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Ukraine - Superthread

Lumber

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Send officers on a course to command a combat team full of equipment we don't have, crewed by crew commanders, drivers, loaders, and gunners we don't have either. what a uniquely Canadian approach to warfare.
While on their PWO course, the kiwis train in simulators that mimic ships they don't have, ops rooms they don't have, equipment they don't have, and people in positions with duties and titles that are different from what they have. Nonetheless, they've done it year after year with no problem. Maybe it's because at the PWO level, it's not really about your ability to employ a specific set of a equipment and to direct a specific team composition, but instead it's about your ability to know and employ NATO doctrine, and your ability to lead and manage an ops room, regardless of the exact makeup of that ops room. The kiwis then go back to their own ships and learn the specifics of their own kit, which takes much less time than the other part (and since these are senior Lt(N)s, they already know their own kit. I imagine you could make this same case for the CTC course.
 

Halifax Tar

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While on their PWO course, the kiwis train in simulators that mimic ships they don't have, ops rooms they don't have, equipment they don't have, and people in positions with duties and titles that are different from what they have. Nonetheless, they've done it year after year with no problem. Maybe it's because at the PWO level, it's not really about your ability to employ a specific set of a equipment and to direct a specific team composition, but instead it's about your ability to know and employ NATO doctrine, and your ability to lead and manage an ops room, regardless of the exact makeup of that ops room. The kiwis then go back to their own ships and learn the specifics of their own kit, which takes much less time than the other part (and since these are senior Lt(N)s, they already know their own kit. I imagine you could make this same case for the CTC course.

If you want to be as big an influence on things a NZ I suppose this makes sense.

But outside of their impact on international Rugby and to a much lesser extent Rugby League, they are in the same pew as Ireland. Fun places to visit, not a real player. I think Canada should be more than that.
 

Lumber

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If you want to be as big an influence on things a NZ I suppose this makes sense.

But outside of their impact on international Rugby and to a much lesser extent Rugby League, they are in the same pew as Ireland. Fun places to visit, not a real player. I think Canada should be more than that.
Then we need more than 82 tanks. Which I'm all for. Let's use the vast tracks of land we have and have an armoured corp of 300 tanks! I'm just offering a way that I think Canada could continue to produce combat team commanders that can command a nato battle group without Canada itself having modern MBTs of their own.
 

FJAG

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Then we need more than 82 tanks. Which I'm all for. Let's use the vast tracks of land we have and have an armoured corp of 300 tanks! I'm just offering a way that I think Canada could continue to produce combat team commanders that can command a nato battle group without Canada itself having modern MBTs of their own.
82 are enough for a deployed squadron and a regiment to train with and deploy as part of a mech brigade, which is all we could manage around now. We've hosted tank training in Canada for both the Brits and the Germans for years during the Cold War. The Germand have gone home and the Brits are leaving, all of which could change.

Then there's this:


🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Scholz still dragging his feet.

No F16s (even though Ukraine has asked and the Netherlands has offered)

Tanks to be limited to two battalions (once all the paperwork clears).

Live Ukraine-Russia latest news

Scholz refuses to send fighter jets to Ukraine after tanks u-turn​

Updated 13 minutes ago
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (C) talking with soldiers in front of a Leopard 2 main battle tank

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (C) talking with soldiers in front of a Leopard 2 main battle tank CREDIT: RONNY HARTMANN/AFP

KEY MOMENTS​

Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glance

12:30pmScholz: 'It’s our goal to deliver two tank battalions together with our allies'12:38pmScholz: 'We want to avoid an escalation of this war'12:52pmGermany has only received Poland's request to re-export Leopards11:08amSunak says Germany has made 'right decision' to send tanks to Ukraine9:39amKremlin says Western tanks would 'burn' in Ukraine

No fighter jets will be delivered to Ukraine, Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, has said, as he announced Germany's decision to send Leopard 2 tanks.
"There will be no fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine," he said, "adding that this was made clear very early, including from [the] US president."
Germany also announced that it will grant permits for partner countries to transfer the tanks held in their stocks to Ukraine.
He said: "It’s our goal to deliver two tank battalions together with our allies. There’s a number of countries who would like to join in under deliveries."
He added that Germany wants to avoid an escalation of the war so that it "doesn't become a war between Russia and Nato".

 

Kirkhill

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One for @FJAG

Britain needs new tanks to defeat Putin​

Russia's invasion has exposed vulnerabilities in Western defence, not least in the aging weaponry the UK has at its deposal
TOBIAS ELLWOODHAMISH DE BRETTON-GORDON24 January 2023 • 4:36pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin


In 2007 President Putin gave a thumper of a speech to the Munich Security Conference that effectively said: “Watch out – Russia is coming back.” His threat to rekindle Moscow’s influence across Slavic Europe was ignored, and a year later he proved true to his word and invaded Georgia.
Here we are 16 years later – still without a coherent Russia strategy, hesitating as Russia prepares for a massive spring offensive in Ukraine.
All this is encapsulated in the infuriating, bewildering impasse over tanks in Europe. Not over how many might head Ukraine’s way, but – in some countries – whether they should be sent at all.
Despite repeated declarations from Western capitals that we “stand with Ukraine”, President Zelensky has every right to feel abandoned.
In truth, all this is nothing new. Throughout this existential battle of dictatorship versus democracy, good versus evil, the West has proved, at best, half-hearted. Providing enough weaponry to stop Ukraine losing but, as proved at the Ramstein debacle, inadequate offensive kit to enable Ukraine to win.


This condemns both Ukraine and ourselves to a dragged out conflict, a potential stalemate and, at worst, a strategic defeat.
Once NATO declared at the start of the conflict that it would not formally respond to, or intervene in, Russia’s illegal invasion it gave Putin licence to act with impunity and increase the level of risk he could take – effectively unchallenged – on the battlefield. It even granted him space to completely re-group after a hopeless initial invasion.
The 1000-mile battle line has changed little in months. The danger is that if Ukraine cannot break the stalemate soon, countering Russia’s expected spring offensive, then voices calling for talks will grow, leaving Ukraine weak and vulnerable to attack in future years, and many more Ukrainian citizens and soldiers unnecessarily dead and maimed in their cities and on the frontlines.
This spotlight on land warfare in Ukraine offers major lessons for Britain. Firstly, it has illustrated how the utility of modern drones, longer range missiles, real-time satellite imagery and cyber warfare contribute to the spectrum of combat effectiveness.
We can now see that the tilt to space, cyber and maritime domains has left the British Army too small and obsolete. The soon to be refreshed Integrated Review must address this.
Second, it has been the wake-up call that – contrary to first appearances when the war began – the tank remains critically relevant.
We can now say with confidence that Western tanks are vastly superior to the old Soviet ones. Their ability to punch through enemy defences, seize and hold ground, fight at night and fire accurately on the move is potentially war winning. This shock action is as relevant today as it was in achieving victory in 1918.
Whilst the UK has done well to push the envelope in the quality and quantity of military support sent by a timid West, we can now clearly see that a squadron of Challenger II tanks alone is not enough to change the course of this war. Indeed, our land warfare capability including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and reconnaissance vehicles is in a sorry state of affairs.
In short: our tanks are over 20 years old, soon to be reduced to 148 from 900 decades ago. Our Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles are over 26 years old. Worse still, the Warrior is being replaced by the German-made Boxer; a wheeled, not tracked, vehicle that has no turret. Our Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle is over 50 years old. It should have been replaced by the Ajax three years ago, but a litany of procurement problems means it’s unclear if this will go ahead.
If tanks are the answer to defeat our most dangerous adversary, we need a lot more state of the art armour to make the British Army a viable fighting force in future, its arms effective for British soldiers or foreign ones. It is heavy metal on the ground in Europe that will halt Putin’s expansion west, not solely heavy metal on the high seas, in space or the skies.
Ultimately, the penny must drop at home and aboard in three ways, recognising these three essential truths:
First, today’s conflict is not just about Ukraine, but Russia exploiting a risk-averse West to enable Putin's 16 year-old mission to recapture Moscow’s Soviet-era influence.
Second, we need secure and strong allies. Whatever Germany’s final decision on their Leopard 2 tanks, they risk permanently damaging their reputation amongst NATO members by restricting other nations who use the Leopard from gifting these tanks to Ukraine. Where might this leave us in future with the German made Boxer that is supposed to replace our Warrior? Will Berlin place limitations on how it might be deployed?
Third, there is a worrying absence of international leadership as to how we collectively respond. What is our objective in this conflict apart from wringing hands and hoping for the best? This is no time for strategic ambiguity, let alone quibbling over tanks.
This spring will see a decisive crisis on the battlefield. The West is in danger of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
 

Kirkhill

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Tobias Ellwood proposes inviting Ukraine into the Joint Expeditionary Force




Ellwood's Seven Points.

"list the Russian state-sponsored Wagner military group as a terrorist organisation"
directly impose sanctions on President Vladimir Putin.
appoint a Senior UK Ukraine Envoy to "help coordinate Whitehall support and align our efforts with our international allies".
inviting Ukraine to join the Joint Expeditionary Force,
"agree what the mission is" in Ukraine, in order to establish "what success actually looks like".
"secure a UN safe haven status for the port of Odessa",
the establishment of a major Ukrainian armaments factory in Eastern Poland,







JEF started under NATO but MacMillan's "events" have presented the UK with opportunities to counter the EU and both its antipathy to Brexit and drag on NATO.

JEF includes countries that have relations with both the EU and NATO but those relations are spotty at best. Some links are very tenuous.

The key to JEF is this quote -

“the JEF may be able to act before NATO can” and can be viewed as “a more immediate reassurance policy for them,” Royal Marines Brigadier Matt Jackson, commander of 3 Commando Brigade and the head of the land forces in this JEF(M) deployment, told USNI News while aboard flagship HMS Albion (L14)..... “the JEF can act while NATO is thinking,”








 

daftandbarmy

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Tobias Ellwood proposes inviting Ukraine into the Joint Expeditionary Force




Ellwood's Seven Points.

"list the Russian state-sponsored Wagner military group as a terrorist organisation"
directly impose sanctions on President Vladimir Putin.
appoint a Senior UK Ukraine Envoy to "help coordinate Whitehall support and align our efforts with our international allies".
inviting Ukraine to join the Joint Expeditionary Force,
"agree what the mission is" in Ukraine, in order to establish "what success actually looks like".
"secure a UN safe haven status for the port of Odessa",
the establishment of a major Ukrainian armaments factory in Eastern Poland,







JEF started under NATO but MacMillan's "events" have presented the UK with opportunities to counter the EU and both its antipathy to Brexit and drag on NATO.

JEF includes countries that have relations with both the EU and NATO but those relations are spotty at best. Some links are very tenuous.

The key to JEF is this quote -











The Royal Marines produce some fine soldiers.

Strategic thinkers? Not so much ;)
 

Kirkhill

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And a primer on Combined Arms Ops.


Ukraine finally has its Western tanks – now it’s time for the hard part​

After realising its dream of getting the sought-after Leopards, Kyiv must grapple with using, maintaining and protecting them

ByDominic Nicholls, ASSOCIATE EDITOR25 January 2023 • 1:43pm


Barring any final twists in this particular act, it looks as if Ukraine’s leaders will finally have their dream of Western tanks realised. But can they use them?
Tanks cannot take enemy positions and hold ground on their own, of course. For that, battlefield commanders need other parts of the military orchestra to all be in tune.
First, infantry, at least in vehicles capable of withstanding anything up to a direct hit by artillery or anti-tank weapons and preferably in specially designed fighting vehicles able to blast enemy positions as they close the critical last few hundred metres.
Then, engineer assets, to breach minefields or get the force across rivers that have had bridges blown.
Next, artillery, to cover the flanks and depth targets, preventing the enemy from counter-attacking. The whole performance also needs an umbrella of air defence to stop Russian jets and helicopters interfering.
Prior to all this, low loaders will be required to get the tanks as close to the front as possible. Tanks rarely travel under their own steam as increased “track mileage” adds wear and tear to an already taut maintenance chain, meaning that low loaders – long wheel-based trucks – are required. They need protecting, too.

Of course, when offered very capable Western main battle tanks such as the Leopard, Abrams and Challenger, the correct response is “Yes please”, even if their logistic tails are largely bespoke and intricate.
So, for Ukraine the (likely) tank decision is just the start of a wider industrial headache, albeit one clearly falling in the bracket of “a nice problem to have”.
Donations of weapons from multiple sources throw up their own set of problems. In the medium term, Ukraine is likely to slim down to an all-Leopard fleet (mostly Leopard 2, but likely also including some Leopard 1 still held by German industry).
Kyiv finds itself now in a similar position to Britain circa 2006, when military and political chiefs in London realised that the kit they had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan was not up to the job.

So started a colossal, and expensive, process of rapidly bringing into service “urgent operational requirements” to plug the immediate gap.
The resulting equipment was generally very good, but hampered by being designed to solve only one problem.
New vehicles could rarely operate together. Existing communication equipment had to be clunkily integrated, sometimes literally bolted on. The logistic tails were the polar opposite of the slick, efficient, fat-free, just-in-time architectures beloved of supply professionals.
After a hesitant start, the Treasury took to fire-hosing cash around to save lives and fend off military defeat.
The Duke of Wellington said after the Battle of Waterloo: “Napoleon built his campaigns of iron and when one piece broke, the whole structure collapsed. I made my campaigns using rope and if a piece broke, I tied a knot.”
For the foreseeable future, Ukraine will be tying knots. The time for tidying up the industrial mess is far in the future.

For now, Ukrainian troops and civilians will have to rely on their ability to be adept at battlefield innovation. However, they will need to do even more patching up on a systemic industrial scale to meet this challenge.
They may need to shift to something approaching a war economy, at great cost to their domestic industrial output.
They may need a newly-built maintenance and production facility to make this work in the long term – perhaps in Poland as Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons defence select committee, suggested on the Today programme.
Time will be an important factor. Getting tanks and other armoured equipment into the country and even to the front line is likely to be measured in weeks for the Leopards and Challengers, perhaps months for the Abrams.
But that’s just the delivery service. Extra time, and locations outside the country, will be needed to train the crews and maintainers.
How does this fit with Ukraine’s operational plans and the anticipated Russian spring offensive? Even if the latter relies largely on under-trained and equipped troops, they are still expected to number in their tens of thousands.

So, many logistic, industrial, political, societal and operational hurdles to overcome.
But what if? If Ukraine can pull it off, can they win?
An armoured attack needs many different moving parts to work together as a seamless, co-ordinated, lethal machine. There are countless reasons why an armoured thrust by Ukraine could be absorbed and even repelled by Russia.
But done correctly, Ukraine could use these tanks to form the core of an armoured division to punch through Russian lines.
Moscow’s exhausted forces have underwhelmed so far in this war. There is every reason to expect Ukraine could make that problem worse for them with the application of a heavy metal fist.
 

Kat Stevens

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Then we need more than 82 tanks. Which I'm all for. Let's use the vast tracks of land we have and have an armoured corp of 300 tanks! I'm just offering a way that I think Canada could continue to produce combat team commanders that can command a nato battle group without Canada itself having modern MBTs of their own.
Who’s combat teams do you think they’ll command? “Whew thank god Canada sent 8 majors to command our combat teams, we’re saved!”
 

GR66

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Perhaps Canada and the UK could team up to offer CFB Suffield as a training location for Ukraine.

Assuming we donate some of our Leopards we could move them down there. Not sure if the UK still has any Challengers there for that training and not too far for the US to ship up a couple of M1's so they can train on all three types of donated tanks in a single location.

Add in a couple of Bradleys that the US is donating (and ideally some LAV 6.0 ISCs from us) with support from a couple of our M777's from Shilo and a couple of M109's from the US and the Ukrainians can do full combat team training.
 

daftandbarmy

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Perhaps Canada and the UK could team up to offer CFB Suffield as a training location for Ukraine.

Assuming we donate some of our Leopards we could move them down there. Not sure if the UK still has any Challengers there for that training and not too far for the US to ship up a couple of M1's so they can train on all three types of donated tanks in a single location.

Add in a couple of Bradleys that the US is donating (and ideally some LAV 6.0 ISCs from us) with support from a couple of our M777's from Shilo and a couple of M109's from the US and the Ukrainians can do full combat team training.

And, thanks to Clifford Sifton, that part of the world is also more 'Ukrainian' than most ;)

 

KevinB

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Perhaps Canada and the UK could team up to offer CFB Suffield as a training location for Ukraine.

Assuming we donate some of our Leopards we could move them down there. Not sure if the UK still has any Challengers there for that training and not too far for the US to ship up a couple of M1's so they can train on all three types of donated tanks in a single location.

Add in a couple of Bradleys that the US is donating (and ideally some LAV 6.0 ISCs from us) with support from a couple of our M777's from Shilo and a couple of M109's from the US and the Ukrainians can do full combat team training.
Or they could just use ranges in Poland and Germany setup exactly for that - that have all the equipment there already...
 

Czech_pivo

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One for @FJAG

Britain needs new tanks to defeat Putin​

Russia's invasion has exposed vulnerabilities in Western defence, not least in the aging weaponry the UK has at its deposal
TOBIAS ELLWOODHAMISH DE BRETTON-GORDON24 January 2023 • 4:36pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin


In 2007 President Putin gave a thumper of a speech to the Munich Security Conference that effectively said: “Watch out – Russia is coming back.” His threat to rekindle Moscow’s influence across Slavic Europe was ignored, and a year later he proved true to his word and invaded Georgia.
Here we are 16 years later – still without a coherent Russia strategy, hesitating as Russia prepares for a massive spring offensive in Ukraine.
All this is encapsulated in the infuriating, bewildering impasse over tanks in Europe. Not over how many might head Ukraine’s way, but – in some countries – whether they should be sent at all.
Despite repeated declarations from Western capitals that we “stand with Ukraine”, President Zelensky has every right to feel abandoned.
In truth, all this is nothing new. Throughout this existential battle of dictatorship versus democracy, good versus evil, the West has proved, at best, half-hearted. Providing enough weaponry to stop Ukraine losing but, as proved at the Ramstein debacle, inadequate offensive kit to enable Ukraine to win.


This condemns both Ukraine and ourselves to a dragged out conflict, a potential stalemate and, at worst, a strategic defeat.
Once NATO declared at the start of the conflict that it would not formally respond to, or intervene in, Russia’s illegal invasion it gave Putin licence to act with impunity and increase the level of risk he could take – effectively unchallenged – on the battlefield. It even granted him space to completely re-group after a hopeless initial invasion.
The 1000-mile battle line has changed little in months. The danger is that if Ukraine cannot break the stalemate soon, countering Russia’s expected spring offensive, then voices calling for talks will grow, leaving Ukraine weak and vulnerable to attack in future years, and many more Ukrainian citizens and soldiers unnecessarily dead and maimed in their cities and on the frontlines.
This spotlight on land warfare in Ukraine offers major lessons for Britain. Firstly, it has illustrated how the utility of modern drones, longer range missiles, real-time satellite imagery and cyber warfare contribute to the spectrum of combat effectiveness.
We can now see that the tilt to space, cyber and maritime domains has left the British Army too small and obsolete. The soon to be refreshed Integrated Review must address this.
Second, it has been the wake-up call that – contrary to first appearances when the war began – the tank remains critically relevant.
We can now say with confidence that Western tanks are vastly superior to the old Soviet ones. Their ability to punch through enemy defences, seize and hold ground, fight at night and fire accurately on the move is potentially war winning. This shock action is as relevant today as it was in achieving victory in 1918.
Whilst the UK has done well to push the envelope in the quality and quantity of military support sent by a timid West, we can now clearly see that a squadron of Challenger II tanks alone is not enough to change the course of this war. Indeed, our land warfare capability including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and reconnaissance vehicles is in a sorry state of affairs.
In short: our tanks are over 20 years old, soon to be reduced to 148 from 900 decades ago. Our Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles are over 26 years old. Worse still, the Warrior is being replaced by the German-made Boxer; a wheeled, not tracked, vehicle that has no turret. Our Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle is over 50 years old. It should have been replaced by the Ajax three years ago, but a litany of procurement problems means it’s unclear if this will go ahead.
If tanks are the answer to defeat our most dangerous adversary, we need a lot more state of the art armour to make the British Army a viable fighting force in future, its arms effective for British soldiers or foreign ones. It is heavy metal on the ground in Europe that will halt Putin’s expansion west, not solely heavy metal on the high seas, in space or the skies.
Ultimately, the penny must drop at home and aboard in three ways, recognising these three essential truths:
First, today’s conflict is not just about Ukraine, but Russia exploiting a risk-averse West to enable Putin's 16 year-old mission to recapture Moscow’s Soviet-era influence.
Second, we need secure and strong allies. Whatever Germany’s final decision on their Leopard 2 tanks, they risk permanently damaging their reputation amongst NATO members by restricting other nations who use the Leopard from gifting these tanks to Ukraine. Where might this leave us in future with the German made Boxer that is supposed to replace our Warrior? Will Berlin place limitations on how it might be deployed?
Third, there is a worrying absence of international leadership as to how we collectively respond. What is our objective in this conflict apart from wringing hands and hoping for the best? This is no time for strategic ambiguity, let alone quibbling over tanks.
This spring will see a decisive crisis on the battlefield. The West is in danger of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Could have easily swapped out 'UK' with the word 'Canada' and the various weapon systems with Canadian ones and this whole story could have been about Canada.
 

Czech_pivo

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Surprised or not surprised that the media in Canada is not calling for Canada to send any of our Leopards?

Write your answer - I'm not surprised.
 

daftandbarmy

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Nailed it...

NATO members are right to send tanks to Ukraine​

But their dithering has served no one except Vladimir Putin​



Everybody knows that the second round of Ukraine’s war is coming. Everybody knows that the Ukrainians need tanks and long-range missiles to withstand the next Russian offensive and to take back the territory that is theirs. And everybody knows that, sooner or later, the West usually ends up giving Ukraine what it needs.

That is why the latest round of “After you! No, after you!” has been so dismal and self-defeating. The fact that Ukraine is set to receive main battle tanks is welcome. But the way the decision came about prolonged Ukraine’s agony, damaged Western unity and benefitted nobody except the man in the Kremlin. None of nato’s actors comes out of the latest drama well, but Germany emerges worst.

Germany should deserve plaudits: including aid channelled via the European Union, it has given more military and financial help to Ukraine than any country bar America. But under its chancellor, Olaf Scholz, it has nonetheless contrived to appear reluctant and hesitant. Just before Russia’s looming invasion of Ukraine, its first instinct was to limit military aid to helmets. Mr Scholz’s caution has made it seem as if he was bounced into promising anti-missile systems by America. He pledged infantry-fighting vehicles in January, just after France had set a precedent. Most recently he has dithered over tanks.

Ukraine has been asking for German-made Leopards since day seven of the invasion, but Germany has not been willing to send any of its own, nor to give permission for other countries to re-export theirs. A long-overdue agreement on sending tanks had been hoped for when the Western allies gathered at Ramstein, an American base in Germany, on January 20th. But Mr Scholz scuppered that, only to yield on January 25th, after withering criticism from his allies, from within Germany and even from inside his own coalition. His government now pledges to send 14 Leopards to Ukraine, and to allow other countries to follow suit, a welcome 45th birthday present for Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. “It is right that we did not allow ourselves to be pushed, but chose…close co-operation with our allies,” an unrepentant Mr Scholz told the Bundestag.

Other countries are not blameless. Until recently America dragged its feet on sending Abrams tanks, and France’s Emmanuel Macron has said only that he is “considering” sending Leclercs, after refusing them for many months. Britain, keen to set a precedent, did step up a couple of weeks ago, but it can spare only 12 or 14 Challengers and they will be of limited use, given that they lack a good supply chain of parts and ammunition in Europe. Poland, which has berated Germany most loudly, did not get around to formally asking for re-export permission until this week.

There is a sense in Germany that Mr Scholz has notched up a diplomatic victory. By digging in his heels, he has forced the Americans to offer 31 of its Abrams tanks. Neutral Switzerland, under German pressure, will now allow the use of Swiss-made ammunition. It is, some argue, a further success for Germany’s gradualist strategy, of increasing the calibre of arms supplies to Ukraine without provoking Russia into escalation.

To Germany’s allies, however, Mr Scholz does not look so clever. The Leopards are better suited to Ukraine than the Abrams, which are fuel-hungry and hard to maintain. The German-made tanks are speedy and powerful; most important, more than 2,000 of them already sit in the arsenals of 13 European armies. They could play a vital role in halting a new Russian push, and in punching a hole through the land bridge that connects Russia to occupied Crimea.

Mr Scholz’s diplomatic victory is therefore pyrrhic. It came at the cost of the first big public spat between Ukraine’s allies. And the chancellor blocked the best possible outcome, which would have been for Ukraine to have got more Leopards much sooner.

Furthermore, if Mr Scholz’s reluctance was a fear of escalation, his démarche does not make sense: his argument in recent days has been that he wanted America to supply tanks at the same time as Germany. A darker calculation is that the chancellor knows that when the war eventually ends, Russia will remain a large and powerful presence in Europe. Perhaps he wants to stay on reasonable terms with it. But this way of thinking ought to have been utterly discredited by Russia’s repeated invasions of its neighbours, in 2008, 2014 and 2022.

Many will say this explanation of Mr Scholz’s hesitation is too cynical. A more charitable one would be a deep aversion to the spectacle of German tanks once again heading east, towards Kharkiv and Kursk. This is understandable, but wrong-headed. In 1941 German invaders entered Russia. This time the invaders are Russian. There is no equivalence between helping a victim defend itself and committing an act of aggression. Any Germans who confuse the two have learned the wrong lesson from their country’s terrible history.

Mr Scholz’s claim to European leadership was bolstered just after the invasion, when he declared a Zeitenwende, a turning-point in Germany’s strategic outlook. Yet it is Mr Biden who emerges looking the statesman, for having yielded to preserve transatlantic unity when so much was at stake. Mr Scholz, by contrast, endangered it, and squandered Germany’s diplomatic gains by approving Leopards so grudgingly.

 

Colin Parkinson

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Then we need more than 82 tanks. Which I'm all for. Let's use the vast tracks of land we have and have an armoured corp of 300 tanks! I'm just offering a way that I think Canada could continue to produce combat team commanders that can command a nato battle group without Canada itself having modern MBTs of their own.
Sadly we were offered a large number of Leopard 2's and Marders, plus all the buildings and spares to support them when the Germans left Shilo, but of course we said no thanks.......
 
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