Germany

German Leopard 2 Tanks Practise Live-Firing At Sennelager

The Leopard 2, known for its 120mm smoothbore cannon, is one of the world’s best-selling main battle tanks.

Germany’s main battle tanks have been training on the British Army’s Sennelager Ranges. 

The ranges, near Paderborn in mid-west Germany, used to be the main training ground for 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade but the British Army’s last fighting units to be stationed in the country left last year.

Since then, the German military’s presence in Sennelager has increased.

Most recently, German reservists from 203rd Panzer Battalion have been training on the ranges in their Leopard 2 tanks, or 'German Heavy Metal', as Bundeswehr personnel like to call it.

Major Stephan Sehner, Company Commander, said the ranges are used as they are "especially suitable" for personnel to gain qualifications.

"The ranges also offer us the possibility to conduct live-fire training in such a way that it’s easily understood by fellow soldiers," he said.

While the ranges are still British-run, agreements are in place to allow German personnel training time for at least 10 weeks a year. 

This includes giving the reservist tank crews a chance to practise infantry skills.

The Leopard 2 is expected to be seen more often at the Sennelager Ranges in the future.

Corporal Lukas van Oberbeke, who was previously with another battalion in east Germany, said the training so far has been good.

"We can do what we’re trained to do," he told Forces News. "It’s an extensive area that is useful and convenient."

The Leopard 2, known for its 120mm smoothbore cannon, is one of the world’s best-selling main battle tanks.

It has a reputation for pinpoint accuracy and is expected to be seen more often at Sennelager. 

Three years ago, there were barely 200 Leopard 2s in the German Army, but soon there are expected to be more than 300. 

In November, British soldiers returned to the Sennelager Ranges for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19.

1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment trained on the facility using Warrior infantry vehicles.