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German army 'standing bare,' limited in combat readiness, top chief says


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Germany’s highest-ranking military officer cast doubt on the Germany army’s combat readiness, claiming that years of neglect have left it in a questionable state amid the ongoing Ukrainian-Russian war.

Inspector of the Army Lt. Gen. Alfons Mais described the army as “standing bare” and said it would be limited in its capabilities should it be asked to assist in a NATO mission in a post he shared on his LinkedIn profile, Stripes.com reported.

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26 May 2020, Saxony, Frankenberg: Lieutenant General Alfons Mais (M), Inspector of the Army, visits Panzergrenadierbrigade 37. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images)

26 May 2020, Saxony, Frankenberg: Lieutenant General Alfons Mais (M), Inspector of the Army, visits Panzergrenadierbrigade 37. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images)

“In my 41st year of service in peace, I would not have thought I would have had to experience another war,” he added in the post. “And the army that I am allowed to lead, is more or less standing bare.”

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After Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this week, the international community has been put on notice and German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht placed the country’s defense forces on national alert, Stripes.com reported.

But Mais claimed in the post that the army would be limited in its capabilities to assist in a NATO mission: “The options we can offer policymakers to support the Alliance are extremely limited.”

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21 September 2021, Saxony, Dresden: Alfons Mais, Inspector of the Army, speaks during an interview at the Bilderberg Hotel on the sidelines of the Army General Conference.

21 September 2021, Saxony, Dresden: Alfons Mais, Inspector of the Army, speaks during an interview at the Bilderberg Hotel on the sidelines of the Army General Conference.
(Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

According to the report, Mais appealed to his government to do more to boost its combat readiness in 2014, following the Russian invasion of Crimea, but his arguments failed to influence policy changes.

“We all saw it coming and were unable to penetrate with our arguments to draw and implement the conclusions of the annexation of Crimea,” he wrote in the post.

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Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a former defense minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel, similarly claimed that her country failed to bolster its military as Russian tensions with its neighboring countries boiled over.

IDAR-OBERSTEIN, GERMANY - MARCH 26: German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer speaks to the media in front of a Panzerhaubitze 2000 after she visits the Bundeswehr's training unit of the 345th Artillery Battalion on March 26, 2021 in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

IDAR-OBERSTEIN, GERMANY – MARCH 26: German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer speaks to the media in front of a Panzerhaubitze 2000 after she visits the Bundeswehr’s training unit of the 345th Artillery Battalion on March 26, 2021 in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

“I’m so angry at ourselves for our historical failure. After Georgia, Crimea, and Donbas, we have not prepared anything that would have really deterred (Vladimir) Putin,” Kramp-Karrenbauer tweeted Thursday.



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