Why do soldiers use combat boots

"Combat shoe system" armament problem : Soldiers have to wait up to a year and a half for new boots

As the new defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) has to tackle major armaments projects such as the next combat aircraft, the new heavy transport helicopter and the multi-purpose combat ship (MKS) 180. But there are also supposed equipment nonsense, which are of great relevance in the everyday life of the troops - the equipment with boots.

Soles come off, soldiers get blisters on their heels. Many of the women and men buy private shoes there - not approved by superiors, but tolerated. That is why the Ministry of Defense - still under Ursula von der Leyen - promised the armed forces new boots. Since 2016 it has been planned that instead of the “year-round shoe” they will receive two “combat shoes, heavy” and one “combat shoe, light”.

However, some of the soldiers have to wait up to a year and a half longer for their new boots than planned. This emerges from a reply from the Ministry of Defense to the FDP MP Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, which is available to the Tagesspiegel. In perfectly formed official German, it says: "The full implementation of the new combat shoe system for the armed forces will be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2022 according to current planning."

When asked by the Tagesspiegel in the Ministry of Defense: "Due to limited production capacities in the industry, this time approach could not be kept." The spokeswoman in charge did not give a specific number of how many of the soldiers currently have completely new shoes. Accordingly, "currently only a few" have a completely new set of combat shoes.

"Not a question of fashion, but of security"

According to the letter to the MPs, a good 160,000 of the almost 183,000 troop members now have a first pair of heavy, black combat shoes - but the second is still missing. And: only a good 31,000 soldiers have so far been able to call the lightweight combat shoe their own.

From the community

Television, child care and gender toilets - all well and good! But if soldiers fight in a crisis situation and possibly also have to run for their life, then suitable equipment must be there IMMEDIATELY!

... writes user TimMueller

The FDP defense politician Strack-Zimmermann criticizes: “It seems grotesque that it takes eight years to equip the entire troop with new shoes. After all, this is not a question of fashion, but of security. Just imagine firefighters putting out fires in slippers. "

More intensive care with a nubuck brush

The new, light combat boots are made of brown suede. The surface should not be sanded down so quickly in sandy locations. For this, the members of the armed forces now have to care for them more intensively with a spray and a nubuck brush - otherwise the surface will stick.

The new footwear had not only been tried out in practice by the troops in advance, but had even been tested in the laboratory. Among other things, it should be ensured that the footwear remains waterproof for at least 72 hours and is both heat-regulating and breathable. It must also be antistatic so that any sensitive equipment used by soldiers is not damaged.

The Defense Commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels recently criticized long waiting times for the new combat boots in his latest annual report. "Unfortunately, the dispensing process tarnishes the joy a bit," he noted. “Recruits, so the perception of many senior soldiers, would be given preferential treatment when issuing successor models.” Old hands who receive the previous model when they swap boots feel like second-class soldiers.

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