He’s Germany’s highest-ranking soldier: Inspector General Eberhard Zorn (62).
The four-star general, who began his career as an artilleryman in the army, should again make the Bundeswehr fit for national defense, organize arms shipments to Ukraine and suggest to the federal government which weapons systems should be purchased in a package of 100 billion.
Bild am Sonntag: Mr. Zorn, are you afraid of having to go to war because of Putin?
Eberhard Zorn: “I am not afraid per se. Both NATO and the Federal Chancellor have said clearly: We will not deploy any soldiers to Ukraine.”
Russia threatens NATO with the use of nuclear weapons. Chancellor warns of nuclear war. What is the extent of the risk in your opinion?
anger: We are closely monitoring the situation, and of course such threatening gestures are worrisome. However, we see no military indications that Putin is preparing an attack on NATO, neither with nuclear nor conventional weapons.”
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Are you on high alert?
anger: “Not official, but I’m always on the go with two phones around the clock. I have a team around me that makes me able to manage right away in an emergency. On the night the war started, our situation center called me at 3:00 a.m.: ‘Here we go. “I will never forget this sentence.”
Will Germany help Ukraine enough in its brave fight?
anger: “We are very supportive. All arms shipments are coordinated with our NATO partners, and together we work to ensure a steady supply.”
Until now, the Bundeswehr was saying like a mantra that it could no longer give Ukraine weapons because its ability to defend itself would be threatened. Do you even know how many tanks, planes, and ships the squad has?
In the case of the Panzerhaubitzen 2000, the Ministry of Defense has been saying for weeks that the German army does not have enough. Suddenly you can turn over seven pieces. Why suddenly?
anger: The Ukrainians reiterated their need for artillery pieces during the Ramstein Conference. A tactical fire unit requires about ten systems.
The Dutch offer five self-propelled howitzers. We will complete a dozen. The seven systems are currently in the industry for maintenance and will be delivered to the Ukrainians after completion.
This will not affect our commitments to NATO.”
Any other heavy equipment you can donate?
anger: “If I say no now, maybe everything will be different again in 14 days. The truth is: As we just mentioned, the Ukrainians openly demanded artillery.
I currently have no further demands on my table from the Ukrainian government that affect the presence of the German army.”
After Putin’s war of aggression, the army inspector, Alphonse Meese, complained that the army had been left “naked”. do you agree?
anger: “The Mays General Report provides a clear description of the deficit we have accumulated over the past few years.”
Example: We have very little ammunition, so the savings were significantly increased. Now we need about 20 billion euros just to refill our ammunition depots.
anger: “In the military we have to achieve complete equipment in every union. The shortage was once covered by the term “dynamic availability management,” then “mission-oriented equipment.” We are world champions in inventing such cliches. In fact, we have funded other projects from by providing ammunition and spare parts.
How empty is the Bundeswehr?
anger: During the Corona crisis, we provided aid to combat epidemics for two years. Everyone thought it was great, but in the military in particular that meant we were only able to train to a limited extent outside of registered units for NATO commitments.
This means that men and women are not adequately trained in tactical cooperation. It will take a year and a half to make up for this shortfall.”
Now there must be 100 billion packages for the Bundeswehr. Satisfied?
anger: “Yes, but the amount did not come by chance. After the elections, we calculated how much the German army needs to invest and modernize in order to meet the most important requirements of NATO. The result was 100 billion euros.”
When will the package reach the troops?
anger: “Within three years we will see significant improvements in many areas of the German army.”
The new defense minister, Christine Lambrecht, has come under heavy criticism. How is the holder of command and command authority received by the soldiers?
Zorn: “I am a soldier myself and personally feel that the Minister is open and interested in all discussions. I have not heard anything else from the group either. She has a feeling for our women and men.”