The US is sending 20,000 troops to Europe and British army engineers are already practicing to get them around
- NATO officers and British engineers got together in Germany at the end of February to prepare for Exercise Defender-Europe 20.
- The engineers will have an important role in the massive US-led exercise this spring, when they come under the command of the UK-based multinational NATO corps.
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MINDEN, Germany - Staff officers from NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) have visited British Royal Engineers in Minden, northwestern Germany to learn about amphibious engineering ahead of the Corps's participation in Exercise "Defender Europe 20."
The NATO officers witnessed the troops from the British Army's 23 Amphibious Engineer Squadron rehearse "wide wet gap" crossing drills on their M3 Amphibious Rigs at their German base on the River Weser.
The Royal Engineers will play a key role during the massive US-led exercise in Poland during May 2020 where they will come under the command of the UK-based multinational NATO corps.
British Army Maj. Andrew Smith, staff officer at NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, said: "We've come to Minden to experience and to learn about the M3 Rig and the 'wide wet gap' crossing capability that we have. It's a unique and critical capability that many of us aren't familiar with, and by coming here today we can learn about it and learn how we're the best employer in corps warfighting.
"By coming over here as Headquarters ARRC, we've brought some of our partner nations with us to show them the equipment that we have. And when we exercise our amphibious capability, it's very much interoperable with the German army as well," Smith added.
British Army Cpl. Paul Peck, a Section Commander from 23 Amphibious Engineer Squadron, added: "We're going to go into Poland, and we've got the major exercise with the Americans and everybody else. And we will be putting in one of the longest bridges in there.
"So, the main aspect of it is to go with our NATO allies, and it's nice to see from start to finish to building the bridge, watching all the armor come across and all that," Peck said. "Without us you're not going to get the armor there to defend all our allies."
Exercise Defender Europe 20 is a US-led multinational exercise, including NATO's participation.
NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) is a multinational warfighting corps based at Gloucester in southwest England.
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