The Astarpa (1312 BC)

Mursilis II mounted a major campaign to conquer Anawa. The Hittite forces were mustered at Sallapa, where they were joined by the contingent of the King of Carchemish, a brother of Mursilis. The army crossed the river Schiriya (sangarius) and marched on Anawa. At this point the troops witnessed a meteorite pass over them, convincing them that the storm-god approved of their cause (this anecdote is probably Hittite propaganda). They were then joined by the King of Mira, who had recently beaten off an Anawan attack. He informed Mursilis that the Anawan king, Ukha-zitish, lay in his palace at Apsus (Ephesus?), having been injured when the meteorite landed, and that the Anawan army under his son, Piyama-radus, was forming up at the river Astarpa on the frontier of Arzawa.

Further elated, the Hittite forces engaged those of Arzawa on the Astarpa and defeated them. During the pursuit and mopping up following the battle, Ukha-zitish and some fugitives fled overseas, while others fled into the mountains of Arinnanda. Here they had to be surrounded and starved out as the terrain was impassable for horses. 15,000 were deported to Hani as forced labour.

Some refugees fled into the highlands of Puranda, ruled by a son of Ukha-zitish, Tapala-zunaulis. He led his forces out to attack the Hittites but was defeated and pursued back into the hills. Pumndo was besieged and its water supply cut off. Tapala-zunaulis attempted to escape by night but was overtaken by pursuing Hittite chariotry.

Little is known about life on campaign for the Hittites soldiers. As noted in a previous chapter, plague seems to have been a particular problem for Hittite armies. The Deeds of Suppiluliuma recount how a plague broke out among the army behind the lines. 257 In the Plague Prayers of Mursili II, the Hittite king prays to the gods to take away the plague that had been brought to the Hittites by prisoners of war. The Hittites sometimes wintered out in the field. Mursili II recorded that at the end of his third year he constructed a walled military camp at the Astarpa river, most likely to spend the winter. The Hittite laws contain one reference to the death of a soldier, although it might be only a business trip rather than a military campaign. “If anyone hires a person, and that person goes on a military campaign and is killed, if the hire has been paid, there shall be no compensation. But if the hire has not been paid, the hirer shall give one slave.”

Virginia-class cruisers

The need for more nuclear-powered surface warships to provide antiaircraft and ASW defense was clear, as only two of the frigates (DLGN), now known as cruiser (CGN), possessed this propulsion system. In order to take full advantage of the high endurance offered by the nuclear Enterprise, the United States embarked on the construction of new frigates with the same capability. The first of these was the two-ship California-class.

Completed in 1974 and 1975 and redesignated as cruisers, their hulls measured 596 feet by 61 feet and displaced 10,150 tons. Their turbine engines were powered by two nuclear reactors of the D2G type, which were originally designed for destroyers and manufactured by the General Electric Corporation. Each reactor compartment was cylindrical, measured 37 feet high and 31 feet wide, and weighed 1,400 tons. The top speed produced by this propulsion system was 30 knots. These ships represented a step forward in missile technology. In place of the older SAM batteries, these vessels mounted two twin-armed Standard SAM launchers with magazines that could each hold 40 missiles. One each was located fore and aft.

The Standard missile represented a great improvement over those of the “3Ts” and is still in use in the United States Navy. Research and development for this weapon began in 1963 with the object of replacing Terrier and Tartar. First entering service in 1967 and designated RIM-66, this missile measures 15 feet, 6 inches, weighs 1,370 pounds, and possesses a maximum range of 104 miles thanks to its jet engine that can produce a Mach 3.5 velocity. The guidance system is greatly enhanced and allows for better accuracy through faster course corrections in flight. As a result, it can be used against aircraft and helicopters and for defense versus cruise missiles. This latter capability was important at the time given the inability of the “3T” missile systems to effectively combat Soviet antiship missiles. Finally, the Standard missile can also be used against surface targets, which represented the first move toward addressing the paucity of offensive power against enemy vessels that plagued the first U. S. missile cruisers.

In addition to this system and its enhanced fire control and radar array, the California-class also shipped an ASROC launcher and four Mark 32 torpedo launchers for ASW along with sonar. These vessels were also armed with two 5-inch guns in single mounts for the purpose of close-range defense. Unlike guns of the past, these were fully automated, computer-controlled weapons. Each gun possessed a magazine that held 475-500 rounds and could fire 16-20 per minute to a maximum range of almost 15 miles. This gun remains in use in the United States Navy. Four similar frigates of the Virginia-class were completed between 1976 and 1980, redesignated as cruisers at the same time as the California-class. The hull of Virginia measured 585 feet by 63 feet and displaced 11,000 tons. Its propulsion system and armament were identical to the previous vessels. The chief difference was the absence of an ASROC launcher in favor of a Standard missile system that could fire SAMs and ASROC missiles.

Harpoon missile: The naval version of this missile was first deployed in the early 1980s and resembles the French Exocet antiship missile. It is still a primary weapon of the United States Navy and was first deployed on the Virginia-class cruisers when they were retrofitted. A Harpoon weighs 1,385 pounds and is 15 feet long. It carries a 488-pound warhead at a speed approaching Mach 1 and has a maximum range of almost 70 miles. Like Exocet, its guidance system allows it to home in on a target while skimming the ocean surface before striking the hull of an enemy vessel and exploding within.

Virginia ships were refitted to carry two quadruple-mount Mark 143 Tomahawk missile launchers in the stern The Tomahawk launchers carry eight Tomahawk (BGM-109) antiship and/or land-attack missiles More capable than the Harpoon missile, which has a range of 80 nautical miles (92 miles) and carries a warhead containing 510 pounds of high explosive, Tomahawks have a range of more than 250 nautical miles (287.5 miles) and carry 1.000 pounds of high explosive. One SWG-2 Tomahawk fire control system is being installed along with the missiles, which are occupying space that was previously a hangar for the Kaman SH-2F Seasprite Light Airborne Multipurpose System I (LAMPS 1) helicopter. Problems with the hangar elevator mechanism and trouble with maintaining a watertight seal on the elevator doors led to the decision to remove the hangar and replace it with the Tomahawk launchers

Units: Virginia, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas

Type and Significance: Together with the California-class, these vessels formed the bulk of the U. S. cruiser force until the early 1980s. They were also the last nuclear-powered missile cruisers built by the United States.

Dates of Construction: All units were laid down between 1972 and 1977, with construction ending on the class in late 1980.

Hull Dimensions: 585′ x 63′ x 21′

Displacement: 11,000 tons

Armor:   1 in (25 mm) Kevlar plastic armor installed around combat information center, magazines, and machinery spaces


    2 × Mk 26 missile launchers for 68 missiles

    RIM-66 Standard Missiles (MR) / RUR-5 ASROC

    8 × Tomahawk missile (from 2 armored-box launchers after a refitting)

    8 × RGM-84 Harpoon (from two Mk-141 quad launchers)

    4 × Mk 46 torpedoes (from fixed single tubes)

    2 × Mk-45 5-inch/54 caliber rapid-fire gun

    2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS (post-refit)

    2 × 25 mm Mk 38 chain guns

    6 × .50 cal (12.7 mm) M2 machine guns

Machinery: Turbines powered by two D2G nuclear reactors that delivered 60,000 horsepower.

Speed: 30 knots

Complement: 519

Summary: Like the California-class cruisers, these ships were first designated as frigates until 1975, when they were reclassed as cruisers. All four units were decommissioned between 1992 and 1997 and have been scrapped.

Pz Kw V Panther Ausf D (Sd Kfz 171)

The VK 3002 (MAN), which was known unofficially as the Panther during the course of its development, was well shaped but was too heavy and too high to be a medium tank replacement for the Pz Kw IV. As usual the constant modifications called for during development increased the original weight from 35 tons until it finally reached 43 tons. After 20 vehicles had been built with the specified frontal armour 60 mm thick, an increase of the nose armour to 80 mm was ordered. The engine originally planned, the Maybach HL 210, was no longer considered powerful enough and was replaced by the more powerful HL 230 P 30. This was basically the same engine but its capacity had been raised from 21 to 23 litres by enlarging the cylinder bore. This engine was put into all production vehicles and was used until the end of the war. The HL 230 P 30 was a short V-12 petrol-driven engine producing 700 hp at 3000 rpm. In service however it was limited to 2500 rpm. Maybach used an eight-bearing crankshaft which just fitted the limited area of the Panther engine compartment. Together with several other licensees (including Daimler-Benz and Auto-Union) Maybach produced nearly 1000 of these 700 hp engines each month.

As the Pz Kw V differed radically from the Pz Kw III and IV, newly developed mechanical units had to be fitted because of the increased weight and the alterations to the hull shape. The hand-operated AK 7-200 type gearbox had seven speeds, all with synchromesh. It. was intended for an engine producing 800 hp at 3000 rpm and a torque of up to 175 mkg. The weight of the gear with clutch and crown wheel was 750 kg. An LAG 3/70 H dry clutch was fitted. New steering gear and steering brakes were developed by MAN. Steering was effected by Argus disc brakes, operated hydraulically. Each track could be halted separately when the steering brake was used to steer the tank, after the epicyclic brake had been released and the steering clutch disconnected. In addition to this, when the epicyclic brake was released the direct gear of the epicyclic could be driven, via a steering clutch and a pair of pinions, against the’ direction of the main drive. In this way the relevant track was retarded and the vehicle travelled in each gear through a curve of fixed radius. Hence the description “single radius steering gear”.

The bogies were carried on double torsion bars which lay transversely, each radius arm having two hair-pin-shaped torsion bars. This arrangement gave the Panther the best designed suspension of all German tanks. One disadvantage was the amount of space taken up by this type of springing. The bogie wheels were of the interleaved disc type with rubber tyres. Front sprockets and rear idlers, which also acted as tensioning wheels, together with two hydraulic shock absorbers and a return roller each side, completed the suspension. The unlubricated, 86-link track, designed for the original 35-ton prototype, was 660 mm wide and the width was not increased in the heavier production model. To increase the adhesion on icy surfaces the track was fitted with non-skid ribs, which were placed between the links. Chassis, hull and superstructure were integral and comers of the armour-plated hull were interlocked.

In addition to the 7.5 cm 42 L/70 gun there were two MG 34s. Seventy-nine rounds of tank gun ammunition were carried and the fuel supply of 720 litres was in five tanks. Power take-off to traverse the 8-ton turret was taken from a main shaft which lay between the two half shafts. This main shaft was mounted in a housing and worked the turret drive and the two oil pressure pumps for the steering mechanism.

Initially the specifications called for a fording depth of 1900 nun and a submersible depth of up to 4 metres. Full waterproofing was never fully developed however, and in consequence it was not 100 per cent effective on production vehicles.

In the Marks III, IV and VI the crews’ kit was carried in stowage boxes on the rear turret walls, but in the Panther these were fitted left and right of the lower hull plate.

Production of the Panther began in November 1942 at the MAN factory, and its official designation was “Pz Kw V Panther Ausf D (Sd Kfz 171)”. In the first production model the wireless operator’s bow MG aperture was of the shutter type. Some of these early machines had the commander’s cupola fitted on the left hand side of the turret. The combat weight was 43 tons.

The Panther’s importance in the re-equipping of armoured units is evident from the fact that the production programme, which went into operation immediately, called for an output of 250 vehicles per month. A revised production programme dated September 1942 increased the monthly output to 600 Panthers up to and including the spring of 1944.

It was clear from this ambitious scheme that additional manufacturers would have to be brought into the production programme. The first production vehicles very quickly showed the teething troubles resulting from over-hasty development. Representatives of the industry and of the troops continually warned against putting these new vehicles into service prematurely. There were not only the usual teething troubles of a new design, but deep-rooted problems which could only be eradicated after thorough tests and fundamental alterations, and the armoured units had little confidence in the vehicle. The increased weight, which was greater than the original specification laid down, led to excessive wear of gears and shafts and the more powerful engine stretched the transmission to its limits. In this and the suspension were the main weaknesses of this otherwise very successful vehicle. In a speech at Hider’s HQ in March 1943 Guderian emphasised that under no circumstances could the Panther be expected to enter service earlier than July 1943. The results of troop trials at Erlangen and Grafenwohr only confirmed this.

Despite these deficiencies tank battalions equipped with Panthers were ordered to take part in the Kursk Offensive or Operation Citadel. All the gloomy mechanical predictions were fully realised. Most of the vehicles unloaded in Orel and driven to Byelograd broke down en route. Engine fires caused by insufficient cooling and damage to gears and tracks ruined the outstanding potential of the armament as the vehicles were continually being taken out of service because of mechanical troubles and in some cases did not reach the battlefield at all.

These mechanical troubles made the first production batch of Panthers, almost without exception, unfit for front line service. In 1944 an official High Command memorandum acknowledging these weaknesses said: “… the mechanical weakness of the cross shaft on the Pz Kw IV and V led to such high unserviceability that the demand for replacement parts could not be met, despite the great efforts of the factories, without interfering with production…”

In February 1943 the Maschinenfabrik Niedersachsen-Hannover were brought into the Panther production programme. Henschel produced 200 Panthers between March and November 1943. From mid-1943 onwards Daimler-Benz went over to mass production of the Panther. The following firms took part in the production of armour and turrets: Dortmund-Hörder Hüttenverein of Dortmund, Eisenwerke Oberdonau of Linz, Ruhrstahl of Hattingen, Böhler of Kapfenberg, Bismarckhütte of Upper Silesia and Harkort-Eicken of Hagen. Numerous other component suppliers took part in the Panther building programme and production was given the “SS” priority rating.

Skynight: The Deadliest Night Fighter in Korea

With a profile that would never be considered glamorous, the Douglas Skyknight was a conventional design delivering truly mediocre performance. Still, the Navy needed a sedan, not a sports car, and designer Ed Heinemann, who won fame for the World War II Douglas Dauntless and the 1953 Collier Trophy for the F4D Skyray, gave them what they wanted. Surprisingly, Skyknights would soldier on for two decades of service, easily outlasting speedier, more nimble contemporaries.

Conceived as the Navy’s first purpose-built night fighter, the Douglas F3D was built big to accommodate a complicated radar system along with a powerful battery of four 20-mm cannon. There were three radars: search, fire control, and a novel tail-mounted unit warning of threats approaching from behind. Pilots took off in darkness, flew by instruments, and trusted the radar operators sitting next to them to guide them to enemy aircraft that blipped across scopes mounted on the radar console.

The major production version of the Skyknight was the F3D-2. Preliminary specifications for the F3D-2 were released by the Navy on May 23, 1949, and the letter of intent was issued in October of 1949. The F3D-2 had improved cockpit air conditioning, a thicker armored windshield, revised electronic equipment, as well as improved versions of interception, tail warning, and gun targeting radars. In addition, the F3D-2 had a General Electric G-3 autopilot and was provided with wing spoilers for an improved rate of roll. According to original plans, it was to have been powered by two 4600 lb.s.t. Westinghouse J46-WE-3 turbojets housed in enlarged nacelles, which would have offered a substantially enhanced performance.

Unfortunately, the J46 experienced severe developmental difficulties and was still not available when the first F3D-2 was ready for its maiden flight in early 1951, and the first F3D-2 was powered instead by two 3400 lb.s.t. J34-WE-36s. It took off on its maiden flight on February 14, 1951. In the event, the J46 never did overcome its teething troubles and production of this engine was cancelled, forcing all production F3D-2s to settle for the less-powerful J34-WE-36s. However, all F3D-2s retained the larger engine nacelles that had been designed for the J46.

A total of 237 F3D-2s were built, the last example being produced on March 23, 1952.

The following Navy squadrons operated the F3D-2: VC-3, VC-4, VC-33, VX-3, VX-4, VX-5, VFAW-3, VF-11, VF-14, VF-101, VF-121, and VT-86.

The following Marine Corps squadrons operated the F3D-2: VMF(N)-542, VMF(N)-513, VMF(N)-531, VMF(N)-46, VMC-3, VMFT(N)-20, VMCJ-1, VMCJ-2, and VMCJ-3.

VMF(N)-542 deployed to Korea with its F3D-2s in the spring of 1952. They were soon transferred to VMF(N)-513 based at Kunsan (K-8). Their primary mission was to fly night escort missions for Air Force B-29 bombers. On November 2, 1952, pilot Maj William Stratton and radar operator Hans Hoagland shot down a North Korean Yak-15, the first jet-vs-jet night kill.

On the night of 2:3 November 1952, a Sky Knight piloted by Marine Major William Stratton, accompanied by radar operator Master Sergeant Hans Hoagland, shot down what they reported from the exhaust pattern to be a Yak-15 fighter, and claimed a confirmed kill since the Sky knight flew through debris, narrowly evading damage. Russian records indicate the target was actually a MiG-15

— the Yak-15 was really not suited for operational use, and wasn’t used in combat in Korea or anywhere else — and though the Sky knight set the MiG on fire, the pilot managed to extinguish the flames and get back to base. The MiG was fully operational in a few days, a tribute to its rugged construction.

However, five days later, on the night of 7:8 November, another F-3D Sky knight under the command of Marine Captain Oliver R. Davis with radar operator Warrant Officer D. F. “Ding” Fessler shot down a MiG-15. Russian sources do confirm this kill and that the pilot, a Lieutenant Kovalyov, ejected safely.

On 10 December 1952, a Sky knight piloted by Marine Lieutenant Joseph Corvi with radar operator Sergeant Dan George spotted a “bogey” on radar. They could not establish visual contact, but since no “friendlies” were supposed to be in the area, they fired on the target.

A kill was confirmed when Sergeant George spotted a wing tumbling past them. This was one of the first times when an aircraft destroyed an enemy that the crew could not see. It turned out to be one of the little Po-2 biplanes used by the North Koreans to harass UN forces at night.

The Po-2 was a difficult target, since it flew low and slow, it was small and agile, and its mostly wooden construction did not show up well on radar.

The Marine Sky Knights claimed a total of at least six kills and no B-29s under their escort were lost to enemy fighters. Two Skyknights were lost in combat for unknown reasons.

In subsequent night actions, F3D-2s accounted for another Yak-15 and six MiG-15s, with no losses to themselves, which gave the Skyknight an overall 8-0 superiority in Korea. In addition, no Air Force B-29 was ever lost on a F3D-2-escorted mission. VMF(N)-513 crews also flew some night strike and interdiction sorties. Two Skyknights were lost in combat to unknown causes.

Nihriya (1230 BC)

The Hittite king Tudhaliya IV, son and successor of Hattusili, made no call on Babylonian support when he clashed with the Assyrians in the battle of Nihriya (c. 1230) in northern Mesopotamia – and was resoundingly defeated by them.

Assyria and Hatti in conflict We have noted the involvement of Ini-Teshub in this affair. As viceroy of Carchemish, Ini-Teshub proved a highly competent administrator and an invaluable support to the Great King by his efficient governance of his own kingdom, and more broadly by the vital role he played in maintaining stability within Hatti’s Syrian territories-particularly at this time when fears were mounting of renewed Assyrian aggression. Tudhaliya’s father Hattusili had tried to cultivate good relations with the Assyrian king Shalmaneser I (c. 1263-1234),19 and for a time there was peace between the Great Kingdoms. But tensions returned and escalated sharply during Tudhaliya’s reign, especially when Shalmaneser invaded and destroyed the Hittite-backed kingdom of Hanigalbat, the final remnant of the fomer Mitannian empire. Hanigalbat’s territory had extended to the east bank of the Euphrates. By conquering it, Shalmaneser expanded his power to a mere river’s breadth away from Hittite territory. An Assyrian invasion of Tudhaliya’s Syrian states seemed imminent. Then came news of Shalmaneser’s death and his replacement on the Assyrian throne by his young son Tukulti-Ninurta. Tudhaliya wrote to the new king in cordial terms, congratulating him on his accession, and praising the exploits of his father-a necessary piece of diplomatic hypocrisy. He made an explicit offer of friendship to the new king, who wrote a warm letter in reply, expressing his own desire for friendship. Perhaps this would mark the beginning of a new era of peace between Hatti and Assyria.

It was too good to be true. Tukulti-Ninurta had barely mounted his throne before he began preparations for a major offensive against a number of Hurrian states in northern Mesopotamia. This was alarming news for Tudhaliya. For an Assyrian conquest of the region would give Tukulti-Ninurta control of the major routes leading across the Euphrates into Hittite territory in Anatolia. Already his subject lands along the river’s east bank provided him with immediate access to Syria. The time for diplomatic posturing was over, and Tudhaliya declared the Assyrian king his enemy. This we learn from a treaty he drew up with the Amurrite king Shaushgamuwa. Hatti and Assyria were now at war, he informed his vassal. Bans were to be imposed on all commercial dealings between Amurru and Assyria: `As the king of Assyria is the enemy of My Sun, so must he also be your enemy. No merchant of yours is to go to the Land of Assyria, and you must allow no merchant of Assyria to enter your land or pass through your land. If, however, an Assyrian merchant comes to your land, seize him and send him to My Sun. Let this be your obligation under divine oath! And because I, My Sun, am at war with the king of Assyria, when I call up troops and chariotry you must do likewise.’

A showdown between the two Great Kings was now inevitable. It took place in the region of Nihriya in north-eastern Mesopotamia, probably north or north-east of modern Diyabakir. In a letter to the king of Ugarit, Tukulti-Ninurta described the conflict, disclaiming all responsibility for initiating it. He had no wish for war with Hatti, he declared. His campaign had been directed primarily at a region called the Nairi lands, which had nothing to do with the Hittites. Tudhaliya saw things differently. The Assyrian campaign in the region was but one more stage in the continuing expansion of the Assyrian empire which ultimately threatened Hatti, and he made the decision to confront the Assyrian forces there and then, outside Hittite territory and in support of the local kings who were the object of the Assyrian offensive. Tukulti-Ninurta sent an ultimatum to Tudhaliya to back off and withdraw from Nihriya. When Tudhaliya ignored it and continued his advance, Tukulti-Ninurta ordered his forces to attack. If we are to believe the account he gives in his letter to the Ugaritic king, the Hittite forces were routed. It was one of the very few occasions in the history of the Late Bronze Age that two of the Great Kingdoms ever met in an all-out pitched battle. And though we have only the Assyrian version of the engagement, almost certainly the Hittites were heavily defeated. With their defence forces now substantially weakened, all looked set for an Assyrian invasion across the Euphrates. Indeed, two later inscriptions from Tukulti-Ninurta’s reign may indicate that the Assyrians did attack Hittite territory at this time. The inscriptions refer to the capture of 28,800 troops `of Hatti’ from across the Euphrates. But most scholars think that the figure is highly exaggerated, and the whole episode indicative of no more than a minor border clash. None the less, there is little doubt that after the Assyrian victory in Nihriya, Tudhaliya feared a comprehensive Assyrian invasion of his kingdom-and there was little he could have done to prevent it.

Then came news that led him to breathe a huge sigh of relief. Inexplicably, at least to us, Tukulti-Ninurta suddenly changed direction. Instead of launching an invasion west of the Euphrates, he turned against his southern neighbour Babylon, and spent much of the rest of his career locked in conflict with the Babylonians. Hatti was spared the ravages of an Assyrian invasion.

But the end was in sight anyhow, for the world as the Hittites and their subjects knew it. This phase of Syria’s history is almost played out.

Singer, I. 1985. “The Battle of Nihriya and the End of the Hittite Empire,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie

The Bundeswehr

The Bundeswehr (Federal Defence Forces) is the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The states of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government. In other words, Germany does not have state-by-state National Guard branches, as is the case in the United States of America.

The Bundeswehr is divided into a military part (armed forces or Streitkräfte) and a civil part with the armed forces administration (Wehrverwaltung). The military part of the federal defense force consists of the German Army, the German Navy, the German Air Force, the Joint Support Service, the Joint Medical Service, and the Cyber and Information Domain Service.

As of June 2020, the Bundeswehr has a strength of 183,466 active-duty military personnel and 80,166 civilians, placing it among the 30 largest military forces in the world and making it the second largest in the European Union behind France in terms of personnel. In addition the Bundeswehr has approximately 29,200 reserve personnel (2019). With German military expenditures at $49.3 billion, the Bundeswehr is the seventh or ninth best-funded military in the world, even if in terms of share of German GDP, military expenditures remain average at 1.3% and below the non-binding NATO target of 2%. Germany aims to expand the Bundeswehr to around 203,000 soldiers by 2025 to better cope with increasing responsibilities.

New white paper defines Germany’s security and defence agenda

On 13 July 2016, the German cabinet approved a new white paper on `German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr’ after a wide-ranging national and international consultation process that continued throughout 2015. As Germany does not have a national-security strategy, the Weissbuch provides high-level political guidance for security policy, as well as for the tasks and missions of the German armed forces. The document centres on the overall assessment that Germany has become a more significant actor in international security. It promises that Germany will accept greater responsibility for international peace and security and assume leadership roles, including in defence.

The 2016 white paper (which replaces the 2006 edition) points to an elevated risk of inter-state armed conflict – partly driven by the aggressive behaviour and ambitions of emerging powers – as well as a multitude of other transnational security challenges. Russia, in particular, is mentioned as being interested in strategic rivalry and as constituting a challenge for European security. Given this adjusted threat assessment, the white paper emphasises territorial and collective defence within NATO. While this is not explicitly prioritised above other Bundeswehr missions, the analysis in the white paper leads to the conclusion that a German contribution to deterrence has to include the ability to engage in high-intensity combined-arms combat. Given that future threats are likely to materialise in geographically contained areas and with little warning, the armed forces have to improve their readiness and rapid-response capability. Staying true to its character as a high-level strategy document, the white paper does not translate this assessment into a specific level of military ambition or detailed force goals. It is therefore likely that German force planners will require either new Verteidigungspolitische Richtlinien (defence policy guidelines) or a new Konzeption der Bundeswehr (Bundeswehr concept) – lower-level strategy documents, whose current versions date back to 2011 and 2013 respectively.

To deal with the increasing demands being placed on it, the Bundeswehr will require increased funding and reliable access to high-quality personnel. The defence budget is showing a modest upward trajectory, which is likely to last until at least 2020 – the present horizon for cabinet-approved financial planning. Meanwhile, Germany is considering opening up its armed forces to non-German EU citizens to help address personnel challenges and competition for suitable talent from other sectors. In addition, the government decided to abandon a fixed upper ceiling for active personnel strength and replace it with a so-called `breathing’ body of personnel – in other words, a flexible personnel strength, dependent on demand.

The white paper states that multinational cooperation and integration with other European armed forces are core Bundeswehr principles. Within NATO, Germany will pursue these approaches through the `framework nations’ concept. Berlin was the principal sponsor of this concept and sees it as an important means for multinational capability development. The white paper also declared that improved harmonisation of force-planning processes among European NATO members was a policy goal. In the EU, Germany will seek to activate hitherto dormant features of the Lisbon Treaty, such as permanent structured cooperation on defence, which would enable a group of EU member states to pursue cooperation in this area. Furthermore, Germany has declared it will support the creation of a permanent civil-military operational headquarters within the Brussels-based security and defence structures. In the aftermath of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, opposition to such moves is likely to be more muted. But the most far-reaching ideas concerning Europe relate to defence-industrial matters. The white paper promotes standardised capability requirements for multinational programmes, which would in practice require an early design freeze and production arrangements based on industrial excellence rather than percentages of off-take (dividing production shares on the basis of the proportion of overall production that a customer buys); it also argues for harmonised arms-export policies among EU members. The result would be a Europeanisation of regional defence industry, with the potential to improve efficiency and also trigger consolidation.

Current government budget planning foresees a modest annual growth in the defence budget from 2016 out to 2020. Budget parameters are reviewed annually by the cabinet and rolling five-year budget plans are agreed on that basis. Available additional funding is likely to mostly benefit the army. Once agreed goals are implemented, for example to increase equipment levels for operational units from 70% to 100%, additional modernisation steps would require yet more funding. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has also announced the objective of increasing active force numbers. Given that the Bundeswehr is already struggling with recruitment and retention after conscription was suspended in 2011, the ministry is due to recommend recruitment goals with a seven-year time horizon and a shift towards a more flexible approach to generating the authorised personnel strength. The German armed forces are struggling to improve their readiness levels in light of increasing demands on NATO’s eastern flank. As several reports to parliament have outlined, the budget cuts of previous years have led to a shortage of spare parts and maintenance problems.

Bundeswehr army

After the end of the Cold War, significant changes took place in the European countries of NATO – they significantly reduced the number of army personnel. Thus, the British fell by about one third, the French – by almost half. But it turns out that this is not the limit.

The most significant reduction in ground forces occurred in Germany, where the army was reduced from 360 thousand in 1990 to 62 thousand by now.

Structurally, the Bundeswehr army consists of three varieties: ground forces, air force and naval forces. Separate components in 2000 were the combined support forces and the health care service.

German ground forces consist of four headquarters bases, which include multinational NATO corps from the so-called “rapid deployment forces”, five task forces with headquarters in other army corps (Greek, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, and French), five divisions and auxiliary parts and units in which there are:

Division of Special Operations Forces;

Two tank divisions;

Mechanized infantry division;

Airmobile division.

The modern military doctrine of the Bundeswehr attaches great importance to the contact form of an infantry battle.

Focus on peacekeeping

The general orientation of the German army is mainly focused on conducting peacekeeping missions as part of coalition forces, as well as on resolving local conflicts of low intensity. This is reflected in the founding document on German military construction. Thus, in the event of a military conflict near the borders of Germany or a declaration of martial law, the state is ready for war only with an virtually toothless adversary. Such a conclusion suggests itself, if we become familiar with the degree of combat, technical and rear support of the Bundeswehr.

German peacekeeping corps

The number of the German army in recent years is increasing, then significantly reduced. If we talk only about land units, then in 2017 there are almost eighty-five thousand military personnel, including those military personnel studying in military educational institutions. It should not be forgotten that back in 2011, the German government abolished compulsory military service. To date, it is only contract, it lasts from one year to twenty-three months.

German military operations abroad

Based on data in the open press, the German army military operations in the following regions:

Sudan (up to 10 servicemen);

Uzbekistan (up to 100 military personnel);

Bosnia and Herzegovina (up to 120 troops);

Lebanon (up to 128 soldiers);

Mali (up to 144 troops);

Somalia (up to 241 servicemen);

Kosovo (up to 763 servicemen);

Mediterranean region (up to 800 troops);

Afghanistan (up to 900 troops).

Sending soldiers abroad

In all these missions, the German armed forces are represented primarily by personnel from logistical support units. This state quite consciously does not take part in military missions abroad. This applies particularly to those regions where contact combat contact is not excluded, in which, according to Russian analysts, the German fighters look weaker.

Ground forces: weapons

In service with the land forces of the German state is:

The main battle tank – 1095;

Field artillery gun – 644;

MLRS and mortars;

Armored combat vehicle – 2563 (736 of them are armored personnel carriers);

Combat helicopter – 146.

Formally, this ground weaponry is all right, but in practice things are a little different. Military experts say that the overall state of affairs in the army is far from ideal. This also applies to the level of training of military personnel, and the provision of modern weapons. It seems that when declaring martial law in Germany, it is unlikely that its army, with its equipment and armaments, will be able to withstand more militarily powerful states. “Leopard” – the main tank

The main battle tank, adopted by the German army, was and remains the “Leopard”. By the beginning of 2015, armored units of the state had mastered the modification of the main battle tank Leopard 2, which numbers almost seven hundred units. The remaining old modifications of the Leopard-1 tank are gradually being written off as scrap metal, and are also used for training purposes at landfills. Tanks of the very first series, according to statistics from the state, there are less than two hundred, but they should have been written off in 2017.

The requirements of the modern battle can only meet the “Leopards-2A3”, which were produced in 1984-1985, as well as “Leopards-2A4”, produced from 1985-1987. However, as demonstrated by the test activities, these modifications of German tanks are distinguished by a low level of resilience. In this regard, back in the nineties, the German command adopted a program to improve these tanks.

The updated Leopards also received a new gun with a longer barrel. This significantly increased the firepower of the combat vehicle and significantly expanded the list of used ammunition. Significantly improved on-board electronics with a new information management system.

The German Army, which for a long time used morally and technically obsolete tanks, intended to upgrade to the seventh modification to one hundred and fifty cars, but so far these goals have not been achieved. True information about the exact number of advanced tanks received by the troops is not available.

Light armor

Of all the types of light armored vehicles of the German state, the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, adopted for service as far back as 1961, stood out in particular. Over the long term of operation, this BMP did not actually change, and it was only in 1979 that they decided to improve it. Marder was equipped with the Milan anti-tank missile launcher, installing it on the right side of the turret. Later, modified versions of A2 and A3 began to appear.

Thus, motor vehicles and wheeled armored personnel carriers remained the main means of ensuring the mobility of infantry and its fire cover. In addition, not all light army armored vehicles proved to be suitable for use. Of the little over a thousand German armored personnel carriers, only about eight hundred are technically capable of conducting combat operations.

German Army Aviation

In service with the air forces of Germany are:

Up to forty attack helicopters “Tigr”;

More than a hundred attack helicopters In-105;

Less than one hundred heavy military transport helicopters CH-53G;

Less than one hundred multipurpose UH-1D, 39 EC-135, as well as 77 NH-90.

The Air Force is controlled by the Central Command and the Operational Command from Cologne. The operational command covers three air divisions. It should be noted that there are no own training aviation units in Germany. Students are trained in the United States on the American material and technical base.

The basis of the strike force of the German Air Force are Typhoon fighter-bombers. Currently, the Air Force has about one hundred units in service. In addition, Tornado bombers (one hundred forty-four units on German bases) can be used for percussion functions of the latest modification. Air defense ground forces are represented by eighteen Patriot batteries.

German military transport aircraft has several A-319 and A-340. However, military experts note that this number of aircraft is not enough to solve the tasks that the state may face. This number of aircraft is not enough even to drop a single airborne unit (for example, brigades). This is also not enough to ensure a reliable supply of troops in conditions of active hostilities.

German naval forces remain very small. The German Navy can be called a conventional flotilla with four submarines, thirteen different types of frigates (although two more boats are being built). In addition, the German Navy has corvettes, missile boats, minesweepers, and naval aviation has eight anti-submarine aircraft.

Based on this information, we can say that the German army does not have the opportunity to conduct independent military operations and can only participate in the composition of the combined forces of NATO. The main strike force of NATO is the US Army, which often uses its allies only for “moral” support, and also for the distribution of responsibility for their crimes among all the countries belonging to NATO.

Delahaye Landship 1918

As early as 1918 Amadeus Varlet had proposed this articulated tracked vehicle which could be used as a breakthrough tank. This project was in itself the development of earlier research by automobiles Delahaye design bureau about articulated chassis to improve the terrain following abilities of a vehicle. Note in this respect that if the sketch only depicts two bodies linked together, the text of the project suggests that more than two bodies could be thus attached.

A few months later the final design appeared with a two-gun turret, one gun in the front module and machine guns for defense purpose. The turret guns were fixed to the turret frame and aiming was done by rotating the turret itself. The turret could be pointed from minus 2 degrees to plus 60 degrees and traversed on 360 degrees therefore according to the designer, not only tank to tank but also tank to airplane combat was possible. This was then a French Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz which was offered more than 25 years before the German version. In 1918 trench warfare was still very much a concern, hence a gadget was provided where the center of gravity of the machine can be moved rearward to help crossing a trench by moving back the turret along the frame!

1937 project.

This project is actually taken over directly from a 1918 design!

Amédée Varlet (chief designer of Delahaye) response to a 1936 call for proposal for a heavy tank.

These were the specified features:

Max length: 9 m

Max width: 2,94 m

Max height: 2,70 m

Weapons: 47mm gun in a revolving turret and a 75mm gun in a fixed position.

Turkey and Greece 1918-22

The WWI victors meant now to divide up the Ottoman Empire: Italians in the south-west, British in Iraq, Palestine and the Constantinople region, the French all over Syria and the south-east. There were proxies. Armenians now dreamed of a Greater Armenia, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and they claimed some American support. There was a further possibility: Kurdestan. Of course the Powers quarrelled among themselves, and the British decided to use the Greeks, whose prime minister, the nationalist Venizelos, was greatly admired and trusted by Lloyd George especially. In mid-May 1919 they were encouraged to occupy partly Greek Smyrna and their troops spread out over that area, expelling the Turks and behaving sometimes with much cruelty (one of their army commanders, Prince Andrew, father of the Duke of Edinburgh, said that he had not believed any human beings could behave in this way, let alone Greeks).

Meanwhile, the Sultan, now Mehmet VI Vahdettin (r. 1918–22), and his cronies were defeatist. The Ottomans had after all tried everything – Tanzimat secularization, a constitution, co-operation over the Debt, Islamic reaction, revolution of a sort, alliance with Britain, alliance with Germany: nothing had worked. The Sultan saw a future only as Caliph, Muslim figurehead for the entire world, including, of course, British India, where he thought he still held some trumps. In other words, he would become a sort of Aga Khan (head of a civilized variant of Islam and also very rich). His men signed the Treaty of Sèvres, in 1920, which carved up the empire and left him with a small state in central Anatolia, the capital of which might even have been Ankara. It was a humiliating treaty, designed to bring civilization to the Turks, who undertook to grease the brakes on locomotives and not to sell dirty postcards. In the Smyrna region, a governor was moved in, Aristidis Stergiadis, who, as a Cretan, was supposed to understand Muslims and who had been the first Greek governor of occupied Salonica. His ways were in fact mild, mild enough to enrage the local Greek nationalists. The Greeks even set up a university of the eastern Mediterranean, meant to re-Hellenize the local Muslims. Meanwhile, the Armenians occupied Kars, and drove towards Trebizond and Erzurum; their megalomania was such that their first action after the armistice was to attack Georgia, on the grounds that Batum, a considerable port, really belonged to them.

All of this brought a Muslim reaction – we can fairly call it ‘Turkish’, but at the time ordinary locals, especially in the east, would have defined themselves by religion. A leader of genius now emerged, Mustafa Kemal, whom the world knows from his later, adopted, name, as Atatürk, or ‘Father of the Turks’. He had been a very successful general, at Gallipoli and elsewhere, and he played a careful game, initially getting approval from the Sultan (who maybe suspected what he was really about) and then departing on a pretext and on a Clyde-built steamer to Samsun, on the Black Sea, on 19 May 1919. Travelling along the dusty roads in an abandoned German staff car (which frequently broke down) he rallied support. The Armenians, who had been massacring quite diligently on their own account, caused the Muslims, including Kurds, to unite as they might never otherwise have done, and Mustafa Kemal had the charisma and the cunning to become their leader. Then he challenged the Sultan’s government. By chance he hit upon Ankara as his base, because it was on a railway line and because it had a telegraph office, which he used to great effect. Soon, Mustafa Kemal was collecting adherents from occupied Constantinople, and a ‘Grand National Assembly’ met in April 1920 in the clubhouse of the Young Turks. It was no rubber stamp; running it was difficult, and great concessions had to be made (such as a prohibition on alcohol and religious provisions for women’s dress). However, there was in existence an army, which had retreated from the Caucasus, and though the French in the south-east, with an Armenian legion in tow, and the Greeks in the west advanced, there was gathering resistance to them.

In 1920 a new factor entered the calculations. In Russia the Bolsheviks had won the civil war, but they greatly feared an Allied intervention, and they needed support. They had come to understand that, under the banner of anti-imperialism, they could recruit Muslims; and after some experimentation with Enver, they somehow guessed that Mustafa Kemal would be their man. Messages went between Ankara and Moscow, followed by envoys, and a deal was done. In 1920 Soviet gold and arms came over the Black Sea, and the first effect was felt on the eastern front, where the Armenians collapsed. Then the nationalists sent support to the south-eastern front, where the French soon came to terms, and also did a deal over the Syrian border. By 1921, the Turks had enough strength to resist the Greeks who, sure of British support, advanced wildly towards Ankara. At a great battle on the Sakarya river, in August–September, they were stopped, and it was a victory that ran round the world, especially the Muslim world: telegrams of congratulation came from all sides.

Mustafa Kemal then showed his qualities in another way: he knew when to stop. He did not want to provoke British intervention, and refrained, for a year, from attacking; instead (and this needed management) he built up his domestic position in Ankara, which was acquiring the rudiments of a capital (the French embassy was the railway buffet). Then in August 1922 he attacked, and this time it was the Greeks’ turn to collapse. Their army broke (even the high command was captured) and on 9 September the Turks entered Smyrna (which subsequently became İzmir). The Greeks, retreating, had set fire to various places, and there were, in the great bay, some thirty Allied warships. Smyrna contained about 300,000 Greeks and other Christians, and the Turkish general, Nurettin, in any event an embittered, not to say maddened, man who had lost his sons in this war, probably decided to prevent any reconquest. The non-Muslim (and non-Jewish: on the whole the Jews had taken the nationalist side) part of the city was burned, in a fire that lasted for five days, while hundreds of thousands of refugees clustered on the coastal road and the harbour, waiting for help that diplomatic niceties did not allow for all of that time. It is an episode that has entered the world’s subconscious. At any rate, the nationalists had won. Mustafa Kemal entered the city, and found that, on the steps of the government house, a Greek flag had been draped for him to walk over. He would not: chivalry meant that he had to respect a flag for which men had died.

In the event, his forces moved on Constantinople, and there encountered a British cordon. Lloyd George was adamant that the Turks could not be allowed to win, and sent a telegram to the local commander, ordering him to fight. The commander, ‘Tim’ Harington, was a man of great common sense and humanity; in any case the British army had come to respect the Turks and, as it turned out, some of the survivors of Kut-el-Amara even spent their summer holidays, years later, with their old guards. Harington kept the telegram in his pocket and pretended that it had not arrived. Then he negotiated sensibly with the Turks, agreeing to let them into what is now Turkey-in-Europe, and, in November, into Constantinople. The Sultan, fearing the worst, was smuggled onto a British warship and taken, with his five wives, to Malta (where he was presented with a bill). In 1923, a peace treaty followed, at Lausanne, and it established Turkey’s present-day borders, although these were extended, in 1939, when the French handed back the area of Antakya, the old Antioch, which had originally been assigned to their Syrian colony. Then, in 1923 and 1924, came the crowning and dismal consequence of all of this. Hatred between Turks and Greeks had of course grown and grown, and co-existence was hardly possible. An exchange of populations followed: about half a million Muslims, some of them Greek-speaking, from Greece, and about a million Greeks, many Turkish-speaking, from Anatolia. Misery followed, and both countries were set back a generation, although in Constantinople itself about a quarter of a million Greeks were permitted to go on residing with their Patriarch in the old Fener district. But by now a separate and national Turkish state had been established, and Mustafa Kemal proclaimed it a republic on 29 October 1923.


Greece finally entered World War I, in its very last phase, on the side of the Entente. Greece’s territorial gains this time proved to be short-term. After the Treaty of Sèvres (1920) Greece took over the administration of the Smyrna region in Asia Minor, a former Ottoman land. Despite Venizelos’s diplomatic triumph in the elections of 1920 he was defeated by the royalists, who took advantage of the war weariness of the population, and Constantine returned to the country. Greece sent troops to Asia Minor to defend its territorial gains against the rising tide of Turkish nationalism led by Mustafa Kemal. The Greek military campaign against the Turkish troops failed, and the Turkish counteroffensive resulted in the defeat of the Greek army and the expulsion of the entire Greek populations from Asia Minor in 1922.

After WORLD WAR I, the Allied Powers supported Greek occupation of Smyrna, which had been part of the German- allied Ottoman Empire. In the meantime, Mustafa Kemal (1881–1938) (later renowned as Kemal Atatûrk) successfully led a revolution against the government of Sultan Muhammad VI (r. 1918–22) and set up a new provisional republican Turkish government at Ankara in 1920. For their part, the Greeks wanted to expand what the post–World War I Treaty of Sèvres had given them, Smyrna, to include Thrace and as much of Anatolia as they could manage to acquire. On June 22, 1920, the Greek army under Alexander I (1893–1920) began its advance inland, taking Alasehir on June 24. The advance paused here while Greeks and Turks negotiated at Constantinople (later Istanbul). Muhammad VI had agreed to certain concessions, which Kemal now refused to honor. The negotiations broke down, and the Greek offensive resumed on March 23, 1921.

At Inönü 150 miles west of Ankara, a Turkish force under Ismet Pasha (1884–1973) retarded the advance of 37,000 Greek troops. By August 24, 1921, however the Greeks had reached the Sakarya River, 70 miles outside Ankara, where they would fight the decisive battle of the war. The battle commenced on August 24, 1921, and pitted 50,000 Greeks against 44,000 Turks, who were subsequently reinforced by an additional 8,000. Although the Greeks initially succeeded in driving back the Turkish center, on September 10, Kemal led a small reserve force in an attack on the Greek left flank. Fearing envelopment, the Greeks disengaged and withdrew to Smyrna, having lost 3,897 killed and 19,000 wounded. An additional 15,000 had been captured or were missing in action. Turkish losses were 3,700 killed, 18,000 wounded, and 1,000 missing or taken prisoner.

Following their victory at the Sakarya, the Turks intensified their counteroffensive, beginning on August 18, 1922, laying siege to Smyrna. It fell to the Turks on September 9, and the Greek forces were expelled from the island.

The flight of about 1.3 million Greeks from Turkey was later ratified by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), which also provided for the transfer of 380,000 Muslims to Turkey in the framework of the forced exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. The defeat in Asia Minor caused a major political crisis. A Revolutionary Committee of officers forced Constantine to leave the country for a second time and a Commission of Inquiry put the blame for the Asia Minor debacle on leading royalist ministers and officers: six of them were sentenced to death and executed. Constantine abdicated and retired to Sicily, where he died soon after. After a plebiscite in April 1924 the monarchy was abolished and Greece was proclaimed a republic.

Further reading: Marjorie Housepian Dobkin, Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City (New York: New Mark Press, 1999).