US Troops Show Russia How to do a River Crossing

U.S. Marine Corps military police officers with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit conduct live-fire drills showcasing the principles of the Marine Corps Combat Marksmanship Program in Djibouti / DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Orr, U.S. Marine Corps/Released

In early May, the Russian military tried again and again to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in eastern Ukraine as part of an effort to encircle Ukrainian troops fighting in the Donbas region. But instead of being a decisive maneuver, the river crossing was a complete disaster for the Russian army, with some observers estimating that the invaders lost up to 73 tanks, armored vehicles, amphibious vehicles and other equipment — enough to fill an entire battalion tactical group.

“[A] river crossing is one of the most complicated maneuvers,” retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Peter DeLuca, a veteran of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who has studied the Russian military, told the Wall Street Journal at the time. “It all has to be coordinated to be effective, and we haven’t seen the Russians do that at all in Ukraine.”

The difficulty of a water crossing is why U.S. Army bridge crewmembers, divers and U.S. Marines spent a day practicing the task earlier this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Washington. Unlike the Russian attempt at Siverskyi Donets, this one went great: the team managed to deploy a bridge across a 360-foot lake, which is longer than a football field, in 12 minutes and 54 seconds, beating their goal of 13 minutes.

“We killed it,” said Spc. Chile Ferguson, a bridge crewmember with the 671st Multi-Role Bridge Company.

Read more at Task and Purpose

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