The US 2nd Cavalry to go accross Czech Republic

The US 2nd Cavalry to go accross Czech Republic
Author: Pfc. Nathanael Mercado|Caption: Local German and Czechs nationals welcome U.S. Army Soldiers
25 / 05 / 2018, 10:45

The 2nd Cavalry Regiment takes part in exercise Sabre Strike in Poland and the Baltics from 28th may till 24th June 2018. Like several times since 2015 and the Operation Dragoon Ride, the U.S. Army convoy will pass through the territory of the Czech republic between 29th may and 1st june.

The Saber Strike is an annual international exercise held since 2011 by the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) to facilitate cooperation amongst the U.S., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and allied and partner nations. In 2018 the key exercise objective will focus on the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battle groups to promote interoperability with allies and regional partners and improve joint operational capability in a variety of missions. The exercise will take place in multiple locations throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland May 28-June 24. About 18,000 troops participate to the drill, 12,500 of them are U.S personnel, including the 2nd Cavalry Regiment stationed in the Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Bavaria. The other nations participating in this year’s Saber Strike include Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom.

To join the Saber Strike 2018 the regiment will form a convoy in two groups, comprising in total about 400 vehicles and 1,000 soldiers. The first group, divided into seven smaller units, will cross the German-Czech border in Rozvadov in the evening of 29th May and will move on the D5, D0, D1 and D10 motorways to get to the Stara Boleslav base, Central Bohemia, about 30 km north-east from Prague. On the 30th may the group will continue on the D10 and D11 motoways and the E67 road to Náchod, where it will cross the Czech-Polish border. In total the road taken on the Czech territory will be more than 300 km long. The second group, divided into ten smaller units, will pass the Rozvadov border crossing in the evening of 31st May, following the same itinerary.

„The passage of the American troops accross the Czech territory shows, like in the past years, fulfilment of our our alliance commitments.  At the same time it allows our troops to train in practice the activities associated with logistics and escort,“  Defence Minister Karla Slechtova (ANO) said. The U.S. troops will be escorted by the Czech Military Police and the Czech Police.

No perceptible political opposition is expected this time, such as the opposition which could be seen back in 2015 during the Operation Dragoon Ride, organized by left-wing political groups such as the pacifist No to Bases group or the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, Friends of Russia, the „far-right“ Workers' Party of Social Justice and other, using rather absurd references even to the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw pact armies. Needless to add that 82 % of Czechs approved of the NATO convoy, according to an opinion poll by the STEM agency; „[the troops] received unbelievable support everywhere they stopped over“, Lt. Col. Timothy P. Payment said. This time, like during several other passages after 2015, no public promotional events are planned.

The 2nd Cavalry Regiment or Second Dragoons, formed in 1836, is the oldest mounted regiment on continuous active service in the U.S. Army. The current Regiment’s deployment in Bavaria and it’s passages through the Czech territory are not the first occasion for the corps to enter our territory: on the 28th april 1945 the 42nd squadron of the 2nd Mechanised Cavalry group seized the town of Hostouň near Domažlice in order to liberate Allied POWs, which eventually lead to the famous „Operation Cowboy“ to rescue the Lipizzaner stallions from the Soviets, ridden back to American lines upon order of the general Patton.

Currently it serves as a Stryker infantry and cavalry regiment comprising six squadrons: four cavalry (Stryker) squadrons, Fires (Artillery) Squadron, Regimental Engineer Squadron and Regimental Support Squadron. The Regiment is the first to operate (from summer 2018) the upgraded Stryker armored fighting vehicles (AFV) equipped with a 30 mm Bushmaster cannon with the rate of fire of 100/200 rounds per minute; it’s range of more than 3,000 meters is far greater than the current M2 .50-caliber machine gun or Mk-19 grenade launcher mounted on the standard variants of the Stryker vehicles.

The movements linked with the Saber Strike 2018 come together with an even more important deployment which takes places simultaneously: 3,300 troops of the 1st Armored Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, will bring 2,500 pieces of equipment across the Atlantic Ocean, and the formation will relieve the 2nd Armored Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, which will return to Fort Riley, Kansas.

The „Si vis pacem, para bellum“ pressure by the U.S. administration on it's European allies to rise their defence expenditures and reach the 2 % of GDP does not alter long-term plans on troop rotation or decrease the U.S. military presence on the continent.

Further reading:

US Army flows fresh tanks, troops into Europe

2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment



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