By 2nd Lt. Clay HarmonFebruary 12, 2019
While U.S. Army doctrine covers a deliberate, opposed gap crossing in detail, there is significantly less written regarding an unopposed gap crossing done in an expedient manner. As part of Saber Strike 18, the 2d Cavalry Regiment completed an unopposed wet gap crossing at Che�mno, Poland, June 2, 2018. While this unopposed wet gap crossing does not qualify in U.S. Army doctrine as a hasty breach - as it did not solely use organic assets - it shares many similar attributes, such as speed and an accelerated planning timeline.
The use of adjacent NATO forces in the form of German and British bridging assets from the 130th Deutsch Engineer Battalion was critical to the success of the operation. With the bridging assets supplied by NATO allies and 3rd Squadron, 2CR performing the assault through the breach, the Regimental Engineer Squadron, 2CR was critical in providing synchronization to coordinate the gap crossing.
The RES controlled the call forward area and engineer release point for the gap crossing and served as the crossing site commander. Argonaut Troop, RES played a key role in ensuring a smooth flow throughout the area of operations. As serials arrived, Soldiers from Argonaut Troop escorted them to the CFA.
While in the CFA, these Soldiers staged and trained the serials on how to board the ferries that would move them across the Vistula River. At the river, control of the operation was handed to the 130th DEB for the serials to be ferried across.
"The combined German [and British] company is incredibly proficient and professional in their approach to crossing operations," said Maj. Andrew Glenn, operations officer, RES, 2CR. "They are obviously well-rehearsed and synchronized internally. There were some friction points, but nothing we were unable to work through."
The units were able to successfully work together through challenges as they arose in an efficient manner.
The headquarters section from Argonaut Troop was responsible for tracking all movement within the area of operations and ensuring that vehicle traffic did not back up and delay the crossing.
"In the beginning, it was pretty hectic until everyone got an understanding of the flow of the operation," said Capt. Kimberly Shine, Commander, Argonaut Troop, Regimental Engineer Squadron. "After a few serials, however, we really started to get into the swing of it. It was exciting watching each section run the area they were responsible for and contribute to the operation as a whole."
While there were many moving parts to the wet gap crossing, the RES, 2CR was able to successfully coordinate and control the operation to ensure an overall success for the mission.