NATO published video today of US and Romanian forces leading a river-crossing operation during exercise Saber Guardian in Romania. Footage includes multinational forces’ vehicles crossing the river and a soundbite from a Romanian officer.
Allied forces crossed the Danube River in Romania during exercise Saber Guardian 23, proving their ability to move rapidly through difficult terrain during military operations.
The manoeuvre, called a “wet gap crossing” by military planners, involved small boats and pontoon barges, which the Allied forces strung together to form a bridge across the rushing river. This enabled vehicles from nine NATO Allies – Bulgaria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania and the United States – to cross the river, with helicopters and infantry providing covering fire against simulated enemies.
Held annually in the Black Sea region to help NATO Allies practise this vital skill, Saber Guardian is part of the Defender 23 series of exercises, which are aimed at improving the United States’ ability to rapidly reinforce Europe and perform complex military tasks with Allied troops. The exercise ran from 29 May to 9 June 2023.
“What you’re seeing behind us is known as Saber Guardian 23. It’s an exercise that happens in southeastern Europe almost every year. And it brings together a number of different nations from across Europe, from Great Britain, and even the United States. And this one’s about crossing a river, obviously. But it’s more than just building a bridge, it’s demonstrating our ability to quickly put in place a bridge to defend one side, to quickly attack the far side using every piece of enabler, every piece of equipment, all coming together is a combined arms effort,” said lieutenant colonel John Vickery, 1st Infantry Division, US Army.
“In Romania, especially in the east flank of NATO, we have a rich network of rivers. So basically this is the main obstacle where you can stop if we have an aggression. So during our exercise, we prepare to cross this type of obstacle together with the manoeuvre forces. If we cannot cross this type of obstacle, the fight stops in front of this obstacle. So it’s very important to us to learn together because we have different tactics, different […]. We have engineers from many countries here and of course we have manoeuvre forces for allies and partners,” said lieutenant colonel Serban Adrian, 96th Engineer Battalion, Romanian Army.