No, it isn’t the first of April in the middle of August. This is the story about the current situation in the Dutch Army (Royal Netherlands Army), an army that employs just short of 23,000 people in a country populated by 17.4 million people. In 2019 the Dutch Army’s expenditure was €10.860 billion ($12.419 billion), but it’s apparent that the money isn’t enough even for basic training.
In an article published by De Standaard magazine, it is said that the shortage is now so bad that the soldiers have to shout “bang-bang” instead of using actual ammunition. Officers say that this had a bad impact on the morale of the soldiers, as they still have to train with their issued firearms.
The ammunition shortage has been around for many years, but the situation is now so bad that the soldiers are getting frustrated. The shortage is the result of high utilization on foreign missions and long delivery times, but in reality, it is most likely the result of cutbacks.
The standard service carbine in the Royal Netherlands Army is the Colt Canada with an Aimpoint red dot sight. The firearm uses the 5.56x45mm NATO round.
I have to admit that I have shouted “bang-bang” as well on exercises, but only when my rifle was using blanks anyway and I was too lazy to clean it. I would never let go of an opportunity to let some free (for me) live ammunition go down-range.
On the positive side. Over the years TFB has shared a lot of interesting stories and photos from the Dutch Army, especially from their Commando Corps. through the work of Hille James Combat Photographer.
How bad is the ammunition shortage where you live? Did you ever have to shout “bang-bang” instead of using live ammunition?