British Army 'ran out of ammo in eight days in online war simulation'

British Army ‘ran out of ammunition in just eight days of fighting’ in simulated 10-day online war exercise, warns ex-commander of the US Army in Europe

  • Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said UK Army ran out of ammo in online exercise
  • Recent ‘Warfighter’ simulation saw British Army exhaust supplies in eight days 
  • Said ‘ammunition expenditures go off the charts’ during ‘force on force conflict’

The British Army ran out of ammunition after just eight days during a recent online war simulation, the former commander of the US Army in Europe has warned. 

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, a retired US officer, told MPs that the ‘entire British Army’s inventory’ was exhausted and ‘every bit of important ammunition was expended’ before the 10-day exercise finished.  

Mr Hodges said while it was a computerised simulation it illustrated that ‘ammunition expenditures go off the charts when you get into a serious, high end, force on force conflict’.

The comments are likely to spark concerns about the UK’s ability to fight another prolonged conventional war. 

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, a retired US officer, told MPs that the ‘entire British Army’s inventory’ was exhausted and ‘every bit of important ammunition was expended’ before the 10-day exercise finished

The comments by Mr Hodges are likely to spark concerns about the UK’s ability to fight another prolonged conventional war. Boris Johnson is pictured at the Aldershot Garrison on June 24 

War games involving the US, the UK and France took place four months ago, with the UK’s 3rd Division taking part.

The so-called ‘Warfighter’ simulation saw 1,300 British troops fighting alongside their French and US counterparts in a realistic modern combat situation. 

The exercise was due to last for 10 days but the UK 3rd Division ran out of ammunition after eight days, Mr Hodges said.

He told the Defence Select Committee: ‘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 cyber attack, when systems, GPS, gets knocked out, those kind of things.

‘As we discovered in this latest Warfighter exercise in which 3 UK Div participated.

‘In about eight days of exercises, every bit of important ammunition was expended, in the entire British Army’s inventory.

‘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.’

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