Protected by NATO
There’s been much brouhaha over the supposed stockpiling of American equipment in the Baltic States. Well, there’s much less to this than meets the eye at first glance. There’s going to be enough equipment for 6,000 troops, that is, two mechanised brigades. There’s doubt whether it’d be equipment for two heavy brigades, it appears that matériel for lighter so-called “Stryker” brigades are what’s under consideration. Well, there are considerably more than two brigades in the PEACETIME Russian forces in this particular theatre of operations… not to mention that mobilisation would add much more in quicker time than it’d take the USA to move reinforcements to the region.
Furthermore, the USA wouldn’t only have to move the equipment to the regions; they’d have to have proper storage facilities for the stuff. No doubt, much of it would be “cocooned” for long storage, which’d mean that it’d take time to get it ready for operational use. This isn’t to mention the fact that it costs money to store that amount of equipment and to keep it maintained and fit. That’s not to mention that munitions for at least a month’s worth of intensive ops would have to be on hand as well. Oh, let’s not forget POL* storage, too… tanks are gas-guzzlers, after all.
- POL: Petroleum, Oil products, Lubricants
This isn’t to mention how one gets the soldiers from bases in CONUS* to the intended theatre of operations. It’s much more complicated than most laymen think. Firstly, you must get the bubbas in line at the base, round-up all the drunks, double-check to make sure that everyone’s accounted-for, and see to it that there’s enough transport to move them. That’s at least a day, if not more, and that’s BEFORE you go from the base to Travis or McGuire*. That’ll take at least another day, if not more. Then, you have to load the bubbas on the aircraft. That’s a full day at the airbase. Now, you’ve gotten in the air! That’s 10 to 12 hours flight time, at least. The bubbas are no damned good for anything after such a flight, so another day is shot. That’s four days so far… the next day, you get the bubbas up and counted… and get the equipment up-and-running. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have a few duds, if not, well, “Houston, we have a problem”. If you are VERY, VERY LUCKY… you might have forces in contact with the enemy after five days. That’s the fastest kids… if they were using requisitioned civil airliners, that’d complicate matters, as such craft don’t have the proper IFF transponders (which ups the chance of a friendly “blue-on-blue” shootdown) and they don’t have capability to load any heavy equipment, except for stuff that can fit in a standard airline cargo container.
- CONUS: Continental USA, refers to the 48 contiguous states
- Travis and McGuire: Travis AFB in California and McGuire AFB in New Jersey are the two main US Air Force Air Mobility Command bases in CONUS
The fun isn’t over. What units are available for deployment? Are they up to TO&E*? Are they regular or reserve? Most reserve units aren’t up to TO&E in either equipment or personnel… not to mention the fact that such reserve units have to call in their troops and muster before one can even start the process I detailed above. That is, the brouhaha is over less than nothing. Before the American units could get there, Russian units would hold the airports necessary for the Yanks to deploy intheatre. There’s no strategic depth in the Baltic States…Russian heavy mechanised units could be in all major locations within 24 hours. That is, they’re strategically indefensible. This is nothing but political bullshit. The USA has only a limited number of ground units actually available, with most regular units tied down in the Middle Eastern theatre or in Central Asia, or at home recuperating from deployments to those theatres. There’s nothing in the cupboard.
Oh, one last thing… there’s no equipment in Europe to send, so all the stuff will have to come from CONUS. That is, it’d be at least a year until this cockamamie plan could BEGIN… let alone, be in actual operation. Its smoke n’ mirrors of the most odious sort. It’s an attempt to do nothing but look as though the USA is actually doing something.
The Baltic States are a “Bridge Too Far”…
- TO&E: Table of Organisation and Equipment… most units fall short in one way or another, others are just paper fictions (especially in the National Guard, which can be political footballs in most states).