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  • The strongest armed forces in Europe today?

    I was recently reading through a discussion between two Europeans comparing the armed forces of the UK and France. Both people brought up some interesting points about the capabilities of these two countries.

    Both have some fairly modern equipment and solid training. Both also have a reasonably strong navy and air force. On an industrial level I would imagine that France has an advantage, but that's just a guess.
    Editor-in-Chief
    GameSquad.com

  • #2
    Germany

    Even tho our armed forces were cut back in size over the last few years we still have the largest tank force in europe (if I'm not mistaken), consisting of Leopard 2, our Navy (Marine) might not be as powerfull as the british/french one but our Luftwaffe is still good equipped (soon with the Tiger and the Eurofighter). And our industrial base is the strongest in Europe (yes??).

    "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

    Henry Alfred Kissinger

    Comment


    • #3
      The UK. They are the only force that has proven they have the national Will and determination to deploy into a major conflict recently. A nice and shinny military doesn't do anyone any good if its not willing to be used.
      "Have you forgotten the face of your father?"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Tim McBride
        The UK. They are the only force that has proven they have the national Will and determination to deploy into a major conflict recently. A nice and shinny military doesn't do anyone any good if its not willing to be used.
        Interesting, therefor the US military is weak because the US was unwilling to deploy them during the USSR/Afghanistan war ? Or in any of the many wars in Africa ???

        The military is a tool, and it's strength is independent from the political will and decision where and when to use it!

        Or would you say a karate champion is weak just because he didn't beat up the drunken guy who accidently stumbled against him ? I don't think so.
        "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

        Henry Alfred Kissinger

        Comment


        • #5
          Europe's Armed Forces at the Millennium: A Case Study of Change in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany

          Here are some facts:

          France
          In 1998 the French Army comprised 203,200 active soldiers -- 57 percent of the armed forces total of 358,800 (not counting the Gendarmerie). The respective figures for the Air Force and the Navy were 78,100 (22 percent) and 63,300 (18 percent). The rest were personnel in the Strategic Nuclear Forces and in central staff facilities

          Army equipment and procurement


          1,200 main battle tanks: almost 90 percent are obsolete AMX-30 B2s (105 mm cannon, weighing 36 tons). The rest are Leclerc tanks (53 tons, modern, with a 120 mm cannon like Leopard 2 and Abrams), which have been plagued by mechanical problems. Plans for the future are to reduce the Leclerc fleet to only 420 vehicles.
          340 "light tanks": all AMX10RC, a 16-ton, wheeled armored reconnaissance vehicles with a 105 mm cannon. In the future, the French plan to field 350 new "light tanks" of unspecified characteristics.
          700 tracked, mechanized infantry fighting vehicles: all AMX-10P/PC, weighing 13 tons, but obsolete.
          3,800 APC: VAB wheeled armored transport vehicles, weighing 13 tons.
          220 pieces of field artillery and 270 systems of mechanized artillery (AU-F-1, 40 tons, 155 mm, modern, but with mechanical problems).
          58 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System).
          340 light attack helicopters (SA-341/SA-342), to be replaced by 180 medium attack helicopters (the Franco-German Tiger, resembling the American Apache, but somewhat less capable).
          170 medium utility helicopters (Puma, Super Puma etc.).


          Air Force
          In 1998/99 the Air Force had 395 combat aircraft organized in 17 squadrons (5 fighter, 7 ground attack, 2 reconnaissance, 3 training). There were in addition 13 transport squadrons, 2 squadrons for Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) purposes, and about 100 utility/liaison helicopters (6 squadrons) in use. The fleet of strategic tankers numbered 11 machines. The ground-based air- defense organization comprised 10 squadrons with 48 fire units.

          Navy
          In 1998/99 the maritime forces of the French Republic comprised:

          4 strategic nuclear submarines,
          8 attack submarines (6 with nuclear propulsion, 2 conventional), and
          41 principal surface combatants, including:
          1 conventional aircraft carrier (27,000 ts),
          1 cruiser (training),
          4 destroyers (4,000 - 5,300 ts),
          15 frigates (3,000 - 4,500 ts), and
          16 corvettes (1,100 ts).

          UK
          In 1998 the British Army comprised 114,000 active soldiers -- 54 percent of the nation's total active defense force of 211,000.
          The pool of trained reserves amounts to nearly 320,000

          Royal Air Force
          Present composition

          4 heavy fighter-bomber squadrons (with Tornado: 2 for ground, 2 for maritime attack);
          5 light fighter-bomber squadrons (2 with Jaguar, 3 with Harrier V/STOL);
          6 fighter squadrons (with Tornado F-3);
          4 recce squadrons (2 with Tornado, 1 with Canberra, 1 with Jaguar);
          4 maritime patrol/ELINT squadrons with Nimrod;
          2 Airborne Early Warning squadrons (with Sentry);
          3 tanker squadrons (2 with VC-10, 1 with Tristar);
          4 transport squadrons (with Hercules); and
          6 SAM squadrons (with Rapier).

          Royal Navy
          Present composition

          4 strategic submarines (nuclear powered with 16 Trident missiles each);
          12 attack submarines (5,000 ts, nuclear powered, some with anti-ship guided missiles, 1 with cruise missiles);
          3 small (17,000 ts) carriers for V/STOL aircraft ( 7 - 8 Sea Harriers each);
          35 other principal combatants: 12 destroyers and 23 frigates (all with missiles and helicopters; displacements between 3,500 and 4,300 ts);
          18 vessels for mine countermeasures;
          7 amphibious craft (medium-sized); and
          Royal Marines: 1 amphibious brigade (oversized, jointly manned and operated with the Army).

          Army equipment and procurement


          500 main battle tanks (mainly Challenger 1) -- to be replaced by 386 Challenger 2 (60+ tons weight class);
          575 armored infantry fighting vehicles (Warrior, up to 36 tons);
          armored carriers:21 693 AFV-432, 526 Spartan, 657 Saxon;
          armored reconnaissance: 315 Scimitar, 136 Sabre, 11 Fuchs;
          179 AS-90 self-propelled artillery systems (155 mm, 40 tons);
          63 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System); and
          269 utility/combat helicopters (154 SA-341, 115 Lynx) -- to be partly replaced by about 67 Apache with Longbow radar and hellfire missiles.

          Germany
          In 1998 the Federal German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) had an active strength of 333,500 uniformed personnel. This number comprised 137,500 conscripts (or 41 percent of the total), 193,500 volunteers with limited contracts (2 - 15 years) or lifetime commitments, and also 2,500 active reserve training posts.
          In the unlikely case of a major crisis in Central Europe the German forces could still grow up to a total size of over 600,000 soldiers.

          Luftwaffe
          The Luftwaffe comprises:

          4 fighter-bomber wings (with 8 squadrons Tornado),30
          4 fighter wings (with 7 squadrons F-4F and 1 squadron MiG-29),
          1 recce wing (with 2 squadrons Tornado),
          1 ECR wing (with 2 squadrons Tornado),
          SAM: 6 mixed wings (each with 6 squadrons Patriot, 6 squadrons Hawk, 14 squadrons Roland), and
          Transport: 3 wings (4 squadrons C-160, 4 squadrons UH-1D, plus a variety of passenger aircraft for special missions).

          Navy

          14 submarines (500 ts), mainly for coastal warfare;
          14 principal surface combatants -- two US Charles F. Adams class destroyers and 12 large frigates (3,800 to 4,500 ts); all are armed with missiles and the frigates carry British Lynx helicopters;
          30 fast missile craft;
          36 vessels for mine countermeasures;
          1 wing with Tornado (2 squadrons: one strike/recce, one squadron training); and
          1 wing for ASW/SIGINT/SAR/pollution control/transport (with Breguet Atlantic, Do-228, and Lynx).

          Army

          The main ingredients of the Bundeswehr's mechanized ground forces are over 1,800 Leopard 2 and about 900 Leopard 1 main battle tanks, over 2,000 armored infantry fighting vehicles (Marder), and about 1,300 wheeled armored vehicles for reconnaissance and swift operational transport (Luchs, Fuchs).
          The artillery branch has in addition to approximately 300 pieces of field artillery: 573 American- built M 109 (self-propelled howitzers in an upgraded version) and 154 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems). It is also noteworthy that there are over 200 light anti-armor helicopters (the relatively stealthy BO-105) equipped with 6 HOT missiles each and over 100 heavy-load CH-53 G helicopters each carrying two 3.5 ton light tanks -- the Wiesel. Germany possesses 343 Wiesels, which employ either TOW anti-armor missiles or a 20 mm-machine cannon.
          "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

          Henry Alfred Kissinger

          Comment


          • #6
            ahummm,

            I posted here in WHQ ,with help of Siberian and Mantis, an article about French army in 2003 in the TOAW section. It could be interesting to have look on it
            2003 French OOB & TOE

            Main difference no more "reserve regiment" as during cold war with recall of conscripts, reserve are now more profesionalised as in UK or US.

            Main goal projection of 50.000 men abroad. Could have been sent to IRAQ if US were not so impatient to "eat" Saddam.

            I let you read it , I'm ready to answer all your question about French Forces.

            For those interested in TOAW, some people here are testing my scenario called "Second Battle for France" which depict invasion of France by US/UK force.

            It is a 6 months job where I dived in Belgium, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, UK and US web sites, so I'm don't say I'm a great specialist but I can share what I collected, here.

            Globaly all European Armys reduce their forces for 2 reasons

            1st) End of cold WAR and OSCE treaty which impose limitations of ownership for MBT APC helicopters artillery etc...
            By instance France, Germany and UK can't have more than 1500 MBT each. Same for occidental side of Russia, Poles can't have more than 1000, Tcheck no more than 400 etc.....

            2nd) the need to protect vital interest, to maintain peace worlwide, to help UN, impose to have a good projection force with lighter tanks and APC. Tendency is for wheeled tanks as the spanish Centauros.

            So professional armys reduced forces and ability to project them abroad to impose peace or defend vital interest. Here are the trendencies for modern western armies.

            One important point I wnat to add for our US friends, quick to laugh about Europe. More and more the European armies are integrate themselves. Into or along NATO. Even French army is entering in NATO decision process, man,y stanag are written or accepeted by French HQ -> US soldiers could understand what it means.

            European army is no more a myth. The shell of it is ready as well for Air (integrated HQ between France and UK) as Land army -> the Eurocorp.
            There is a common brigade Sea Assault with Italian and Spanish troops.
            Dutch Marines are integrated in a land assault UK Brigades

            Little by little the bird makes it nest

            Hope this interest you

            Der WanderEuropean
            The Best weapon ever:a good Joke. The Best shield ever: Humour
            JLBETIN© Aka Der Wanderer TOAW Section Leader is a █ WHQ/SZO/XG/Gamesquad® product since 01/2003
            The Birth of European Army Tournament round Three is opened

            Comment


            • #7
              A bout German Army

              Concerning German Army, all Kraut data are no more accurate as with "Heeres der Zukunft", the Army of Future reform, the German Bundeswehr as totaly modified and reduced its strengh as well for land or Luftwaffe, I'm less informed about Navy so there I close my mouth.

              Now there are only 5 reduced in size division instead of 7. Mainly a German Division has 3 to 5 brigades, a brigade is "mainly" composed of 2 Pzr Btn 2 pzr grenadier Btn 1 Panzer Artilleerie Btn and one Pionnier Btn (VKR Structure).
              I say mainly as certian brigade have some internal differences due To RKR or VK structure. But the main result is that many Panzer and Panzer grenadier bataillon have been canceled, conscription has been dramaticaly reduced in proportion.

              An other exemple of this change the Aufrklärung Btn ( reco) before had 13 leopard 2 in their rank now all have been removed, their are still some Luchs (54) this a 8 wheel light reco "tank" with 25mm gun (IIRC) which will be replaces soon by new light vehicle the Fennec.

              As for French Army, the main core is the RKR units , a quick reaction crisis force which could be sent abroad, as in Bosnia with KFOR.
              There is HVK structure which is the Full crisis structure with RKR reinforced with reservist and conscripts. It add "mainly" 2 o or 3 companies to each bataillon or add reserve Btn to a brigade depending of its type.
              By instance in RKR structure the Engineer troops are mainly companies "Pionnier Kompanie" and in case of " Main crisis" those Pionier Kompanie will increase to a Pionnier Bataillon.
              But it is better decribe here (in German) http://www.zifkras.de/neuesheer.htm

              The Lufwaffe is now only 7 Geschwaders/Wings instead of 10. 4 fighter Bombers (tornados) & 3 fighters (old Phantom II, they move to Eurofighter since December up to 2008). They had 24 "Mig 29" which were offered to Poland in December 2003.

              The last OOB I use in my scenario is the HVK 2003 picked in the Heer web

              Der WAnderOberKommandoDesHeerres
              Last edited by jlbetin; 12 Jan 04, 12:16.
              The Best weapon ever:a good Joke. The Best shield ever: Humour
              JLBETIN© Aka Der Wanderer TOAW Section Leader is a █ WHQ/SZO/XG/Gamesquad® product since 01/2003
              The Birth of European Army Tournament round Three is opened

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kraut
                ..1,200 main battle tanks: almost 90 percent are obsolete AMX-30 B2s (105 mm cannon, weighing 36 tons). The rest are Leclerc tanks (53 tons, modern, with a 120 mm cannon like Leopard 2 and Abrams), which have been plagued by mechanical problems. Plans for the future are to reduce the Leclerc fleet to only 420 vehicles...
                This does not compute. If almost 90 percent of 1200 is of one type, that leaves only about 120 to be the other type. So...how can 120 be reduced to 420?
                I have no problem at all with being proved wrong. Especially when being proved wrong leaves the world a better place, than being proved right...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JAMiAM
                  This does not compute. If almost 90 percent of 1200 is of one type, that leaves only about 120 to be the other type. So...how can 120 be reduced to 420?
                  Look at my article -> 1200 Mbt in 1998, 420 in 2005 all Leclercs.
                  At now 2003 240 Leclecrs rest are AMX 30 B2 Brennus Version enhanced version of AMX 30 B2 itself enhanced version of AMX30

                  Der WanderViveLaCavalerie
                  The Best weapon ever:a good Joke. The Best shield ever: Humour
                  JLBETIN© Aka Der Wanderer TOAW Section Leader is a █ WHQ/SZO/XG/Gamesquad® product since 01/2003
                  The Birth of European Army Tournament round Three is opened

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jlbetin
                    Look at my article -> 1200 Mbt in 1998, 420 in 2005 all Leclercs.
                    At now 2003 240 Leclecrs rest are AMX 30 B2 Brennus Version enhanced version of AMX 30 B2 itself enhanced version of AMX30

                    Der WanderViveLaCavalerie
                    So...the plan is to reduce the total number of tanks (currently ~1200, of all types) to just 420, and have all of those 420 be Leclerc's?
                    I have no problem at all with being proved wrong. Especially when being proved wrong leaves the world a better place, than being proved right...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kraut
                      Interesting, therefor the US military is weak because the US was unwilling to deploy them during the USSR/Afghanistan war ? Or in any of the many wars in Africa ???

                      The military is a tool, and it's strength is independent from the political will and decision where and when to use it!

                      Or would you say a karate champion is weak just because he didn't beat up the drunken guy who accidently stumbled against him ? I don't think so.
                      The strength of a military is dependent upon it's proper employment by political leaders. No matter how powerful the force, if the cause is misguided, if the state leaders are weak, or if it lacks popular domestic support, it will not be able to achieve the objectives of it's intended use.

                      If a Karate champion is incapable of selecting the proper techniques to defeat the drunken guy, one has to question his status.

                      The British military is the most powerful military force in Europe. Although, France and Germany are gaining momentum. Just because an army is better equipped or larger, it doesn't mean it is more powerful. Training and it's ability to project power to deter threats are equally important.

                      The United Kingdom continues to lead in the department of power projection. This gives it's military force the capacity to influence the battlefield even before the first shot is fired. France is gaining ground though. It has been developing a technically advanced Navy for some years now. Once this tool is fully developed, France will be in a better position to enforce her political goals.

                      While Germany lags behind both Great Britian and France, she is by no means weak. As the number shows, her force is very large, and to my knowledge, well trained. Germany stands out in "point defense".

                      Originally posted by jlbetin
                      Main goal projection of 50.000 men abroad. Could have been sent to IRAQ if US were not so impatient to "eat" Saddam.
                      I received my 2004 military projection yearbook last week. If I were France, I'd focus on the more serious problem of Congo and that region. France loose out there, her strategic position globally will be weakened, particularly in the UN.
                      "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If there were a war in Europe, I would say that the German, French and British armies are equal. Concerning the projection of force, the British are the best, the French are relatively good and the Germans have quasi no capacity. And France is the only one to have a nuclear carrier. And concerning the nuclear capacities ? Does someone know what the British nuclear capacities are ?

                        LaPalice.
                        Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                        Mort devant Pavie.
                        Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                        Il était encore en vie...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LaPalice
                          If there were a war in Europe, I would say that the German, French and British armies are equal. Concerning the projection of force, the British are the best, the French are relatively good and the Germans have quasi no capacity. And France is the only one to have a nuclear carrier. And concerning the nuclear capacities ? Does someone know what the British nuclear capacities are ?

                          LaPalice.
                          It is why all those countries joined themself to order the new Airbus A400M
                          see here
                          http://www.airbusmilitary.com/home.html

                          With this one germany could project lot of troops out of her national borders
                          quantity ordered
                          France 50
                          Luxembourg 01
                          Germany 60
                          UK 25
                          BelGium 07
                          Spain 27
                          Turkey 10




                          Der WanderEuropean
                          Last edited by jlbetin; 12 Jan 04, 15:03.
                          The Best weapon ever:a good Joke. The Best shield ever: Humour
                          JLBETIN© Aka Der Wanderer TOAW Section Leader is a █ WHQ/SZO/XG/Gamesquad® product since 01/2003
                          The Birth of European Army Tournament round Three is opened

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jlbetin
                            It is why all those countries joined themself to order the new Airbus A400M
                            see here
                            http://www.airbusmilitary.com/home.html

                            With this one germany could project lot of troops out of her national borders
                            quantity ordered
                            France 50
                            Luxembourg 01
                            Germany 60
                            UK 25
                            BelGium 07
                            Spain 27
                            Turkey 10




                            Der WanderEuropean
                            I find the numbers very high. I wouldn't have tought that France and Germany need so much planes.
                            I know we have another thing that the British don't have : our Tigre can be used on ships, particularly the ones used for landing. The British can't do the same thing with the Apaches.

                            LaPalice.
                            Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                            Mort devant Pavie.
                            Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                            Il était encore en vie...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Don Maddox
                              I was recently reading through a discussion between two Europeans comparing the armed forces of the UK and France. Both people brought up some interesting points about the capabilities of these two countries.

                              Both have some fairly modern equipment and solid training. Both also have a reasonably strong navy and air force. On an industrial level I would imagine that France has an advantage, but that's just a guess.
                              So we are back to the base:

                              How do you define strongest, or strong?
                              a brain cell

                              Comment

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