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Ex-General warns '148 battle tanks' not enough to win a war
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Lord Richard Dannatt, who served as head of the British Army between 2006 and 2009, has revealed the UK’s current military ground provision is critically ill-equipped to fight a European war. The former Chief of the General Staff described the British Army as the “poor cousin” of the UK’s military as he suggested the force would not be sufficiently prepared to face an expansion of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The army, now under the operation of Sir Patrick Sanders, is only equipped with 148 main battle tanks and in need of urgent investment as the increasing threat of large-scale European war looms.
Speaking on GB News, Lord Dannatt said: “[Sir Patrick Sanders] inherited an army that is 25 to 30 percent smaller than the one I handed over to my successor in 2009.”
He continued: “In those days, we were well over 100,000 and now we’re coming down to somewhere around 72,000 – we had a much greater military capability.
“If you recall, back in 2007, 2008 and 2009, we were fighting two major campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and we would struggle to do that at the present moment.
“There is nothing wrong with the leadership, the enthusiasm, the determination or the professionalism of the British army, it is just considerably smaller than it was.”
Lord Dannatt criticised the provision afforded to the British Army as he added: “This is a critical point, it is not as well-equipped as it should be.”
Lord Dannatt suggested there had been a severe lack of adequate military funding ahead of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
He said: “The army has been the poor cousin, if you like, over the last several years, really since the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan finished.
“That’s all well and good until Mr Putin decides to start a land war in Europe and that brings us up short.”
The retired general added: “We’ve got 148 main battle tanks, you’re not going to fight a war and win a war with 148 main battle tanks.”
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Lord Dannatt continued: “That’s frankly enough to equip two brigades, two small groups.
“In the days of the Cold War, we fielded four armoured divisions – what’s a division, about 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers.
“We had four divisions, we haven’t got a single deployable division now.
“If we want to be taken seriously and we want to have the influence that our politicians want us to have and certainly the influence that their words suggest they want us to have, we’ve got to have a greater investment in our land capability and get on with it pretty quickly.”
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Lord Dannatt called for an urgent increase in military spending as he highlighted the British Army would be significantly underprepared for an escalation of the war in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has become a leading figure in the international front against President Putin as the UK has afforded significant military aid to Ukrainian forces.
Despite the pledge of advanced weaponry support made by the UK’s Ministry of Defence, Lord Dannatt warned the British Army would not be able to sufficiently defend Europe in the event of further foreign invasions conducted by Russia.
As the Kremlin’s campaign of aggression persists, the UK Government comes under increasing pressure to fund dramatic military improvements to ease European anxieties.
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