In the absence of serious wars between serious countries since 1945, it’s difficult to approximate the “combat efficiency” of the various national militaries. All that’s available, it seems, are reference to history, national IQ, and anecdotal observations.
Nonetheless, I think there’s a couple of events that could be considered “international standardized tests” for this.
Strong Europe Tank Challenge
Crews from NATO and non-NATO partners compete in defensive/offensive mounted and dismounted operations. Platoons rotate throughout 12 events with 1,500 possible points in total.
|United States||5, 6||3||7|
The Germanics, and Scandinavians, uniformly do much better better than the rest – and it’s not necessarily due to them using Leopards either, which the Poles also use.
Now I am aware the modern German military is something of a meme, with Anglo MSM stories such as them using brooms instead of guns for training and whatnot. But apart from many of them probably being exaggerated, there’s also the factor of:
- Not many problems with SJWs/woke commissars, which I am informed have crippled British military capabilities in the past half decade. If anything, they have more of a problem with overly testosterone-fueled race war enthusiasts in the ranks.
- Their strong and highly consistent military record, registering ~25% superiority in combat efficiency over the Americans, British, and French in both the world wars.
Trevor Dupuy in A Genius for War suggests that this tradition of excellence was not destroyed in 1945:
Experience to date of the West German armed forces — happily never tested in battle — suggests that the strong efforts to ensure a measure of civilization and democratization within the Army, as well as the continuation of strong civilian controls, have not resulted in an inefficient, ineffective Army. Superficial evidence suggests that the units of that Army are functioning within the NATO framework with efficiency at least comparable to that of the two other major military NATO partners, the United States and Great Britain. … American officers who have seen West German training and maneuvers have commented with respect and admiration on the efficiency of German performance, and the capability of German troops to react quickly, flexibly, and effectively to unforeseen maneuver circumstances. West German General Staff officers have demonstrated outstanding capabilities on the various NATO staffs.
My guess is that the Germans could still put up a very good showing against Anglos or Poles if it came to it, and they had the requisite morale.
Biathlon World Championship
The tank biathlon is a mechanised military sport event promoted by the Russian military with some similarities to the winter sport of biathlon. It utilizes the complex training of tank crews including their rough terrain passing skills combined with the ability to provide accurate and rapid fire while performing maneuvers.
The table shows the teams’ places in each of the world championships. For 2nd division teams, the first number is the place within the division, and the second number is the absolute place. The teams are ranked according to their average (absolute) place.
Clear correlation with national IQ, as well as stereotype-based assessments of military proficiency.
Slavs and Chinese at the top. India not far behind – while the average is unimpressive, it has a billion people to draw from, including some very high IQ groups as well as “martial races”. The Africans are at the bottom – Chad Chad aside, they usually make Arabs look competent in military matters.
Unfortunately, no country that participates in the “Eurasian” tank biathlons also participates in the “Atlanticist” NATO games, so it’s not clear how to establish a common basis of comparison.
Russia, followed by China (Belorussians/Kazakhs being ~Russians), are consistently at the top. However, it is Russia’s event, and it probably puts the most effort into it, so I wouldn’t necessarily automatically put it above China. My guess is that Russia and China would be Poland-Anglo/French tier in a common ranking?
UPDATE: Canadian Army Trophy
h/t @whyvert in comments.
The Canadian Army Trophy (CAT) was a tank gunnery competition established to foster excellence, camaraderie and competition among the armoured forces of the NATO countries in Western Europe.
Germans again dominate:
|Year||Team/Squadron/Company||Nation||Tank||Best Platoon or Section||Nation||Tank|
|1963||4e Lanciers||BEL||M-47 Patton||–||–||–|
|1964||4e Lanciers||BEL||M-47 Patton||–||–||–|
|1965||Royal Scots Greys||UK||Centurion Mk.5||–||–||–|
|1966||13th/18th Royal Hussars (QMO)||UK||Centurion||–||–||–|
|1967||B Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (RC)||CAN||Centurion||–||–||–|
|1968||1er Lanciers||BEL||M-47 Patton||–||–||–|
|1970||16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers||UK||Chieftain Mk.3||16th/5th The Queen’s Royal Lancers||UK||Chieftain Mk.3|
|1973||3. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 83||FRG||Leopard 1||Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars||UK||Chieftain|
|1975||3. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 84||FRG||Leopard 1 A1||3. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 84||FRG||Leopard 1 A1|
|1977||Royal Canadian Dragoons||CAN||Leopard 1 A2||B Squadron, 11 Tankbataljon||NLD||Leopard 1|
|1979||2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 284||FRG||Leopard 1 A4||2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 284||FRG||Leopard 1 A4|
|1981||4. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 294||FRG||Leopard 1 A4||4. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 294||FRG||Leopard 1 A4|
|1983||CENTAG (West Germany)||FRG||Leopard 1 A4||1. Zug, 2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 293||FRG||Leopard 1 A4|
|1985||NORTHAG (Netherlands)||NLD||Leopard 2||2. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 244||FRG||Leopard 2 A1|
|1987||CENTAG (United States)||USA||M1 Abrams IP||1 Platoon, D Company, 4/8th Cavalry||USA||M1 Abrams IP|
|1989||NORTHAG (Netherlands)||NLD||Leopard 2 A4||4 Platoon, A Eskadron, 41 Tankbataljon||NLD||Leopard 2 A4|
|1991||NORTHAG (Germany)||GER||Leopard 2 A4||3. Zug, 4. Kompanie, Panzerbataillon 84||GER||Leopard 2 A4|
Military World Games
This is just an Olympics for people who happen to be soldiers, so doesn’t mean much. Volleyball proficiency isn’t going to do you much good on a battlefield.
Annual Warrior Competition
Combat-oriented competition for the world’s special forces running since 2009. But I can’t find any convenient set of statistics for all years and I’m not sure it’s worthwhile expending the effort, as it doesn’t seem to be something that’s taken very seriously by the major countries (e.g. Brunei special forces took #1 and #3 place in 2019).
Over all, too little data/not standardized enough to be of much worth as an input into attempts to quantify national military power. But might be of use as a plausibility check.