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Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by gf0012-aust, Apr 5, 2017.
catchall thread for Germany
cypherbrief op-ed, German Armed Forces Modernize, Build Cyber Defenses
cypherbrief op-ed on future planning devs, Germany, Japan Strengthen Defensive Capabilities
I generally agree with this.
I think nuclear is not really relevant outside of North Korea and is not an issue for Germany or the EU in that context. I think it is a furphy.
I think again 2% is a target, but its capabilities that are more important that the target itself. Germany trashing its economy doesn't make it safer, nor does spending 2% GDP ineffectively. The fact there doesn't seem to be a plan of effective action to get to points like 1.25%, 1.5% etc makes me feel that Germany as a political entity doesn't believe this is a genuine strategic change.
I think it is essential for Germany (in combination with others) to project significant power through the EU and near EU countries. It seems quite clear that the US isn't going to ride in and stop Russian magic tricks with polite green men. Thats not a Trump thing, that is a reality for decades. Russia has now strong enough to be able to act and act successfully. The US isn't superman who will fly in every time there is a Russian cat stuck in an European tree.
If the US is occupied with higher priorities elsewhere (which it is) Europe will have to take a ticket and wait if Russian tanks roll in to Latvia or Poland. Or more likely take advantage of confused, divided and weak political situations to soft invade.
Rasmussen is wrong, the US isn't going to lead Europe any more. This is no longer the great century of the US in Europe. The training wheels are off Europe and they will have to deal with their own immediate threats.
For Europe, that is going to include countries like and around Turkey.
I am underwhelmed by the German announcement of cyber capability. Leading from the center equates to following stronger nations. Does it expect to take the average of views of NATO and do that?
Which stronger nations? An imploding UK? A self absorbed and distracted US? France, who is notable for acting in Frances interest even against its allies, and has only recently tentatively rejoined NATO at the same time they tried to supply arms to Russia? None of these see NATO as essential to their security.
Germany is the only country that can pull the strings of NATO together. Germany is what NATO is all about, no one else is going to lead it.
There are news about the future German army concept which fit nicely as a reply to the above mentioned idea of Germany not having a plan apart from spending some more money.
Sorry, only in German. Couldn't find an english source
The are plans to bring the army up to three fully equipped divisions. Two of them heavy with identical structures and one light.
In order to bring back the required capabilities and troop strengths the army will raise 27 new bataillons.
And we talked about it in other threads (like the fire support one) were I stated that artillery is more important than ever. The Bundeswehr seems to agree with me as the number of artillery bns is to be raised to 14 (currently 4).
Even if this includes the resurrected army air defense arm (which would be strange as unlike in other armies it was never part of the artillery in the Bundeswehr) this is a significant increase in artillery strength.
These plans actually look very sensible to me and adequately address the newfound problems on NATO's eastern border. The recently announced procurement of additional corvettes and SSKs and yes, also the new cyberwarfare command fit the new orientation back to conventional warfare against a peer enemy.
And a little correction regarding France. They never left NATO. They left NATO's integrated command structure for some time. I am sure they would have fought on the side of their allies nevertheless.
And they also participate in the joint battlegroups in the Baltics just as they went into Afghanistan in strength in order to support their US allies.
The link was useful, it is an interesting plan, if you have any further links, please post them even if they are in German (between google translate and my feeble german they are very readable).
I do think it is a bit cold war thinking. Artillery is still useful of course, but we aren't talking about a traditional Soviet Russian invasion through the Fulda gap.
Russia has shown it is becoming very skillful in conflicts other than war, and what best can be described as asymmetric warfare. Rather than big set heavy moves, it is a much more agile and cloudy type of maneuvers that are winning conflicts.
It is this type of conflict that Germany is ill prepared for, and ill prepared to support other nations against. In a way the artillery is a way of germany to dither. They are unlikely to be deployed into real combat zones, they aren't massively useful to coalitions.
Germany could certainly invest more in ssk's, currently there is one more before 2030?, I think the collaboration with Norway will be an interesting one.
If you look at what Norway is doing, what their concerns are and compare to Germany I find they are two different ends of the spectrum.
I had hoped the collaboration with the Neatherlands and Poland regarding naval and amphibious assets would be the start of shifting things into that direction. I had envisaged that forming a much more agile and mobile task force. Certainly the Dutch had focused on that type of capability.
Light forces are not what is needed in the east. They are deployable troops which are ill equipped for coping with heavy adversary forces.
Take a Stryker Brigade for example. Just how long do you think the M777s whill survive in thr face of Russian counterfire?
And with which forces does it performs a counterattack? It's leg infantry?
No, the value in heavy forces lies in Russia not being able to just walk over them and call it a day.
As for Russias new approach to warfare. With sufficient NATO troops in country there won't be heavy equipment coming over the border into the Baltics and the Russians pretending not knowing about it while at the same time pounding Baltic positions with artillery.
Those "dissidents" get obliterated or Russia has to step up and openly act against it's NATO neighbours. That in itself is already a deterrent.
As for Germany not putting it's artillery (or other forces) into harms way. We operated PzH2000s in Afghanistan and right now they reinforce the rather heavy German lead battlegroup in the Baltics to which the Bundeswehr added MBTs, IFVs and support units.
Thinking mainly about SSKs seems like a very Australian way of looking at things. A conflict in the east will mainly be decided on land and in the air with the baltic sea being important but not crucial (and well covered already compared to the Russian strength there).
agree, its a mackinder conflict - a continental war in the first instance and the majority of the conflict
maritime control is about managing SLOC and restricting movement of sea trade for supply
germany is not bound by sea, and restricting sea trade doesn't restrict her ability to fight
she can be supplied and provisioned by air - and the russians would be pulling in other countries to a conflict where she works on division as an important factor in progressing her aims
But the PzH itself isn't the most modern of systems. Is Germany looking into getting a fully automated SP Arty like the Swedish Archer or the Russian Coalition-SV? Both offer considerable advantages in RoF, crew size, and set-up time. To me personally it's amazing that the Swedes are the only ones who bothered with a truly advanced SP Arty system.
Hey, if an arty can fire these munitions, I consider it advanced
There's a difference between the munition and the arty piece itself. With the Swedes and the Russians, we're looking at fully automated artillery systems controlled basically, remotely, from inside an armored compartment. In the case of the Russian 2S35, they claim to have reduced crew size to two people. Eventually, this is heading for a future where an entire arty battery can be controlled remotely by an operator sitting in a safe position in a battery command post vehicle.
The above plans published by FAZ (a rather conservative daily paper in Germany) have been officially denied by the Ministry of Defense.
For a one-sentence summary, under those plans Germany would have added a single extra mechanized brigade, reintroduced brigade artillery and sorted out all light forces into separate commands, also introducing an extra brigade there to field medium equipment shifted away from the armoured troops. Not much more than that.
PzH2000 requires a driver, a commander and a single loader. The loader's function is to operate and watch the already automatic loading system. KMW has a concept in its drawers that eliminates that crew member. As a finished vehicle since about a decade ago.
Interesting. All the info I've seen, and granted I haven't seen much, seems to indicate a crew of 5. Is it that it can carry a crew of 5 but only requires 3?
"Loader 2" and "Gunner 1" are only required if automatic systems fail, i.e. as a manual backup. "Gunner 1" would take over manual gun laying, "Loader 2" would load ammunition instead of the autoloader; as required crew "Loader 1" places the charges, "Commander" fires the gun, "Driver" drives. That's the original layout at least.
The "Loader 1" position is not used anymore in German operations (i.e. the vehicles are run with a 4-man crew) with "Gunner 1" instead taking over placing the charges and "Loader 2" mostly twiddling his thumbs just sitting around* and as a fig leaf operating the pintle-mount machine gun when necessary.
In stationary operations in Afghanistan the PzH operated with 3-man crews (no driver), with "Loader" responsible for reloading the vehicle's magazine from outside, a role he'd also typically fill on firing ranges.
The unmanned AGM version of the PzH2000 turret - apart from the smaller magazine to save weight - has its only major change in using a separate autoloader for the charges, eliminating the need for the third man in the back.
* - Literally. You can find video evidence on youtube
Thank you for the clarification.
Would have been too good if true. Although the MoD needed some time for it's rebuke so probably we are at least going into a similar direction as recent announcements hinted.
As for Archer an PzH2000. As Kato said, real crew requirements are nearly identical. Archer is also not all that much newer considering it's long development time.
The PzH carries nearly three times the onboard ammunition. With just 21 rounds onboard an Archer unit is presses hard to keep all kinds of rounds available for fire missions (HE, AT like SMARt, PGM like Vulcano, Smoke, Illum...). It should also be a bit more mobile in rough terrain due to it being tracked and less vulnerable due to better protection while being less mobile on roads.
I for one see trucked based systems like archer or CEASAR (although a different, less automated design) or possibly a Boxer based Donar as an additional capability and not as a 1 to 1 replacement for heavy tracked SPGs.
You also hit a problem with day to day operations when operating heavy vehicles with very few men. Things like track/wheel/general maintenance, radio watch times, perimeter security, cable laying (as important as ever!) etc.. A two men crew is really hard pressed to do all this so you essentially have to add additional APC based warm bodies to your TOE at which point you have to ask if having them directly at your gun vehicles isn't more usefull.
Russia seems to agree, they're pursuing the Coalition-SV on both tracked and wheeled chassis.
Either way, my question remains. Is Germany seriously considering a future arty concept? Possibly one that can be mounted on multiple platforms. And if so, what will those units, not just the arty but the btln and regiment as a whole.
Specialization and automation are the way of the future. It's a matter of when and how, not if. I would love to see what the TO&E for the new 2S35-based arty btlns looks like but so far there are ~2 btlns online, one doing state trials, and one doing experimental exploitation. It remains to be seen what emerges.
Automation is definitely an important aspect of every future vehicle design. I bet Germany will never again design a 5 men SPG or a 4 men MBT.
But there are also practical limits which correlate with operating heavy equipment in a warzone with all the additional tasks and requirements attached.
Wouldn't it be a case of specialization? I.e. a smaller crew of professional maintenance personnel who have little to do with tactical operations but can help with the general maintenance you've described?
EDIT: What about organically integrating UAVs into the force-orgs of arty btlns? I guess I should ask a broader question about dedicated recon assets for arty units in Germany.
The 2nd battery of each of the current artillery battalions is a reconnaissance company equipped with two COBRA counter-battery radars and two platoons with KZO drones (10 drones total in battery).