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German Armed Forces reduced to 150 000?


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Here's a cut that (almost) nobody would regret: according to media reports, the blue-ribbon Weise Committee will suggest in its final report that the Ministry of Defense give up its primary seat which is still in Bonn, concentrate in Berlin and slash its total personnel from 3,500 to 1,350. Unfortunately, this would violate the Bonn-Berlin Act, which stipulates the division of ministries between the old and new seat of government. But then Bonn has been amply reimbursed for its loss by other means now, and laws can be changed ...

 

The conservative party leadership, including the Bavarian CSU, has come around with surprising speed to support the defense minister's approach. Throughout the party, it almost seems like people are glad to finally quit living the lie of meaningful general conscription in an age of expeditionary warfare. The conventions are still ahead, but as it looks now the discussion will be mostly about force levels; numbers thrown around are from 180,000 to 200,000.

 

I still think the lower end of that most likely. The Inspector General's report estimated in view of demographics and economy that the Bundeswehr would be able to win at least 165,000, but not more than 180,000 professional soldiers in the near future (already, of the current 195,000 slots, 7,000 are unfilled); likewise, the head of the Weise Committee has estimated that the total potential of the future "short-timers" would be 15,000 to 20,000.

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According to another German forum and blog, a future army structure (after the current reform plans) might look like this:

 

The way I deciphered it, this would look like:

 

 

Land Operations Command ***

 

 

Deployment Command 1 ** (provides a brigade HQ for deployments)

 

- 1 Panzer battalion

 

- 2 Panzergrenadier battalions

 

- 2 Jäger battalions (+ 2 assigned from French-German Brigade)

 

- 1 artillery regiment

 

- recon regiment

 

- Pionier regiment

 

- logistics regiment

 

 

Deployment Command 2 ** (provides a brigade HQ for deployments)

 

- 1 Panzer battalion

 

- 2 Panzergrenadier battalions

 

- 4 Jäger battalions

 

- 2 Gebirgsjäger battalions (?)

 

- recon regiment

 

- Pionier regiment

 

- logistics regiment

 

 

Deployment Command 3 ** (provides a brigade HQ for deployments)

 

- 1 Panzer battalion

 

- 2 Panzergrenadier battalions

 

- 4 Jäger battalions

 

- 2 Gebirgsjäger battalions (?)

 

- recon regiment

 

- Pionier regiment

 

- logistics regiment

 

 

Air Mobile Forces Command **

 

- Air Mobile Jäger regiment

 

- Fallschirmjäger regiment

 

- attack helicopter battalion (?)

 

- light transport helicopter battalion (?)

 

 

German Contingent French-German Brigade

 

- 2 Jäger battalions

 

- 1 artillery battalion

 

 

Special Forces Command

 

 

I think the Gebirgsjäger and aviation units are wrong, there should be regiments somewhere instead of battalions. But then Wiegold said the charts he got had been copied and faxed so often they were all but unreadable. It's still all preliminary, anyway.

 

ETA: Here's a chart that makes somewhat more sense:

 

Edited by BansheeOne
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Seems awful light on artillery. Is the thought that expeditionary forces don't need it?

Just noted that there are three times as many engineer units as artillery. (Not that I mind, being a former engineer.)

Germany has at the moment two artillery pieces in service: the Panzerhaubitze 2000 (SP Arty) and MARS (european MLRS). Both are not really expeditionary and more like cold war. The towed FH-70 155 mm only serve as gate guards.

Edited by Panzermann
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  • 1 month later...

Both the Inspector General's report containing the original five models and the final report of the Weise committee officially presented today, are avaliable online now (German).

 

The Weise report confirms the content already leaked to the press in advance. Suggestions:

 

- suspend conscription; reduce force to ca. 180,000 with lower proportion of lifers; reduce civilian employees to ca. 50,000

 

- introduce voluntary citizen service of 15-23 months replacing current conscription and civilian substitute service; Bundeswehr should include up to 15,000 of those short-timers

 

- double force level avaliable for deployment to ca. 15,000

 

- halve MoD to ca. 1,500, delete Bonn seat; delete one permant state secretary post, reduce number of staff departments from 17 to eight, introduce effective controlling

 

- elevate inspector general to "Chief of Defence", controlling military side of MoD opposite permanent state secretary controlling civilian side; second surgeon general to CoD, centralized legal division to state secretary

 

- downgrade inspectors of the forces out of MoD as commanders of army, air force, navy, central services; integrate medical services into the latter, use surgeons mostly for medical as opposed to administrative tasks; consolidate respective force commands and force bureaus under the four commanders

 

- consolidate Operative Command Intervention Forces into Deployed Forces Command; consolidate special forces of all forces into Special Forces Command reporting directly to the latter

 

- despite rationalization, keep identificatory and attractive items like Bundeswehr universities, bands, sport groups, sail training ship "Gorch Fock" etc.

 

- consolidate parallel procurement responsibilities under an Bundeswehr Agency for Procurement; reduce and simplify system specifications, avoid gold-plating and specialized national solutions in favor of international standards and modular, OTS, exportable systems to aid national defense industry; harmonize defense export regulations with European standard.

 

Defense Minister zu Guttenberg has called the report a solid foundation for reform, though the suggestion might not be implemented 100 percent (as mentioned previously, the dual Bonn-Berlin seats of federal ministries are actually codified in law, and funnily this seems to be the most controversial point right now while there appears to be silent agreement on most of the rest). Even so he wants to achieve transformation of the MoD within two years, of the whole force within eight to ten. Meanwhile, the Conservatives in parliament are gunning for a total force of 190,000.

 

According to media reports today, negotiations with EADS have resulted in Germany reducing its A400M order from 60 to 53, and the UK from 25 to 22.

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A400M = Aircraft 400 Million € ... :lol:

 

 

400 Million planes that don't exist? ;)

 

Sorry, I've become utterly jaded at the aerospace industry. The Comanche, the A-12 Avenger, the F-35, the A400M, money sinkholes which I strongly suspect will wind up being cancelled, all of them. A400M is great on paper, really. I think it's great and we should buy some. If they ever managed to get it into production.

 

F-35 is a single engine Lego toy, lacking robustness and survivability, and not only am I cynical regarding its ultimate completion, I'm cynical about its combat worthiness.

Edited by Jim Martin
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Meanwhile, the Conservatives in parliament are gunning for a total force of 190,000.

 

More precisely 192,000. This includes a plus of 10,000 for the Heer, 5,500 for the Luftwaffe, 4,000 for the Marine, 5,000 for the Streitkräftebasis and 2,500 for the Sanitätsdienst over the bare Guttenberg model four, plus the 1,500 projected for the future MoD not included there. Based upon statements by the inspectors of the forces what they would really need, especially for the Heer to retain proper divisions and brigades instead of those 1945-ish Divisionskampfgruppen.

 

The defense minister has reportedly said he's glad about any extra soldier demanded, but parliament will have to cough up the money for it, too (which might be the whole strategy behind presenting scarily low force levels). However, this is moving mighty close to the upper limit of volunteers projected to be recruitable in the near future (165,000-180,000 contract soldiers, 15,000-20,000 short-timers); and we all know how such projections turned out in many other European states when they abolished conscription.

 

Interestingly, the Weise report includes a suggestion to expand the opportunities for non-German EU citizens to serve in the Bundeswehr, and even a quite American (or French/Spanish?) "citizenship for service" approach for non-EUsians. At least that might cancel out the disproportionate numbers of Russian immigrants in the force ...

 

The transfer of army air defense to the Luftwaffe seems definite, BTW. The transfer of the CH-53s has become subject to a poker game with the inspector of the air force saying he'll only take them if they come with additional personnel slots (included in the Conservatives' demand above).

 

The convention of the Bavarian CSU, which was the more critical wing of the Conservatives regarding abolition of the draft, waved the reform through almost unanimously yesterday. The CDU convention from November 14th to 16th shouldn't be an obstacle then, either.

Edited by BansheeOne
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I know that in the past it was standard practice in the Heer for an infantry or tank company to have only two officers, the company commander and one of the platoon commanders, with the other platoons being commanded by senior NCOs. A recent TO&E of a Jager battalion I just downloaded seems to indicate that there are now four officers in the company- commander, second-in-command and two platoon commanders, with the other two platoon commanders remaining NCOs. Is this now standard throughout the Heer?

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Pretty much, though AIUI not every unit has managed to fill the slots yet. Where did you download that TO&E from BTW?

 

I'm still trying to get my head around a German army with two (2) artillery battalions. :(

 

In fairness, one of the artillery formations is really supposed to be a regiment of 6-9 firing batteries, but that's still terribly light. Hence the demand of the Conservatives for more tanks, IFVs and artillery specifically.

 

OTOH, the coalition parties reportedly just launched an inquest whether the Bundeswehr's in-house counter-intelligence service MAD could be dissolved and its mission divided between the civilian services for foreign (BND) and domestic (Federal Bureau for Protection of the Constitution) intelligence.

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In fairness, one of the artillery formations is really supposed to be a regiment of 6-9 firing batteries, but that's still terribly light. Hence the demand of the Conservatives for more tanks, IFVs and artillery specifically.

 

1 regiment with 6 firing batteries and 1 batallion with 3 firing batteries would amount to 72 PzH 2000s. If the regiment has 9 firing batteries there would be a total of 96 PzH 2000s.

 

1 more than those 95 AS90s the British army plans to retain after the SDSR... ;)

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Pretty much, though AIUI not every unit has managed to fill the slots yet. Where did you download that TO&E from BTW?

 

 

 

 

 

The Yahoo TO&Es Group:

 

http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/IOHPTMDN51yZT3hlu79u4y9IoO6ZUDShyfl-tGvFdvkbI39NexOe4HrHm3b9JGvZtQlGsuxq4bfYIKc9kHvY9DbIrGEhqdY-X-o/Modern%20TO%26Es%20/J%80%A0%A0%E4ger%20Bat.pdf

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Thanks - but that link doesn't work.

 

1 regiment with 6 firing batteries and 1 batallion with 3 firing batteries would amount to 72 PzH 2000s. If the regiment has 9 firing batteries there would be a total of 96 PzH 2000s.

 

1 more than those 95 AS90s the British army plans to retain after the SDSR... ;)

 

... except those batteries will have to include the 24 MLRS planned to be retained, too ...

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1 regiment with 6 firing batteries and 1 batallion with 3 firing batteries would amount to 72 PzH 2000s. If the regiment has 9 firing batteries there would be a total of 96 PzH 2000s.

 

1 more than those 95 AS90s the British army plans to retain after the SDSR... ;)

 

We have a few Regiments of 105mm guns in service too. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, that's it. The CDU convention signed off on the reform last night with a vast majority. Cabinet decision is expected for mid-December. The defense minister wants the plan for re-organization of the MoD finished by late January/early February. Conscription may run out as early as April. New overall force structure to be finalized by mid-2011. Then the screaming and shouting about base closures will start.

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Conscription may run out as early as April.

 

Family Minister Kristina Schröder came out today and announced that everybody in civilian substitute service will be phased out on June 30th unless they volunteer to serve until the end of 2011. There is gonna be a Federal Volunteer Service of 6-24 months to replace the civilian draftees, hoped to attract 35,000 in addition to the same number already doing the "Voluntary Social/Ecological Year".

 

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Statement of Defense Minister zu Guttenberg at this week's Bundeswehr Convention in Dresden: Total strength will likely be 180-185,000 with a look at the recuiting base (if parliament coughs up the money). MoD will have "distinclty less than 2,000" posts. Conscription to end with June next year. Not quite clear yet if this means the last recruits will be drafted in January to serve the six months originally planned from next year on, or in April for only three months (not very sensible, and therefore unlikely).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Cabinet signed off on the reform on Wednesday. Everybody is acting surprised it will probably not save the 8.4 billion Euros which were the original driving force behind the whole thing. Looks like the MoD's scare tactics of advertizing super-austere force structures will pay off.

 

Future force will consist of 170,000 professionals and up to 15,000 voluntary short-timers. I've caught a glimpse at a briefing document that treats the early six-brigade army model (with two division HQs, plus French-German brigade, airborne and SF forces) and the more recent divisional battlegroup phantasms as equal options. The buzz is that with the increased manpower ceiling there's now enough mass to have proper brigades with balanced armor and infantry capabilities (and maybe even organic artillery) again.

 

The law suspending conscription will enter in force on July 1st if it goes through parliament as it is now. Last compulsory draft cards will be for January 1st. They're thinking of making folks who would have been up for the second quarter the offer of serving the six months that were in the original law for 2011 and take advantage of the new enlistment/re-enlistment boni once the new law takes effect to bridge the gap.

 

From then on, 18-year-olds of either sex will be registered and get "inivitations" to undergo checks and counseling for voluntary service. The current County Defense Replacement Offices will likely be amalgamated with the Volunteer Reception Posts and transformed into 15-20 posts that will not only accept applications for military service, but also civilian employee slots, and maybe the civilian volunteer services too.

 

If parliament declares a State of Tension or State of Defense, the law automatically reverts to compulsory conscription for men.

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Banshee, Germany is but the latest of a long string of powers, great and lesser, that have gone off national service since the UK in the early sixties. In every case that I can recall, the recruiting remained substandard until pay and living conditions received substantial improvements. To what extent do you see the need for improvements in that regard? I have not been in a BW Kaserne since 1978, and have no idea how far accomodations and other features have been enhanced.

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