The German Armed Forces are finishing the process of disbanding the 215th Armoured Artillery Battalion. The unit has been armed with the Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers and was operating under the jurisdiction of the 21st Armoured Brigade. In the end, only 4 similar units are going to remain active within the structures of the Bundeswehr.
According to the information released by the Bundeswehr, at the end of April the last remaining Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers left their home-base. These vehicles, earlier on, were being used by the battalion. The unit is to be ultimately disbanded until 30th June 2015.
The decision to disband the 215th Battalion, operating directly under jurisdiction of the 21st Armoured Brigade (which is closely cooperating, inter alia, with the Polish 10th Armoured Cavarly Brigade) had been disclosed to the public back in 2011. According to the target structure of the Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces are to maintain four artillery battalions, with one acting directly under the jurisdiction of the 1st Armoured Division, two in the 10th Armoured Division and one in the joint German-French brigade.
The German Ministry of Defence confirmed, in a declaration sent to Defence24.pl at the end of March this year, that the new Bundeswehr structure is going to feature four artillery battalions. At the same time it was stressed that, in the light of the worsening security situation in the region, the plan focuses rather on bolstering the existing units (potentially also within the scope of the equipment quantity), than on creation of any new structures.
As we know, the Germans are planning to increase the number of the Leopard 2 tanks used by the Armed Forces, from 225 up to 328. One of the reserve armoured battalions is also said to be reactivated soon. We may also risk a statement that some PzH 2000 howitzers would also be reintroduced into service (at the moment, according to the available information, the number of these – i.e. the ones that are to be kept into active service – is ca. 89). The process of disbanding the 215th Armoured Battalion is, even in spite of the above, being continued, also regardless of the changes in the security outlook in the Mid-Eastern Europe.
It is also worth noting that, even though in case of the armoured battalions, the post-reform Bundeswehr structure did make it possible to increase the quantity of the active forces (utilizing the reserve unit), it seems that similar plan cannot be realized within the scope of the artillery units, with the use of the existing elements. At the same time capabilities of the Bundeswehr within that scope are also quite questionable, particularly due to the quantitative status related to the artillery units – e.g. the 1st Armoured Division will have only a single artillery battalion at its disposal.