2012/03/20

Unfashionable thoughts on military vehicles

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Mine-resistant armoured vehicles are the craze du jour or "de la décennie"). I'm not much impressed by fashions, so my thoughts kept wandering and looked at military vehicles from other angles.

First off, imagine this; infantry occupies defensive positions in a region with lots of scattered settlements and woods. It's not motorised with MRAPs, APCs or classic 2-4 ton trucks; instead, it's motorised with more SUV-like vehicles and marches in groups of up to six (wo?)men per vehicle.
The advantage would be that such vehicles could be easily hidden (and ten thousands of such 4wd vehicles could be sourced quickly from the civilians).
Easily hidden - as simply parked in a car garage. Here is a data sheet and drawing of a typical Central European single car garage. The size is enough for a medium SUV, not enough for any real lorry.
It's also much easier to hide such a vehicle with netting than to hide a huge "light" truck such as an incredibly high Unimog.

Vehicles of an entire company could easily be hidden in most villages IF the vehicles would fit in such garages. The advantage would be that almost no reconnaissance effort that falls short of opening these garages or providing long-time surveillance would suffice to detect the occupation of the village (assuming that the civilians fled or were evacuated). An armoured reconnaissance team could drive through multiple such villages without detecting anything (but it would risk to get caught in an effective ambush inside the village). Armoured recce would be slowed down to a crawl if it decided to inspect the many, many garages (and few armoured recce vehicles are prepared for the very frequent dismounting/return of a scout!).
The most significant drawbacks would be
* inability to meet the fashionable extreme protection standards because of the small size (mil spec vehicles of this size can easily be made bulletproof, though)
* long march columns (per vehicle = vehicle length + 50-100 m spacing, this yields a column of up to two kilometres per company)
The former means it's a concept for great wars (the vehicles mobilization advantage points to this as well) and the latter means that it's only good for units that are meant to operate in low force density missions.

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The other extreme would be to focus A LOT on short column in order to make brigades or Kampfgruppen / combat teams / battlegroups more agile in regard to road marches. The more vehicles, the more unwieldy such formations become.

The minimisation of vehicle count requires the intense use of high capacity vehicles; heavy trucks. Imagine two medium trucks or a light and a medium truck, each with some logistic special purpose. 
Now imagine a heavy truck is built to combine both purposes. A radio tech truck or workshop truck would have some additional cargo capacity and that's being used for a water or fuel tank, for spare tires, for a generator instead of a generator trailer or maybe the storage of some camp stuff. The fleet of light and medium trucks would be replaced by heavies if possible anyhow.
This would save some personnel (or allow for more than one man in a truck cabin in practice), would reduce the vehicle quantity and thus the march column length a lot and it would lead to both the advantages and disadvantages of diversification. Supply officers would hate the distribution of the liquids, but then again they would probably not be asked so often for a fuel truck because many drivers would occasionally grab some diesel on their own when they meet a truck with a 1000 L diesel tank.


(Link to a youtube video about a Panzergrenadierbrigade / mechanised infantry brigade 570 km road march of a thousand vehicles + tracked vehicles on rail during the Cold War. Part 2 and part 3).

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It's remarkable that neither extreme is in widespread use, not even remotely. Instead, we have the supposed 'golden middle' that yields both difficulties in regard to hiding vehicles AND unwieldy march columns (neither is really felt in peacetime training, for there are few settlements in training areas and brigade-level marches are largely reduced to pen and paper or even PC simulations nowadays).
The current mix also poses logistical problems because of the great variety of vehicles (spare parts, especially tires) in use. The mix furthermore limits the entire march column to the performance of the worst vehicle (practical speed, practical off-road mobility), a problem caused by convoys of all sorts in general.


How dare I to suggest there's more than protection rating to military vehicles? Did even write about it! 
I'm a Cold War dinosaur, apparently. :(

S Ortmann
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60 comments:

  1. For the German language challenged among us, could you give a brief overview of the youtube videos?

    Tom

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  2. Interesting analysis about low force density.
    It already happens.

    The militias which stopped and blocked NATO troops in Irak and Afghanistan are exactely those described by you.

    It works, that is pretty much obvious. Just that you need a very young population which can absorbe a lot of pain. And of course a lot of young males to lose, which is a natural characteristics of a very young population.

    Median age in Afghanistan is 18. In Iraq is 20.
    It really works.
    Germany is 44. Ethnic germans probably a few years older, closer to 50.
    For Germany or any other european country surrender , complete one , is a must in case foreign armies manage to penetrate the frontier with heavy equipments.
    Of course in the nuclear age it's no longer the case in our area.
    But Western European peoples don't have the human resources and the ability to absorbe pain and punishment.
    As a theoretical exercise is great anyway and practice proved it right.
    Just that cars, garages - items, equipment, stuff - are not important. Boys are.
    Have many boys ? It works.
    Don't have the above mentioned boys? Well it does not work. Don't even think about it.

    I wrote about this because it is the only issue where I consider there is something to add to your logical and rational analysis. The intention was not to argue or criticise, just to add another angle - an important one in my opinion - to your view.

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  3. The videos are about a planned march from the barracks to the exercise area 570 km away about 40 years ago. The TV report shows the planning and logistical effort involved in such a large movement and the almost accident-free execution.
    Such road marches and large-scale exercises have become rare nowadays (and the tone of the report would be different since the 80's as well).
    The real art in such marches is to do them without the huge planning effort on short notice, based on experience instead.

    @teo; we're thinking of a different kind of employment. I'm A LOT into the importance of hiding 99.9% of the time, and even during combat.
    Besides; the actual militia infantry losses in Iraq and Afghanistan combined were in the low ten thousands and thus manageable even for a single German state. You don't need so many troops if you are prepared for employment in low force densities. That's why I'm interested in such modes; they fits into our times.

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  4. "Mine-resistant armoured vehicles are the craze du jour "

    Well, yes and no.

    Your arguement is fairly sound, for fighting in poland or germany.
    Its utterly bonkers for the current Afghanistan war though.
    Big High Trucks are used because anything else is a death trap.

    We tried to drive around Iraq and Afghanistan in land rovers. It was a bloodier proposition than bayonet charging trenches in falklands....

    If the enemy can repeatedly mine your supply routes, its MRAPs or body bags.

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  5. Numbers you mentioned are right.
    Only problem is the social model does not hold.
    It does not mean there are no boys.
    It means society can not do it.
    A young 300 mil inhabitants Germany could do it.

    What I am mainly making reference to are the demographic theories of conflict and social evolution.
    It's a little bit more complex subject then simple arithmetics.
    And it can predict a lot of developments with great accuracy.
    Like the explosions in Egypt, Syria, Lybia, Nigeria, etc.
    We know that Pakistan and India will have very very big problems.
    We now understand why latin american societies blew up in the 60-80s period and why they settled afterwards. Why Eastern European conflicts settled down very fast and with minimum damage.
    India is already in a low intesity civil war - civil wars in fact. We europeans would have solved those demographic problems long time ago. We would have burned the region to the ground at a much lower social overshoot.
    But that is another issue.

    You can read Gunnar Heinsohn in original. He brought the subject to mainstream. I find him extremely interesting.

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  6. Off topic.

    You mentioned some time ago an excess of capital in Germany which generated a need for immigrants.
    And I kept thinking about that.
    Maybe even that excedent was from the 90s on fake.
    Germany moved from small current account deficits to massive "excedents " with the adoption if euro.
    And small current account deficits in southern and eastern europe turned massive.
    German industry got political and financial control on captive markets and floded them them this industrial products. Local manufacturing was of course crushed and all.
    But hmmmm by doing this S&E Europe turned insolvent.

    It kept bugging me because I saw with my own eyes how Germany turned poorer year by year and yet accountacy numbers looked great. Something was rotten in Baden Wurtenberg. That was obvious for some time to me, but until Krugman wrote about it I couldn't be sure what.
    German industry worked on credit - a sort of the production on stock from the 90s in the former communist east. They destroyed value instead of creating.
    The small current account deficits from the 90s were not closed. Just produced and sold on credit to increasingly insolvent commercial partners. Something like producting on stock and reporting great increases and a golden future.

    So corporate balance sheets look great. Just like any socialist enterprise. But society as a whole is close to economic collapse.

    Here is a link to this:
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/wishful-thinking-and-the-road-to-eurogeddon/

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  7. Something you don't take into account is that a society changes when it transitions to war.

    I've experienced many normal boys turning into soldiers during basic; enduring what they'd never have endured under normal circumstances. For starters, living conditions were worse than in a prison. 36 hrs exercises. Marches with heavy equipment, even runs with 20 kg of kit few weeks after entry into the Bundeswehr. Running training in heavy and cold rain.

    These boys changed entirely within days, and a society would change to a huge degree when it's in an actual war of necessity, too.


    About Germany; we're experiencing relatively subtle and slow structural changes in comparison to what happens in some other OECD places. At least our national capital stock is growing, not shrinking - and our trade balance doesn't tell us that we're living beyond our means. So it's basically a matter of distribution ad how to organise the country. We might manage to improve on this points, there'll just nothing happen as long as we have an administering instead of reforming federal cabinet.

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    Replies
    1. You can't make someone who grew up in an moderate climate and in an urban environment even move properly in the wild open during winter time. Those are cultural traditions and physiological adaptations, which out-pass the best of training. Germans *never* learned how to move and fight during wintertime. Nowadays people who grew up in the city don't have even the ability to move around in a forest for longer periods of time. And since above 95% of the population in Germany is urban... Well you should be able to draw your own conclusions.

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  8. I agree with TrT, it depens what kind of warfare you're envisoning.

    If you're talking about low-intensity warfare like what it happening in the USA between gangs and a public force that is constantly getting fewer ressources, then your idea of comandeering SUVs is already taking place. As a matter of fact, they're seized from the enemy (even Pimpmobiles etc.)

    In a limited war, like Yugoslavia in the 90's, civilian vehicles like argicultural tractors were commandeered as artillery tractors, or tracting trailers full of soldiers, equipment. Civilian individual cars were used as liaison vehicles.

    To comandeer SUVs in Western Europe would IMHO be impractical : too many different models, vehicles too heavy and too greedy on fuel (+ different fuel types), a growing impossibility to maintain/repair them on a « treeshade mechanic » base, and relative fragility of parts (plastics) and electronics. They would be close to « disposable » vehicles, as an emergency / stopgap measure, something that would happen in a « Eastern III. Reich Spring of 1945 » situation.

    In a procurement perspective, there is IMHO indeed too much focus on expensive vehicles like the Puma, that refrains them from being used in risky environments, because automatically the stakes get too high. I'm sure the Russians using BMP-2 (1,5 million per unit, new, and many of them are already amorticized, since the 80's...) will use this tracked IFV more readily than the Germans will use the Puma at 7 millions per unit.

    Given your considerations, from a procurement perspective the Kübelwagen, or the Volkswagen Typ 181 would be ideal : very light, thus practically more all-terrain than large and heavy 4WD vehicles – the best all-terrain car is currently the 4WD Fiat Panda-, no-nonsense mechanical features (easy to maintain & repair, dependable) and low cost.

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  9. Do you know the Lada Niva? ;)

    Anyway, I was focusing more on vehicle size than procurement here.

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  10. "At least our national capital stock is growing, not shrinking - and our trade balance doesn't tell us that we're living beyond our means. So it's basically a matter of distribution ad how to organise the country."

    Well that might be the problem. Large part of the manufacturing sector is way too large and there is no solvent demand for what it can produce. Forcing sales through debt like it was until now was not wealth creation. Rather destruction and now the chickens are coming home to roost as the american might say.
    Investing resources into projects with negative return always lead to something quite unpleasant, inflation + stagnation = stagflation.
    Very very unpleasant for society at large.

    Though you might be happy from a purely scientific point of view. Your theories might be tested.(it is a feeble attempt of a joke, I don't see anything better then this coming out of present events).

    "These boys changed entirely within days, and a society would change to a huge degree when it's in an actual war of necessity, too."
    It might work if aliens invade and try to wipe us out. The idea is not that young males are somehow less brave then their ancestors.
    Society has a different metabolism. The issue is complex. I'd rather let Heinsohn explain it.

    It's the difference between Spain of the conquistadores and todays peaceful and rather "cowardly" nation. Those secundos went berserker and occupied and plundered a continent because someone offended baby Jesus. Todays prosperous only child can pass any challenge. He will inherit the house anyway from his parents. No point to sail the ocean in order to rob someone else of his. Baby Jesus can take care of himself from the point of view of the only heir.
    It's about this "demographic theory of war".
    Not about individual males abilities. They are the same today as they were 100 years ago.

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  11. Keep two things in mind; a debt-financed trade surplus (basically a transfer) is still a sign of great performance and of reserves for greater domestic consumption (though it was driven by a lack of flexible exchange rates).
    That's a tiny problem in comparison to what many other OECD nations experience; many of them lived beyond their means and need to cut back their consumption below their previously perceived wealth.

    About the one-child thing; it's not just us. The Russians and Chinese experience it in an even more extreme way. Military strength/weakness is only relevant if seen in context! The Arabs are no threat for a long time coming, maybe 20+ years. Once they're a threat, their economy will have developed, their societies will have developed and they'll experience the very same symptoms of development.

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  12. Matthias Wilde21 March 2012 22:49

    Teo, could you explain a bit more what you mean by the "rotten state" of Germany?

    No offence, just trying to understand your argument.

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  13. "About the one-child thing; it's not just us."

    Absolutely. So a guerilla scenario is impossible for them also. And of course they also move into the same direction, of using machines instead of boys.
    It's a function of availability.
    Societies you mentioned - china is a little bit behind but catching fast - are capital rich , machines are cheap and affordable for them, but boys are expensive - China not yet but coming fast - and ARE NOT EXPANDABLE.
    So normal tendency is to use capital which you have instead of manpower you don't. Not in the sense that males dissapeared. It's just a matter of availability.
    Of course german case is extremely advanced, boys have become really a rare and extremely precious commodity.

    "Keep two things in mind; a debt-financed trade surplus (basically a transfer) is still a sign of great performance and of reserves for greater domestic consumption (though it was driven by a lack of flexible exchange rates)."

    I didn't manage to explain what I meant. It's the same type of performance SU had in producing huge amounts of military and industrial equipments. It's a performance of course for the entire industrial ecosystem. Only tiny problem is to see before it's too late if it was adding real value or deducting from society's wealth.
    If the transfer is towards partners who become increasingly insolvent due to this - huge distortions start appearing in their social/economic structure - well it's quite similar to dumping whatever you produce into the ocean.
    If you checked the graph from Krugman you see there that the german excedent is the twin brother of the PIGS/E Europe deficits, which were not there in 2000.
    It was a make work type of activity for german manufacturing and a complete disaster due to social/economic distorsions for the rest.
    Real deficits with raw materials suppliers were never closed. Just moved the deficits from one pocket to the other. Both DE and DE + european partners have great deficits with their suppliers.
    What I am saying is that "previously perceived wealth" involves also DE.

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  14. Been to Frankfurt last week.
    Amazing behaviour. Leverage factor of german financial structures is 32!!!!!!.
    Lehman Brother crushed at 31. And everyone is amazed how it managed to survive like that. For german finance Lehman is an example of moderation and good common sense.
    CNN Money gave the nicest assesment - "you can knock them with a feather".
    And yet people go around in Frankfurt and incredibly believe they area a ??? financial center????. And they are doing something over there. Much better to take as many days off , DE would be much better off. They would have less time to crush the country into the ground.
    DE's financial system is dead. It needs just a death certificate from London to be official. And yet like in a movie germans are walking around in the firm belief the country is a financial powerhouse.
    Germany trails Japan, but managed to fake the numbers until now. Japan went into cronic deficits few month ago. It appears DE is there for a decade, but sold a lot of items on credit and by doing this faked the books.
    I think traders in the City are laughing with tears when they hear germans talking about themselves as financially sound.
    So you got an over leveraged financial system, practically bankrupt, 5000 billion dollars in debt, very valuable few assets outside - sorry spanish paper bonds don't qualify as valuable - , a hugely overextended manufacturing sector for which there is little solvent demand. And is can be interpreted somehow as beind a sound economy? With tiny problems?
    Manufacturing guilds in DE are great. The best. But the economic/political leadership makes a the tribal leader of a third world african hellhole laugh.
    Why push yourself so hard for negative results - in the best came no results, but it does not happen in DE - when you can do the same - nothing good or profitable - with much less effort? I mean you can do nothing without sweating. It's a german trait which I've been trying to understand for some time. All details are OK. Everyone is serious and doing his job with dedication. Social efficiency and moral are high. And global results are ridiculous. Each and every time.
    I don't say it in a negative sense. I like DE. I like going there and even intend to take my family in vacation there. Even have ethnic german relatives.
    It was just a sort of historic assesment. Germans force themselves into various directions and every time disaster is guaranteed. It's a certainty.
    Like with russians. If you go over to them with bad intentions. It is certain you will come back with the russians chasing you. Of course the way they do it is according to the type of aggression.
    Now they are for example pushing back using economic means and secret services, exactly the way western structures attacked russian society.
    Same means as the ones used for aggression, only difference being they will hit harder. It's how it has always been.

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  15. Matthias Wilde22 March 2012 14:20

    Regarding the youth boulge, even Europe or the other so-called 1st world regions with declining birth rates might not experience internal tranquility in the future.

    What about the astonishing advances in automatisation and their implication for employment opportunities?

    Marshall Brain and Martin R. Ford have written interesting texts on the subject.

    http://marshallbrain.com/robotic-nation.htm

    http://www.thelightsinthetunnel.com/

    Especially their answer to the typical objection made e.g. by economists - the reference to the so-called Luddite fallacy - is interesting, given that both are well-versed in technical subjects and have industrial experience as well.

    (Threadjacking/off, haha)

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  16. teo, your post that included the "2/3" baby figure is on hold because as I remember my last research into the subject it's pure BS (and it doesn't withstand a quick plausibility calculation check!). Feel free to come back with that figure when you have some solid evidence for it.

    I won't help to spread that nonsense.

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  17. Don't have time for a serious check.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,603588,00.html

    In 2008 18.4% of Germans of any age group and 30% of German children had at least one parent born abroad. Median age for Germans with at least one parent born abroad was 33.8 years, while that for Germans, who had two parents born in Germany was 44.6 years.
    From here they say: Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland: "Leichter Anstieg der Bevölkerung mit Migrationshintergrund". Pressemitteilung Nr.105 vom 11.03.2008

    Anyway the post was pretty much about global numbers. With or without kurdihs kids differences are irelevant.
    i became interested in DE demography a few years ago. When I discovered I can't find usefull data about ethnic groups in DE.
    it atracted my attention, because it was very unusual. Now it's much better.

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  18. Suppose the above links fit the nonsense category?
    Can't see why it is a problem better left unmentioned. It's not Harry Potter. There are simply extremely few young males in DE, ethnic origin irrelevant. It's just stats. No need for any of us to get emotionally involved.
    I gave the example unpublished for comparison.
    Russian case is bad from a military point of view, you mentioned it yourself. What does this make the german case?
    If you don't want to mention that figure just erase the unmentionable part and that is all.

    The demographic data are in my opinion extremely important for any military analysis and planning.
    That is the only reason I intervened.

    I strongly believe a country with 10 million healthy military age males is a completely different animal then one with 5 million multicultural males of the same age bracket. At similar global population numbers.
    And the one with 10 mil. was not a young one. Quite the reverse.
    That is why I mentioned the unmentionable - sorry for that anyway, can't see why it's so important but if it bothers you pls believe me I didn't intend to annoy you in any way.

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  19. a) Off-topic.
    b) I have no time right now.
    c) I won't help people spread BS figures about my country or any other if I can help it. The 2/3 figure was afaik BS and such misinformation leads to people behaving more stupid than otherwise.

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  20. "What about the astonishing advances in automatisation and their implication for employment opportunities?"

    Interesting subject. Few years ago it really looked like the probable outcome. But then hmmm we reached peak oil. And we discovered that automation is mainly an energy function.
    We replace human labor with machines, but energy consumptions increase exponentially. An abundant source of concentrated and cheap energy is needed. And it does not show up in the description of the future.
    Here is a much better description of the issue:
    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2012/02/recovery-of-human.html

    "it was simply that during a relatively brief window of historic time, the amount that could be done by machines powered by fossil fuels, and following the internal logic of machinery, was vastly greater than the amount that could be done by humans powered by human energy sources, and following their own internal logic."

    Any debate about robotics should better start I think with a small discussion about Gawar, Cantarell, Burgan etc. ( world's largest oil fields, the basis of our industrial society). It would change a little bit the parameters of the debate about the future.

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  21. "Teo, could you explain a bit more what you mean by the "rotten state" of Germany?"

    Sorry for the possible misunderstanding. I didn't in any way even thought about saying that DE might be rotten or something. Just like Shakespeare used the expression in a different context not to say that Denmark was somehow rotten.
    The meaning was that something was not right. If you try to understand something from stats, something elementary, like how many of this or that items/people whatever. And after much effort the results are a lot of nonsense and noise but almost nothing useful it becomes pretty clear something is not right - that is where the quote from Hamlet shows up.
    I merely paraphrased Hamlet's " Something is rotten in the state of Denmark".

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  22. Sorry. Wrong.
    Marcellus talked about something being rotten in Denmark. Didn't like the play anyway when I had to study it and a lot of time passed since I was fed on a regular basis such stuff. Fought bravely against so that just some incomplete quotes got so very deep into my brain that I could not forget them.

    I suppose it is a great performance of the schooling system to make me believe that I hate Shakespeare, that I hate fluid mechanics, that I hate and can't learn without much effort foreign languages when in fact to my amazement I discovered that I like all the above.

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  23. Okie.
    Understood except the part about BS or why becoming multi ethnic somehow means misinformation or might lead to deviant behavior.
    But changes of this magnitude of the population structure lead to a different society. Create a new reality - and it involves the military by changing the structure of available manpower.

    Discussion deviated due to us debating details.
    The idea was that german army does not prepare for the scenario with low density forces you mentioned because well it can't. It would make absolutely no sense.
    It's a capital rich society but extremely manpower poor. And it is very fragile due to the high median age.
    There is no mistake in not being interested to prepare for something which could never be done.
    To behave according to what you are makes sense for me.

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  24. Energy consumption does not grow exponentially per se; world population does. Germany has broken the correlation between energy usage and economic output a generation ago without de-industrialising. A quick search yielded this graphic as support:
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/c2qmpvk

    About low force density; teo, you do not get anything of what I write about low force density. I'm writing about an economy of force mode; it is by design meant to succeed in meeting missions with few resources, few personnel.

    Your obsession with personnel numbers is inconsistent anyway; even the recent wars in AFG and Iraq with their horrible casualty rates among insurgents were not personnel-intensive at all. We could pull such a war off with our little left hand finger if we felt the need.

    The sole son social phenomenon on the other hand strikes almost all developed countries (Turkey dropped below fertility of 2 many years ago already). China for example has a most extreme on-child policy (the consequence of which was part of an old D&F post already).
    Non-developed nations on the other hand are not serious threats to us.

    I am only bothered by powers that could actually bomb or invade my country or its formal allies. I don't care about our ability to invade Pakistan or other artificial low vs. high fertility match-ups.
    You're in no trouble with a weakness if all your (potential) enemies have the same one.

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  25. "About low force density; teo, you do not get anything of what I write about low force density. I'm writing about an economy of force mode; it is by design meant to succeed in meeting missions with few resources, few personnel."

    You are perfectly right. What I added - I didn't in any way contest the efficiency of the model - was a social angle. Such a scenario means high stress for the society as a whole. An older population will rather yield. The theoretical approach is perfect, but it's of no practical use for an old society. If the barbarians cross the gates it's pretty much over.

    "even the recent wars in AFG and Iraq with their horrible casualty rates among insurgents were not personnel-intensive at all. We could pull such a war off with our little left hand finger if we felt the need."

    In modern times when the invaded are politically active it's not so easy any more. A genocide yes of course can be done very easy by an industrial state on a less industrial population. But to win the war as in imposing your will on the others is much more difficult.

    Our opposing views just got tested in AfPak and Iraq.
    At tactical level western mercenary forces were invincible against the local insurgents. But at a strategic level they proved completely impotent. With a very modest effort mullah Omar annihilated their ability to do anything except sticking around and receiving their paychecks.

    "Your obsession with personnel numbers is inconsistent anyway" - a little bit more, about population dynamics.
    Well it might seem like this, but it is not. It's one of the two issues on which I disagree your analysis - the other being energy.
    That's the reason of the comments on this subject. About the rest I don't have anything worth mentioning to add. That is why I don't normally comment. Your analysis are extremely rational and logical. Not much left to add or comment. This can be interpreted as a compliment. That's what it is.

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  26. "Energy consumption does not grow exponentially per se; world population does. Germany has broken the correlation between energy usage and economic output a generation ago without de-industrialising."

    The issue is a little bit more complex. If a messy and energy intensive industrial process is outsourced or moved abroad but the integration and less energy intensive processes are kept result will be less energy per industrially produced euro. But the amount consumed on the entire chain will not decrease. Due to transportation the number might even increase.

    Nice analysis already written, repeating what my betters already did would make no sense.
    They start anyway by commenting upon the view behind the image projected by the link you gave us.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8615

    Germany shows up also, and the numbers are the same as in your link, but the analysis of the data shows us a much more complex system.

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  27. Another great analysis on the energy subject:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8476

    The end says it all I think :
    "Though thermodynamics prescribes precise answers for simple processes, the ultimate limit at the macro-economic level is not clear."

    I don't contest head on what you said about energy/GDP decoupling. Just that the issue is not so very simple. And what is normally considered as being known is so very superficial - done by economists, nothing strange or unexpected about it - to the point of being completely useless.

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  28. "Your obsession with personnel numbers is inconsistent anyway; "

    I should have better explained the issue I was thinking about.
    It's not personnel numbers per se which matter - part but not all of the story. The profile of the society producing those numbers was the issue I focused.

    Spain - visigoth kingdom whatever - is estimated at 9 million people before the islamic conquest.
    Spain after reconquista - united kingdoms of etc - was around 6 million.
    But they were completely different animals. The issue we are discussing, demographic profile, was part of the differences.
    One had a stable population with replacement level fertility - replacement for those ages - , while the other was in a demographic boom. One had enough slots for young males to fit into, the other didn't.
    One had a human capital surplus it could spend, the other didn't.

    I was trying to define western societies along similar parameters. Not my ideas anyway, it's an entire line of thinking about this approach right now.

    From this angle what might seem as inconsistencies from German military might not be such a thing. Maybe it's a rational approach to the status of DE and it's surrounding. You prepare according to the threats but also according to who/what you are.
    This ideas are quite popular and debated in the security sphere. The guy who started the debate - Heinsohn - is even called NATO's demographer.
    "In 2005-07, he lectured on the subject of youth bulges and violence to Germany's secret service (BND), commanders of British armed forces ↑ , and Germany's Academy of Security Policy in Berlin." etc etc old news just to show that the debate has some history already.
    My " obsession" is not so rare. I encountered these ideas discussed from a security/military angle anyway, not the other way around.

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  29. Matthias Wilde28 March 2012 00:29

    OK, as a layman, I think I get what your debate is about.

    You, Sven, chose to focus on certain technical, tactical and operational aspects of modern land warfare - in this case army motorization in times of low force densities -, while taking "Wehrbereitschaft" of the whole nation as a given in times of "real" war;

    while, you, Teo, seem to argue that this willingness to endure hardships and losses is not automatic at all, given certain long-term cultural and ethno-demographic changes.

    Did I display your respective points correctly?

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  30. It looks so.
    The difference is explained easily; different experiences / influences.
    I saw people change their behaviour patterns and don't assume that a wartime (war of necessity) nation is much alike its peacetime version.

    Motivation appears, behaviour patterns change, group dynamics change - the quality of the population is today rather better than in 1939 (health & education), while the quantity isn't a bottleneck unless a great war lasts for more than a year (~the period required to turn towards a war economy).

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  31. @Matthias Wilde/SO

    Precisely the point.

    What I believe is that a modern prosperous old society can't do it. Except a war of annihilation, a fight to the death, something like in the film Independence Day. Aliens come to kill us all.

    About behavior changes it's not very clear.
    What we can talk about are cases where it happened.
    It depends on who the defenders are.

    If they are a local militia we already saw it tested. Serbian militia in Krajina cracked immediately. You just have to hit the civilians hard enough. Not to necessarily kill many of them. Just start bombing civilian areas with arty and it's over very soon.
    It would have also worked in South Ossetia but the 58th army came running and well bombing old ladies proved to be a lot easier then facing armed boys coming for trouble. Local militia would have cracked given another few hours, maybe a day.

    The examples I gave above are quite old societies, but not prosperous and very rural. They are much more resilient then a modern one and they didn't stand a chance by their own. Hit the village and the militia will take families and run or come crawling begging for forgiveness and mercy.

    Of course it's more interesting if the low density defenders are not from the area of operation. I believe in this scenario the center of gravity are also the civilians. Hit indiscriminately and they will have to come on your side. You delegitimize the defenders.
    Their presence brings death and destruction to the grannies and the precious few babies.
    How long will they hold?
    Of course in the mean time the attacker does overtime to convince natives that it's all OK, just tell us where the damn terrorists are. Food and medicine and help are close by, we wanna help granny but first the terrorist nests have to be found and annihilated.

    A young society can absorb the amount of pain necessary.
    An old one cracks immediately. Or doesn't even try.

    I observed some differences in behavior by comparing different cases with many similarities.
    Chechnya versus Tatarstan. We can discuss about details, but the main issue I believe is the median age. It was 20 versus 40 years - close by in both cases, it's from memory.
    Also a simmilar case was between Kosovo and the hungarian/szekely area in Romania.
    Many similarities but the same age gradient as between the republics mentioned above.
    Different animals, different social dynamics.
    An old society does not even try to use a low density scenario. And if by mistake it does such a thing it takes little time and effort for an aggressor to crack them.

    Of course I was not talking about genocidal maniac aggressors. But Adolf died a long time ago and his approach to armed robbery which any imperial enterprise in essence is proved to be bankrupt. And in the nuclear age branding yourself as a psychotic criminal makes impenetrable opposition all but certain.
    Once you have proven your credentials as such you won't advance one meter. Nuclear equipped foes will hold the line at any cost.

    I had to deviate a little because a tactical analysis would lead us to incomplete results.
    The boys/men hiding in the village with their RPGs are just a part of the equation. And hmmmm maybe not even the most important one. Szekely and tartar human population quality was much highr then in Chechnya or Kosovo. And yet one could do it and the other couldn't even try.

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  32. You're really obsessed with the fashionable insurgency theme, aren't you?

    I'm from Central Europe. We do war differently (if we do). We do it the organised, national way. The effect of artillery on a village militia is irrelevant to me. We don't do that. We fight in far away places, in organised units/formations and with properly trained leadership.

    Whatever happened to the Serbs in Krajina (seriously, didn't you ever hear of Vukovar? Where was the supposedly universal militia brittleness there and then?) is
    a) only one anecdote
    b) about a totally different model of warfare than relevant for NATO/EU members or high end warfare in general.

    Maybe frequent mention of "low force density" and "infantry" triggers inevitably a picture of insurgents in your mind; in mine, it's instead a picture of Jagdkommandos and LRRPs.
    Completely different picture.

    I DO NOT CARE ABOUT INSURGENTS.
    They're fashionable crap, and in a few years the mainstream will have recovered from this insane focus.

    Insurgents are for when you're already occupied. The point of German national security is to prefent this (and other things) from happening in the first place.

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  33. "Maybe frequent mention of "low force density" and "infantry" triggers inevitably a picture of insurgents in your mind; in mine, it's instead a picture of Jagdkommandos and LRRPs.
    Completely different picture."

    NO it does not.
    I gave examples to underline the importance of social factors in war making, not to talk about insurgencies. That's a different topic with a complete set of rules.

    What matters is where are those light troops. Are they hiding in a czech forest or are they spread in the villages from the outskirts of Magdeburg?
    If I understand correctly you refer to light troops spread out in an attempt to harass or delay an armored breakthrough - has to be armored otherwise no breakthrough. So the army left already and behind remained some blocking light troops doing hmmmm something.
    At least that is what I understand from your description.
    If it happens on home ground I already described it. If the tanks pass through well the amount of destruction mopping up operations would involve is mind boggling. It seems to me you never saw an old age asylum or you never walked the streets of the said central europe. The proportion of old fragile people is enormous.
    Will they be sacrificed by the local political structures for the sake of whatever the kommandos are doing?
    If they are from the same ethnic group well I don't think so. Any sane army will avoid bringing something like this on the heads of its population.
    And if not well I don't think czechs will be very happy to sacrifice themselves for the greater good or Germany or whatever. Not in my village asshole - something on this line, followed by not in our damn province.
    The light troops would be hunter down like rabid dogs with locals help.
    Never spoke with a village mayor did you?
    It's not that theoretical approach is not enough just that we need to introduce the right set of data.

    "The point of German national security is to prefent this (and other things) from happening in the first place."
    Yes it is.
    And the light force scenario is not for central europe. Nobody prepares for this because it's from a different film. It's nice. Costs little. But it's of no use here.
    No normal sane society or army would do such a thing. And if the soldiers are from far away well the locals will not accept the disaster brought upon them lightly.
    Meet some village mayors for confirmation. Not to ask such dubious questions, just to observe the mind set and world view.
    If the tank brigades can't hold the line well that was it.
    Of course in the nuclear age such a thing is not possible, our discussion was anyway purely theoretical from the beginning.

    (anyway commando or not, light troops or not. What are they going to do?
    Fortify? They will be whipped out asap. They are light troops remember?.
    Play hide and seek in someone else's home and break the furniture and granny's head while stepping on the baby?
    They would he hunted down faster then you can imagine with local help.)

    Pure commando raids are a completely different story. I propose to leave them out for this discussion.

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  34. "I DO NOT CARE ABOUT INSURGENTS.
    They're fashionable crap, and in a few years the mainstream will have recovered from this insane focus."

    Hmmmm well I don't think it' crap. That's how US came along in our political landscape some years ago. And colonial empires had to change form or disappeared entirely.
    That is why the nice dreams about the TAPI pipelines will remain summer dreams.
    War is a much more complex social/political event then simply tank against tank. And in our age in which large scale confrontations are impossible - Nobel dreamed about this many years ago and it was exactly as he foresaw - all that remains is the assassin warfare - well that he didn't think or speak about. Insurgency warfare is just the most extreme form of it.

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  35. Jagdkampf is a lot about avoiding the population, not the least for the Jagdkommando's security. Only the most stupid OPFOR troops would care much about retirement homes when a Jagdkommando bothers them.

    "social factors in war making"

    The dominant social factor is the social life in the army. That one is totally different than civilian factors. Civilians would inevitably flee from a soon-to-be battlefield given the enormous motorisation of modern societies.
    This would easily include the elderly.

    The Chechens and Gaza's inhabitans had nowhere to go, so there were lots of civilians left. That is not to be expected in Europe. Unless a town is being surrounded surprisingly and quickly.

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  36. "large scale confrontations are impossible"
    They're possible as long as idiots or assholes are among the top politicians.

    This pretty much guarantees that great wars can happen and will happen.

    The less we expect them, the less we'll be prepared and the more we will suffer.

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  37. @S O

    Well commando etc are something different than a low density defence.
    Our host wrote about something similar without so many details speaking about defence for small powers, why small airforce or small armor units are useless in such cases . I had the image of Latvia when I the present article.
    Of course german or french commandos can launch raids wherever they want but that's not a low density defence.
    Sven's tactical analysis is perfect I'd say. Only problem I mentioned was that there seems to be no takers. I've been thinking about the reasons for this since he wrote about small powers.

    "Civilians would inevitably flee from a soon-to-be battlefield given the enormous motorisation of modern societies.
    This would easily include the elderly."

    Yes they could. Just that nobody wants something like this. Adolf is not coming back. And without him and his gang of criminals people would not do such a thing if they could avoid it. What you mention is a sort of nightmare scenario everyone would do it's best to avoid. Of course commandos hiding into the woods are something which latvians could not stop.
    Like in 2008, georgians had absolutely no inclination towards a low density scenario defence. All american efforts to persuade them were useless. Just like latvians and estonians have no apetite for such an approach. Of course some US commando raids into North Ossetia would have been nice. But that would have been no low density scenario.

    The idea is that just because you can theoretically do something doesn't mean you'll do it. Normal old prosperous societies would avoid loke plague such defensive scenario.
    I mean imagine war. Russian army coming to the Baltics- Russians come on the counter attack, so no aggression, means no Russians coming, but it just theory anyway.
    Of course no NATO troops, no armor brigades, no nothing. Just strong encouragements. Try to die as messy as you can little buddy. We are willing to sacrifice all of you just to get some nice pictures for our propaganda. And then you might wonder why they are completely uninterested?
    Pls die painfully for us.
    LOL.

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  38. I did a lot of research and thinking about something with the working title of "skirmish corridor"; it's basically about different forms of skirmishing and long range patrols in a corridor hundreds of km deep. Front lines evolved from 100 m depth towards 10 km depth in WW1, and more mobile defence had to operate in up to hundreds of km depth during WW2.

    I've developed this into an intentional concept of merging offence and defence in great depth (both directions. My key interests are to discourage deep incursions of OPFOR formations, to intercept OPFOR units, to create unfair advantages for clashes between formations in the corridor and to have the ability to advance by pushing the skirmish corridor forward instead of advancing the classical way (=pushing a rather compact formation forward as a spearhead).

    In short; low density warfare is neither mere commando actions nor mere operational defence to me any more.


    The non-application in known conflict doesn't bother me; nobody can show a track record of reliability for a car whose first prototype is still under construction.

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  39. I understand what you mean.
    I had a different image about your scenario. Was thinking more about something more in line with other defensive cases you described before.
    In the now clearly defined case you are absolutely right. I support the validity of my opinions, but in not in this precise case. It was a comunication problem, I didn't understand exactly the parameters of the exercise.

    I encountered some similar ideas when reading about the swarming concept.

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  40. "c) I won't help people spread BS figures about my country or any other if I can help it. The 2/3 figure was afaik BS and such misinformation leads to people behaving more stupid than otherwise."

    Dear sir,
    We had some disagreements regarding some demographic numbers in DE. As I do not speak german it was pretty hard for me to argue against your approach. i also do not see why the fact that the german ethnical group is getting small might be called " bulshit " or whatever. Is just about the decision of german young people to do anything else except having children. It is a simple fact of life and that is all.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/03/us-germany-birthrate-idUSBRE8620SV20120703

    Reiner Klingholz, director of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development.

    "So fewer children were born then, meaning that today we lack potential parents for potential children," he said.

    Without immigrant families, the number of newly born children in Germany would reach only 400,000 in a country of 82 million, Klingholz said.

    I in fact estimated around 450 000 babies, but it seems I was on the optimistic side.

    These numbers have a tremendous impact on everything related to the use of force for De and it's military, I believe. I am not obsessed by demography. Just that your technical analysis are usually above my level so I avoid making comments which wouldn't bring much substance to your analysis.
    I only comment on this particular aspect which I have been studying for some time and which do not show up at all in the analysis presented on your very interesting site. I am in no way confrontational.

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  41. Going back to the subject of the post.

    We are talking about how you can defend an old people asylum. My opinion is that if the attackers go beyond the gate where you have the bodyguards you don't defend it at all. It is pretty much over.
    Population numbers , kids I mean, are so very low that even talking about a defence policy in the future for DE sounds ridiculous. Only way forward is by creating a union where the tiny number of Germans might yield a disproportionate influence.
    Something similar to the spartan approach - they encountered and managed to solve for long time the problems generated by olygantropia - lack of citizens. The Peloponnesian League supplied the manpower, spartan armies had in the end just a few percent spartan citizens.
    I do not in any way compare EU with the Peloponnesian League. Just that if we talk about future defence policies of DE we shold talk about them in a EU context. Without it , just like Sparta without the league , we do not have a subject. The tiny number of citizens coming into the world precludes any independent action.

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  42. Your 2/3 figure was bullshit, and such bullshit figures usually stem from a very bullshit-smelly political corner.
    Only 1/4 of newborns in Germany have at least one parent without German passport. Very many of the others will later get a German passport, will be more at home in Germany than elsewhere, will have a German subculture and many would be available for conscription or voluntary military service.


    Your house & guards parable is nonsense as well. The demographic change merely means that a big house has the security more usually associated with a small house.
    That doesn't matter at all as long as the only potential threat country has the same issue and as long as we're allied with almost all houses in the street.

    Besides, what "independent action"? Show me a single instance in German history as a nation where an "independent action" was worthwhile.
    Almost nobody here has any interest in "independent actions" that require bodies.

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  43. Numbers are very small. Mentioned the proportions only because we had a disagreement about that particular issue.
    If German institutes produce the above mentioned " bullshit" well it does not affect me nor do I take it personally.

    The issue I am trying to get across is completely different. it seems I can't in any way bring it to discussion.

    The essence of defence policy as I see it - strictly defence policy in this case - is " how can the boys of the tribe defend the realm".
    If the tribe is extremely infertile and grows very old - wealthy or not is irrelevant in this case - the question will be a different one.
    " What can the tribe do in order to protect the tiny number of invaluable boys?"

    It still involves "bodies" but in a different context. The paradigm is completely different one.
    Due to the fact that in this particular domain DE is a trend setter the first analysis were German.

    Use of force is just a part of the social sphere. So the social/demographic status and evolution defines how that particular society relates with violence not the reverse.
    It is just as simple and it does not involve the use of BS. I can't see how relevant BS is in relation to Heinsohn's writings for example. He never mentioned that particular word I think but I didn't read it in the original German language.

    PS. I observed a long time ago how difficult is to discuss with a German. Extremely susceptible specie. Hard to relate with.

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  44. You're badly off with our "tiny".

    In 2030 Germany will approx have 350k to 430k males per year group at age 18 to 35.
    https://www.destatis.de/bevoelkerungspyramide/
    That's more than 7 million males total. Even assuming one third would be ineligible, that's still a force of millions. A WW2-like mobilisation up to age 45 or (justifiable with current health standards and predominance of support) up to age 50 would many yield millions more.

    Besides, you insist on turning a blind eye to the fact that Germany is not a neighbour of China, India or any other population super power. Europe only has the militarily impotent Arabs, the still allied Turks (whose fertility has been going down too) and the Russians (chronically low fertility for decades) as neighbours.

    On top of that, population stagnation or decline is a typical phenomenon whenever a country develops its economy highly. Any threat would therefore either experience a lack of economic power to afford an overwhelming military or experience a comparable lack of fertility.


    Again; power is in your opinion supposed to threaten us so much that 20+ million European male soldiers (plus 20M female soldiers!) wouldn't suffice?

    You're occupied with a fantasy problem.


    Besides, you have a VERY strange idea of what security policy is about. It has NEVER been what you're thinking of. It's first and foremost about avoiding unnecessarily tough security situations, and a continent almost united in two alliances and having two nuclear powers achieved that.

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  45. Yeap. Perfectly agree this time. About the level of threats in this moment.
    Russian Federation - without former and I believe future provinces like Ukraine and Belorussia - last year had some 1.8 mil babies. Chronic infertility in RF has a completely different meaning then in DE.
    france is also in quite an OK situation. Any future problems showing up in 2030 are not a problem I believe which should bother Any German planning. DE will be more or less a small power by then. So no need for planning anyway.
    An analysis which does not take into consideration the population angle makes one unable to understand what todays Bundeswehr is doing.
    I discovered the subject I am writing about from German sources. So they take it into consideration and their actions start to make sense.
    That is why the land brunch for example contains 70 000 people. And is decreasing.
    In any future power plays DE will not have neither the resources - human ones - nor the will. So they are not planning for anything which might involve force or bodies.
    Real disarmament to follow demographic disarmament.

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  46. About the numbers it is much more complicated.
    In 1940 DE had some 9.4 mil males in the identified age cohort - in fact 20-34 years old.
    Out of this it could use 2 million as operative forces to fight France.
    Of course a larger population with the resources of the European Empire on its side managed to squeez a few million more.
    Raw global numbers do not always give us a good indication.
    Today probably DE could use few hundred thousand. That is the maximum which can be done.

    Structures using force are part of a very complex social body. That is why the number of real recruits before the end of the draft was a better indicator then adding raw numbers.
    From 2005 up to 2010 the number of recruits never went above 70 000.
    That is real society. I could bring 68 000 boys to the army. Then. Tomorrow of course fewer.
    Draft made no sense any more, the recruits were starting to be as many as the instructors and all auxiliary personal involved in training them. So draft had to go.
    You mentioned Russia.
    Larger population. Far better demographic profile. So they have 3-4 times more boys in the draftable age group. And they apply much more force and political will to drafting eligible boys. And yet all they cam manage is something like 300 000. They also have a problem, and a larger one because they really need an army in order to survive.
    Adding millions upon millions leads to nothing. Real numbers society can realistically produce are almost an order of magnitude smaller.

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  47. of course in that period the draft was not enforced and the army started to minimize the number of recruits.
    So looking at a previous period - 2000 - the numbers go to 140 000.
    Number of boys in the ager bracket for the draft was a little bit over 400 000.
    That is a more realistic number then. But it kept decreasing due to population aging.

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  48. "Out of this it could use 2 million as operative forces to fight France."
    So what? The problem at the time was the lack of leaders and trained enlisted personnel for more formations, as well as supply and equipment restraints. Demographics was no limiting factor at the time.

    Same today, except that this time any sensible calculation is about the two alliances we're in, not about the nation on its own.

    The entire talk about German demographics and military power completely misses the mark. This isn't about Germany, but about an alliance, and raw population brackets have no meaning. The shorter the war, the more important the pool of pre-trained personnel, the officer and senior NCO pool and the ability to train and form up quickly.

    The closest potentially overwhelming OPFOR is still in South Asia, with horrible transportation infrastructure in between us and them.

    Demographics figures are of little if any relevance at all to European or German national security. I even doubt that the cultural/sociological consequences of demographic changes have much meaning, since I saw enough limp recruits turn into soldiers with a completely different expectation for quality of life within few months.

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  49. Yes you are right.
    I keep mentioning the social aspects because that is the main issue I believe.
    What the theories which started from Heinsohn try to identify. That society changes according to its age profile. Its metabolism changes.
    An old one is very defensive. We still do not know how it might behave under stress. All indications until now point to the fact that it might be able to react at very low levels if at all.
    In this context the behavior of German planners start to make sense.
    I am not saying that institutions like the Bundeswehr are paragons of intelectual efficiency populated by geniuses. But sometimes we have the tendency not to see the entire set of data the planners have.
    In this light - of the demographic theories of violence - almost no defensive scenario makes sense. Except a very very limited one.
    Anything beyond sending some brigade size units to an theater of operations - and without the ability to replace them or the will to loose the boys - , and that as a maximum option is impossible in the current configuration.
    No need to prepare for something you can not do anyway.

    In conclusion all german planners have to prepare for is to be able to send at max few brigades and few squadrons to a potential confrontation. That is all the country can do.
    Anything happening closer precludes even this.
    So that is all they logically prepare for.
    From a political angle anyway decisions and directions would be decided by the big boys from the area : US, RF, UK and France. Ocuppied vasals like DE do not matter at all. With or without some supplimentary brigades which the country can hardly afford from a manpower point of view nothing would change.

    A different population profile might make DE want to change the present pecking order. But in the present form it is absolutely impossible so current disarmamant makes perfect sense. because what we see now is without a trace of doubt disarmament.

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  50. You give solutions which are logical and rational.
    How could DE improve the efficiency of its military forces?
    Just that the problem is not there. All scenarios with an improved structure/equipment/whatever diverging from what the military does right now have no practical use in our world due to various reasons. They are great an as intellectual exercise but do not fit DE from the real world.
    I have no connection to the Bundeswehr. Have no personal interest in defending the direction they are taking. Just that I see no major flaws in their judgment. Minor improvements at tactical level are always possible of course. But that is all that could make sense to be changed.
    They operate with a more complex set of data and seem to be one of the German structures very well adapted to the real world.

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  51. "In conclusion all german planners have to prepare for is to be able to send at max few brigades and few squadrons to a potential confrontation. That is all the country can do."

    Nonsense.
    That's all the playful politicians can get away with, for the population wants even less.

    Germany as a nation has understood that the positives in life stem from qualified work, not from trying to gain advantages through guns.
    There's no threat that warrants a greater expense than maintaining a force at the level of a seed. We have so many sufficiently competent and large allies that even if we all restricted our military expenses to seed forces, we'd still be safe in the short and medium term.

    This won't change until the Arabs become competent and serious in military affairs, the Turks turn away from "the West" and the Russians become comfortable enough with the PRC to no keep major portions of their military reserved for the Far East.

    The only thing to fear - demographics or not - is a "Black Swan" / "perfect storm".

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  52. "How could DE improve the efficiency of its military forces?"

    There's a lot that came to my mind. Potential for improvement is always to be found.
    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2010/08/bundeswehr-structure-what-i-would-do.html

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  53. I agree completely.
    About your link hmmmm as I see almost all your ideas are right now implemented in a form or another.
    "The air force should think of itself primarily as an operational level continental land war air force. Think of 1940, but more politically correct."
    Done.
    "Numbers of aircraft and wings aren't nearly as important as are numbers of qualified pilots. We can draw an overwhelming quantity of qualified personnel for maintenance and repair from the private sector."
    Number of Eurofighters is small. The final order will probably be very small.
    As about the number of old Tornados or F4s, hmmm pilots have to keep on flying on something and they already exist so why not use them. And Eurofighters have to be ordered - small numbers - because the technical competence of the industrial brunch of the MIC has to be mantained.

    "The Luftwaffe needs rather small air-lift capability and no NH90. Huge civilian air-lift and helicopter capabilities would be available in times of defensive alliance warfare."
    the capacity is getting smaller. It still has old C 160s - they are getting retired anyway, and a tremendous number of NH90s. Between 1and 4 if I remember correctly. Of course some dozens will have to be bought. Technical competencies in the industrial brunch have to be kept.

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  54. Deutsche Marine

    "The focus should be on Baltic Sea, Mediterranean and North Sea. There's no need for a high seas or expeditionary navy as long as several European allies comply to their urge to be great naval powers."
    It is so but...
    allies demand a presence. One or two fregates but they are demanded. It has to be multinational so DE will have to send something. Just like the American intervention in Grenada for ex. It was done by ... Organization of American States. So it was hmmm Barbados + Jamaica + whatever led By the US which intervened. Now is the same. And weaker allies have to send something. It is an obligation.
    So DE will produce in the future the huge number of 4 - maybe - frigates for this kind of operations. And might even make a buck after by exporting the model.

    "Only small quantities of frigates, mine counter-measure boats and submarines are necessary for retaining of competencies."
    F124 Sachsen class: 3 pieces.
    F123 Brandenburg class: already made/planned way back. 4 of them.
    And in the future the expeditionary frigate - needed for political reasons - probaly there will be 3 not 4 as said before.
    And submarines hmmmm there are 4 in the navy. All of them are 4.
    the rest are debatable, maybe in the future but there is no sense of urgency. Navy is small, importance is low, costs are small so hmmm no hurry for any details.
    Major decisions fit what you considered right.

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  55. the Heer:

    " A 99% German, exemplary (small) Corps with a good mix of forces for Eastern European defence - as good as it gets"
    Done , discussions about what means "as good as it gets". Opinions might differ. No urgency anyway.

    "Bilateral or multilateral corps that are more than mere staffs. The typical German contribution per such corps would be the equivalent of a large brigade. The actual cooperations depend in part on our neighbours, of course."
    it is happening right now but not necessarily on the Belarussian frontier.
    Ex from last year : ISAF
    4,925 personnel[11]
    (mandate limit: 5,350)
    Kosovo
    KFOR
    1,535 personnel[11]
    (mandate limit: 8,500)
    The battlegroup concept is still active but no sense of urgency either.

    "The army units would also be divided into active force and dedicated reserve formations. The reserve formations would primarily train infantry and possibly engineers (for labour-intensive engineer tasks) and be based on very short-serving volunteers. "
    Good idea. Everyone would agree. But how can you convince the people to come ? High quality people. Which in the present good economy and bad demography are in very high demand. That is the question as Hamlet might say.

    All the ideas presented are in one form or another already applied, are going to be or are debated. I didn't intend to approach all, it would have taken too much space. And I just tried to underline that the planners already do their job.
    And they see more constraints anyway - energy and demography are 2 subjects of great interest for the Bundeswehr. The analysis produced for them are used as references for both fields.

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  56. I must have been quite ambiguous if you really think that my ideas as described are anything like close to status quo. Well, either that or you badly misunderstood a lot.

    There's also absolutely no reason to believe that the Bundeswehr "planners already do their job". The new and old army structures are horrible. The entire K130 project makes no sense whatsoever and the colonial cruiser F125 has no discernible military value. Air force procurement is budget cut-driven, not guided by an actual strategic idea or two. MEADS was outright fiscal idiocy.

    Besides, possible further discussion in THAT topic, please.

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  57. The K 130 had tech problems. It was an attempt to make a number of breakthroughs for the navy but failed it seems on all counts. It happens.
    The missiles and helicopters got canceled. With new models it can happen.Anyway the hello is coming back in a different form.And it is for patrols. I believe the problems will be solved and it will be able to go on colonial patrols as it should.
    The colonial cruiser fulfills a political obligation. We can talk about the political side or the efficiency of it in controlling some far away waterways against forces hostile towards the Anglo Empire of which DE is part.
    "Air force procurement is budget cut-driven, not guided by an actual strategic idea or two."
    Because it it a small tactical air force. No strategic anything depends on DE. Nor will the country be left to have any such ideas by anyone who matters.
    Why attempt to plan for something which you can not do, will not be allowed to do in the predictable future and might lead only to punishments?
    All DE has to do is to supply some squadrons to whatever action leading powers might decide have to be taken.
    And of course as you said ,keep the technical expertise for who knows what future purposes might appear in the future.
    MEADS was a US project. The level of complexity of such systems is already very high. And anyway the US MIC is the leader of squandering resources. But it is no problem due to the fact that it brings in much more tributes then the resources it consumes. For any partners which have to bring the money from taxes and can't take it from oil states, China, Japan whatever colonies US has it might look like fiscal idiocy.
    But it was not their decision to make. Can't see why it could be considered a failure for German planers.

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  58. "I must have been quite ambiguous if you really think that my ideas as described are anything like close to status quo. Well, either that or you badly misunderstood a lot."

    I commented strictly on the link you sent. Your range of subjects in general is too high for any other attempt. Your "unorthodox" ideas from other posts I did not comment.
    In that particular post well you were pretty much on mark with what is done right now.
    Differences that show up are due to political constraints or industrial ones.
    When errors are made in procurement the number of actions military/political leadership can make are usually limited to 1(one) - continue and try to control the damages. Any actions leading to the destruction of the industrial arm of the MIC - in a particular field - are obviously impossible to make. No need to demonstrate I think. It is an axiom.

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