The letter of Minister Christine Lambrecht, obtained by the “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”, was sent in reaction to public declarations by the Polish side that it was not satisfied with the plan offered by Germany to replenish the equipment. 200 T-72 tanks to Ukraine.
The document states that the Germans have tried all options to help Poland and that due to the deficiencies of the German army, it is impossible to replenish the equipment from the stocks of the Bundeswehr. Instead, they offered Poland a joint purchase of 2 tanks in a modern version of the Leopard. This will happen later than the delivery of used machines, but Poland will be given priority in the delivery of new versions of tanks. The German minister stressed his desire to maintain friendly relations with Poland and thanked Ukraine for its quick support with Polish tanks.
In an earlier interview with the weekly magazine “Sieci”, Minister Błaszczak said that the Germans have delivered Poland 20 Leopard 2A4 tanks, the first of which will be delivered next year. CDU German MP Roedrich Kiesewetter made the same point. At least 44 machines of this type – which he expects to be able to equip an incomplete battalion – are already in use in the army.
If the information provided by “SZ” is confirmed, it is unlikely that Leopard 2s – even in the old version – will be supplied in sufficient numbers. These tanks can be converted into self-propelled Leguan bridges or sapper tanks. Since 2017, the process of restoring and modernizing the previously withdrawn Leopard 2A4s, comprising 68 vehicles, is underway, with the Ministry of Defense acquiring 32 chassis for special systems in the same year. 68 out of a total of 328 tanks. The tanks returned to service and were upgraded to the 2A7 version under the 2017 contract.
However, the UN Conventional Arms Register shows that Germany had more than 600 Panther 2 tanks at the end of 2021, and this number includes decommissioned vehicles and those in industrial stocks. At least a few years. Leopard 2A5 / A6 / A7. In recent years, the KMW concern has delivered 12 Leopard 2A4s to Hungary (2020), 15 tanks of this type are to be transferred to the Czech Republic as part of an equipment transfer, and the same number to Slovakia.
However, if Germany can’t hand over about 50 Leopard 2A4 tanks to Poland, assuming all support options are actually tested – that would mean (probably) an inventory of industrially held tanks spare parts. for users outside Germany) and are not completely complete. So these cars may be the basis for modernization or special vehicles, but it is not possible to restore them to service at the existing standard.
According to “SZ” reports, Poland was given 100 Cheetah 1A5 tanks or Mortar infantry fighting vehicles, the former being older vehicles with 105 mm guns from industrial stocks. In 2003 the Bundeswehr withdrew the last Leopard 1s. The first tanks of this type entered. Entering service in the 1960s would have been completely irrational, and adding them to the Polish Army with a new range of tank ammunition, would have been completely irrational.
Information provided by “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” indirectly confirms why there is no “exchange” of equipment with Slovakia and Slovenia, although both countries are politically close to Germany (they are members of the Eurozone). The Slovak Ministry of Defense was to receive only 15 tanks from Germany, and 30 T-72s that would be delivered to Kiev. So the obstacle is not lack of will, but lack of tanks in the right position?
However, the plan to hand over the Marder IFV is somewhat interesting. Germany has already agreed with Greece to transfer some of them to ex-GDR BMP-1, which will then be transferred to Ukraine. The Marders may be of interest to Poland’s neighbors, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which are waiting for the newly ordered CV-90. If they are used as a temporary solution, the BMP-1 cannot be delivered to Ukraine, but the more modern BMP-2 (BVP-2) that is in service with these two countries.
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