Bremerhaven, 2015. DPA photo retrieved from The Local Germany.
How things have changed. The troops and their armour have linked up. "U.S. soldiers also arrived in Wrocław, a city in southwest Poland in which a key NATO and Polish airbase is located." That used to be Breslau, back when the MAIN Train (for Military Authorization Identification Number) looked like this.
New York Central Headlight photograph retrieved from Kingly Heirs troop train web page.
In the current mobilization, the U.S. tankers will be practicing in Poland, and elsewhere along what we used to understand as the Russian Front.
The troops will rotate training in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia for the next nine months. The regional training exercises are also designed to test how U.S. forces respond on short notice to a possible conflict with Russia.The Russians are likely to see these exercises, taking place in five of the former fraternal socialist countries and three former Soviet Socialist Republics, somewhat differently. (Makes me wonder who is interested in portraying incoming U.S. president Donald Trump as a Russian stooge of some kind, but that's well outside my area of expertise, and above my pay grade -- what is the pay grade for emeritus faculty?)
"This is a tangible sign of the United States' commitment to maintaining peace on this continent," Maj. Gen. Timothy McGuire, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe, said in a statement. "It is a sign of the U.S. commitment to this alliance and to peace and prosperity in Europe."
But the deployment of forces isn't the same as it was three score and thirteen years ago.
A Bundeswehr (German army) spokesperson told the Märkische Oderzeitung that trains with a total length of 14 kilometres will be needed to transport all the tanks.Fourteen kilometers, 140 football fields, six flat cars to a field, 840 flat cars. Back in the day, that would be an afternoon at North Platte. Three trains a day, doesn't begin to account for the train sheet on Horse Shoe Curve. And the movements went on like that for the duration.
“From January 7th until January 14th, three trains will transport the military equipment every day,” he said.
According to the Bundeswehr, most of the tanks will be transported by train. But military convoys will pass through Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg