Dutch soldiers are shouting 'bang, bang' because they've run out of bullets

A leaked email revealed that the shortage has become so acute it a number of compulsory shooting drills have been cancelled

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The Independent Online

Dutch soldiers have apparently been shouting “bang, bang” when they shoot their weapons because of an ammunition shortage.

Soldiers have been imitating gunfire during training drills after being told that they would no longer be able to use live bullets because too much ammunition has been used on international missions.

An email leaked from the country’s Defence Ministry to RTL Nieuws revealed the extent of the shortage, unveiling that the deficiency of ammunition has become so acute that it is creating major problems, including the cancellation of a number of compulsory shooting drills.

“I cannot make it better, but there's really no ammunition,” a section of the email. reportedly reads.

The lack of bullets is also having an impact on the troops’ moral according to military union VBM.

Jean Debie, chairman of VBM told De Standaard: 'Even if you have no bullets, you have to train with your weapon. That means you have to call out bang-bang-bang.”

“That is of course disastrous for the morale of the military. You do not want to do this to a professional.”

Major-General Harm de Jonge said that the lack of ammunition has meant that soldiers are not able to practise shooting and firing techniques regularly, hampering the soldiers' confidence levels, according to RTL Nieuws.

In response to the shortage the Dutch defence ministry told broadcasting company NOS that the problem was due to “high consumption” and “long delivery times”, adding that the soldiers would still be able to practise “as much as necessary”. 

Despite the dearth of ammunition, a report commissioned from the European Leadership Network shows that the Dutch government has raised its defence budget to €8 billon for this fiscal year, up from €7.6 billion last year.

The report said: “In fact, it is the first time for over a decade that Europe’s fifth-largest economy will spend more rather than less on defence.”