The arrival of three US military cargo ships at the north German port signals a step up in a military stand-off between NATO and Russia, after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
On Wednesday the cargo ship Resolve docked at Bremerhaven. By Saturday, Freedom and Endurance will have followed in its wake, the Local reports.
After unloading, the tanks will make their way towards Poland, mainly by train, for deployment across eastern and central Europe.
The deployment is part of the US mission Atlantic Resolve, which the US states is for the sake of ensuring security and stability in the eastern regions of the NATO alliance.
“Three years ago, the last American tank left Europe; we all wanted Russia to be our partner,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of US Army Europe said in December. “My country is bringing tanks back… as part of our commitment to deterrence in Europe.”
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland all have borders with Russia and say that they feel threatened since Moscow annexed Crimea.
A German army spokesperson said that trains with a total length of 14 kilometers will be needed to transport all the tanks.
The large majority of the 4,000 US soldiers who belong to the brigade will arrive for deployment by plane.
The troops and equipment are from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colorado.
“This effort is part of our European Reassurance Initiative to maintain persistent, rotational presence of air, land, and sea forces in central and eastern Europe,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Thursday.