The Bundeswehr has been flying supplies to, and medevacing patients from, its European neighbors.
“Good job the Germans sent Britain some ventilator,” a Twitter user named @AlenaGermangirl tweeted last week.
“How many? When? They’ve not exactly been rushing to Italy’s help,” Andrew Neil, one of Britain’s most famous journalists, tweeted back.
Britain’s celebrated master of the political interview was clearly behind on the news. Two days previously, the Bundeswehr had donated 60 of its own ventilators to the UK and was now delivering them. Given that Germany’s military is often ridiculed for the poor state of its equipment, its generous act towards the UK with its celebrated armed forces should have been cause for jubilation. Yet the donation didn’t make the headlines — a bit odd in a country that has recently seen senior politicians lambaste Germany amid the Brexit debate.
The UK is not the only recent recipient of Bundeswehr assistance. On March 28, at the peak of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, the Bundeswehr’s Airbus A310 Medevac – a flying intensive-care unit — airlifted six Italian coronavirus patients from the hotspot of Bergamo to Cologne hospitals. The next day the Luftwaffe was on international coronavirus duty again. An A400M transport aircraft flew to Strasbourg and brought two French coronavirus patients to Stuttgart, where ground-based colleagues transported them to the Bundeswehr’s hospital in Ulm. On the same day, the A310 Medevac made another trip to Bergamo and collected another six coronavirus patients. Four were airlifted to Hamburg and brought to local hospitals, while the other two were flown to Cologne and brought to a hospital in the nearby city of Koblenz.
My father was a naval officer, and one of my uncles died at Dunkirk in 1940. That doesn’t immediately give you any expertise on military matters, but I also studied international relations and geopolitics. I have worked in think-tanks specialising more in defence and security issues. I take a professional break for family reasons and I spend some time writing about my professional subjects.