‘Eternal problem’ may delay the delivery of Leopard 2s to Ukraine

WARSAW, POLAND — Tanks for Ukraine have been promised, but their delivery period remains unknown. The armed forces of Ukraine hope that the German Leopards will start “trading” the Ukrainian mud more quickly. However, the “eternal problem” that has been shining since the beginning of the war can delay “throwing them into battle”.

Rheinmetall might deliver 50 'stored' Leopard-1A5 tanks to Ukraine
Photo credit: Wikipedia

It’s about spare parts. More specifically about their lack, shortage, and delayed deliveries from Germany. At least according to the words of the Polish President Mr. Andrzej Duda. Quoted by CNN, Mr. Duda explained to television cameras that Poland “has a serious problem with German Leopard tanks.” The problem is that Poland has been waiting for a delivery of spare parts for its Leopards from Germany for months now. Tanks cannot be sent to the front without their performance being guaranteed.

Mr. Duda recalled that spare parts for Leopard tanks are produced only in Germany. He ironically turned to his German colleague, Mr. Olaf Scholz, expressing hope that “German tanks are hopefully ready to be sent to Ukraine because frankly, we have a serious problem with spare parts.” According to the Polish president, not only his country but also other Leopard operators are experiencing a shortage of spare parts or too many delayed deliveries.

The Leopard issue

The topic “Leopard” becomes a “bone of contention” between Poland and Germany. Since last year, Poland has been disappointed by the “German partnership”. Berlin promised Warsaw 50 Leopard 2 tanks. They should have arrived in Poland after the Polish army parted with at least 200 T-72 tanks. They were donated to Ukraine to meet the Russian invasion.

The Armed Forces of Poland received the first Leopard-2PL tanks
Photo credit: PGZSA

However, Poland gradually realized that Germany had no Leopard 2 tanks to give. Or at least that amount. BulgarianMilitary.com already wrote last year that, according to Polish experts, Germany has cannibalized a part of its tank reserves in recent decades. I.e. stored tanks were used to disassemble and take their parts to be used as spare parts for German tanks.

So suddenly Warsaw received an “angry response” from Berlin saying that Warsaw would receive more Leopard 1s than the promised Leopard 2s.

When Ukraine will receive the promised Leopard 2 remains to be seen. However, it appears that Germany has a serious problem with the operational capabilities of its ground forces. The war in Ukraine “brought to light” this problem.

So many problems

Let’s recall: the German SPAAG Gepard promised to Ukraine last year at one point turned out to be out of ammunition. The news “shined” 24 hours after Berlin loudly threw the “big donation”.

German Puma IFVs with next-gen of MUSS soft-kill missile defense
Photo credit: EDR Magazine

However, Switzerland refused to produce 35mm ammunition, so Berlin sought assistance from Scandinavian manufacturers. However, the first munitions produced gave an error in their recognition by the SPAAG fire control system. Then the correction was successful.

On January 9, Germany promised 40 Maredr IFV units to Ukraine. Subsequently, it was realized that Germany would have to remove them from the composition of its armed forces, otherwise, it would have nowhere to find them. There are no operational ready stocks and no spare parts.

Before that, in December 2022, the image of German ground operational readiness was already deeply damaged. Within eight days, the operational readiness of 18 units of Puma infantry fighting vehicles dropped to a complete, big, and round zero. And it happened during an exercise that called into question the German rapid reaction group to NATO structures.


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