Scores of tanks were among hundreds of US vehicles have arrived in Germany as part of the biggest transfer of American armour to the region since the fall of the Soviet Union, reports The Independent on Saturday.
Self-propelled howitzers and hundreds of other vehicles were also unloaded in the north German port of Bremerhaven,
They will eventually be moved into Eastern Europe where they will bolster a Nato operation to deter Russian aggression.
Some 3,500 troops from the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado, will join up with the equipment, which includes 87 tanks and 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, over the next two weeks.
Last October, two months before its ambassador to Turkey was assassinated, Russia had undertaken an unprecedented evacuation drill for more than 40 million civilians to prepare for a possible nuclear war.
More than 200,000 emergency services personnel and soldiers used 50,000 pieces of equipment, according to Russian Defence Ministry-run Zvezda TV network, giving rise to worries whether the ongoing “second cold war” between Russia and other Western powers might lead sooner or later to another full scale.
The US deployment marks the start of a new phase of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an American armoured brigade combat team in Europe on a nine-month rotational basis.
The mission is meant to help allay concerns held by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and other Nato allies about Russia.
The new forces will gather first in Poland, then fan out across seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria. They will be headquartered in Germany where the US has maintained a presence since the end of the Second World War.
Announcing the move last year, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said the forces would take part in regular military exercises across the region with Nato allies.
At that time, US Army Europe Commander, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, called the deployment the “embodiment of the United States’ commitment to deterring aggression and defending our European allies and partners.”
The US also plans to move in a combat aviation brigade with about 10 Chinook and 50 Black Hawk helicopters and 1,800 personnel from Fort Drum, New York, and a battalion with 24 Apache attack helicopters and 400 personnel from Fort Bliss, Texas. They will be headquartered in Germany with some aircraft positioned in Latvia, Romania and Poland.
Other Nato members are also increasing their presence, with Britain sending fighter jets to the Black Sea area, while a battalion of troops, tanks and light armour will deploy in Estonia in the spring, backed by French and Danish troops. Germany also plans to send troops and tanks to Lithuania.
Albania, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia are also playing roles in what Nato has dubbed its Enhanced Forward Presence. The US plans to relocate a Stryker unit from Germany to Poland as part of that group.
Nato has already started positioning equipment and ammunition in Eastern Europe to reduce the time it would take additional units to deploy if needed.