German army is so short of armoured vehicles, soldiers have to jump out cars and PRETEND they’re driving tanks during training exercises
- There is a shortage in the country’s new line of Puma tanks worth £5 billion
- ‘Other vehicles (are used) to practise mounting and dismounting’, ministry says
- Only 20 percent of the army’s Pumas are working at operational level
- Germany does not meet the two percent guideline NATO spend on its military
The German army is so short of armoured vehicles that soldiers have to jump out of cars and pretend they’re tanks during training exercises.
The defence ministry confirmed troops were deploying ‘other vehicles to practise mounting and dismounting’ because of the lack of Puma tanks.
Instead the soldiers were using cars because only 20 percent of the army’s Pumas are in working order, according to Bild.
The dire situation is reminiscent of German troops being required to use broomsticks painted to look like guns during a NATO exercise in Norway in 2014.
Leopard 2 tanks (left and centre) and the Puma tank (right) at the Bundeswehr infantry training facility in Munster. Soldiers are using cars in their training because of the Puma shortage
The ministry has said it is ‘not satisfied’ with the lack of infantry fighting vehicles.
Over the summer the costs of the 350 new Pumas ordered and the upgrades on the existing models had doubled from an estimated £2.5 billion to £5 billion, public broadcaster MDR reported.
The defence ministry blamed contractual issues and further unforeseen requirements to modernise its old tanks.
Left wing politician Matthias Hohn had called it ‘one of the largest planning errors by the Ministry of Defence.’
The Pumas have been ordered to replace the ageing Marder tanks and to deploy with the NATO Response Force (NRF), the rapid reaction force created in 2002.
Germany has been consistently in the firing line from its NATO allies for not spending enough on its military.
Members of the alliance have pledged to spend at least two percent of their GDP on defence, but Germany still lags behind despite increasing its spend by more than £4.4billion in 2019.
President Donald Trump consistently harangued Angela Merkel for Germany’s contribution, claiming country’s like the Chancellor’s got a ‘free ride.’
German soldiers stand at attention in Berlin. The government has long been accused of neglecting its military
The increased spend by the Germans only equates to 1.35 percent of GDP and it remains to be seen whether they will keep up with last year’s commitment.
The only country’s meeting the NATO pledge are the US, Greece, the UK, Poland, Latvia and Estonia.
Britain is the second largest spender in the alliance after the US.