On Tuesday, the German Defense Minister revealed an agreement was reached for producing new ammunition for their self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, which had been given to Ukraine. This agreement addressed the issues encountered when searching for ammunition from other sources.

The ability to source munitions for the Gepard anti-aircraft guns sent to Ukraine by the German government was a significant victory in Kyiv’s fight against regular Russian bombardments. 

One of Germany’s most iconic and successful rounds since World War II is the MG 151/20 20mm autocannon round. It was developed during that time as an aircraft armament and saw extensive use in numerous combat situations during the war. The round features an armor-piercing incendiary projectile with a high muzzle velocity, making it incredibly effective against enemy tanks and aircraft. This particular type of ammunition has been used in many different vehicles and weapons over the years, including those employed by Ukrainian forces today.

Another popular round developed by Germany after World War II was the 30 mm MK 108 autocannon round. This ammunition was explicitly designed for a range of aerial combat uses and was known for its heavy firepower capability and rapid-fire capabilities due to its lightweight construction. In addition, this type of round was considered fairly accurate and was capable of penetrating armor plates up to 20mm thick at short ranges. These rounds are still used on several types of defense systems worldwide, including those used by Ukraine’s armed forces today. 

After World War II, the Germans also put into production their 88mm L/71 tank gun round, which is commonly referred to as “the king of tank guns.” This powerful shell featured a high penetrative power, allowing it to penetrate more than 100mm thickness at 500 meters from the target location upon firing. The 88mm became so popular that it was used on multiple platforms such as self-propelled howitzers, antitank guns, and even anti-aircraft guns like those received by Ukraine from Germany recently. 

Panzerfaust 3
Unguided antitank weapon Dynamite Nobel Panzerfaust 3 in Germany military use, Letzlingen 2019 (Source: Boevaya mashina/Wikimedia Commons)

Finally, another impressive ordinance created after World War II came about through German engineering was their Panzerfaust 3 rocket launcher system, or PzF 3 for short. Originally designed primarily to destroy tanks and armored personnel carriers, this weapon has become highly versatile in various scenarios due to its ability to shoot multiple types of rounds, such as anti-personnel grenades and smoke bombs, as well as armor-piercing rounds made out of depleted uranium (DU). This system is seen widely throughout Europe and beyond today due partly to its reliability regarding reliable destruction power potentially needed in conflict situations near Kyiv’s border with Russia or elsewhere within Ukraine. 

In conclusion, it goes without saying that ever since World War II, German forces have consistently developed some of the world’s best munitions on earth, with each successive generation seeing improvement over its previous one in terms of quality and performance capabilities. With such quality weaponry now available to Ukraine’s defensive forces via Germany’s Gepard anti-aircraft gun shipment, they should be able to find more tremendous success when attempting to protect themselves against Russia’s increasing bombardment threats.  

Since late April, the German government has sent 32 of their Gepard anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine, promising 37 total. As they have not been used by their military since 2012, the firearms originated from the reserve inventory of the defense sector.

Kyiv has been facing a dilemma in obtaining additional munitions for their guns due to the need for a strong defense against regular Russian missile and drone bombardments. This had become a significant concern for them.

For many months, Germany has endeavored to get Switzerland, a neutral country, to allow exports of Gepard munitions to Ukraine, which are held in Swiss stockpiles and had been produced by a Rheinmetall subsidiary. But unfortunately, these attempts have yet to be successful.

Olaf Scholz
Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor of Germany speaking in the Special Address by Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor of Germany session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland (Source: World Economic Forum/Flickr)

When German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Brazil last month, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made it clear that Brazil would not be involved in any way with the war in Ukraine and would not provide Germany with any ammunition that they may have in stock.

As he attended a conference with other allies of Ukraine in Brussels on Tuesday, Boris Pistorius, the defense minister, reported that contracts have been finalized to create new ammunition in Germany.

“That means we will now start our own production of Gepard ammunition at Rheinmetall without delay,” Pistorius told reporters. “I am very happy that this succeeded because it better secures our independence and faster delivery.”

He added, “the negotiations with Switzerland took time, and in the end we were of the opinion that it is better to go our own way faster so as not to be dependent on them.”