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29 Jan, 2020 08:20

German army lacks infantry fighting vehicles, some soldiers forced to use CARS during drills – media

German army lacks infantry fighting vehicles, some soldiers forced to use CARS during drills – media

The shortage of operational infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) in the Bundeswehr is now so bad that soldiers are officially advised to use cars during training, a media report claims.

Confidential army documents obtained by the Bild newspaper suggest that military units lacking the necessary equipment should work out “alternative solutions” and find “innovative training opportunities.”

The recommendations, according to the outlet, literally suggest that motorized infantry battalions who do not have enough operational IFVs should replace them with ordinary cars and then tell soldiers to pretend they are jumping out of armored carriers.

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Bild further states that some Bundeswehr commanders have already followed this instruction and put the recommendation into practice, though the paper does not name any specific units.

According to the documents, less than one fifth of all cutting-edge Puma infantry fighting vehicles delivered to the troops were actually operational in mid-2019.

Supposedly one of the world's best-protected IFVs, Puma – which was soon dubbed Bundeswehr’s “problem kid” – has a troubled history. When the German army was about to receive 350 Pumas in 2018, it was revealed that the “state-of-the-art” vehicles – often referred to as light tanks due to their size and weight – are simply not suitable for soldiers taller than 1.84m.

In November 2018, Bundeswehr admitted that, out of 71 IFVs it received a year before, only 27 were actually combat-ready – all due to the need for expensive retrofitting and a lack of spare parts, the problem that has plagued one of the largest NATO armies for years.

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Bundeswehr has struggled with both equipment and personnel shortages for quite some time, becoming a steady source of news about planes that can't fly, tanks that break down and vessels that are unfit for maritime operations. In 2017, Germany was literally left without its entire submarine fleet at one point as all its undersea vessels were either undergoing maintenance or in dire need of repairs.

German soldiers apparently got quite used to improvising amid the lack of equipment, however. In 2015, it was reported that during NATO wargames in Norway a year before, a unit sent to the drill was equipped with Boxer armored vehicles, which turned out to have no weapons at all. The soldiers – in the best traditions of Teutonic genius – used broomsticks painted black to simulate 12.7mm heavy machine guns.

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