Why NATO and Russia continue to increase their own arsenal?
It is known that the military contingent of the US forces in Europe has already had such arsenals in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland for a long time
The original article has been published in Vzglyad. Translation and editing by Defenseweek’s team.
For warfare, the number of rounds is more important than rifles. This old truth, apparently, was remembered by the NATO leadership. At least, the alliance officially announced the start of a program to build new large warehouses of military equipment and other military equipment in Europe. What does this news have to do with the confrontation between Russia and the West?
The presence of the US army in Europe, compared with the end of World War II, decreased significantly – from the greatest gain in 1962, when the size of the American 7th Army reached 227 thousand people, and now only about 40 thousand “bayonets”. This is not counting the parts that are now arriving at the large-scale exercises Defender Europe 2020 – Defender 2020.
But any army needs the rear, the ability to replenish ammunition and food. And now the US ground forces have begun to create new large warehouses of military equipment and other property in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. On both sides of Russia – from the west and east. What for?
Any ammunition tends to end in the heat of battle. Here is the rate of fire of the Kalashnikov assault rifle that allows you to empty the store at 30 rounds in three seconds. MLRS BM-21 “Grad” in 20 seconds sends 40 unguided missiles towards the enemy. The Su-24 front-line bomber is able to get rid of the combat load of 918 kilograms in literally minutes. The rate of self-propelled guns 2S1 Gvozdika is from four to five rounds per minute.
For comparison, the most famous, albeit obsolete, but still common types of weapons of the Russian army are taken. American and others are not inferior in “gluttony”. And the need for stockpiles of ammunition in close proximity to the front line exists for any army.
It is known that the military contingent of the US forces in Europe has already had such arsenals in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland for a long time. Each is equipped with military equipment and ammunition supplies sufficient to equip the brigade. This should be enough for at least the first stage of hostilities, if they began in Europe. However, since January 2017, when the 3rd Panzer Brigade of the 4th US Infantry Division was redeployed from Fort Carson (Colorado) to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Hungary (the brigade headquarters are located at the Zagan military base in Poland ), the stock of ammunition was clearly not enough. At least, on the proposal of those involved in military planning at NATO. In other words, we can assume that now the possible conflict between the West and Russia in Europe in NATO is much more widespread.
Apparently, this is precisely why the US Army in Europe predictably set about creating an additional set of weapons for ammunition and weapons. However, not only in Europe. According to General Gus Perna, head of the US Ground Forces Logistics Command, in addition to another additional arsenal in Europe (most likely in Poland), the U.S. Army plans to replenish ammunition in the islands east of the Philippines and Taiwan. This is the direction for the likely opposition to Russia and China.
In Soviet times, the USSR army also grew in large arsenals in the event of an armed conflict with the NATO bloc. The most famous are military depots near Tiraspol near the village of Kolbasnya, which were intended to be reinforced with ammunition from the southern theater of operations. The direction of hostilities in this region could be aimed at Italy, the south of France and access to the Strait of Gibraltar. Similar existed in other areas – West, North, Far East.
“On the territory of Belarus, ammunition storage sites have been preserved, which were intended for combat support of the Red Banner Belarusian Military District. These are former warehouses, arsenals and storage and disposal bases, ”says political analyst and weapons expert Alexander Zimovsky. – The largest of them is located near the Moscow-Berlin motorway, an hour and a half drive from the Belarusian border with Poland. This is the 46th arsenal of the Bronnaya Gora. Back in 1945, the Central Ammunition Base of the Main Artillery Directorate of the USSR Ministry of Defense was redeployed here. The arsenal kept ammunition to ensure the fighting of the first echelon of Soviet troops deployed not only in the BSSR, but also of the Northern (in Poland) group of Soviet troops, and for the GSVG. Here was everything – from small-caliber cartridges to strategic R-12 missiles. The protection and cover of the arsenal was provided by the tank and artillery regiments.
The Arsenal is still operating today, fulfilling its direct tasks of storing and providing the Belarusian army with all types of ammunition. Quantitative indicators, as you understand, are not for printing. It is enough to say that the arsenal has its own railway network. By the way, those who wish can sign up for an excursion, this is practiced.
There is still the 25th arsenal in Novokolosovo, the former Soviet arsenal of the Strategic Missile Forces. He is now free of nuclear weapons, but is part of the Belarusian Ministry of Defense. Here are stored, repaired and disposed of stocks of missile and artillery weapons of the Belarusian army. The arsenal is shrouded in rumors and legends, claiming that somewhere deep underground, if the enemy snoops off the snout, the Belarusian wunderwaffe will wake up.
Of the serious arsenal-type establishments, the 655th aviation depot of missile weapons and ammunition can also be noted. This is near Orsha. The area is three hundred hectares, the perimeter is four and a half kilometers, civil protection, VOKhRa. It was created to store and provide aviation means of destruction of the 26th Air Army, part of the KBVO. Today it continues to perform the same functions for the Air Force and Air Defense of the Belarusian army. We can name the 2631th airbase of missile weapons and ammunition of the air force and air defense forces in the Vitebsk region and, perhaps, the 1868th artillery weapon base in Gomel, where various artillery systems are assembled. About 3,000 wagons of all shooting good, to the delight of lovers of military history, aesthetics and paraphernalia, and happiness for couch experts. ”
Now the arsenals of the Russian Armed Forces have rolled back to the territory of Russia at a similar level, but they are also trying to locate them closer to potential war zones. Similar “reserves” are available in the Kaliningrad region, in the north (Murmansk – Arkhangelsk), in the northwest (Pskov and Leningrad regions), west, southwest and south should provide arsenals in the Smolensk, Voronezh and Rostov regions. In the Far East – “deposits” of ammunition are located in Primorye, in the Khabarovsk Territory.
A series of explosions at arsenals in Primorye and Vladivostok in the early 1990s and many later that followed throughout Russia, made us think in more detail about the safety of stored ammunition. Since about 2015, the military (Spetsstroy) began to build modern arsenals. Their main feature is the possession of a large margin of safety, equipment with the latest security and fire protection systems, as well as the possibility of further modernization. High-tech missiles and ammunition will be stored here, subject to the required temperature and humidity. The risk of accidents and spontaneous explosions will be minimized.
Ammunition is supposed to be stored in fireproof containers that can withstand temperatures of 500 degrees for 15 minutes, which is enough for the arrival of fire brigades. Plus a four-level system of protective perimeters with video cameras and motion sensors. New arsenals will be located, and it is planned to build about 300 at a safe distance from settlements.
That is, the current activity of the US Army in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in the deployment of additional equipment and ammunition storage facilities is understandable. As is understandable, their desire to pull the arsenals closer to the borders of Russia – well, not from Berlin, to bring cartridges and shells if an armed conflict happens in the same Kaliningrad region. [end]