Thursday, February 19, 2015

German Army Said to be Dangerously ill-Equipped

The German army has faced a shortage of equipment for years, but the situation has recently become so precarious that some soldiers took matters into their own hands.

On Tuesday, German broadcaster ARD revealed that German soldiers tried to hide the lack of arms by replacing heavy machine guns with broomsticks during a NATO exercise last year. After painting the wooden sticks black, the German soldiers swiftly attached them to the top of armored vehicles, according to a confidential army report which was leaked to ARD.

A defense ministry spokesperson said the use of broomsticks was not a common practice, and that the decision of the involved soldiers was "hard to comprehend." According to the ministry, the armored vehicles were furthermore not supposed to be armed. It remains unclear how many broomsticks were substituted for machine guns.

The awkward revelation on Tuesday came at the worst possible moment for Germany's defense ministry. The same day, Ukraine's army was about to suffer a defeat in the town of Debaltseve, putting a renewed focus on the question whether Europe's NATO allies would be able to manage the crisis militarily – without an American intervention, if necessary.

Read the rest here.

NATO had been effectively a two country military alliance (the US and Britain) since the end of the Cold War with the rest of its member states tripping over each other in a mad rush to disarm themselves. Over the last five years that trend has been extended even to Great Britain which has gutted its armed forces as part of national austerity.

Currently the US covers more than 75% of the NATO budget. It's time to tell our "allies" to step up and start pulling their weight or  alternatively to reconsider our mutual security arrangements altogether.


lannes said...

US pays >75% of NATO's expenses? Talk about money down a rat hole, an empty rat hole (even the rats knew better than to stay in it).

Marko said...

Well, France has militarily intervened in several African countries in this decade alone and is currently involved in the intervention against ISIS, so it's not just the U.S. and U.K.