Germany behind on NATO's obligations for number of combat-ready tanks
A German newspaper reveals that Germany does not have enough combat-ready tanks as required by NATO's fast response force.
The German military lacks the required number of combat-ready tanks for NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, a special brigade dubbed as the "spearhead force" that is part of the coalition's rapid response units, German ZDF newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The joint task force, which was created in 2014, is currently led by Germany.
Citing internal documents from the German army, the report added that Berlin is facing tangible issues regarding their battle-ready tank unit that are part of the high-readiness force, hindering it from fulfilling its "spearhead" NATO obligations.
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According to the newspaper, the 393rd Tank Battalion of Thuringia of the rapid response force is required to maintain at least 30 out of 44 tanks operationally capable in case of an unexpected emergency.
A classified document of the 37th Panzergrenadier Brigade obtained by the news outlet revealed that only 20 tanks are combat-ready as of February, while the number dropped to 14 in June.
The gap will be filled for the time being with another tank battalion, ZDF said, citing the report.
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The tank force issues were not reported officially, the newspaper said, noting that the battle-ready tanks in the battalion are probably even less than claimed were it not for bureaucratic tricks. The tanks belonging to the 104th Tank Battalion can barely join the "Spearhead" task force, it added.
If it wasn't for the rapid response force earlier extending the maintenance period of its tanks from 12 to 24 months, 11 more Leopard 2 units would have been "suddenly" classified as not fit for service.
NATO obligations will continue to be fulfilled, the German army said without commenting on the readiness of its tanks.
German newspaper Die Welt also reported earlier that the 9th Tank Brigade of the fast response NATO force is facing similar problems, having only 9 battle-ready tanks out of 44.
The German military is not capable of defending the country if a war is to start as it is understaffed and does not have enough infrastructure, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius admitted last week.
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