A multinational competition in which tanks run over piles of cars sounds too good to be true, right? But that’s what happened at the Strong Europe Tank Challenge.
Tanks from several countries negotiated courses and took a run at piles of old cars, flattening them at speed and rolling on through the dust.
The U.S. team at the third annual challenge June 3-8 was from 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. The team didn’t place in the top three, but did take first place in the shootout event, according to an Army report.
NATO allies and partners have sent teams of tankers to the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany since 2016, The Drive reported.
Tanker crews compete in several events inside and outside of their tanks in the event intended for competitors to train, build relationships and strengthen ties among the countries.
They crushed cars, but there’s more. Teams also conducted gunnery training and precision maneuvering in the tanks, and on foot, they competed in endurance challenges that involve carrying heavy tank supplies.
For each of the past three years, the U.S. competed against Austria, France, Germany, Poland and Ukraine. This year, the United Kingdom and Sweden joined in the action.
A loader for the U.S. team said the event is more than just friendly competition. It allows U.S. forces “to see how they train and how we train, and to put it together and learn something new,” Spc. Darius Schauer said in a DVIDs report. “To see different techniques (on) how to improve my load time, different strategies.”
In the competition, each country provides their own tanks. The Austrian, German, Polish and Swedish teams all brought variants of the German Leopard 2 tank while the Americans, British, French and Ukrainian teams provided M1A2 Abrams, Challenger 2, Leclerc and T-84 tanks respectively.
The U.S. has yet to win the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, while Germany has won two of three contests, including their first place finish this year.
Germany’s record may be challenged, as only nine of the country’s 44 Leopard 2s were operational as of February, according The Drive report.
Noah Nash is a rising senior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. At school, he is the editor in chief of the Collegian Magazine and the digital director of the Collegian, Kenyon's newspaper.