How a united Germany squandered its military power


The arsenals of the GDR And the FRG were at one time very richDuring the Cold War, Soviet propaganda constantly accused the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) of revanchism, attributing to it the desire to "recoup" for the defeat of the Nazi Third Reich and regain lost lands in the east.

At the same time, Moscow diligently cultivated "its Germany" (the German Democratic Republic, GDR), which was unofficially considered almost the only truly reliable ally of the Soviet Union among the Warsaw Pact countries.

In each of the military blocs that opposed each other in Europe, "its own" Germany was, on the one hand, under the control of "senior comrades", on the other – at the forefront of the confrontation.

Accordingly, large groups of foreign troops were located on their territories: the Soviet GSVG (Group of Soviet Troops in Germany, later the Western Group of Troops) in the GDR – and two army groups and two NATO aviation commands in Germany.

The NATO grouping in Germany included contingents of the ground forces and the Air Forces of the United States, Great Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Canada. At the same time, of course, the National People's Army (NPA) themselves were very well "pumped up" GDR and Bundeswehr.

"OUR GERMANS"The military industry of the GDR specialized mainly in various devices and electronics.

Its only branch that produced weapons proper was shipbuilding. Its products were partially equipped with the Navy of the GDR itself (corvettes / small anti-submarine ships (MPCs), minesweepers, medium and small amphibious ships). Auxiliary vessels were also built in the GDR, and then 12 MPK pr. 1331 for the USSR Navy (about half of them are still part of the Russian Navy).

Equipment for the land forces and Air Forces of the GDR came from the Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (Czechoslovakia). At first, the NNA received hundreds of T-34–85 tanks, BTR-152 and BTR-40 armored personnel carriers, Il-28 bombers, MiG-15, MiG-17 and MiG-19 fighters. Then more modern equipment went to the front line of the confrontation with NATO.

The GDR ground forces received more than 70 launchers (PU) of tactical missiles (TR) "Luna" and operational-tactical missiles (OTR) R-17, four PU TR "Tochka" and eight PU OTR-23 before the country ceased to exist.

As well as 2.3 thousand T-54/55 and 551 T-72 tanks, about 1.2 thousand infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), more than 3.5 thousand. BTR-60/70 and multi-purpose light armored tractors MTLB.

As well as about 500 self-propelled artillery units (ACS) 2S1 and 2S3, more than 1.2 thousand towed guns.

As well as more than 300 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), four batteries of S-200 anti-aircraft missile systems, up to 80 divisions of S-75, S-125, Krug and Kvadrat anti-aircraft missile systems, about 200 Osa, Strela-1 anti-aircraft missile systems"and Strela-10, hundreds of different anti-tank missile systems (ATGMs) and man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS), about 300 anti-aircraft self-propelled guns (ZSU).

The East German Air Force acquired about 60 Su-22 attack aircraft, more than 500 MiG-21 fighters of several modifications, more than 70 bombers and MiG-23 fighter-bombers of several modifications, 24 MiG-29 fighters, more than 50 Mi-24 attack helicopters, more than 100 training aircraft, several hundred transport and multi-purpose aircraft and helicopters.

The East German Navy received three patrol ships 1159 Ave., 20 missile boats (15 205 ave., five 1241 ave.).

At the same time, the export of weapons from the GDR itself was extremely limited. In addition to the above-mentioned deliveries of small anti-submarine ships and auxiliary vessels to the USSR, it was reduced to the supply of a certain amount of obsolete equipment to developing countries of the "socialist orientation". The Armed Forces of Ethiopia, Mozambique and Iraq received the most of such equipment (mainly tanks).

"ENEMY GERMANS"At the first stage of its existence and membership in NATO, Germany was completely dependent on arms imports – first of all, of course, from the United States, but also from Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Switzerland.

In particular, the Bundeswehr received almost 1.5 thousand American M48 tanks, 4.8 thousand. M113 armored personnel carrier in several variants, more than 600 M109 self-propelled guns. And later, one and a half hundred MLRS M270 MLRS, up to 40 batteries of the Advanced Hawk air defense system, and then the same number of Patriots.

The Luftwaffe received 72 PU American OTR Pershing-1A, more than 450 Italian G-91 attack aircraft, up to 400 American F-86 Sabre fighters, and then over 900 F-104 Starfighter, some of which were assembled in Germany itself.

It was here that the F-104 earned the disreputable nickname "flying coffin" because of the huge number of disasters of this aircraft (their cause was very poor aerodynamics). There was even a joke that if you want to have your own Starfighter, just buy a small plot of land and soon the fighter will definitely fall on it.

In addition, the German Air Force received about 300 fighter-bombers and F-4 "Phantom" reconnaissance aircraft. British, French and Italian multi-purpose helicopters were also purchased.

The German Navy received American destroyers of the Fletcher type, and then the Charles Adams type (under the German name Lutyens), 20 French missile boats of the Combatant-2 type (under the German name 148 Tiger Ave.), a number of other corvettes, boats and minesweepers.

Gradually, however, the FRG began to produce more and more weapons for its Armed Forces itself.

Accordingly, its military imports have significantly decreased. But exports began to grow very quickly.

MADE IN GERMANYThe country has achieved the greatest success in the production of armored vehicles.

In 1965, serial production of the Leopard-1 tank began, the Bundeswehr received 2,437 such vehicles, and almost as many were exported for several NATO countries (including Canada), as well as for the Australian army. This tank was not a masterpiece and almost did not participate in the battles, but it became a significant milestone in the development of European tank building, at least because of its mass character.

Another milestone turned out to be the Marder BMP, which was produced since 1969 in the amount of 2,136 vehicles (at that time – only for the Bundeswehr). It was the first Western infantry fighting vehicle and the second infantry fighting vehicle in the world after the Soviet BMP-1.

The "hybrid" of the Leopard-1 and the Marder was the tank THERE (the chassis of the Marder, the Leopard tower), which is still in service with the Argentine army. In addition, hundreds of wheeled armored personnel carriers UR-416, Fuchs, Condor, TM-170 were produced both for the Bundeswehr and for export.

At the same time, the main product of German tank builders, of course, was the Leopard-2, the production of which began in 1979. It turned out to be the only truly massive European tank of the 3rd generation - unlike the "small–town" British Challenger and French Leclerc, not to mention the Italian Ariet, created on the basis of the same Leopard-2.

Initially, Germany produced 2125 Leopards-2 for the Bundeswehr and 445 for the Dutch army. 380 Leopards-2s were ordered for the Swiss army, 35 of them were delivered from Germany, the rest were made in Switzerland itself under the name Pz-87.

On the basis of "Leopard-1" was also created ZSU "Cheetah", on the basis of both "Leopards" – various engineering machines (all this – both for the Bundeswehr and for export).

Also, the West German shipbuilding has achieved very significant success. The aforementioned American destroyers and French missile boats became the last foreign-built combat units in the German Navy. Since the 1970s, the country has switched to full "self-service" in this regard.

For its own fleet, submarines (submarines) pr. 205 and 206, destroyers of the Hamburg type, frigates of the Cologne and Bremen types, missile boats of the Albatross and Cheetah types were built. For export in large quantities to all continents were PL. 205, 207, 209, frigates of the MEKO series, corvettes of the MGB-62 type, missile and patrol boats of the TNC-45, FRB-38/45/57 types. However, Germany produced only torpedoes from the ship's armament, and missiles and artillery were purchased in the USA, France and Italy.

The submarine ave. 209/1200 "San Luis" of the Argentine Navy took an active part in the Falklands War (" War for the Islands ", "HBO", 04/19/19), attacked British ships several times, but did not achieve any success (although the British did not catch up with it).

A separate important article of the German military production was the production of engines for armored vehicles and ships – both German-made and foreign projects. Moreover, the main consumer of German engines is still China, which produces them under license. From the mid-1960s to the present day, China has produced at least 6 thousand German engines for tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled guns, at least 100 engines for submarines and destroyers. Moreover, Western sanctions imposed in 1989 against China do not interfere with these supplies, since formally engines are not weapons.

Germany has achieved much less success in the production and export of aviation and rocket technology. For the Bundeswehr, the Luftwaffe and for export were produced ATGMS "Milan" and "Hot", SAM "Roland", light transport and patrol aircraft Do-27/28/128/228, multi-purpose helicopters Vo-105.

Germany failed to create its own combat aircraft, only jointly with Great Britain and Italy produced the Tornado bomber (except for the air Forces of these countries themselves, it entered service only in the Saudi Arabian Air Force).

FAREWELL TO THE GDRAfter the absorption of the GDR, the new Armed Forces of the united Germany formally achieved enormous military power: 7 thousand tanks, almost 9 thousand.

IFVs and armored personnel carriers, 4.6 thousand artillery systems, more than 1 thousand combat aircraft. At the same time, Germany demonstrated a unique pace of eliminating this power by recycling it and selling it "in all azimuths", which automatically closed the idea of revenge.

Almost all the equipment of the NNA of the GDR was immediately put up for sale by Berlin. Only MiG-29 fighters flew as part of the Luftwaffe for more than 10 years, then the Polish Air Force became their owners. For some time, individual ships and boats of the GDR Navy stayed in the Bundesmarine, but gradually sold them out, the main buyer in this case was the Indonesian Navy.

The Finnish Armed Forces became a major acquirer of NNA equipment, which received 97 T-72 tanks, 140 BMP-1, 72 self-propelled guns 2S1, almost 400 towed guns D-30 and M-46, 36 MLRS RM-70. More than a thousand BMP-1 and MTLB were bought by Sweden.

A number of Western countries acquired the equipment of the former GDR for familiarization with it, and not for adoption. Of course, the record holder was the USA, which received 86 T-72, 21 BMP-1 and 15 BMP-2, 10 armored personnel carriers and 17 MTLB, 11 2S1 and nine 2S3, one D-30 gun and two D-20, two RM-70 MLRS and four BM-21 combat vehicles. Five T-72s went to Sweden for the same purpose, eight T–72s went to Canada, one T-72, T–55, BMP-1, BTR-70, two 2S1S went to Belgium.

At the same time, the fate of part of the NNA equipment is still unclear, it is not among the sold or disposed of. This is one and a half hundred T-72, more than 700 BTR-70, 86 ACS 2S3.

At the same time, the equipment of the Armed Forces of Germany was sold out no less actively. Along with the United States, the country has become the main "donor" in the framework of the transfer of weapons of the ground forces and the Air Force from the "central" NATO member countries to the "peripheral" countries of the bloc in order to withdraw it from the restrictions of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). But this is a separate topic.

Alexander KhramchikhinAlexander Anatolyevich Khramchikhin is an independent military expert.

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