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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dutch Soldiers Firing Blanks

“Whoosh, whoosh,” said a fireman with no water in his hose. “Vroom, vroom,” said a cop with the cruiser on E. “Thump, thump,” said an ER medic minus a heart machine. Professionals on the job, imitating children—it sounds like a children’s book, but it’s reality for the Dutch army. 

An acute shortage of ammunition has plagued army personnel for years. It’s become so dire that compulsory shooting drills have been canceled and soldiers haven’t been able to practice their shooting skills for months. “Even if you have no bullets, you have to train with your weapon,” said Jean Debie, chairman of the military union VBM. “That means, as a soldier, you say ‘Bang, Bang!’”

Understandably, this child’s play has led to mounting frustration among soldiers. The Defense Ministry has acknowledged the problem and assures that, once additional funding is made available, stockpiles will be replenished.