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Watch the NATO tank competition where the US lost to Austria and Germany

Business Insider | May 19, 2017, 07.51PM IST

strong europe tank challenge m1 abrams

Photo by Sgt. Justin Geiger

A tank platoon assigned to 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, completed live-fire offensive operations lane for the Strong Europe Tank Challenge at Grafenwoehr Training Area, May 10, 2017, as part of Strong Europe Tank Challenge.

For the second year in a row, a US armored brigade competed in the Strong Europe Tank Challenge against a range of European partners - and lost.

Austria, which didn't participate in the challenge last year, took gold, while Germany came in second. The US came in a strong third, but given the purpose of the challenge, that's nothing to be ashamed of. 

"This is a competition, but it's not really about the competition," said Sgt. Maj. David Glenn, 7th Army Training Command's operations senior noncommissioned officer in a US Army statement. "It's really about training, partnership, esprit de corps and interoperability."

Given Russia's invasion of Ukraine - one of the participating states - the competition takes on a whole new air of seriousness beyond a medal or ranking. With Russian forces in Eastern Europe outnumbering deployed NATO forces in the region, the US has increasingly sought to bolster the smaller European states with ground forces and even F-35s.

In the slides below, see how the NATO and the Ukraine push themselves to stand ready against the looming threat of Russia. 

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