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US, German Forces Rehearse Mobilization as Scholz Watches

The scenario begins with 250,000 Russian troops armed with heavy weapons amassed on NATO’s eastern borders.

Western militaries respond by moving troops across Germany to Poland and the Baltic states in the hopes of deterrence, but in preparation for defense.

The coordinated movement of German and American troops played out Monday on a small scale in front of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on the military side of the commercial airport on Cologne’s outskirts.

“It is a fictitious scenario, but given the Russian attack on Ukraine, it is a situation that needs to be prepared for,” the German military said in a statement released ahead of the drill.

Scholz watched Germany’s Homeland Defense Command escort a convoy of newly arrived American troops, played by soldiers from the Army’s 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

At the start of the day, German and U.S. military police established a route east and discussed possible danger spots.

The troops, along with civilian police and emergency services, demonstrated how they would deal with difficulties along the way. They treated an American injured during the mock journey east and showed how to decontaminate a convoy following a chemical attack.

Germany’s location and infrastructure make it key to large-scale operations in Europe. NATO agreements spell out the country’s comprehensive role in supporting military logistical movement.

“It is something that we want to specifically develop,” Scholz said of the cooperation involved in Monday’s demonstration. Scholz did not take questions following the event.

Andre Bodemann, commander of Germany’s Homeland Defense Command, which was set up last year, said military threats in Europe aren’t something Germany and its allies have had to deal with seriously in decades.

“For more than 25 years we were focusing on international crisis management only,” Bodemann said. “Then from 2014, we saw what happened in Crimea and now it’s clear we have to focus on homeland and collective defense.”

Second Lt. Kevin McMahon, the officer in charge of the 21st Theater Sustainment Brigade soldiers at the event, said the demonstration had the Americans and Germans “focusing on working together so that when we need to, we’re able to.”

Sgt. Mary Lapp, who pretended to be a bleeding victim and was carried away on a stretcher in front of Scholz, said both sides learned a lot.

“It was a great chance to get to know how we would take part if something happened,” Lapp said, adding that it was also “really cool” to meet the leader of Germany.

The 709th Military Police Battalion, 39th Movement Control Battalion and 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, all subordinate units of the 21st TSC, participated in the event.

Addressing the U.S. troops at the end of the day, Scholz said in English: “Thank you for participating. Thank you for all that you do for our common security.”

Source : Stripes

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