I've been identifying reasonably far-spread common equipment within NATO members and trying to develop a rotational scheme for that multi-national Baltic Brigade of mine, based more upon how many active units in various armed forces use it rather than total system numbers since the basic idea is to have as many nations as possible contribute.
Obviously this makes the Leopard 2 the most commonly used MBT. As a bonus, there are still enough extra stocks around in various countries to store two battalion sets in the Baltic countries for crews to fall in on during their nation's rotation.
- Canada: Out of the various vehicles they acquired, apparently the plan is to have 40 A4M CAN and 19 A6M CAN deployable by three squadrons. Call it a battalion's worth for comparison purposes.
- Denmark: 57 A5 DK partially equipping two combined arms battalions; again, a battalion's worth for our purpose.
- Norway: 52 A4 NO being upgraded to A 5 standard, equipping another single battalion.
- Portugal: 37 A6, a rather weak additional battalion.
- Germany: 225 A6 will remain to eqip four active battalions (plus two reserve, but not counting those here).
- Poland: 128 A4 currently equipping two battalions with another 14 plus 105 A5 coming in, all to be brought to a common PL standard. I understand another brigade will be equipped with those for a total of four battalions.
- Spain: 108 A4 and 219 A6+ equipping four battalions, and partially equipping two cavalry regiments; make it five battalion's worth.
- Greece: 183 A4 and 170 A6 HEL equipping six battalions as far as I see.
- Turkey: 354 A4, so make it another six battalions.
We can thus assign the one-battalion nations a basic rotation factor of one deployment per cycle, the four-battalion forces of four, etc.; however, as mentioned other factors come into play. It makes little sense for the Norwegians to deploy all the crews of their only tank battalion to the Baltics with the expectation to deter possible Russian action when they're sharing a border with Russia themselves. The Greek and Turks have the largest tank fleets mostly because they're staring at each other, so they're probably not willing to take the largest share of deployments at the other end of Europe.
So I thought the Danes and Norwegians might get a joint factor of one while swapping some companies between them; i.e., if the Danes deploy, they get a Norwegian company attached, and in turn a Danish company is sent to Norway for some joint exercises. The same could be done between Spain and Portugal for a joint factor of six, bringing them on par with Greece and Turkey; then we roundly reduce all the southern members to a factor of two each, half that of the big northern members, since their traditional role is on NATO's southern flank anyway. We therefore get:
Germany - 4
Poland - 4
Greece - 2
Spain/Portugal - 2
Turkey - 2
Canada - 1
Denmark/Norway - 1
Total of 16 deployments, which with two battalions on three-month tours at any time makes for a nice round two-year cycle. This means Germany and Poland each send personnel twice a year, the southern members once, and Canada and the Scandinavians once every two years, which sounds doable.
Now for some mechanized infantry. After some deliberation I found that if you consider the Stryker a variant of the Piranha III, it becomes a rather common system, particularly since it gets the US involved in a big way. I would have preferred an actual IFV, but types are very insular, and this is a mostly political exercise anyway; so this will be rather basic APCs with .50/40 mm OWS plus mortar carriers etc., which should be familiar enough for the personnel of various nations to fall in on:
- Belgium: The Piranha IIIC will equip four mechanized infantry battalions.
- Canada: As far as I can see, the LAV III equips four active infantry battalions. Though it has a 25 mm turret, adaption should be little problem.
- Denmark: The Piranha IIIC and H is partially equipping another four mechanized infantry battalions; while those also use the CV 9035 and M113, internal cross-training of personnel in preparation of deployments should be doable.
- Romania: They are listed with about 30 Piranha IIIC, but my Romanian is not good enough to see what they're used for; the number is too low for even a battalion of APCs, and apparently they have a domestic 8x8 development program to replace their fleet of locally-built BTR variants - though that might in fact be Piranha-derived.
- Spain: 39 Piranha IIIC are partially equipping a mechanized amphibious battalion of their Marines.
- US: After the current drawdown, there will be eight Stryker BCTs with a total of 24 infantry battalions.
Obviously as soon as the US gets in, they blanket everybody else with unit numbers. Assigning the four-battalion forces a deployment factor of one, Spain and Romania don't even show up while the US gets a six. With a single infantry battalion in the brigade, that means a cycle of 9 x 3 = 27 months, but it might be better to conform to the two-year cycle of the armor units. That would mean:
US - 5
Belgium - 1
Canada - 1
Denmark - 1
There is the minor question if Canada and Denmark would deploy their armor and infantry contributions together for greater coherence and easier logistics, or if more importance is put on having as many different nations present as possible at any time. So far we have left out several major NATO members anyway due to lack of common equipment; of course artillery and various support troops are still missing, but it gets rather worse with commonality there. Contrary to my first thought, the M109 is not more widely-used than PzH 2000, it's just that the former has higher numbers in service - again with the US, but also Greece and to a lesser extent Spain and Italy, while many other nations have phased out their SPHs completely.
- Norway: 14 A3, a single battalion's worth.
- Portugal: 14 out of 18 upgraded to A5, another single battalion's worth.
- Italy: After 2016, 64 domestic L variants remain in two battalions.
- Spain: 96 A5 are equipping four army battalions, plus six A2 in the Marines.
- Greece: 84 A2, 273 A3 and 12 A5 are equipping at least ten, possibly twelve battalions.
- US: After downsizing, ten HBCTs with one battalion of A6 each remain; I also find two additional battalions in III Corps Artillery.
Variants are widely disparate; I'm not sure the US A6 could even be called the same system as the A3 anymore. It might be possible to agree on a battalion set of A5s to be stocked for the Baltic Brigade, but after discarding the idea of one battery each of either, overall I tend towards PzH 2000 not just because it's more capable, but because it would bring some additional nations in rather than taxing some of the small and southern members above even more:
- Croatia: Currently negotiating about 18 to be delivered starting this year, one battalion's worth.
- Netherlands: one active battalion of 18.
- Greece: 24, one battalion's worth.
- Italy: 70 equipping two battalions.
- Germany: four battalions by current plans; if we follow my earlier revised OOB, it would be six, though one might be inactive.
Fitting that into our two-year cycle might look like this:
Germany - 4
Italy/Croatia - 2
Greece - 1
Netherlands - 1
Again, the Greeks and Germans could rotate at the same time as their tank contributions, or not. Finally, a battery of MLRS is never amiss, fairly easily distributed and at last bringing in the British and French who hold the most after the US and, with some distance, Germany:
US - 5
UK - 1
Germany - 1
France - 1
We're still lacking some stuff like engineers, reconnaissance, air defense and logistics, but those are the major building blocks. I might look at the rest later.
Edited by BansheeOne, 03 June 2014 - 0618 AM.