British Army Ran Out of Ammunition in Eight Days During Simulation, US Lieutenant General Reveals
18:02 GMT 07.07.2021 (Updated: 13:38 GMT 06.08.2022)
A former commanding general of the US Army, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, was speaking to British parliamentarians on the Defence Select Committee when he revealed that "ammunition expenditures go off the charts when you get into a serious, high-end, force-on-force conflict".
He told the MPs that the “entire British Army's inventory” was finished before the end of a 10-day exercise designed to test the country’s ability to plan and conduct large-scale modern combat operations in a realistic multi-domain simulation.
Around 1,300 British troops as well as the French and US militaries were part of the simulation.
“Exercises have got to take organisations to the point of failure, otherwise you never really can find out where the weaknesses are, the vulnerabilities, such as can units communicate with each other while they are being under massive cyberattack, when systems, GPS, get knocked out, those kind of things”, he said.
According to Mr Hodges, the UK's 3rd Division ran out of ammunition after eight days.
“Now this was a computerised simulation but nonetheless that has been my experience as well, that ammunition expenditures go off the charts when you get into a serious, high-end, force-on-force conflict. So no, we absolutely do not have enough of the critical munitions that we need, especially what is called the preferred munitions, the ones that are precise in targeting. And in the US there is only one factory that makes them and so the industrial side of this is obviously a vulnerability”, Mr Hodges said.
The UK's 3rd Division has been part of the exercise every two years since 2017.
In 2021 a multinational warfighting corps was formed in the simulation, including a French division and a UK brigade integrated in a US division. The exercise included over 17,000 troops, contractors, and senior military advisers.