German Army at the Pacific
Ground forces of the German Bundeswehr will participate in a combat exercise in Australia this summer, in a follow-up to its naval and airborne exercises in the Asia-Pacific region.
CANBERRA/BERLIN (Own report) – The German Bundeswehr is preparing to dispatch ground forces to a major exercise in the Asia-Pacific region. The Bundeswehr announced that “alongside troops from the sea battalion and the air force” an infantry company from the army will also be dispatched this summer, for the first time, to Australia to participate in the Talisman Sabre 2023 combat exercises. The Talisman Sabre maneuvers are being held every two years and are reputed to be Australia and the United States’ largest joint training operations. Participants include Japan and South Korea and, according to reports, also France, whose colony New Caledonia is not far away from the exercise region, which covers areas of Australia’s state of Queensland and the Coral Sea. Over the past two years, Bundeswehr units have been dispatched to combat exercises in the Asia-Pacific region: From August 2021 to February 2022 the frigate Bayern, in the summer of 2022 an air force squadron. Both will be continued next year. The Asia-Pacific exercises are being conducted alongside new NATO operations in the region – and are intensifying the escalation of the power struggle against China.
Talisman Sabre exercises, combining armed forces from Australia and the United States, are being conducted biennially since 2005. Both countries’ ground, air and naval forces are regularly participating. Troops from other countries are also involved. The exercise series is reputed to be Australia and the Unites States’ largest joint military training and are usually conducted in Australia’s northeastern state of Queensland and the Coral Sea off its coast. Protests have repeatedly taken place in the past, because the maneuver threatens also to damage the Great Barrier Reef. Two years ago, the exercise included around 17,000 soldiers from seven countries. In 2017, around 30,000 troops from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan conducted the largest amphibious landing involving Australian forces, since WWII. A participating US officer said the Talisman Sabre exercise proved that the US and its Pacific allies could form a unified and capable naval force “in a matter of days.”
For the first time, Germany will be participating in Talisman Sabre 2023, which, according to the Australian armed forces, will be held from July 21 to August 4. According to information from the Bundeswehr, “alongside troops of the sea battalion and the air force ... an infantry company of the army” will be dispatched to Australia for these combat exercises, where, among other things, they will “conduct airmobile operations in a challenging scenario under the command of a major Australian force.” This will take place “in cooperation with other partners in the region.” Alongside the USA and Australia, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia have been named. According to reports, France, which has bases and troops in its colony of New Caledonia to the southeast of the Coral Sea, will also participate in these maneuvers. In addition, apparently the USA has successfully been able to win the participation of three of the Pacific island countries – New Guinea, Fiji, and Tonga – to take part in the Talisman Sabre exercises. This is of a certain significance, given the fact that escalation of the power struggle between the USA and China has long since implicated the pacific Islands. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.
With its participation in Talisman Sabre 2023, the Bundeswehr is expanding its footprint in the Asia-Pacific realm. The frigate Bayern was the initiator, when it set sail, in August 2021, on an extensive Asia-Pacific cruise, which, by the time it returned home in February 2022, had included stops in Australia, Japan and several Pacific islands, including the US colony of Guam. Guam is a central US base for engagement against China. The frigate Bayern had previously made a refueling port call at Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean, which, according to the rulings of two UN courts, is being held as a colony by Great Britain in violation of international law. It serves the United States as a central military base for operations all around the Indian Ocean. The Frigate did not make a detour to visit the French colonies of New Caledonia and French Polynesia. In the coming year, the German Navy will dispatch, for the first time, a small fleet to the Pacific– “with embarked staff, through the Panama Canal” announced the Inspector of the Navy, Jan Christian Kaack, in June 2022. The route across the Pacific from the Panama Canal is the southern route, passing by French Polynesia.
A Show of Force
Last year, the German Air Force had also participated for the first time in combat exercises in the Asia-Pacific region. Within the framework of the largest relocation in their history, 13 aircraft – fighter planes, transporters and tankers – were sent in August 2022, to Australia, initially for the large-scale maneuvers Pitch Black and the Exercise Kakadu. In Pitch Black, Australia’s largest Air Force combat exercise with international participation, around 2,500 soldiers from 17 countries, using about 100 military aircraft are taking part. Exercise Kakadu integrated more than 3,000 soldiers from 25 countries with 19 warships and 34 military aircraft. German Eurofighters were subsequently dispatched to exercises in Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. Germany’s Air Force Inspector, at the time, Ingo Gerhartz, explained that the entire deployment could definitely be understood as a “show of force.” At the end of their joint exercises in late September 2022, Gerhartz and the Chief of Staff of the Japanese Air Force, Shunji Izutsu, announced the bilateral military cooperation will be resumed within the framework of the Pitch Black 2024 Air Force exercises, at the latest.
“Great Power Competition”
The Bundeswehr underpins its growing participation in the Asia-Pacific realm maneuvers by having their General Staff/Admiral Staff National Training Course (LGAN) 2021 focus on the theme of “Great Power competition in the Indo-Pacific – Possibilities and Limits for Tasks and Contributions by the German Armed Forces.” The LGAN serves for the training of military command personnel. It is a two-year course at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff Academy in Hamburg. The results of LGAN 2021 will be presented in June of this year. In the course of its work, the contents are closely coordinated with the political-military leadership in Berlin via the Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn. Even though, in light of the bitterly waged power struggle against Russia, the Bundeswehr will continue to focus mainly on Europe, according to LGAN, it must, however, also be able to operate in the Asia-Pacific realm. LGAN goes on to say that “the principle of minilateralism” – based on informal cooperation of individual selected countries – will be applied. The two states – Japan and Australia – with which the Bundeswehr is particularly closely cooperating within the framework of the Asia-Pacific maneuvers could serve as the main pillars.
The German Asia-Pacific maneuvers are simultaneously taking place with new NATO activities in the region, that are militarily underpinning the West’s power struggle against China. german-foreign-policy.com will soon report.
 Military exercises put the Great Barrier Reef in danger – Media Release 15 July 2021. ipan.org.au.
 Dzirhan Mahadzir: Admiral: Talisman Sabre Proves U.S., Allies Can Create Pacific Naval Force in Days. news.usni.org 29.07.2021.
 Übungen sind die Währung der Abschreckung. bundeswehr.de 13.02.2023.
 Sam LaGrone: Australians, French Avoid AUKUS Talk in Paris Ministerial Meeting, Commit to More Pacific Operations. news.usni.org 30.01.2023.
 Joint Statement on Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2022. pacom.mil 07.12.2022.
 See also Deutschlands Pazifikambitionen.
 See also Die Fregatte Bayern auf Kolonialfahrt (II).
 See also Illegally Occupied Islands.
 Inspekteur der Marine Vizeadmiral Jan Christian Kaack: 100 Tage im Amt: „Kursbestimmung 2022”. In See, 27. Juni 2022.
 See also Die zweite Front der Bundeswehr.
 Antonia Yamin: 6 Eurofighter in 24 Stunden nach Asien. bild.de 15.08.2022.
 Martin Fritz: Deutsche Eurofighter über Fuji. taz.de 29.09.2022.
 „Mini” statt „Multi” im Indo-Pazifik. bundeswehr.de 15.02.2023.