Germany's military is so underfunded its troops used BROOMSTICKS painted black as mock weapons during a Nato defence exercise.
But the highly embarrassing episode, revealed in a leaked report, is just the beginning of the country's woes as it fights to reverse chronic army shortages.
It comes as Donald Trump has vowed to make Chancellor Angela Merkel increase her defence spending to reach the minimum spending obligations all Nato members must adhere to.
General Harald Kujat, a former chief of staff of the German armed forces, later described it as a "huge embarrassment".
The unit was supposed to be ready to deploy whenever a Nato member was threatened, he warned.
He added: "If that is not the case, then both for Nato, and for the Federal Republic of Germany, this is a huge embarrassment," The Telegraph reported.
And a spokesperson for the Defence Ministry stated: "In the case of the Boxer armoured vehicle, it was being used as a mobile headquarters, and a weapon is not foreseen and not necessary for a mobile headquarters.
"It was not a fighting vehicle. So we have no explanation why the soldiers would simulate a weapon."
In 2015 it also emerged the German military was using ordinary civilian Mercedes vans as stand-ins for armoured personnel carriers.
And The Times today reports all six of the country's submarines were recently put out of service at the same time due to various repairs.https://archive.fo/YbuJahttps://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6743568/germany-soldiers-broomsticks-nato-donald-trump-angela-merkel-defence-spending/