The British Army is committed to supporting critical NATO assets in Germany, including a combined river crossing capability and facilities to allow for joint training.

“There is a requirement to enhance support to NATO and to strengthen ties with our European allies. We are committing to a combined river crossing capability with the German Army (Bundeswehr), known as the M3 wide-wet gap crossing capability, and associated shared facilities in Minden.

We will also use the Training Area at Sennelager and supporting infrastructure in Germany to enable live fire training by UK and NATO forces.”

Recently, General Sir Nick Carter said that the threat from Russia meant that the Ministry of Defence is considering retaining bases in Germany that troops are set to withdraw from by 2020.

He made the announcement in a speech delivered at the Royal United Services Institute:

“Our ability to pre-empt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries.

The threats we face are not thousands of miles away but are now on Europe’s doorstep. We have seen how cyber-warfare can be both waged on the battlefield and used to disrupt normal people’s lives. We in the UK are not immune from that.

We must take notice of what is going on around us or our ability to take action will be massively constrained. Speed of decision-making, speed of deployment and modern capability are essential if we wish to provide realistic deterrence.”

General Carter said when it comes to threats, it is important to recognise that “readiness is about speed of recognition, speed of decision-making and speed of assembly.”

He said the Army is testing the ability to deploy over land by using road and rail, but that it is “also important to stress the need for a forward mounting base.”

“Therefore we are actively examining the retention of our infrastructure in Germany, where we store our vehicles in Ayrshire Barracks in Rheindahlen, and our training facilities in Sennelager, as well as our heavy equipment transporters that are based there, and our stockpiling and ammunition storage,” he revealed.

28 COMMENTS

  1. we never were going to leave Germany. I don’t know why we even wasted so much money moving battalions around to accommodate this.

    • Because clever Mr Cameron was saying in 2010 that the threat had gone and there was no need for armour or fast jets on an European front.

      Typical short sighted politician. These people cause so much trouble and there is no system to then hold their actions to account.

      On the other hand, why keep 23 000 soldiers spending money in the German economy when they can be spending that money boosting the economy of local areas around Salisbury Plain?

      These facilities are infrastructure like storage and Ammunition sites, not barracks with resident battalions, and it seems sensible to retain them.

      • I think this is a bit harsh on the gov as the USA also drew down forces, scrapped second fleet and pivoted to Asia. In terms of forward basing, they should move them to poland and Baltic’s and Norway. No good having them in Germany now the Soviet union is no more.

  2. A limited footprint retained in Germany such as those listed is fine.

    The Army hijacking the Joint Force 2020 plan is not. We are not a continental power and should not attempt to be.

    Priorities should be the RN, RAF and the RM.

    • Agree. NATO forces massed in Germany ain’t going to deter a threat to the Baltic states or northern Sweden/Finland – the points of most vulnerability. But the ability to rapidly deploy light forces that can target stand off weaponry, the ability to enter high threat airspace, the use of stand off ground scanning radar to detect manoeuvring forces, the ability to blockade russian ports with attack submarines, the potential to snatch some less well defended russian territory, launch cyber ops, whilst help those states directly in the line of fire with strategic force multipliers might.

      • Well put, better than me.

        Power projection is key.

        RN
        Carriers / Fast Jet, ASW, CHF
        SSN / SSBN.
        Amphibs / RM.
        RFA

        RAF
        Fast Air / Stand off Weaponry.
        SHF.
        Transport & Tankers.

        Army
        16 AA Bde and JHC
        1 “War Fighting Division” ( I know Anthony we differ slightly here )

        Central MoD

        UKSF
        Cyber

        These are the key pillars for me.

        • Thanks Daniele. My thinking around the division reflects that it would be an administrative unit for forces dispersed all over the world on garrison, training, intelligence and SF type operations. Making the most of significant technilogical enhancements to small arms firepower and be significantly better trained across the board, especially in intel, languages, jtac and faos. But that requires forgetting to even try to maintain armoured manoeuvre tactics. Tactics which I think have probably died a death against tier 1 to 3 powers. Also the cost, supply tail, targetability and opportunity cost of maintaining an armoured division in the UK’s situation makes it a waste to me.

  3. retaining bases in Germany, increasing the commitment to Afghanistan, deploying RN assets longer and further away including the up kick in attention east of Suez, we need more men and women the UK forces aren’t equipped or have the manpower for what we are now asking them to do

    • it will take decades to undo the mess we’re in. I distinctly remember getting a brief about how we were aiming to avoid the 1980s recruitment issues after cutting numbers.
      it’s repeated itself.
      bear in mind recently we did have to cut those away who were consistently taking the piss and never deploying. this should have extended to the senior ranks. good blokes should have then promoted on merit, not after 3 months of a beasting down brecon. the in house beasting to even get on that course turns most away.
      Simultaneously, recruitment should have been prioritised.
      these failures have led us to have minimal manning and utter dross in the mid level positions.

  4. The Berlin wall fell 30 years ago yet we’re still in Germany ! But it’s the army everyone it’s how they work. There’s an old joke about which is harder. Getting a new thought into their head or getting an old thought out. But the politicians and civil servants have to keep trying. If they hadn’t we’d still have horsed cavalry and artillery regiments. Depressingly I’m only half joking.

  5. The elephant in the room is the Russian/German energy agreements. Surely, Germany will have to weigh up many factors before confronting Russian aggression? That pause could prove disastrous in an emergency. However, listening to Putin at the Trump summit, Russia poses no threat directly or indirectly to NATO. So that’s alright and defence ministries around Europe, can stand easy and their treasuries can start cutting defence commitments; with immediate effect?
    On another issue, did the NATO members really agree to meet 2% of GDP, or were they just nodding in Trump’s direction, in the hope he might soon go up in a puff of smoke?

  6. The European NATO members said quite clearly no new money for defence other than that already committed.
    Only the UK, France, Poland, Estonia pay more than 2% GDP to defence ratio and the UKs is not a true 2% as our strategic nuclear deterrent, armed forces pensions, injuries, litigation etc etc are all paid from the defence budget so actually more like 1.6-1.7%
    I am hoping for some new money going into UK defence but like all other readers on this site do not think we should keep any army bases or deployments in Germany. Why suck up to people who have zero gratitude and are not paying their fair share. If the Germans want a UK armed forces presence in Germany they can pay us the entirety of the costs of that deployment and forward basing.
    If Germany is not willing to do that then bring our forces home.
    Putin is not scared of our armoured battalions or a couple hundred armoured vehicles. He is scared Shitless of carrier strike battle groups. Astute class attack submarines that can neutralise the entire Russian navy and type 26 frigates. It is only the RAF and RN that can realistically hold back Russian aggression and only if adequately resourced and enlarged back to near cold war levels of force size.
    The Army just needs to be strong enough to deploy blocking forces in order to slow down and stop Russian armoured aggression. Realistically in any conventional war with Russia we could not stop their massive army on the ground but we could grind them to a halt with air strikes and a maritime blockade.
    Apache Es more of those would be really needed as well as a few dozen more Eurofighter typhoons and at least another 64-78 F35Bs on top of the mere 48 we have ordered thus far. I reckon an uptick of 3000 more RN personnel and ditto RAF with about 5000 more soldiers would be all we need to return a reasonable force level and the personnel needed for some limited resilience to a war against a near peer nation. £6-7 billion a year more into the defence budget would go a long way to kitting the armed forces out with high end platforms and weaponry they desperately need. Not a huge sum of additional money.

    • A maritime blockade of Russia 😂

      I love this site sometimes, always good for a laugh.

      Also good to know that our army is to be used only for “blocking forces”

      Yep let’s chuck our boys and girls on front of the grinder to slow them down until our RAF and RN come save the day.

    • I agree to an extent but I suspect many Europeans actually are grateful and it’s rediculous to suggest Germany should pay us. It’s collective defence, so we are protecting Germany and they are protecting us. Should they hit 2%? Definitely. As long as most of Europe is a military ally we need never fear invasion. It is completely without context to argue we need cold war level forces when most Soviet forces will be on our side this time round! NATO will deter and resist russian aggression, not the UK or EU.

  7. I doubt the German’s are as contemptuous as you say about the UK’s contribution. Those communities sited around UK bases had a warm respect for Tommy. Okay, some farmers use to get angry with British tanks plowing up their fields, but who wouldn’t? What is a worry; is the lack of due care and attention over their current defence force preparedness, the cause of which I haven’t a clue? All I do know, is it will take considerable time to get back up to 1980 levels.
    I’d like some current UK bases to remain in Germany from a purely strategic point of view. Pre-positioned land equipment makes eminent sense, if the equipment is required in an emergency.

    • Maybe it was because the cold war ended, the Soviet union collapsed, then a bit later we had the worst recession since 1930s.

  8. Yes, of course, it stands to reason! The Germans need us to protect their Boxer vehicle plant so that they can continue to sell us Boxer Armoured Vehicles in a crisis. Heavens forbid that they, you know, spend money on their own defence when they’ve got important things like profit margins to consider. Perhaps if we speak kind words to them they will build a railway line directly from the plant to their Eastern Border and so save the Brits on fuel expenses.

    *Note, being facetious.

  9. Time for Germany and Europe to put more in the pot

    The UK should look to re-inforce our allies not defend them, its never really worked out in the past for us has it.

    Let us concentrate on fast moving lethal platforms like apache and F35 and build up an amphibious and expeditionary capability. The Northern flank should be our strategic goal and I agree that the RN and RAF should be invested in heavily.

    The other reason is that aircraft are complex and difficult to keep an industrial base going, but in time of war we could turn our numerous car factories over to tanks etc.

  10. Why is the UK still in Germany, Poland etc. Don’t they have their own army? Why should we commit to Europe by deploying ground forces? This is a left over from the second world war and the cold war. We should pull out completely, This does not mean leaving NATO but it does mean Germany that spends 1.2% of GDP on defence starts funding its army more effectively. It is not our role to make up for deficiencies in German defence spending. We should do the same with Poland too. Then our EU allies will no we mean business. Time to put the UK firs for once. Use any savings for better equipment too.

  11. Given the shabby state of the German armed forces, why should we spend our underfunded budget on protecting them.
    The whole concept of the BOR is out of date, Europe should fund the continental ground force and we should support NATO with more funding to RAF and Navy to enable US reinforcement ,a few extra British tanks makes little difference.

    • Bingo.

      This is what I too believe.

      Big capable RAF, RN, RM, with supporting Cyber UKSF and Intelligence Community capabilities.

      Smaller army.

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