Monday, 24 March 2014

Dannatt is right for the wrong reason

General Dannatt's claim that the UK needs another Brigade (at least) is quite right; cutting the army to 82,000 is beyond foolish, and losing the expertise that we have gained in Afghanistan an utter waste of talent. A standing army of 100,000 with a further 100,000 in reserves, yeomanry, militias and terriers has been long established as about the least we need to fulfil obligations to defend ourselves and assist Commonwealth nations or support our NATO partners.

As for Dannatt's assertion that an additional Brigade should be stationed in Germany to deter Putin, nuts. Giving even the slightest encouragement to the lunatic territorial ambitions of Ashton, van Rompuy, Barroso and Reding is too much. They've provoked this crisis with tacit if not overt German approval and they need to live with the consequences - a bear with a sore head and a mechanised infantry Division on the border rather than a quiet and co-operative neighbour. And in military terms, as Dannatt must surely know, an isolated little UK unit of just three infantry battalions will make no difference whatsoever - he's seeking to use soldiers as political pawns. Or perhaps, like many of our generation, he's just nostalgic for BAOR, Sennelager and Osnabrück. BFG will end their final deployment in 2019, and quite right.

Any battles in NE Germany will be heavy-metal affairs; main battle tanks, artillery, rockets. It's not what we do any more. The kit is relatively low-tech to maintain and operate and can now be left to the Poles, Czechs and Hungarians to contribute - with German support. Short supply lines, established maintenance facilities. It's also what the Germans are good at. Leave them to it.

1 comment:

Mike Spilligan said...

Never let a crisis go to waste, especially if it's a temporary one like this - and you never know when another will come along. NATO chief Fogh-Rasmussen is saying something similar, with NATO looking for a "role" since 1990 it sees this as the opportunity to ask for lots more money and lots of shiny, new "stuff".