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No wonder Putin and Russia’s High Command are laughing

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The term ‘Jerry Built’ was an expression commonly used in England before and after World War II. Back then, I thought it was a totally unwarranted attack on German workmanship; jealousy in trade rivalry no doubt. Mind you, when in 2005 I shelled out £3,000 for a state-of-the-art BMW 7 Series car I had second thoughts.

My temporary pride and joy purchase was just 96 months old with 83,000 miles on the clock. As a shopping trolley car isn’t considered ‘run-in’ until it has covered 100,000 miles, I relished having bought a car then priced at £55,000 at such a low price: I soon learnt why.

The only thing that worked in that excuse for a car was the Japanese radio. A survey later revealed that of the 10 most unreliable cars the BWM range headed the list. Frankly, a much-mocked East German Brabant would have been far more reliable. German users told me afterwards that BMWs are much over-rated. I am not ashamed to confess that 12 months later I sold that steaming heap of elk shit masquerading as a car for £50 to a bunch of Afghans resident of Manchester. I reckon I ripped them off.

Nothing much has changed: Germany’s Puma armoured infantry fighting vehicles, which had been expected to join the NATO rapid-response force, have completely failed during training exercises, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday, citing a Bundeswehr internal document.

The publication cited a letter from Major General Ruprecht von Butler, commander of the 10th Armoured Division, which said that all of the 18 vehicles that participated in the exercise had become inoperable. He described their performance as a total failure.

The electronics were said to have been prone to problems, while one vehicle experienced a fire in the driver’s compartment. Von Butler reportedly wrote that the last two operational Pumas eventually broke down after an hour and a half, with turret defects.

The defects have never occurred with such frequency, the commanding general was quoted as saying. He added that the Puma’s performance becomes a lottery, despite all necessary preparations, which is especially stressful for the troops.

According to Der Spiegel, the Puma was expected to be deployed next year as part of NATO’s rapid-response force. However, von Butler was cited as saying that it would be unavailable for three to four months. It would be replaced by older Marder infantry fighting vehicles until further notice, he reportedly wrote, adding that authorities would do everything to restore the Puma’s combat readiness.

Due to its numerous problems, the Puma armoured vehicle was previously dubbed ‘Pannenpanzer,’ or ‘breakdown tank,’ by German media. The news follows multiple reports about shortages of weapons and ammunition in the Bundeswehr, as Berlin continues to send arms to Ukraine for that country’s conflict with Russia.

Der Spiegel had earlier reported that Germany does not have enough artillery and air-defense systems to contribute to NATO’s battalion-sized multinational unit, stationed in Lithuania.

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