Commander Field Army Questions German Drawdown
Lt Gen. Patrick Sanders Voices Concern Over British Army’s withdrawal from Germany
The Commander Field Army, Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders, has questioned the reasoning behind the British Army’s withdrawal from Germany. Speaking at a parade of the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade in Paderborn, Germany, the General said “I do ask myself why we’re leaving”.
Over 1,400 soldiers of the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade marched through Paderborn for the Freedom of Paderborn Parade on June 29. With bayonets fixed and flying the colours, the soldiers were accompanied by military bands from the Queen’s Division, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the 7th Battalion, The Rifles Regiment. Other units included the 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS), 3 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME, 35 Engineer Regiment, 1 Armoured medical Regiment and the 26th Regiment Royal Artillery.
Addressing the parade, Lt Gen. Sanders said:
Each time I come here I reflect on the amazing military facilities that we have, the sense of military community and the warmth of the local community, the fact that we are close to our allies and we’re on the right side of the Channel and I do ask myself why we’re leaving. I really have no idea but we’ve been told to.
He ended by promising that “I am determined to maintain the strongest links both personally but also as the British Army with this town. These will not be the last British soldiers you see in Paderborn.”
However, Brigadier Richard Clements, Commander British Forces Germany (BFG), repeated the official position:
It’s really important that the Government decision, which was that all major units will rebase in the summer of 2019 and on to 2020, will take place. If you think you’re staying, you’re not. You will be going if you’re in a major unit.
Speculation will no doubt continue.
Image: The British Army’s 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS), Freedom of Paderborn Parade, 29 June 2018 (Army Press Office, Crown Copyright, 2018).