Friday, October 25, 2019

Getting There

The 2nd armored brigade of 1st Cavalry Division is rotating to Europe and using a different port in the Netherlands to make sure we can get there by different routes:

[The] unit is the first "in recent memory" to use the port of Vlissingen in the Netherlands, where soldiers, Army civilians, and local workers started unloading the first of three shipments of equipment early on October 11. ...

Armored units deployed for Atlantic Resolve rotations are typically stationed in Germany or elsewhere in Eastern Europe and have in the past arrived at ports closer to their bases. ...

There was a need to "to reestablish capabilities in all these ports" and "to demonstrate that we could come [into Europe] at a variety of different places," Hodges, who is a retired lieutenant general, told Business Insider in 2018.

Moving the brigade involves getting "3,500 soldiers, 85 tanks, 120 Bradley fighting vehicles, 15 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, 500 tracked vehicles, 1,200 wheeled vehicles and pieces of equipment, and 300 trailers" from Texas to Europe.

The Paladin count seems rather low for a brigade.

In Europe, the brigade will be moved by different methods, as well.

In related news we are practicing the sea part in the face of mines and submarine opposition:

Running dark and nearly silent, last month a convoy of Military Sealift Command ships practiced delivering people and gear to the fight as part of a large U.S. Transportation Command surge sealift capability stress test.

As part of TRANSCOM’s September turbo activation – an exercise activating a fleet of reserve cargo and transport with little notice – five MSC ships assembled at a designated location in the North Atlantic on Sep. 24, sailing in a simulated contested environment, according to a release from MSC.

While the Russian ability to interdict Atlantic traffic is much lower than during the Cold War, our ability to move forces and supplies while escorting them is also much lower. And let's not discuss the Pacific if the Chinese can break through the first island barrier.

UPDATE: Strategypage has more:

The activation order was issued on September 16th and the ships had to ready to depart by the 21st. The six MSC (Military Sealift Command) and 22 RRF (Ready Reserve Fleet) ships included four LMSRs (Large Medium Speed Roll-on/Roll-off) ships, eight FSS (Fast Sealift Ships), two former MPS (Maritime Prepositioning Ships), fifteen Ro/Ros (Roll on/Roll Off ships), a barge carrier, two crane ships and an aviation logistics support ship. ...

Five of the ships missed the deadline to be at sea by the 21st. These included a FSS that departed a day late. Four others were not fit to depart, including three in Texas that had suffered some damage from a recent hurricane.

Of course, as noted, actually making across the ocean without breaking down is another issue altogether.

There is more on logistics in general, and an aside that only China has a major reserve transportation fleet (to support an invasion of Taiwan).