How Weak is the Strongest Nation in Continental Europe?
check your magazine inventory ... and that of your friends
The construct in the NATO alliance is fairly straight forward: on paper the strongest economy, largest population, and natural land power in the alliance on the continent is Germany.
As part of the collective defense of the alliance, she should be the solid core of defense of continental Europe until the rest of the alliance - especially North America - shows up to play should a spot of bother appear on its eastern front.
That is the theory - but that isn’t the practice.
We’ve asked for almost two decades here for Germany to join the rest of us in the 21st Century and take her rightful place as a full practicing member of the West and leave the issues of previous generations behind.
Sadly, by socio-political inertia, bad political philosophy, and frankly a people content to let others pay for their security so they can preen their virtue and further feather their bed.
Though the threat has always and will be Russia to the east, her political and business elite were more concerned with their own wealth accumulation in the short term than understanding the last 500 years of history and their nation’s responsibilities.
When you map it out, the German national security plan remains simple: defend the Oder to the last Pole, the Elbe to the last American, and the Rhine to the last remnants of any Anglo-French force that hasn’t headed for the Channel ports.
Sounds glib, but that is how it wargames out. By being so weak, they invite aggression or if they all of a sudden decide they don’t want the fate of the Crimean Tartars, that the alliance would need to go nuclear to keep what would be left of Germany to the Germans.
Not their nukes, of course. Not the British or French nukes either. No, the American nukes that are officially called “NATO nukes.”
As only a fool believes in limited nuclear war or the “only works in the faculty lounge” concept of “tactical nukes” - any NATO use of nukes in Europe has a greater than 75% chance of escalating in to the entire northern hemisphere nuking itself in to making the next Cold War between Brazil and Nigeria.
Yes, it is that simple.
As the Russo-Ukrainian War approaches the 18-month mark, you would think the adults in Germany would throw away the bad habits of the last 60 years or so since they joined NATO in the dustbin and turn in to the wind … but no.
Let’s focus on a known-known that has only been confirmed in bold relief in this war: in land combat, artillery is the key to everything. Especially in Europe, but in any kind of war beyond imperial policing actions - it is the enabler of all other efforts ashore.
Let’s do some math. From The Hill back in April;
According to a letter by Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov obtained by the Financial Times, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) are firing only 20 percent of the rounds they potentially could because of insufficient stock. He appealed to his European Union counterparts and requested at least 250,000 artillery rounds a month — about 8,000 artillery rounds per day — to ease the deficit. He argued that, according to their estimates, the AFU needs a minimum of 356,400 shells per month — an average of about 12,000 rounds a day — to meet their battlefield goals. In other words, Ukraine believes it must fire at least double the artillery it was firing during its peak months, and at least four times as much as it has been firing for the past half-year.
There’s a number as good as any; 12,000 round a day.
What’s Germany doing (pardon the rough translation)?
According to a report, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius wants to buy more ammunition for the Bundeswehr more quickly because of the aggravated security situation caused by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The ministry plans to submit nine contracts for the accelerated purchase of artillery and tank ammunition to the budget committee of the Bundestag before the parliamentary summer break, the "Spiegel" reported.
"The current stock of explosive projectiles in 155 mm caliber is around 20,000 rounds," it said. By 2031, however, the Bundeswehr would have to build up a stock of around 230,000 projectiles. Due to the lack of a good 190,000 shots, the accelerated purchase of 155 projectiles is "absolutely necessary", according to the report in the confidential documents. The numbers are based on the requirements of NATO. These stipulate that the Bundeswehr must have sufficient artillery ammunition available by 2031 to be able to survive intensive combat for 30 days.
So, right now, Germany has enough artillery for 1.67 days in the most likely scenario she would face ashore. She is so motivated to address that issue that in eight years she hopes to have enough artillery to last - not 30 days Minister Pistorius - but 19.17 days.
Eight years to get to 19.17 days of combat? Farcical.
Today, she cannot even meet the Smartest People in the Room™’s “72-hr War” much less Berlin’s ahistorical “30-day” war. Using the truncated Ukrainian benchmark, that would require 360,000.
Yes, American has its own challenge waking up to reality including begging Japan for TNT and expanding capacity where we can, but are producing on our own at the rate of 20,000 155-mm shells a month and plan to increase to 40,000 by 2025 - and we have an entire ocean between us an Europe and 2/3 of a continent more until we get to Russia.
From Frankfurt an der Oder to the Ukrainian border is the same distance as Washington DC to Portland, Maine. You would think that would motivate Germany a little more
Germany is a democratic country whose government is accountable to its people. Germany’s internal decisions are its business and “we” should have nothing to do with it.
However, as the member states of the alliance rightfully should demand that all nations do their fair share for alliance defense - knowing Germany only spends 1.5% of GDP on defense, well below the 2% NATO floor - the alliance should take action against Germany and other free riders.
A reminder, PLAN SALAMANDER of JAN24 is there … low hanging fruit I first proposed over six years ago;
In NATO, General and Flag Officer billets are distributed amongst nations in a rather complicated way, but this formula is controlled by NATO – and as such – can be changed.
Entering argument: take the present formula for “fair distribution” and multiply by .75 any nation that spends 1.5% to 1.99% GDP on defense. Multiply by .5 any nation that spends between 1.25% to 1.499%. Multiply by .25 1.0% to 1.240%. If you fall below 1%, you get nothing and your OF5 (Col./Capt) billets are halved.
1.25x for 2.01%-2.25%. 1.5X for 2.26%-2.75%; 1.75x for 2.76% -3.0%. 2x for +3.01%.
A nice first step.