In action: the Bundeswehr has been supporting the civil authorities since the start of the corona pandemic
Photo: Kay Nietfeld / Getty Images
The Bundeswehr is preparing for a nationwide corona emergency.
The responsible Lieutenant General Martin Schelleis wants to mobilize up to 12,000 soldiers as quickly as possible to support the overburdened clinics and health departments.
In addition, uniformed helpers should be available for booster vaccinations and the expansion of rapid tests in front of nursing homes and hospitals.
Schelleis, who, as the inspector of the armed forces base, has been leading the Bundeswehr's corona aid mission since the beginning of the pandemic, sent a corresponding template to the armed forces department on Friday. According to this, 6,000 uniformed helpers should be ready by the end of November, and a good 12,000 by Christmas time. The ministry is calling for the Bundeswehr to be available for all necessary aid.
The Bundeswehr figures illustrate how serious the situation will develop in the coming months. The force only had more than 10,000 soldiers deployed during the critical phases of the pandemic in winter 2020 and spring 2021. Because of the explosive nature of the current situation, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) will also take part in Chancellor Merkel's crisis round with the federal states next Thursday.
The Bundeswehr is responding to the escalating corona situation in Germany with mass mobilization. The force currently has a good 3,000 soldiers ready to support civilian facilities, and according to a current situation report, almost 630 of them are deployed. However, the crisis team has registered an increasing number of so-called administrative assistance requests with which the municipalities request emergency aid from the Bundeswehr in the past few days.
Currently, the calls for help come mostly from Thuringia, Saxony and Bavaria, as the corona incidences are rising sharply there.
Almost two thirds of all deployed forces are deployed in the three federal states, in western Germany, however, there is currently hardly any administrative assistance from the Bundeswehr.
From next week at the latest, however, the crisis team expects that requests for helpers in uniform will come from almost all federal states.
The Corona General warns of a "difficult winter"
Last week, the commander of the armed forces base prepared his troops for a "heavy winter" by order of the day. Schelleis warned everyone to finally get vaccinated or to strengthen their personal protection with a booster vaccination. A good 75 percent of all members of the Bundeswehr are vaccinated, but doctors would like a higher vaccination rate. There are currently almost 800 corona infected people in the troop.
So far, the Bundeswehr has only made vaccination compulsory for the various missions abroad; domestically, the military leadership has not been able to prevail against the resistance of the staff representatives.
Despite the vaccination rate of 100 percent, there have been several vaccination breakthroughs in the past few days, six soldiers tested positive in Mali and another in Kosovo.
But none of them are seriously ill.
The modelers in the Bundeswehr's crisis team believe they can predict what is in store for Germany based on their experience with the corona pandemic.
According to their calculations, the fourth wave will hit Germany with full force almost exactly around Christmas.
A slight relaxation can be expected at the beginning of February at the earliest.
Internally, the commanders have already adjusted the relevant units so that a peaceful Christmas with the family will probably not work this year either.