Huge embarrassment as defenceless German military concedes defeat in a leaked email

Graham Charles Lear
3 min readDec 20, 2022

Germany: Unflyable jets, unfireable guns, unavailable ammo & now undrivable tanks

For 7 years it was the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen who presided over this broken battlefield

The misery for Germany’s military — and for the EU’s military ambitions — simply doesn’t stop. At the weekend it was revealed that the most expensive infantry fighting tank made, the new German PUMA is more of a moggy than a puma. Preparing for an important NATO exercise every one of the 19 tanks broke down.

The damning nature of the revelations in leaked emails from German generals was so bad that yesterday the German Defence Minister was forced once again to make a statement to the German parliament.

“The recent failures of the PUMA infantry fighting vehicle are a major setback…. There will be no 2nd lot until the vehicle proves to be stable. Parliament’s criticism is entirely justified. Our troops must be able to rely on weapon systems being robust and stable in combat.”

  • Christine Lambrecht, German Defence Minister, statement to Bundestag, Mon 19 Dec 2022

The German-made Schützenpanzer PUMA tank

Production of a batch of 350 vehicles began in 2010. They are manufactured by two major German defence contractors working as a consortium.

At €16m per pop, these tanks are certainly not cheap. Unfortunately, it seems that going ‘pop’ is about all they are capable of. What makes matters worse is that they don’t just have one failing. It seems there are multiple issues, up to and including an electrical fire which forced an emergency evacuation of that vehicle.

The German army has been forced to continue using a 1970s-era tank called the Marder. Technology has moved on so far in the last 50 years that a replacement was called for, hence the PUMA. All production of these new tanks is now on hold.

EU Commission President von der Leyen supervised the production of 350 of these undrivable tanks as Defence Minister

The EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spent nearly seven years as German Defence Minister, from 2013 to 2019. Her tenure took her through the continued development and production of hundreds of these unusable vehicles.

So bad was her reputation in Germany that it may have been a relief to many when ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel parachuted her into Brussels, to be shoe-horned into the role of Commission President as the only candidate.

Von der Leyen’s appointment had to be ratified by the EU Parliament. Despite being the sole candidate, she only scraped through by eight votes.

I have previously reported on the apparently dire situation in the EU’s biggest country with the biggest economy. From jets and helicopters that won’t fly to rifles that won’t fire, to a critical shortage of ammunition, we now have tanks that won’t roll.

It’s no wonder the EU has been so keen to sign up Brexit Britain to its Common Defence Policy….

Sources: German Ministry of Defence | German media | EU Commission



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.