MANNHEIM, Germany – The size and weight of Army combat equipment and vehicles can be a challenge in the European theater of operations, particularly during transport. The newest M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank – commissioned in 2020 – for example, is heavier than its predecessors, weighing over 73 tons.
To address these challenges and help ensure that the U.S. Army’s readiness position in Europe and Africa remains high, the Army’s 405th Field Support Brigade and Deutsche Bahn, a headquartered German railway company is in Berlin, carried out a series of tests on a newly redesigned German wagon prototype at Coleman. Head of line of the construction site in Mannheim 10-11 August.
The 405th AFSB’s Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim dispatched an M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank and two of its newest Bradley fighting vehicles from its Army pre-positioned stock site at the head of line location at Coleman to assist the German railway company in its tests.
The upgraded wagon has the capacity to carry 92 tons of weight at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour. The wagon also has new features that will save time when loading and unloading vehicles and equipment, a significant upgrade that can prove vital to reacting quickly and efficiently, if required.
Robert Peck, Coleman’s chief of plans and operations, AFSBn-Mannheim, said working with Deutsche Bahn and testing the new wagon is important to his battalion, the 405th AFSB, USAREUR-AF and the military.
“It’s very important,” Peck said. “First, it’s faster and easier for us to load safely. It allows faster securing of equipment on the wagon. Previously, we had to wedge all equipment with chocks and bracing, but this particular feature of the new car has an integrated automated wedging and bracing system. With the turn of a crank, they can deploy, and this speeds up the docking process.
The two days of combined testing between railway personnel, sub-contractors assigned to AFSBn-Mannheim and the 405th AFSB allowed everyone to see if the tank and other heavy equipment would fit properly on the prototype of wagon, Peck said. They also check weights and measure distances around the exterior of pieces of equipment as well as heights so that equipment and rail cars can travel appropriately on the bahn – crossing tunnels and bridges without incident.
“Deutsche Bahn and the military are working hand in hand as they help us move our heavy equipment across Europe. A lot of our heavier equipment – our tanks, our artillery pieces, things of that nature, all the armor – is transported by Deutsche Bahn, ”said Robert Peck, head of plans and operations at Coleman Worksite. . “They are our main movers here for heavy equipment.
Peck said cooperation between the military and all of its carriers – railways, barge carriers and line haul trucks – is extremely important because “it gives us the ability to move our equipment on short notice. en masse to appropriate locations anywhere in Europe. “
Juerg Lischewski is a cargo train driver at Deutsche Bahn and was part of the team that tested the new wagon at Coleman. He said he was excited to participate in the prototype railcar testing.
“We do two weight tests – a heavy weight and a lighter weight – and we do back and forth movements using an obstacle to see how it holds – to see how the chains and the wagon react to the charge, ”said Lischewski, who has been driving trains for about 10 years.
“This is officially my first time working with the US military, but so far everyone has been very friendly and I like it,” Lischewski said. “I served two years in the German Navy. It’s all the opposite side so it’s very interesting to me – all the heavy tanks and maybe a few Humvees. I like to see them.
AFSBn-Mannheim of the 405th AFSB is responsible for the storage, security, maintenance and delivery of nearly two armored vehicles from the Armored Brigade Combat Team and associated equipment as part of the Army pre-positioned stock program. The proximity of the Coleman site to the highway as well as access to rail and barge loading facilities make it an important part of USAREUR-AF’s readiness position. Last week, USAREUR-AF announced it would retain six sites that previously had to be returned to the German and Belgian governments due to increasing demands on the European theater. Coleman was on the list.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to the US Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21th Theater Sustainment Command, USAREUR-AF. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides corporate materiel support to US forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater support logistics; synchronize procurement, logistics and technology; and leveraging the US Army Materiel Command’s materiel business to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook website at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.