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Armed forces covenant   General Military Discussion

Started 12-Jul by graylion; 1297 views.
graylion

From: graylion

12-Jul

Hi all

I have been looking at the UK Armed Forces Covenant, which pledges to treat veterans fairly. https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk/get-involved/sign-the-covenant/

This strikes me as incredibly Anglosphere in that it is based on voluntary acts, not legal rights. I am wondering how non-Anglosphere countries address this issue? @Schnuersi @EmericD can you shed light?

Thanks!

JPeelen

From: JPeelen

12-Jul

German military was defeated in two World Wars and in Afghanistan. This is a very delicate subject here in Germany. 

A former boss of mine was a paratrooper full colonel who is about my age. We are both dyed in the wool cold warriors. He did two tours in Afghanistan. I must admit I do not at all understand his attitude regarding that war. In this respect we are worlds apart. I simply do not understand him. 

In my youth, I encountered quite a number of WW2 veterans. Not all were the same, but the majority of those speaking up, was whining along the lines "If only Hitler had..." (... Germany would have won the war). In view of our defeat in two World Wars, I found this disgusting. Much later I found out that in view of the German "treatment" of Soviet POWs, there was no reason to whine about German POW time in the Soviet Union. To most of my generation, veteran is a very negative term.   

To put it bluntly, in my opinion the German Afghanistan veterans tend to also come over as mostly whining like their grandfathers. They knowingly went to a country that has proven in at least three centuries that its people have ingrained to consider foreign troops within the borders as enemies and treat them as such. Those in charge of the troops accepted rules of engagement that made sure they could never win. The defeat was no surprise and the non-hero status the obvious consequence.    

The above statements will be considered outrageous by members of some other nations, which lack the sobering experience of being defeated in two World Wars. But that is how a cold warrior of my generaton looks at Afghanistan and its veterans.     

P.S. A good thing that was done by Bundeswehr is in regard of those becoming unfit for service due to being severely wounded in action. Originally they were simply dismissed. Now they can remain being a soldier and are placed in positions where they can serve with their disabilities.                

  • Edited 12 July 2022 18:59  by  JPeelen
schnuersi

From: schnuersi

12-Jul

JPeelen said:

But that is how a cold warrior of my generaton looks at Afghanistan and its veterans.

My view on this topic is a litte different.
While I agree that the whole Afghanistan adventure was a collosal waste of time and resources which was 100 % forseeable, I rather pitty the people who had to serve there. They wastes live time and maybe even health. Some lost their lives. All for nothing. Since they did not go voluntraily but rather have been sent and then been denied support and means I rather see them as victims.

Same is true for most German WW2 veterans.

The what could have been done to win the war discussions are pointless. Also i am pretty convinced that Germany is better off having lost.

This has very little to do with the original question of the threat though.

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

12-Jul

I don't know of any thing comparable in Germany.

But we have social security, universal healthcare and mandatory retirement funding. So everyone is mostly covered anyways.

Its also worth noting that there are really few carrer soldiers in Germany. Most are more like contract soldiers. If you become "professional soldier" which is a status you can achieve you are fully covered. Behond what a normal person employed as civillian can get. A professional soldiers is equal to a civil servant, which also is a special status in Germany, and the benefits are really, really good. Once you managed that you are really covered for anything. At this point the state is obliged to employ you. If you can not continue to serve as a soldier you need to find you a position in the civil service for example.

At the begining of the missions abroad there have been problems with social security and provision of services for veterans who got sick or have been harmed. Because there was no procedure and no laws for this. All out war in defense on the homeland was covered but this was not applicable to soldiers serving in former Yougoslavia or Afghanistan. This was changed and improved.

If a soldiers leaves the service after a couple of years they transition into civilian life. Their service time is counted for the mandatory retirement and depending on service time they get a education voucher. Officers usually get to study at a university during their traing years as well.

On top of that there is the informal network which can help to get a job.

graylion

From: graylion

12-Jul

schnuersi said:

This has very little to do with the original question of the threat though.

Indeed, thanks for pointing that out :) Any insights on the original question? I do like the idea of turning invalids into office staff or similar.

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

13-Jul

JPeelen said:

The defeat was no surprise and the non-hero status the obvious consequence.     The above statements will be considered outrageous by members of some other nations, which lack the sobering experience of being defeated in two World Wars.

I'm not sure how it is in Germany, but in the US, Firefighters are tremendously popular. Universally praised and getting quite a bit of affection from the ladies - full hero vibes. 

Are fire fighters held in similar high regard in Germany?

I ask because I've never heard anyone question what fires a firefighter goes to put out, nor are they held in poor regard should they fail to put out a fire in time. Even if they fail to put out a fire in a wharehouse full of dumpsters (aka a giant dumpster fire) the point is they went in and faced the fire. 

My take on the Afghan/Iraq and earlier Vietnam vets is the same. Those conflicts may have been massive dumpster fires that were unsuccessfully extinguished, but the men on the ground still went in and faced the fire, and are still very much deserving of our respect and admiration for doing so.

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

13-Jul

graylion said:

Any insights on the original question?

Not behond what I wrote above.
I have to admit I find it difficult to grasp what the armed forces covenant actually does? Is it sort of a social service for soldiers funded by donations?

graylion said:

I do like the idea of turning invalids into office staff or similar.

This is what they do when you have the full professional soldier status in Germany and can't serve as a soldier anymore. For any health reasons. You can even get a retraining and switch to other departments but this is rather uncommon nowadays.

graylion

From: graylion

13-Jul

schnuersi said:

Any insights on the original question? Not behond what I wrote above. I have to admit I find it difficult to grasp what the armed forces covenant actually does? Is it sort of a social service for soldiers funded by donations?

For somebody as rules based as us Germans it is hard to graps ;) It is a lot of things I think - but mostly it is a commitment by whoever signs it to do right by vets

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

13-Jul

gatnerd said:

I'm not sure how it is in Germany, but in the US, Firefighters are tremendously popular. Universally praised and getting quite a bit of affection from the ladies - full hero vibes.

Its different.
Firemen or the Firebrigade as such is the most trusted government agency by quite a margine and the most trusted profession overall.
There is nothing close to the hero cult common in the US though. In general the word hero is very rarely used.

I never realised a special treatment of firemen by the female part of the population. There is a saying that wearing a uniform does make you attractive. From personal experience I can say there might be something to it. But its rather uncommon these days to see people off duty in uniform in public.


 

gatnerd said:

but the men on the ground still went in and faced the fire, and are still very much deserving of our respect and admiration for doing so.

This is different. The majority of the German population is indifferent to the missions abroad. There is and has been comparable little main stream media coverage. What has been there rarely focussed on the troops but more on the people and the country. Therefore there is little identification. This is done deliberatly because the fact that Germany fought a war in Afgahnistan had to be hidden from the majority of the population. If this would have become public knowledge there would have been an outcry demanding immediate withdrawal. Ot at least this is what the politicians feared.

From my experience if someone encounters a veteran who is recognised as such or identifies himself most people are intrested and have a rather respectfull attitude. Some don't but these are the minority and easy to spot. Its also age dependent. Since we used to have the draft older males usuallyf did serve. So they have some connection.
It used to be like this in a room full of strangers: you could allways start talking about football, cars and the military. This would build an instant connection. Sadly this now only works in a room full of men above age 35.

JPeelen

From: JPeelen

13-Jul

Schnuersi has already described the situation in Germany regarding firemen. I would like to add: 

Most of the fire brigade system in Germany is manned by  volunteers. Only towns above a certain size are required to have a professional fire brigade. But even these also have volunteer units. The firemen are well trained and -compared to current Bundeswehr state- well equipped. Their equipment actually is in working order. They are effective and therefore highly regarded.

In smaller towns, the fire brigade volunteers as a group are an important part of social life. The typical fireman/-woman is "one of us". As Schnuersi already wrote, this is far from the hero cult literally every soldier tells us about, who has travelled to the US in uniform. We have had our fair share of hero cult already.   

               

  

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