Kyle Mizokami in "The National Interest" highlights the main causes of the weakness of the German army.
The modern German armed forces were created ten years after the end of World War II. During the Cold War, the Bundeswehr grew: there are military units, and hundreds of military aircraft (Luftwaffe), and the "formidable power of surface ships, submarines and sea aviation Bundesmarine. " However, later, with the end of the Cold War, when Soviet troops withdrew from Eastern Europe, Volksarmee (East Germany) and the Bundeswehr merged into a single whole - the national army. As a result, the army fell under reductions: the number of ships, aircraft and armored vehicles was reduced by seventy-five percent. The German military budget has been constantly cut, and now Germany spends only 1,2% of GDP on defense.
Last year, a lot of publications appeared indicating that the Bundeswehr was not ready. Willingness of airplanes, helicopters and other vehicles due to the lack of spare parts fell below 50%. The German war machine faced enormous problems in some areas. The main problem is underfunding.
Below are some examples from the article.
As of October 2014, only 42 from the 109 of the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft was in flight, the rest were on the ground due to the lack of spare parts.
Here is another "Eurofighter" - "Tornado". He too is under-funded: in August 2014, only 38 from 89 aircraft was in working condition.
But the main battle tank is the Leopard II. Once the army of West Germany purchased 2125 of these tanks - enough to arm almost twelve tank and motorized infantry units. But the end of the Cold War and the shrinking of the military budget forced the FRG to reduce tank forces by almost 90%. Today, the Bundeswehr has only 225 Leopard II tanks.
Problems concern even assault rifles. For example, the G36 rifle, which in the 1990-ies. replaced the product G3 from Heckler and Koch. The new design, matching the caliber of standard NATO ammunition (5,56 mm), thirty rounds, integrated optics. The 176.000 of these rifles was purchased.
And there was a technical problem! The Bundeswehr deployed units in Afghanistan, but it was soon discovered that G36 was losing accuracy in the battles. The rifles became inaccurate after a long shooting - it is not easy to detect such a problem in a “peacetime army,” the expert notes, although it’s still “difficult to understand how the defect was not noticed before.”
After the rifle was recognized as “inaccurate”, Defense Minister Ursula von der Lyayen announced that weapons in the Bundeswehr "no future". The German Ministry of Defense recently announced the purchase of XKUMNUM HK600 assault rifles from Heckler and Koch (by the middle of the 417 year).
Last February, one of the German battalions based in Marienburg participated in NATO exercises in Norway. From there came an interesting news: In this battalion, which is part of the NATO rapid reaction force, a shortage of firearms and night vision devices was identified. It got to the point that instead of MG3 machine guns, German soldiers “shot” from cuttings for brooms, which had already been painted black. Shooting sounds imitated by voice. This battalion "borrowed" from other 56 units of the Bundeswehr 14.371 a unit of different equipment, but even after this technique, "it was not enough".
In September, 2015 on site "German wave" There was an article by Nikita Zholkvera (Berlin) under the heading "The Kremlin urges Germany to increase defense spending."
The article notes that on September 9, the first debate on the defense spending expenditures of the FRG will be held in the Bundestag. The document under the number 18 / 5501 on the website of the Bundestag indicates what amounts it considers expedient to allocate the government for this purpose. The journalist cites this data.
The financial plan for the German Defense Ministry for the next 4 of the year is as follows: 2016 year - 34,4 billion euros (1,9 billion more than this year), 2017 year - 34,9 billion, 2018 - 35 billion and on 2019 year - 35,2 billion euros.
The Bundestag Profile Committee is confident that next year more money will be allocated to the needs of the Bundeswehr than indicated. Why? And because “the current policy of Moscow towards Ukraine is increasingly perceived in Germany as a military threat to the whole of Europe,” writes Zholkver.
True, the official Berlin “refrains from belligerent statements”. The emphasis is on the diplomatic process; A new arms race is not welcome. However, if one listens carefully to German politicians, the journalist believes, it becomes clear: the German government intends to back up political initiatives with “more weighty arguments”.
This is what Angela Merkel says.
We do not want to provoke Russia, she believes, but there is no reason to “do nothing”: “If you look at Russian armaments policy and Russian programs of their modernization, there is no reason not to do anything in response.”
In addition, the material notes that Germany is an example of the United States. It became known about the decision of Washington to place in Europe a new nuclear weapon, as well as to transfer here the F-22 "Raptor" fighter jets to protect the airspace.
Hans-Peter Bartels, the Bundestag Commissioner for the Bundeswehr, complains that there is no money for the full equipment of the Bundeswehr: “But funds have not yet been allocated for new investments, to ensure the full equipment of the Bundeswehr”. And he recalled the decision taken at NATO to spend two percent of GDP on defense.
However, increasing the cost of the Bundeswehr to such a level is unrealistic: for this, Germany would have to have a military budget not in 34, but in 58 with more than billions of euros, the columnist notes.
Like A. Merkel, Herr Bartels speaks about the changed geopolitical conditions: “The security situation has changed. Our Eastern European neighbors are expecting from Germany the same kind of solidarity that our Western European partners have shown towards it over the decades. ”
Russian experts see such statements as a pretext for increasing military budgets in Europe.
Co-chairman of the Association of military political scientists Vasily Belozerov reminded the newspaper "Sight" that Germany had previously announced the creation of a new “White Book”, where Russia's policy was declared a destabilizing factor in Europe.
“And under this pretext they intend to increase the military budget and ostensibly increase the combat capability of the Bundeswehr,” said the expert.
During the period of confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the number of the Bundeswehr of half a million people was dictated by the relevant local tasks. “Then they were preparing for the fact that land combat operations would begin directly along the line of separating the two Germanys,” the political scientist noted. - Now they are preparing to solve very different problems, in particular, the problems of Afghanistan. But if now Berlin sets itself the task of still holding back Moscow, it is difficult to imagine how they will do it and how much money they will need for this. ”
According to the expert, the Bundeswehr is not self-sufficient and "solves some of the issues within NATO." He is not capable of independent military operations to protect the territory, and he has no corresponding task. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that, under a made-up pretext, Germany is simply trying to solve the problem of under-financing. On the other hand, the expert does not see any reasons for a qualitative leap - there will not be enough money for it: “Taking into account the existing problems, a qualitative leap of the Bundeswehr with such an increase in funding will not happen.”
Let us sum up: in words, not wanting to participate in the arms race, Germany is in fact gradually incorporated into it. Nevertheless, experts do not expect major increases in the appropriations for the defense needs of the Bundeswehr. Those additional funds that will go to 2016-2019. in the line of the German Ministry of Defense (subject to the approval of expenses by the deputies), it is unlikely to qualitatively change the negative situation in the army at the current stage due to chronic underfunding.
Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
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- especially for topwar.ru