Germany Doesn’t Have Enough Guns to Supply Their Military

Remember this when the folks at NATO are appalled by President Trump. Germany’s neglected soldiers forced to use broomstick as a gun.

Do you need more than the headline? German soldiers are forced to play “Lets Pretend” and use broomsticks, because there are not enough rifles in inventory. (Or for tank units, I’m guessing machine pistols or automatic carbines.)

German military shortcomings have became a national laughing stock, with reports of one tank unit forced to use a broomstick as a gun and all six submarines out of service for repairs. Auditors say the true picture is even worse.

Dire shortages of weapons, spare parts and personnel were not properly declared to the Bundestag, the federal audit office said.

The rest is behind the London Times’ paywall, but basically the headline covers the situation.

So when NATO goes on about how “Trump is being mean” remember that for decades, American Presidents have been willing to ignore the fact that the members of NATO have been shirking their responsibility to their own people. Why is it more important for the USA to defend Germany than it is for Germany to defend Germany?

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German Government Still Not Willing to Fund Defense

The German military is in bad shape, and people wonder if it can meet its obligations under the NATO treaty. European arms deals ‘at risk’ over German defence spending row

Merkel wants to increase spending to €5.5 billion over 4 years, but the German Defense Minister of Merkel’s government says they need €12 billion this year to meet NATO commitments, or several programs will have to be canceled.

The cancellations include 6 new submarines to be built by Germany’s Thyssnkrup and armed by Norway’s Kongsberg. Also a risk is participation in a joint squadron of C130 Hercules aircraft with the French. If Germany cancels its 6 aircraft, it would leave France holding the bag.

A parliamentary watchdog warned in February that equipment shortages are putting Germany’s ability to meet its Nato commitements “in question”.

In the background, there is mention of the fact that President Trump has said Germany needs to fund its defense so that it can meet NATO obligations. Germany isn’t alone in shirking those responsibilities. It is so much easier for the Europeans to let the Americans handle it.

If Europe Doesn’t Take Security Seriously…

European Defense SpendingFor decades, they have asked us to foot the bill. And we have. And maybe this made sense in 1950, while they were rebuilding after WWII, but does it make sense today? German army chief warns over defence spending ahead of Trump-Merkel meeting

Severe underfunding of the military is putting Germany’s security at risk, the head of the country’s influential armed forces association warned on Thursday.

Click the image for a larger view (courtesy of the Telegraph).

The UK, Poland and Estonia are the only 3 European NATO countries that meet the target of 2% of GDP spent on defense.

The German military has been a problem for a long time. And it doesn’t look like Merkel wants to fix it.

Only 95 of the German army’s 244 Leopard main battle tanks were operational at the time of the report because of maintenance issues. None of the German navy’s six submarines were operational, and only nine of a planned 15 frigates are in service.

Wasn’t Germany the country that basically perfected submarine warfare in the first half of the 20th Century? And now they have no functioning submarines.

So what exactly is the “shared defense” of NATO, if by “shared” they mean, “Let the Americans handle it?” I don’t think this is how the alliance was originally envisioned.

European Hand-wringing Over Trump and the State of European Defense

Zeit is in many ways an annoying organization, but it is one of the few German publications/media companies that translates some of their stuff into English. And even though they are annoying, it is still worth reading some of what they have to say. Transatlantic relations: Yankee Goes Home | ZEIT ONLINE

Europe has benefited from the relationship with America, mostly – though not completely – through our defense of them during the Cold War. At first there was no choice, but later, it was more habit. That, and they found it nice to let us pay for the defense while they spent their money on more profitable things.

Behind all Trump’s attacks against NATO, the European Union and free trade lurks the suspicion that for a long time the United States profited less from these arrangements than the freeloaders on the other side of the ocean.

And unfortunately there’s something to that. It’s been clear to European governments for some time that they have to spend more on defense.

The NATO Alliance calls on member states to spend a minimum of 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Germany – probably the strongest European country economically speaking – spends about 1.2 percent. Less, proportionally, than Albania. The result isn’t hard to predict: A military that could not defend its country if called upon to do so. Germany forced to resort to run-down and outdated military that experts say couldn’t win World War I let alone a modern war

He cites many examples, including the Saxony-based 371st tank battalion – a so-called “spearhead” unit of Nato’s Response Force.

In recent years it has had to beg and borrow 15,000 pieces of equipment from 56 other army units just to stay up to speed.

Meanwhile the 345th artillery training battalion is officially supposed to have 24 armoured artillery vehicles at its disposal.

But the reality is it has just seven, and all are on standby for Nato, meaning the unit has not carried out a single training exercise for three years.

A build up won’t happen overnight, especially not with Angela Merkel’s government still in power. They are hoping this issue goes away, and that America could just go back to footing the bill. No questions asked.

If German Military Might is Non-existent…

Maybe the French can stand up to Russia. Because it is clear that Obama and Co. can’t do it. (Or won’t do it – amounts to the same thing in the end.) Ramshackle Army at Odds with Berlin’s Global Aspirations – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Germany wants to strengthen its role in international affairs. But recent reports suggest the country’s weapons systems are in such disrepair that Berlin actually has very little to offer its partners.

Just when Putin and Company are setting sights on parts west… It may be a long winter.

The talking heads in this country like to say that there is always a political solution (e.g. you don’t have to go to war.) But most of them haven’t read “On War.” (Sun Tsu was popular a few years back, so they may have heard of him, but von Clausewitz? Not hardly.) The real problem is that not everyone thinks that way. And then, what is the difference between a politics and war?

Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln ‡
− Carl von Clausewitz

Though much that has been read into that is wrong. (It is a complicated subject and a complicated book, which can’t be boiled down to a sound bite.) Continue reading