The UK will continue to have a military presence in Germany beyond 2020, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced.

Around 185 British Army personnel and 60 Ministry of Defence civilians will remain in Germany, once the withdrawal of British Army units to the UK has been completed say the Ministry of defence in a news release.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“We are increasing our British points of presence across the world. We will not be closing our facilities in Germany, and instead use them to forward base the Army.”

Army personnel will be permanently based in the country where the UK is retaining the 45-square mile Sennelager Training Area, which provides both UK and NATO forces with an expansive live firing training area. It has a long tradition as a home from home for British service personnel.

“The remaining Army personnel will also support critical NATO infrastructure and assets such as the combined river crossing capability based in Minden. It uses M3 vehicles jointly operated by British and German troops, and both nations are currently in discussions regarding a future bilateral upgrade of the vehicles.

Retaining Sennelager alongside the adjacent Athlone Barracks will provide remaining British personnel with the vital domestic infrastructure, including housing and schooling.”

Elsewhere, the MoD say that the Army is maintaining a presence at the Ayrshire Barracks in Mönchengladbach, where approximately 2,000 vehicles can be stored, and the German Wulfen Defence Munitions Storage Facility, which holds operational ammunition.

75 COMMENTS

  1. it,s also been reported that Mr Williamson stated Albion and Bulwark will not be scrapped bet that went down well with Hammond

    • The albions not being scrapped is not a positive yet, as it depends what is sold off to pay for them.

      There has been no news on more money, so this is a give with one hand and take from another.

      If we lose a large number of soldiers/sailors and/or frigates then it was a cost too far and the albions should have gone. They are a useful capability to have, but not one we are likely to use and yet the frigates/solders/sailors are needed every day.

      • The treasury is delaying decisions until we find out what the Brexit deal will be. If a good deal is reached I think they will finally loosen the purse strings around defense spending as its widely acknowledged the current budget is not sustainable long term. If its a bad deal I think it will be a nightmare for defense spending.

        • either way with that idiot Hammond controlling the purse strings there will be no money for defence he thinks we only need a total of 50,000 soldiers to carry out the tasks we have now even though we are undermanned over stretched with outdated equipment yet again,mind if labour get in there will be no defence under comrade Corbyn

          • Hammond should be parachuted into the next trouble spot with his overnight and see how he gets along. The man is a disgrace.

        • Whatever the Brexit deal or no deal turns out to be, the UK will have to face an increase in defence spending. An increase in global trade will require further reach for the RN, no matter how the government currently colours the page. Any hope of a favorable trade deal with the US, will depend on how willing the UK is to becoming even closer to US foreign policy? Such an outcome will require a sizable defence commitment going forward.

          • By the way, folks, if you want a guided tour of the Monchengladbach storage depot go on ‘Google Earth’ and zoom in, it’s 3D and a bit nebulous in close detail.

      • It seems that two type 23 frigates are to be laid up. This is possibly due to either monetary issues, manning issues or possibly that they are to be stripped of useful equipment for the upcoming start of the Type 31s.
        As for the army I hope that the MoD does not reduce numbers any more. I personally would like to see an increase in numbers so that we can have an armoured corps of one armoured div and two armoured infantry divs for Germany/NATO, three independent armoured battle-groups deployable world wide by the RN and a rapid reaction force based on the Paras, RM and Gurkha’s. This would mean however that numbers need to increase to the 100,000 level again.
        I think it is time for the government to make one of three decisions, To remove the Trident budget back into the treasury budget and leave the MoD budget at the current 2.2%, remove Trident from the inventory all together and replace the submarines with nuclear armed cruise missiles making them into SSGNs and saving about 50% of the cost whilst increasing the MoD budget to 2.7% or three the budget is increased to 3.5% and keep Trident. There is a forth option remove the nuclear capability altogether. In my opinion option three is the best but this is not financially acceptable in the current climate. Yet even in the 1970s when Britain was going through a bad period the government still found 4.4%GDP for defence.
        Personally I would prefer option three, yet I very much doubt that we can at the moment afford it so with that being the case then option two would be the best all round solution a limited tactical nuclear deterrent with an increase in conventional forces is better than a strategic deterrent and limited conventional force or no deterrent.

        • Agree with option two ron for the reasons you set out. Not sure we’ll ever be able to properly equip a corps sized force and concerned that ground scanning radar is the end for mass armoured manoeuvre.

  2. That’ll keep the ruskies at bay!
    Seriously though I assume this is to help if we need to move mass forces onto the continent, liaisons and such, and to maintain some facilities there.

  3. It’s the way the army works. To get them out of anywhere. Except Afghanistan and Iraq ? Has always been a nightmare. They have a death grip on any overseas base you have to prise it out of their grip one finger at a time. We’re down to the last finger now just 30 yearsafter the fall of the Berlin wall. The chiefs miss Rheindahlen. That was where their army was. Not the Armoured Divisions or the Berlin Brigade.

  4. i enjoyed being based in Paderborn,used to go all over the place in my time off,just a shame my old camp is going to be either an immigrant holding centre or turned into houses

  5. Always good to let the opposition know in advance where to strike if a war was ever to break out!

    “Elsewhere, the MoD say that the Army is maintaining a presence at the Ayrshire Barracks in Mönchengladbach, where approximately 2,000 vehicles can be stored, and the German Wulfen Defence Munitions Storage Facility, which holds operational ammunition.”

    • Sean. The Ayshire barracks site has controlled humidity environment storage, like DSDC Ashchurch. Ashchurch is slated for closure, stupidly in my opinion. The Army needs to store thousands of vehicles somewhere.

      Sennelager and Wulfen also sensible moves.

      We are talking about strategic assets not a garrison. The brigades are still returning to the Super Garrison around Salisbury Plain, rightly so.

      But if they need to deploy into Europe having forward deployed infrastructure and even pre positioned kit is totally sensible.

      Think of these facilities like Mount Pleasant, Akrotiri, Ayios Nikolios, Gibraltar, and so on.

      All assets to HM forces.

      • Forward deployment I can understand to protect OUR interests, but to protect Germany? A country with a bigger economy than ours that simply can’t be bothered to spend the money it needs to on defence?

        It’s only forward deployed if we’re going to fight a land campaign in Eastern Europe, but as we don’t have land forces large enough to fight a credible campaign there.
        Mount Pleasant, Akrotiti, Gibraltar are all essentially unsinkable aircraft carriers for protecting British interests.

  6. I’m just not seeing the need, if we want to have a support stucture ready for a European deployment at a time of crisis it needs to be close to where the issues will be, I’m guessing that actual problems that need the Army would occure around 500miles east, maybe investing in facilities in Poland would be more strategically sound ?

    • Maybe. But these are developed and there now.

      I wouldn’t want us spending money to develop new.

      I’d prefer that money spent on as many T31 as we can get.

      • I think I would just close the lot down and spend it on naval hulls and manning, rotor assets ( of any colour) or front line fixed wing assets.

        • Jonathan.

          I don not think we own the sites. They would be returned to the German authorities if we discard them, so apart from running costs we are not going to make the hundreds of millions selling something we don’t own.

          UK sites different of course we are gaining savings from selling the site and saving on ongoing costs.

  7. (Chris H) – forgive me making an obvious observation but if the EU keep saying ‘Non’, fail to come up with a reasonable alternative to the PM’s Chequers deal (still the ONLY plan) and keep insulting us and our PM then we leave without any deal. So no £39 BN and no further £13 Bn a year. Now we will have to construct an import tariff regime that allows car manufacturers and industry to claim back any tariffs paid on import (eg: don’t have any tariffs just 40% VAT and then claim back 20% all legal under WTO) but basically we will copy whatever EU External Tariff they levy on us.

    Point being the UK as from next April will have a huge amount of money saved plus an annual tariff income from the EU of some £10 Bn a year (10% of the £100 Bn deficit we run with the EU in Goods. Services are not subject to Tariffs) so we could fund a large increase in defence spending, make substantial investments in advanced engineering, in our infrastructure and offer deals so British fishermen and women can borrow at zero cost to build a new more modern fishing fleet to fish OUR waters.

    We then pull every single soldier, tank, Land Rover and Warrior out of Germany and close the lot down. Let the EU defend itself against the Russians because we owe them nothing contrary to waht Remainers will have us believe. Then leave NATO (which exists for the benefit of Europe) and forge a bilateral defence pact with the USA. Followed by a mutual defence pact with the countries of the commonwealth. All 55 of them.

    The EU clearly do not value us or our contributions or our huge military and intelligence capabilities. Let them look after themselves for a change

    • Oh god Chris. You know NATO and EU are separate but your conflating the two. Keeping the Russians or whomever else a thousand miles away is clearly in our national interest. Also, if ww3 does break all this brexit nonsense is going to feel like small fry and every NATO member will be putting people in harm’s way.

      We decided to leave, let’s stop blaming others for the cluster fuck that we now find ourselves in.

    • I have some sympathy with your position Chris, NATO is critically underfunded, with countries like Germany operating at such a low level of effectiveness to be rendered vertually useless….

      Then they want to set up a rival EU military alliance … What a ridiculous sick joke it all is!

      Despite the moaning Liberals who seem hell bent on turning their backs on democracy and demanding another vote ( because the snow flakes didn’t get their own way), crashing out under WTO rules suits me just fine.

      The UK will do what it’s always done, trade with the world….

    • Here here, agree 100%
      No deal should mean total withdrawal from the narrow minded beligerent and unfriendly EU. The EU is theologically against giving the UK any kind of deal. They have to keep the remaining 27 in-line. No one else can be allowed to even think about leaving the new Germano- Franco empire. So no deal was always what we should have expected and been planning for as the most likely outcome.
      Unfortunately this will mean the fracturing of NATO which Putin will be delighted about. NATO will be finished, we will need a new Anglosphere defence alliance.
      So under those circumstances totally agree we should pull everything out of Europe, bring our brave men and women home to defend the UK and not spend any of our precious defence budget propping up the corrupt EU. Let them defend themselves, they are not our friends and allies. Their behaviour has been scandalous undiplomatic and disrespectful to a country who ensured their freedom that they so previously declare are the 4 founding principles of the EU. Which in reality we all know is utter BS the 4 founding principles are broken by Germany, France and many other EU countries whenever the hell their national interest determines.
      Bring them home. That will be a very strong message to the EU that they can defend themselves

      • Yeah, it’s our ball and we don’t want to play anymore. Let’s withdraw from the security council too so the nasty Frenchman doesn’t get a chance to be mean to us. FFS.

        NATO is nothing to do with EU.

        Only twice has Britain been isolated in Europe. One was the most destructive war in human history and the other time saw us lose the American war of independence.

        Mr bell. There is a deal on the table from our friends across the channel and it’s called EFTA aka Norway model. No tarrifs, no European court of justice, a say in regulation setting. Job done.

        • +1 for Chris.

          If the U.K. isn’t good enough enough to be treated fairly in trade with the EU why should we risk our servicemen to protect the EU?

          Forge a new global military alliance based on the existing Five Eyes intelligence agreement.

          • Agree Sean it is the only possible viable outcome unless the EU suddenly has a brown pants moment and realises they have just pissed off the very nations that they rely on for their freedom. The UK and USA

        • (Chris H) – Anthony D – I do not ‘conflate’ I link the two – there is a fundamental difference. And while the Ukraine is in ‘Europe’ and not the ‘EU’ do you think NATO will intervene when Putin eventually has a go there again? No it won’t because its not part of NATO. So lets not get into semantics about geographical ‘Europe’. We are discussing NATO countries here compared to EU countries. Post Brexit the only countries in NATO and not in the EU / EEA will be:
          UK
          USA
          Canada
          Turkey (candidate EU country)
          Montenegro (candidate EU country)

          And if you want a sensible discussion maybe park the comments like ‘clusterfuck’, irrelevant sarcasm about the UN Security Council and the fabrication I am blaming others for my decision to vote Leave. No blame just causal factors and a reaction to how the EU are treating my country and my Prime Minister. To me what goes round comes round and the EU are playing a dangerous game to serve their internal ‘political union’ objectives.

          I am not sure the fact we stood up to German empirical ambitions twice and defeated them both times is called ‘isolation’. To stand alone geographically but with our Commonwealth friends (REAL friends) in WWII while the rest of Europe gave up with hardly a fight is not isolation its called courage, determination and keeping the flame of freedom burning.

          By the way that ‘American war of independence’ never happened because of events in Europe in which we were hardly ‘isolated’ given we were right in there fighting and defeating another Emperor intent on ruling Europe – this time French. It was actually a British Civil War fought on British territory between British citizens about taxation and a British Parliament. Taxation needed after the ‘7 Year War’ (aka The Franco Indian War) that stopped the French taking over British America. Do please at least try to be accurate.

          And in passing the EU never offered us the EFTA option at all as its not theirs to offer and was always open to us. And you forgot to mention we would have to continue with Free Movement of people and other ties like paying £ Bns in. A population of a city the size of Newcastle arriving on our shores unplanned, unfunded and unwanted. But never mind a trivial matter like that eh? Don’t let facts get in the way of an ill thought out Remoaner rant …

  8. Brexit is just an excuse, the economic effect of whatever deal we get will be unclear. No one is clear on what a good deal is and what a bad deal is, these are just terms flying around without detail.

    We will probably never really know if we were better off leaving or staying, since by the time the new trade deals are in place and the real details of the negotiations are ironed out (i doubt all the details will be there for years), the world economy., booms and busts would have moved so much that it is impossible to compare.

    • We will be able to tell steve:
      a year after we leave, if the rest of Europe is seeing growth and we are in recession or far lower growth, we have fucked ourselves a bit, if the same is happening couple of years after that we have totally fucked ourselves and the young generation will have the moral right (when they get into power) to hammer all our pensions to pay for our mistake and try and repair the damage ( if the politicos totally drop the ball we could get here)

      If the situation is reversed ( Euro recession or low growth, us growing wealth like a tories wet dream) we will have made a historic blinder of a move (could happen I suppose)

      If we have a smig less growth than euro average for a couple of years and we get a recovery to the same growth levels as the rest of Europe with the freedom from some EU decision making bodies then on balance I would imagine most people would agree it was a valid and resonable decision (as long as our politicians don’t totally fluff it, I suspect this is were we will get to)

      • Steve and Johnathan, it’s about far more than the economic benefits, it’s about Britain being a self determining country, unlike EU members who are slowly being drawn into a Greater Germany.

        Had we remained, it would only have been a matter of time before wee were forced into the Euro, a two speed Europe can’t go on for ever….

        It’s about self determination and freedom first,
        (the very thing that defines an independent country) eonomics are secondary….

        • John, economics is never secondary, wealth is both power and freedom, it is to be corny the life blood of a nation. There is no freedom in poverty.

          I don’t have a problem with leaving the EU per say, I do have a problem with people saying economics don’t matter. It’s easy to say if your secure in life, hard if your in an industry effected or on the edge of poverty and food prices do go up.

          This is one of my great problems with the whole process, are we going to be worse or better off, I’m well off ish, I can afford a relative loss of income for a political point that I believe in ( it is just a point, as we as a nation will always have to follow a set of multilateral based rules and we have the power to leave as we are, so it’s not a black and white freedom or slavery issue, it’s a political point)

          If we had had a really honest debate about the opportunity of increased sovereignty against an estimated ( small I hope) loss of ecconomic opportunity in the short term I would be a lot happier, as is I think a lot of ecconomically marginalised people or people working in some specific industries have been sold a rotten kipper.

          I also think we needed to take the time in national debates and votes to agree exactly what we needed from brexit and what it meant. We would have then had a decent negotiating position. As is we don’t even know what we needed as a nation so how the hell can our politicians negotiate ( you must understand your need before walking into a room or your fucked) a good deal. The last 2 years is a national Shame, not because of brexit but because of power politics being played out over national interest, all the while the politicos use the will of the people to hide the utter fuck up of not bothering to nationally agree our needs for negotiation. I have no idea how we now sort it out other than, get a crap damaging deal from the EU (bad), crash out on WTO, (bad), have a re-vote to agree exactly what we want, customs union or not, Canada deal or not ect ( bad as we wasted two years and should have done it strait after the first we are leaving vote).

          • Johnathan, I fully appreciate your position and agree that the economic case is extremely important.

            That said, we must adhere to our democratic principles, they must come first as the very foundation of our country.

            The last time we were threatened after Dunkirk, we had an option to come to terms with Germany, we could have walked away, we would have saved our economy and and just carried on.

            Well, it’s Dunkirk again and the Germans are threatening us, so same shit, different day, same answer too … We won’t just roll over and surrender.

            Go WTO rules, the EU get zip all, we use that money to insulate our economy in the short term, create a killer free trade zone, far more attractive than the heavily regulated Euro zone and forge a new economic future based on world wide trade.

          • Hi John

            As you say the vote was to leave, that’s ok with me ( I’ve always considered the arguments of both sides to generally balance out ( removing the extreme end of remain, total ecconomic collapse and brexit a brave new world of expanded worldwide trade and prosperity for all). But I do think once it was clear that the Political parties could not even agree internally what should be negotiated let alone between the parties then we should have had a number of referendum of clarification ( not re asking the question) but instead what’s the most important issues ( boarder control over trade over soverenity of law making ect) and what would we be willing to compromise on ( Norway deal, customs union, Canada deal ect), from that the parties should have formed a consensus government ( the general election result could have justified this) with a remit and term to focus on negotiating leave, agreeing all the key new legislation ect….I would have been happy with that and feel all likelihood we would have gotten a very good deal with all the British public ( from all backgrounds, occupations ect) would have known their politicians ( be they right wing, centre or socialist) had some skin in developing.

            Call me demanding but that would have been the non fuckwit way for our political classes to have served this county.

            I voted remain but I’m happy to leave ( I always though we probably would end up leaving, just not yet, I wanted to see if the centralisation of power and beurocacy could be rolled back to a more pre Maastricht model, before we up and left). Mainly I just don’t want whole groups of British citizens to suffer on the alter of some politicians egos or dogma.

  9. Was that right? 185 military troops will be kept in Germany? Is this a joke or what? I’ll bet the Russians are going to have to reformulate their doctrine after this.

    • 185 too many. I do not think we should keep ANY of our armed forces propping up the EU. They are not our friends and allies but a bunch of ungrateful, self-congratulating, corrupt, rude and disrespectful inbreds.
      The EU is the new Germano-Franco empire and the remaining 27, are in thrall to that empire. We should not defend or support its nations. Bring our brave men and women home.
      True friend and allies would not treat the leader of the UK with such rudeness, mocking and undiplomatic behaviour. Their attitude at Saltzsburg was outrageous. The EU needs to be taught a lesson that you cannot treat the UK like that and expect friendly cordial relationships.

      • When someone takes two years to come up with something the EU ruled out at the very beginning, what exactly did you expect their reaction to be?

        You’re conflating our bilateral relationship with European states, the organisation that is the EU and separate organisation that is NATO. The membership of which is different.

        We’re not defending them, we’re defending each other.

        • (Chris H) Anthony D – here you go peddling the EU line again. Look the time wasted was a deliberate plan by the EU. THEY set out the agenda for talks and THEY have failed to even start trade deal talks until now. Which just happens to be in breach of Article 50 that we were led to believe by its text would mean all matters would be discussed in one package – including crucially ‘the future relationship’. They wanted our money first, then our money second and then a withdrawal agreement (that has NOT been agreed yet) and then (maybe if we paid enough and agreed to every demand) a trade deal. And you call them ‘friends’?

          But then they threw in the NI / Eire border as a huge issue. Which it actually isn’t as we had the CTA with no border since 1923. And that CTA had free movement of people 30 years before the Treaty of Rome! left to the British and Irish alone we would have sorted it in a fortnight. The bloody EU now want to throw a border down the Irish Sea and destroy the UK! And you call them ‘friends’?

          We are only now getting to a trade deal at the 11th hour not because of a failure in the UK (David Davies had a ‘Plan A’ 18 months ago) but because the EU created this sequential agenda rather than the proscribed parallel discussions. They did this to suit their internal needs and to create huge and unnecessary uncertainty here in the UK to damage us economically. Well that plan failed. A country that has been the second highest contributor to the EU and the ONLY continuous paying member since it joined the EEC in ’73. And you call them ‘friends’?

          The PM is fighting her battles on 4 fronts: The EU, Remainers like you, extreme Brexiteers and a Labour Party playing party politics with the National Interest. She has conceded to win agreement but has been met with EU intransigence and disrespect. I mean who the hell does that failed Polish leader Tusk think he is? Personally I think she has been bloody magnificent and shown great courage and some steel. Her address to the nation post Salzburg was superb and the EU had better pony up some respect back or she will say ‘no more’.

          • (Chris H) Anthony D – No that was the purpose of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) as defined by the Treaty of Paris in 1951. One might even extend that to the European Economic Community (EEC) as defined by the Treaty of Rome in 1957.

            But to fabricate an argument that the European Union (or what was intended to be the European Community (EC) until voters said ‘No Thanks’) in 1993 had an anti-war purpose just fails to stand scrutiny. And for one simple reason: The constituent countries of the ECSC and EEC were all NATO members and had Treaty obligations both towards each other and for each other.

            No the sole purpose of the EC relabelled as the EU was to mislead the people of Europe for as long as possible until the real purpose (a United States of Europe) was achieved and it was all too late. Please tell me why a trading group needs an Anthem, a Flag, two Parliaments, a Supreme Court, a Currency and a ruling elite accountable to no one but themselves who inflict Laws and Directives on people’s everyday lives whether or not they trade with other EU countries? We had a trading deal with the EEC with 12 similar countries. We never were asked about an EU of 28 countries and when you don’t consult people that of itself causes conflicts.

            It really bugs me how Remainers peddle these fantasies and believe the British people are mug enough to believe them. Outside the Liberal Democrat and SNP parties that is. The EU was nothing about prevention of war in Europe as proved by Kosovo when the EU stood by and did nothing paralysed by internal feuds while innocent Muslims were slaughtered. Well done the Dutch peacekeepers at Srebrenica. No it wasn’t the EU that came to their rescue it was NATO that had to step up to the plate as always.

            And what part did the EU play in the Good Friday Agreement which stopped a terrorist war in the island of Ireland and the UK? Not a damn thing. And yet these creeps seek to demand a say in how we run our affairs there demanding ‘Ireland First!’. And they are now even trying and dictate to us how we should run our immigration affairs AFTER we leave? Quote:
            “Jean-Claude Juncker, signalling that he expects a row with the British prime minister at an upcoming “moment of truth” summit”

            https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/02/eu-anger-over-mays-post-brexit-immigration-plan

            Well bring that row on Juncker you pisshead. May will stand just so much and then walk away. She did it over the Withdrawal Text when Ireland tried to bounce her into something that hadn’t been agreed and she left dinner with Juncker and Tusk in mid meal … 3 days later they begged her to come back!

            I think we all now know where the EU stands and that is to punish the British people. As Manfred Weber, the German leader of the centre-right EPP group, said: “leaving the EU would have to mean “less growth, less certainty”, for the UK”. Oh really? So we MUST be punished with less growth and certainty Herr Weber?

            These are no friends of ours.

          • Chris. Schuman talking about the ecsc in 1950 said:

            Through the consolidation of basic production and the institution of a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and the other countries that join, this proposal represents the first concrete step towards a European federation, imperative for the preservation of peace.

        • Only difference is can we rely on them? And with what will they be assisting us in our defence? Face facts the EU has very little defence capability. French, Italian and Spanish forces would quickly be whittled down in any sustained conflict. Our most capable ally in Europe is Norway. They punch well above their weight and are fearsome and brave in defence. Crucially they are loyal friends.

  10. I would take issue with defending each other Anthony, the largest economy in the EU ( second largest in NAYO) is Germany, they are by all measures militarily infective….

    Do you honestly think Germany would come to anyone’s aid? No they wouldn’t, couldn’t if they wanted to….

    From a European perspective, NATO is effectively Britain and France. We provide 80% of its European capability between us.

    I can’t see NATO surviving in its current form to be honest, god knows I can’t stand that hateful individual Trump, but he’s absolutely right regarding NATO being underfunded.

    The UK needs to restore our defence spending to to 3% to arrest the decline and bring force levels back to a sensable minimum level.

    • Well I must be imagining that other NATO countries take part in NATO standing maritime groups and the Baltic air patrol. Didn’t realize we had so many ships and aircraft.

  11. John Clark
    That was the best post I have seen on this site for a long time. Sorry to all for getting heated on this issue but my grandad would be turning in his grave after fighting in Europe, being evacuated from Dunkirk, then going back again on D day +4 and spending a further year fighting the Germans until they surrendered. Having first liberated northern France, Belgium (including Brussels) and all of Holland.
    That is our legacy towards Europe, what have they ever done for us? Someone please tell me.

    • (Chris H) Mr Bell – My Uncle Jim fought with the 7th Armoured in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. Came home and was in France D Day +1 under Monty all the way. I had two Uncles I never knew killed in Burma.

      My Father in Law Les was shot on his way out of Dunkirk, posted a card to his wife from Dover and then when he recovered trained new recruits and was on Gold Beach as a Sergeant second landing craft in. Went all the way to see Hamburg be declared an Open City.

      Despite all that I was happy to work in Germany aged 18 in 1965 and was treated OK. Dortmund still had bomb craters. I saw the benefits of a close trade deal develop so its why I voted to remain in ’75 having voted for Heath in ’72. But I was never asked about the EU despite being promised a referendum on it twice by a certain Tony Blair. I have fought against this monstrosity ever since Maastricht was signed by Major. Again without a referendum.

      So I have absolutely zero sympathy for the Liberal snowflakes demanding a third referendum barely 2 years after the second. I waited 41 years. So can they now.

  12. This is the last bit of willy waving, trying to make out that we matter. A couple of hundred troops are symbolic at best. We withdrew the British forces on the Rhine years ago.

    Ironic that Germany hosts foreign troops as a result of the outcome of WW2 and has some limitations on its sovereignty yet rebuilt its economy in such a way as to control the EU. They finally realised why use force when we can use money to dominate.

    Leave the prideful but poor British to fight unwinnable unpopular wars with yesterday’s equipment and mindset.

    • Are you TH Peder or Harold by any chance?

      A strange mindset that you’re perfectly happy for your own country to not matter.

      I guess you prefer a cardboard box to a semi detached house as well?

      Ridiculous self loathing drivel.

      I prefer to be somebody where you seem to hope to be nobody, and revel in it.

      But then you’re probably not British at all are you?

  13. Some excellent posts guys, if we step back and look at the whole referendum, its bleeding obvious that Cameron and the EU thought they had it in the bag and the vote would be to stay…..

    So we have a vote, the great British public democratically said enough is enough and voted leave.

    So far so good …. Then Cameron pulls on his parachute, said ” so long suckers” and jumped.

    It’s been an utter mess since then to be honest, our leaders incapable of pushing a strong position and the EU hell bent on damaging us as much as possible.

    I have yet to hear a single remain or Single market membership argument that doesn’t smack of capitulation and us becoming an EU buffer state utterly at their mercy …. That’s Labours (and some Tories) pathetic grand plan!

    The Lib Dems want to ignore democracy and remain as part of Germania…. Trampling democracy under foot, doesn’t seem terribly ‘liberal’ to me, it doesn’t matter how Mr Cable tries to justify it!

    If we did remain in the EU, the pound would be gone and our remaining nation state powers by 2040, along with our seat on the Security Council, of that I have no doubt what so ever….

    The European project has a single direction of travel and a single destination, that’s the creation of a Single European State.

    This is absolutly beyond question and clear for all to see.

    If you don’t think that’s the case, just look at what my parents voted for in the 1970’s …. They voted for a perfectly sensable and commendable ‘Common Market’, Governments both blue and red have sold us progressively down the river ever since, paddle thrown away, gagged and straight jacket on!

    Pushing us further and further into an increasingly insular blinkered and protectionist little Europe.

    I can’t personally wait to leave and properly reconnect with the world, on our own terms.

    There are those among us who see themselves as European’s first and British second, as is their right in a democracy, thank god they are in a minority!

    • (Chris H) John Clark – It wasn’t just your parents voted to remain in the EEC. I did too as it was the right trade deal with a few similar countries and our immigration stayed static @ 30,000 a year. Manageable and beneficial.

      The EU is a vastly different animal and you accurately lay out its purpose. It is instructive to note those ‘liberals’ demanding another vote now (as they lost) weren’t so keen on giving us a vote in 1998 were they? Blair promised but reneged. Surprise!

  14. It is a grave mistake to conflate NATO and the EU, as some are doing here while protesting that they aren’t!

    The abiding lesson from the Nazis’ rapid conquest of western Europe was united we stand, divided we fall. All the small neutral or non-aligned nations were rolled up one after the other, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece, etc, etc. Many of them fought hard to the end but were completely overwhelmed by superior numbers, tactics and equipment. The lesson was and remains, try to stand alone and you will inevitably be gubbed by the next militarist wannabe.

    Hence NATO – never again will the European continent fall prey to such, henceforth it’s all for one and one for all. Invade one and you invade all. It has worked pretty well so far.

    Now we have a new military threat from the east, in the shape of a new Russia that grants itself hegemonic titular rights over its former USSR vassal states. Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova have already experienced the Russian panzers, Bosnia and Kosovo got Russian troops foisted on them, Montenegro’s president narrowly avoided being bumped-off by Kremlin’s goons, Estonia and Latvia have been and continue to be subject to crippling cyber attacks, internal separatist political agitprop, backed by large Russian finding, etc, etc.

    It is doubly important that NATO now stands together. Or as someone once put it, hang together or we’ll all hang separately.

    Stories about how little the Germans spend etc are a bit out of date, both Germany and France have announced large increases in defence expenditure over the next 5 years. To put contributions in a national perspective, we are now:
    – The 3rd-largest navy in Western Europe, behind both France and Italy, narrowly in warship numbers, noticeably in personnel
    – 7th IIRC in number of fast jet combat aircraft, behind France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Turkey and Greece
    – Far down the list in the number of combat brigades we can field, behind Turkey, Greece, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and probably Romania too.

    We should be cautious when we talk ourselves up militarily, we are certainly no exemplar for force levels within NATO Europe. Yes, we are one of 4 to nominally spend more than 2% of GDP, (if nobody minds us including Aldermarston, forces pensions, much of MI6 and GCHQ and all the other Treasury tricks that figure is based on), but I doubt anyone in NATO takes that expenditure too seriously, particularly when they weigh it up against the rather slender force contribution we can actually make.

    180 soldiers is a joke really, we should be putting an armoured infantry brigade on the Polish border, with Germany and the Benelux countries matching it in a multinational NATO division, as a proper deterrent to Russian games in eastern Europe. It is a very timid little response by Williamson, a pretendy gesture to the home audience to lull them into believing that we are really pulling our weight and are an important NATO player. Dream on!

    Ref Brexit, we seem to have spent two years asking for special terms that we were told on day one by the EU and its members aren’t on offer. We cannot resign from the golf club but still demand entry to the clubhouse and the right to play on the greens, while not accepting the rules of the club! May, however unpropitious a leader, at least seems to understand this basic reality, unlike others in her party who seem to be holding their ears and chanting, ‘Can’t hear you, can’t hear you’!

    • Putin would laugh at the pointless gesture of a multinational armoured division. He just carried out a military exercise with 300,000 personnel and could put a rough table of over a million men into a battle. Against those numbers a hogemony of British, German, French, Dutch, Italian armoured units would be ground down very rapidly.
      Britain’s army should remain on home soil. The Navy should be our expeditionary arm and it should be one hell of a lot more capable and numerous than it is now. I would change defence priorities.
      RAF should get 33% of the defence budget (not 50%)
      RN should get 40% leaving 27% for the Army. If the budget went up by £7 billion a year taking us to around 2.25% defence to GDP ratio we could hold force levels for RAF and Army where they are now but massively and incrementally rearm and requip the RN. We already have war winning platforms type 26, QE class carriers and Astute. Just build more of them and we cannot fail.

      • Spot on Mr Bell

        Ultimately the uk is short of 25-40k personnel, many of which need to go to the RN, RAF and our new Cyber force.

        I see us as having a single UKDF of Circa 250k personnel all told (inc civilians) primarily to get us into a position wher we can offer a stable career that balances family life with the demands of the military, whether we like it or not we need to take care of our personnel far better (and I am all for it actually).

        Broken down 100k Army, 38k each for RAF/RN, 20k Cyber and Intel, 50k Civilians and 4K for command.

  15. Good post Mr Cummings, a balanced approach and taking us back to the core of the post.

    I would say however, I personally don’t think the Germans would react to an attack on another NATO member. I think their pacifist mentality is at their they core…

    France and the UK are ‘effectively’ the European arm of NATO, I am certainly not suggesting we are beyond reproach, oh no, decades of underinvestment and paying for Blairs desert wars has gutted our armed forces.

    The greatest threat to NATO however isn’t Russia, its the already pathetic European defence effort being diluted further with an EU military arm!

    Perhaps I am being paranoid here, but perhaps the EU military structure is the starting point of a single European Armed Forces.

  16. I want to see the UK remain a powerful NATO and EU ally, but actually dont want us to have bases in Europe at all).

    My view is that with a much smaller force we should concentrate on what we do best, which is predominantly light infantry maneovre. Or put another way Strike and amphibious brigades.

    Surely our Central European partners should have the heavy armour that suites their topology and the UK should have the maritime and specialist capabilities that suit ours.

    I am on record as stating the UK should be European NATO’s USMC (with a navy) as that is what we are good at. How does this work in reality…

    European allies have heavy armour and are engaged by an enemy in Central Europe, At the same time allies in scandinavia are also attacked as is Britain from air.

    The UK mobilises its forces and sends 2 strik divisions (backed up with Apaches and Typhoons) to Central Europe and a specialist cold weather Brigade to northern Scandinavia with reinforcements also flooding int later. Our Navy secures the northern atlantic waters and our aircraft carriers move into position.

    We do this in a matter of hours/days not the weeks/months it takes to get our forces ready now.

    This is all doable, we just have to change our mindset, our force structure and our asset base. Leave tanks and tracks to those who have the land mass for such things. The UK needs air, sea and land strike capability, we should act as re-inforcements to plug gaps and to show up where the enemy least expect us to cause mayhem.. That is what we are a good at and are losing as we spread ourselves too thing. Light and lethal is my mantra and infantry section on Polaris vehicles loaded with ammo and weapons is the new infantry for me…

    The EU/NATO argument is moot – what do we bring to the party is not

  17. Reading most of this dribble really makes we want to weep – how many people on here have actually served in the Army, and why is it that when it comes to the SEA and AIR topics on this forum we seem at least to get some sensible informed comment but when it comes to LAND people churn out cr*p? The 185 uniformed pax and 80 civil servants are not there to fight a war, they will be highly skilled ‘enablers’ technical personnel, REME and others who are there to maintain the vehicles in store, and in tip top condition so you just have to turn up, sign for the kit and it is combat ready to trundle out the door. That is how we do it now under WHM (Whole Fleet Management) where the combat units only have the necessary holdings of A vehicles, heavy weapons etc with which to train on a day to day basis, and then when you need to do a major exercise or deploy on ops you turn up at the storage site and draw the remainder on an as needed basis. This is exactly how Ayrshire Barracks is used now so there is no change there. The only real difference is that the crews who man the kit wont be based in Germany but in Tidworth or wherever, as many are already. All they need to do is get on a coach and go through the Tunnel, take a ferry or whatever and pick up the kit. A damn sight easier (and cheaper!) than putting a whole load of heavy metal onto low loaders and moving it back to Germany when we might need. I for one like most in the Army have been holding our breath that the right decision would be made and regard this announcement as very welcome news indeed!

  18. Mr Bell is quire right that a single NATO armoured infantry division would be ground down pretty quickly in a shooting war against the Russian masses, but that is to misunderstand its role and the sequence of events.

    A NATO division on the Polish border, or the Romanian/Bulgarian hinterland, is a deterrent to the kind of small, irregular actions Russia took in the Ukraine or the relatively small number of regular forces it put into Crimea and Georgia. Putin is not going to play games which lead to combat with a well-equipped NATO force of close on 20,000, backed by superior air combat assets.

    Such a forward force is not just a deterrent but also a tripwire: threaten or engage with our tripwire forces and full NATO deployment and mobilisation will kick in on day one. NATO Europe has more than a million troops, which is a big nut to crack and not one that Putin the opportunist gambler would realistically fancy.

    All that would of course change if other NATO nations follow the isolationist or sea power routes advocated by others on here. The German and Polish armies could no more defend the North German Plain than Romania and Bulgaria could the Black Sea coast. Indeed, their obvious weakness would be an invitation to Russia to step up its game-playing in the East. Safety lies in all 29 NATO members playing their part in an integrated defence and mobilisation scheme, not in members like the UK retreating into an isolationist, nationalist stance on the fringes. The biggest supporter of such a stance would of course be Putin himself!

    A retreat into a maritime strategy is about a century out of date. The first decider and therefore top priority in any future war will be airpower and the ability to maintain air superiority over the battlefield. NATO has that superiority for now. The second decider is the ability to match and halt an invading army. NATO has long relied on its air dominance to make up for a shortage of army combat units but the pendulum has swung too far, a good increase in land forces is well overdue.

    The third decider only applies in a long war and that is the maritime sphere. The Russian surface fleet is small, pretty vulnerable and a comparative pipsqueak of a threat. Their submarines are of course a threat to the Atlantic supply line. However, the US Navy is massive, well-equipped and well capable of securing the Atlantic sea lines of communication to ferry troops and equipment to Europe. Sure the UK can help and also recreate an ASW capability in GIUK (if we ever build enough ASW frigates, where we are currently very deficient and can’t do much more than provide enough escorts for one carrier). And yes, we can provide a small amphibious force of one weak brigade to Norway or wherever. But the naval role is small beer next to the priorities of air combat superiority and sufficient ground forces. Only in a long war requiring worldwide convoy escorts – and neither Russia nor China have anything like the number of subs to pose a serious worldwide threat – would the naval role increase in importance.

    That is not to say that the RN is not currently woefully short of ships and personnel, it is critically short of both even for its peacetime operations. But the army and air are even moreso and they have to be the higher strategic priority.

    I feel that a retreat to our sceptered isle and reliance on sea power proposed by some here is less to do with military priorities and realities than a retreat into an insular, isolationist political stance that harks back to days of Empire, Commonwealth and Britain rules the waves. None of these apply today and we do not have the ships to provide any more than a figleaf of support to the far-flung Commonwealth countries, which largely now fall under the US protective wing.

    It would thus be a very mistaken strategy. The only existential threat we and Europe face in the immediate future is the latent menace from Russia and we should play our full part in helping to match, deter and if necessary defeat any Russian action against NATO or European members.

  19. Good points, well made. Given the scale of ground formations in the Russian western military district, it would seem a British brigade would be an important trip wire but little else. Perhaps if the uk were to focus on the northern framework concept, working with the scandanavian countries, to face off against the northern fleet district with its independent naval brigade. If we were to specialise in naval, air and expeditionary ground forces then these would be well suited to supporting operations on the northern flank. They are also the type of forces that can be used worldwide to protect our interests and allies, so more adaptable. If we were to ditch dreadnought in favour of more astute, then We would have a better chance of countering the northern fleet as part of the nato response and with nuclear cruise these boats would be on station and in range of launching a more limited nuclear strike. During the Cold War the uk/us naval strategy was to forward deploy to the Norwegian fiords with carrier battle groups to take the fight to the soviets and counter the northern fleet. Seems quite relevant a strategy today too.

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