During exercise: Readiness of German IFVs drops to zero in 8 days

BERLIN ($1= Euros) — In Münster, Lower Saxony, Germany, units of the German Army [Bundeswehr] conducted a ground exercise. Two divisions participated in it – one with Leopard 2 tanks and the other with Puma infantry fighting vehicles [IFV]. The German publication Spiegel wrote about this teaching. More importantly, the Spiegel article followed a letter sent by German Major General Ruprchet von Butler.

Germany showed turret-independent 40mm 360° IFV secondary weapon
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The German general is not just anyone, but the commander of the 10th armored brigade of the German army. He sends his letter to the Bundeswehr administration. In the letter and in the article in Spiegel, the general wrote that the Leopard 2 tanks are in good combat readiness. During the exercise, the tanks achieved 80 to 90 percent combat readiness. There have been problems, the general wrote, but they are being fixed by service teams at night.

However, this is not the case with the Puma infantry fighting vehicle. The exercise has completely taken away the combat capabilities and readiness of the armored land vehicle. According to the German general, on the eighth day of the exercise, the 18 Pumas had reduced their readiness to zero. Of the 20 Pumas involved, the last two also showed serious turret problems on the day field firings were to take place.

It turns out that there was a bug that the soldiers knew about [apparently kept quiet about], but this bug never happened that often, ie. to affect all infantry fighting vehicles. It is a question of burning a cable in the driver’s compartment of the vehicle, as well as damage to the electronic equipment of particularly high-tech Puma armored vehicles.

An investigation is currently underway

This is a serious problem not only for the German army, but also for NATO’s operational capabilities. General Butler’s unit is part of the 37th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, which forms the core of NATO’s Joint Task Force. It is this mechanized brigade that has been selected in 2023 to be in full combat readiness and to demonstrate a high level of readiness.

An investigation is currently underway into the causes of the two errors in the German Pumas. An assessment of the damage is being prepared, inviting experts from the German arms industry. This is what Ebehard Zorn, Chief of the General Staff of Germany, says in his tweet.

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