up a permanent base there, instead of rotating units through the the training areas such as Drawkso Pomorski. then you are forward deployed and the troops to man the equipment are already there.

          kinda like we may be doing in…kuwait, your old stomping grounds.

        • Not only the Poles, but the Czechs, Lithuanians, Estonians, etc., would very much welcome a permanent US/NATO presence. We have repeatedly failed to act on these requests in the past out of fear of upsetting the Russians. But again, that is a matter best left to the politicians. It is outside the scope and authority of the military.

    • Beats several pages of flaming comments on evil gays or liberals, if you ask me.

      Then again, I could remind that quite a few American conservatives lately, especially the more extreme ones (Tea Party etc), are strangely fond of Putin, precisely because he also doesn’t like gays and liberals – and his dislike goes beyond words. It feels like some people here are jealous. One guy even told me that Putin is awesome because he throws people in prison if they disrespect religion – referring to Pussy Riot, of course – and that something like that would be awesome to deal with them damn libruls here in the Land of the Free, as well.

      How’s that for a flamebait? 😉

      • pussy riot…in prison…sounds more like a porno title than an actual news event! truth can be stranger than fiction.

      • I’m not aware of any current Tea Party politician or member who fondly supports Putin. In fact, based on my personal opinion as a local Tea Party member, I think Putin is a Fascist. Which I guess is ironic since many of his supporters call his enemies the same thing.

        Ron Paul for some reason defends Putin’s actions, but Ron Paul’s foreign policy is pseudo Liberal, blame America for the world’s troubles.

        • huh, so any Tea Party dude who is a Putin nuthugger isn’t “really” a Tea Party dude?

          “No true Scotsman…”

        • I’m not necessarily talking about politicians or even members, but rather people who believe that Tea Party is the best thing since slice bread, have dozens of stickers to that effect on their cars etc. They might well be members, I haven’t asked. But even if they’re not, when it comes to the elections, they’re certainly part of that power base.

  3. I really don’t think the Russians are afraid of Obama….they see him as a weak, know nothing do nothing wind bag….and they are correct….

  4. speed bumps. A thousand US soldiers get killed, wounded, captured if Putin flexes his muscles and Americans get pissed and give the .gov whatever they want to push the war.

      • They said the same thing about World War I. That it wouldn’t last more than a few weeks because with how modern economies are so tied together. Now we hear the exact same thing again. And Russia in particular is a dangerous case I think, because our economy is not tied a whole lot with Russia and Russia’s economy itself is more dependent on fossil fuel exports, not market capitalism. The Russians also are used to their economy being terrible. They put up with things that no Western population would. Hence why Putin right now has such a high approval rating while the economy is terrible.

      • >> Won’t be a war. Our economies are too tied together.

        There was a guy by the name of Norman Angell, who, after doing a quite deep study of his contemporary worldwide economy, has concluded the same thing. He was so convinced of it that he wrote a book, titled “The Great Illusion”, where he eloquently argued in favor of his point. His main points were that in this era, the effort that is necessary to exert to make any gains in territory or resources overshadows those gains, and that any country that would pursue war would ruin itself because its economic dependencies on foreign trade would be dealt a fatal blow. Since these were readily obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense, it was clear that politicians would steer away from warmongering purely for the sake of self-interest and profit.

        The book was very well received, and for the next couple of years, has gotten praise heaped on it, in form of reviews in prominent with titles like “War Becomes Impossible in Civilized World”.

        Five years after that book was published, WW1 began. Every conclusion that the author has arrived to, with respect to the effect that war had on the economies of participating countries, was proven to be correct. Yet it did not stop the politicians from starting the war.

      • Wrong. Look at the latest Vice video from Russian-Ukrainian war.

        https://youtu.be/2zssIFN2mso?t=16m11s

        Go at the part where he visits the soldier’s hometown at about 16th minute. Russia has no economy. They have oil, gas, some other resources, military manufacturing and a little space industry.

        Apart from families, these people have nothing really to live & look for outside of their military lives.

    • If Obama gives a speech with a couple “stern words”, the Russians will probably withdraw…………………………………………………

      LOL!

  5. The M1 is nice but I might pick the A-10 if I were going to a tank battle…especially if there were some Raptors overhead.

  6. Sending weapons to Eastern European allies is a refreshing change of pace from sending weapons to Mexican druglords.

    • And hopefully American troop presence in those countries will prevent another “border conflict”. Russia knows that if they harmed a hair on the head of an enlisted man, it’d have a very bad outcome. We have a stronger military, and that’s not counting the rest of NATO. Who is going to back them up if it comes to that? Iran? Syria?

    • Would you rather we do nothing while Russia builds up large armed and armored forces along the border and allow it to bully these countries into doing what Russia wants? You do remember the Ukraine, yes? And you are aware that despite the denials, there are 50,000 Russian troops within 5 miles of the Eat Ukraine border, and that all of those tanks and BMPs being used by the “rebels” didn’t exactly grow on trees, right? Do you remember Georgia a few years back? Russia has been sending ships and bombers as close as possible to the borders of these countries, along with Sweden and England in the recent past. Russia is flexing its muscles in order to see how far the West will bend before it refuses to back down further. And as long as the West does nothing, Russia will continue to be the biggest bully on the block.
      Does Russia want a war? You will notice that Russia can send in troops, ammunition and supplies into East Ukraine unimpeded, but the moment NATO commits to sending in noncombatant trainers, Russia screams bloody murder over this “escalation” of the conflict/ Who is kidding who? China is doing the same thing–if we move to protect our interests or those of our allies in the south China Sea, China claims that we are interfering with China’s internal affairs. Take a look at where these disputed islands are and you will see what is really going on–these islands are thousands of miles from the mainland, and many are right off the coasts and within the exclusive economic zones of other countries. Umm hmm, yeah, China, your territory alright!

  7. So now if russia starts rushing around they have to be careful not to kill our soldiers….

    The old saying was “an attack on an american soldier is an attack on america”.

    None of us care about some baltic soldiers, but kill one of ours and bad stuff happens. So basically a political but strategic move.

      • I’d take that bet. If the administration was going to do that, it wouldn’t preposition equipment. Yes, this is a political gesture, and it is small, but there are thousands of pre-positioned tanks in Germany and Finland, and soon there will be tanks in Poland along with A-10s.

        • A couple of squadrons of A-10’s armed with the latest countermeasures and ordinance would be a significant problem for the Ruskies were they to make an incursion into adjacent sovereign territory “ostensibly’ under NATO protection.

          Plus, a-10’s (and other aerial assets) can be staged in theater yet away from immediately vulnerable territory for quick reaction, *If* NATO (and this administration’s) leadership has the ganas to actually make a strategic move rather than stick their head in the sand a ‘la Neville Chamberlain.

    • Lurker, Obama doesn’t have the balls to stand up to Putin. Pushing some sand suckers around the Middle East is one thing, going up against Putin is another. Obama probably pisses himself when this stuff happens, changes his drawers and heads to the gulf course..

  8. America is not a serious country. When you accept this, you can see why Putin AMOGs Obama at every turn.

  9. It’s a tripwire. If they were attacked, we’d go to war to avenge them. Still, I’m seriously confused…

    We take away guns from US citizens, but sell them to drug lords. We overthrow dictators jumping through our hoops, but don’t attack dictators building nukes. We let Russia invade some neighbors, then do this for others.

    I feel like our foreign policy is being managed by an idiot with no short-term memory. It changes every day…

  10. The removal of the heavy armor from Europe is something that has been in play for years, before Obama. Part of it is due to certain countries in Europe themselves wanting us to leave and also faulty Pentagon planning assuming that Russia would not be a threat again. They made the same mistake with removing NORAD from Cheyenne Mountain in 2006, because the Russian nuclear threat was a thing of the past. Now less than ten years later and they’re moving NORAD back into the mountain. The Philippines told us to leave back in the 1990s as well. Then they got some real bullying experience from the Chinese and have now asked us to come back, so we are re-opening a base there.

    IMO, we need to start conducting training exercises with heavy armor in Europe to show the Russians that we can respond militarily if needed to any aggression of theirs into NATO. That is what we did routinely during the Cold War.

      • And give their Anti Air crews plenty of targets. I absolutely love A-10s. But they need really good anti air suppression these days.

    • But I already sold/painted my OD green tacticool stuff and switched everything over to FDE… Argh I can’t keep up with this industry and its ever changing concept of cool!!! Maybe I should just buy everything in Multicam ACU patterns because its multi-environment….Right???

  11. Ah. I almost forgot what living under the threat of global annihilation felt like. Its like being in middle-school all over again. Such nostalgia. Thanks Obama!

  12. Still it’s a start????
    If we’re lucky it won’t be the start of WWIII.
    We really need to rethink our role in all these conflicts.

  13. Last time I visited my brother we got to discussing Russia, and if Putin could take Europe. We figured if he played his cards right he could take Europe minus the UK in 3-5 days (assuming he could keep the preparations for the attack secret). Most of Europe has a pretty pitiful sized military. You chose a time like Christmas when bases tend to be minimally manned and many are away visiting family and friends, start with bringing down cellular networks, covert unit striking AA positions, striking runways at Air Bases with cruise missiles, Bombers targeting bases, Fighters sweeping the skies an hitting targets of opportunity, and Paratroopers dropping into larger bases, You would cripple Europe defensive capability within hours. 3-5 days later and you would have Europe mostly all secured. UK would probably be wounded pretty badly though I believe that after those 3-5 days they would be able to organize enough of a defensive to prevent an immediate invasion, and the US would be scrambling to get Units over there to help defend. What happens from that point I don’t have a clue.

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