Over the past 16 years, the average American concept of war has shifted to include vast, desert expanses and tan camouflage uniforms, and although a significant terrorist threat remains, the fight against our nation’s enemies has grown to encompass nearly every environment found on the planet. As the recent tragic ambush of American soldiers in Niger demonstrated to those who had lost track of the ever-growing footprint of the Global War on Terror, terrorism does not abide borders.
Despite the still-present threat of terrorism, however, the U.S. and its allies have been forced to adjust training strategies in recent years to address the growing threat of near-peer and peer-level conflicts with nations like China in the South China Sea and Russia throughout Europe’s Eastern borders. Counter terrorism efforts remain the reality of ongoing combat operations, but the ability to counter a large, well equipped military force has re-emerged as a dominant concern as we look to the future.
In Europe, no threat feels more persistent or potentially destructive than Russia, who rekindled old tensions in the region in 2014 with the military annexation of Crimea. NATO has been working to rapidly expand its military presence along Russia’s western flank ever since, and both NATO and Russia have upped the ante on military exercises and war games in the area where the borders meet.
In this video taken in Germany, U.S. Army Soldiers from the Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade conduct platoon-sized live fire training that approximates open warfare on the European continent and helps the soldiers to develop not only tactical proficiency, but a better understanding of the terrain. American forces may have become adept at desert warfare, but a conflict with a military like Russia’s would demand an understanding of how best to conduct combat operations on varied terrain that includes the farmland and forests of Germany.
Watch the drills below, and see what warfare in Europe could look like in the 21st Century:
Image courtesy of YouTube