GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Germany has taken the first-place trophy in the third annual Strong Europe Tank Challenge, June 3-8, 2018. The 3rd Panzer Battalion brought the Leopard 2A6 to the weeklong event.
Sweden's Wartofta Tank Company, Skaraborg Regiment came in second with the Stridsvagn 122. Austria's 6th Tank Company, 14th Panzer Battalion on the Leopard 2A4 placed third.
SETC is hosted by U.S. Army Europe and the German Army at 7ATC's Grafenwoehr Training Area to give participating nations a dynamic, productive and fun environment in which to foster military partnerships, form Soldier-level relationships, and share tactics, techniques and procedures.
"I would lie when I say we don't want to win, but I think the other teams are really strong so it's difficult," said German Sgt. 1st Class Matis Hantke, tank commander and deputy platoon leader, at the beginning of the week.
This year's other challengers included France's 1er Régiment de Chasseurs, 1st Hunter Regiment on the Leclerc; Poland's 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade with the Leopard 2A5; Ukraine's 1st Tank Company, 14th Mechanized Brigade on the T-84; the United Kingdom's Queen's Royal Hussars with the Challenger II; and the U.S.'s 2nd Battalion, 70th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division on the M1A2 SEP.
This is the first year Sweden and the U.K. have participated in SETC.
Ukraine also participated in exercise Combined Resolve X at 7ATC prior to the tank challenge.
This was the last mission for the U.S. team as part of U.S. Army Europe's regionally allocated force before redeploying to the U.S. The team also was awarded first in the shootout.
Throughout the weeklong event, participants moved through a variety of lanes including defensive and offensive operations, a chemical attack and recovery, reporting, an obstacle course, tanker Olympics, precision driving, range determination, a combat pistol shoot, medical evacuations, call for fire, vehicle identification, and a friendship shoot.
The mentally and physically challenging tasks were designed to showcase a range of military skills, tactics, techniques and procedures for tankers.
"You have to train together, you have to understand each other, you have to be interoperable, you have to think multi-nationally - this is why you are here," said German Brig. Gen. Jörg See, commander of 12th Panzer Brigade, during the opening ceremony.