- Think tank of army and civilian officials fear US and allies would be overrun
- Research suggests NATO has been caught napping by a resurgent Russia
- Russia could take the Baltic States in just 36-60 hours by launching two-pronged attack on Latvia then Estonia, according to series of war games
- NATO would have to rush to protect Riga and Tallinn, the capitals, but they do not have enough heavy armor in their ground forces to rival Putin's fleet
- All 27 of Russia's battalions have battle tanks; NATO's 12 have none
By Mia De Graaf For Dailymail.com and Julian Robinson for MailOnline
Published: 11:35 EST, 3 February 2016 | Updated: 19:19 EST, 3 February 2016
Russia could overrun Eastern Europe in just three days because NATO has not been bolstering its fleet since Vladimir Putin took Crimea, according to US military predictions.
Testing every possible scenario in a series of war games, a US military think tank has concluded it would take a resurgent Russia between 36 and 60 hours to push its 27 heavily-armored battalions past NATO's lightweight 12 to occupy the Baltic States.
Most likely, the study found, Russia would start by launching a two-pronged attack across the Latvian border, sending heavily-armed battalions in from the north and the south.
These battalions would push past the light-weight Latvian and NATO battalions before uniting to take the capital of Riga.
Once secured, the remaining part of Russia's 27 maneuver battalions would cross the Narva reservoir into Estonia to take the ethnic Russian north-east before heading to Tallinn, the capital.
NATO's only hope would be to concentrate its forces in Tallinn and Riga while stationing some delays along the main routes. But eventually, the West 'would have to launched a belated nuclear attack'.
'The outcome was, bluntly, a disaster for NATO,' the report concludes.
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This is a map of how a US military think tank believes Russia could overrun NATO to take the Baltic States in just 36-60 hours. Even with a week's notice, NATO's 12-strong fleet would be no match against Putin's 27
The study by a think tank made up of US military officials warns that Russia has never appeared more likely to stage an attack on Eastern Europe and NATO forces since bolstering its fleet after taking Crimea
RUSSIA'S FLEET27 maneuver battalions
Heavily-armored battle tanks in every battalion
Light-armored vehicles in 8 airborne fleets
Troops stationed in Kalingrad Oblast, surrounding the Baltic States
NATO'S FLEET12 battalions - 7 of which are the domestic fleets of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia
No main battle tanks
Only one, a single Stryker battalion, has heavy armor
NATO has adequate airpower but this would be futile with weak ground forces
The report warns, NATO's ground forces are no match for Russia's. They do not have any battle tanks; all of Russia's do. And NATO would have little room for maneuver, annexed in by Russian forces in Kalingrad Oblast.
In the scenario given by the study, NATO would have one week's notice to defend Eastern Europe.
The study, carried out between 2014 and 2015, suggested even a combination of US and Baltic troops combined with US airstrikes would not be able to prevent Russia advancing.
Seven of NATO's 12 battalions in Eastern Europe are domestic fleets of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They only have one heavy armored fleet, a single Stryker battalion, and no main battle tanks, the report explains.
Though NATO's air power could put up a strong defense, it would be futile as its lightweight ground forces would be plowed down by Russia's.
'The games' findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members,' the report said.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3430259/Russia-overrun-Eastern-Europe-THREE-DAYS-NATO-caught-napping-Putin-hopelessly-outgunned-according-military-predictions.html#ixzz3zBIMmV4e