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Armed Forces of Germany

Military manpower
mandatory 18 years of
Military age
males age 18-49:
18,917,537 (2005 est.)
Fit for military males age 18-49:
service 15,258,931 (2005 est.)
Reaching military males: 497,048 (2005
age annually est.)
€27.9 bln. (FY06)
(approx. $33 bln.)
Percent of GDP 1.3% (FY06)
Commander-in-Chief Franz-Josef Jung
Inspector General Wolfgang Schneiderhan

The Bundeswehr (Federal Defense Force) is the organization that controls and
administers the armed forces of Germany.
General information
The Bundeswehr is a federal defence force with Army (Heer), Navy (Marine), Air Force (Luftwaffe),
Joint Service Support Command (Streitkräftebasis), and Central Medical Services (Zentraler
Sanitätsdienst) branches.

The Bundeswehr has some 250,000 military personnel, 50,000 of whom are 18 to 25 year-old conscripts
who serve for at least nine months under current rules. The number of civilian employees is to be
reduced to 75,000 during the coming years.

Women have served in the medical service since 1975. In 2000, in a lawsuit brought up by Tanja Kreil,
the European Court of Justice issued a ruling allowing women to serve in more roles than previously
allowed. Since 2001 they can serve in all functions of service without restriction, but they are not subject
to conscription. There are presently around 13,000 women on active duty and a number of female
reservists who take part in all duties including peacekeeping missions and other operations.
The Cold War period 1955-1990
Germany had been without its own armed forces since the Wehrmacht was dissolved in the years
following World War II. Some smaller forces continued to exist as Border guard or naval minesweeping
units, but not as a national defence force. The responsibility for the security of Germany as a whole
rested with the four Allied Powers: the U.S., the UK, France, and the Soviet Union. Germany was
completely demilitarised and any plans for a German military were forbidden by Allied regulations.

There was a discussion between the United States, the United Kingdom, and France over the issue of a
revived German military. In particular, France was reluctant to allow Germany to rearm in light of
recent history. However, after the project for a European Defence Community failed in the French
National Assembly in 1954, France agreed to West German accession to NATO and rearmament.

With growing tensions between the Soviet Union and the West especially after the Korean War, this
policy was to be revised. While East Germany was already secretly rearming, the seeds of a new West
German force started in 1950, when former high ranking German officers were tasked by chancellor
Konrad Adenauer to discuss the options for West German rearmament. The results of a meeting in the
monastery of Himmerod formed the conceptual base to build the new armed forces in West Germany.
The "Amt Blank" (Bureau Blank, named after its director Theodor Blank), the predecessor of the later
Federal Ministry of Defence, was formed the same year to prepare the establishment of the future forces.
Hasso von Manteuffel, a former general of the Wehrmacht and liberal politician, submitted the name
Bundeswehr for the new forces. This name was later confirmed by the German Bundestag.

The Bundeswehr was officially established on the 200th birthday of Scharnhorst in 1955. After an
amendment of the Basic Law in 1955, West Germany became a member of NATO. In 1956,
conscription for all men between the ages of 18 and 45 was introduced, later augmented by a civil
alternative with longer duration (see Conscription in Germany). In parallel, East Germany formed its
own military force, the Nationale Volksarmee which was eventually dissolved with the reunifcation of
Germany in 1990.

A former Luftwaffe F-104 Starfighter at Le Bourget

During the Cold War the Bundeswehr was the backbone of NATO's conventional defense in Central
Europe. It had a strength of 495,000 military and 170,000 civilian personnel. The Army consisted of
three corps with 12 divisions, most of them heavily armed with tanks and APCs. The Air Force owned
significant numbers of tactical combat aircraft and took part in NATOs integrated air defence
(NATINAD). The Navy was tasked and equipped to defend the Baltic Approaches, to provide escort
reinforcement and resupply shipping in the North Sea and to contain the Soviet Baltic Fleet.

Unification of West and East Germany 1990

After reunification in 1990, the Bundeswehr was reduced to 370,000 military personnel in accordance
with the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany between the two German governments
and the Allies (2+4 Treaty). The former East German Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) was disbanded. A
small portion of its personnel and material were absorbed into the Bundeswehr.

About 50,000 Volksarmee personnel were integrated into the Bundeswehr on 2 October 1990. This
figure was rapidly reduced as conscripts and short-term volunteers completed their service. A number of
senior officers (but no generals or admirals) received limited contracts for up to two years to continue
daily operations. Personnel remaining in the Bundeswehr were awarded new contracts and new
Bundeswehr ranks, dependent on their individual qualification and experience. Many received and
accepted a lower rank than previously held in the Volksarmee. These were seen as demotions by critics.

In general, the unification process of the military - under the slogan "Armee der Einheit"/"Army of
Unity" - is publicly seen as a major success and an example for other parts of the society.

With the reduction, a large amount of the military hardware of the Bundeswehr, as well as of the
Volksarmee, had to be disposed of. A majority of armored vehicles and fighter jet aircraft were
dismantled under international disarmament procedures. Ships were scrapped or sold, often to the Baltic
states and Indonesia, the latter receiving 39 former Volksmarine vessels of various types.
The role of the Bundeswehr is described in the German Basic Law (Art. 87a) as defensive only. After
1990, the international situation had changed from East-West-confrontation to general uncertainty and
instability. Today, after a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in 1994 the term defence has been
defined to not only include protection of the borders of Germany, but also crisis reaction and conflict
prevention - or more broadly as guarding the security of Germany anywhere in the world. According to
the definition given by former Defence Minister Struck, it may be necessary to defend Germany even at
the Hindu Kush. This requires the Bundeswehr to take part in operations outside of the borders of
Germany, as part of NATO or the European Union and mandated by the UN.

Organization and command structure

With the growing number of missions abroad it was recognized that the Bundeswehr required a totally
new command structure. A reform commission under the chairmanship of the former Federal President
Richard von Weizsäcker presented its recommendations in spring 2000.

In October 2000 the Joint Service Support Command, the Streitkräftebasis, was established to
concentrate logistics and other supporting functions such as military police and communications under
one command. Medical support was reorganized with the establishment of the Central Medical Services.

The combat forces of the Army are organized into 5 combat divisions and also participates in multi-
national command structures at the corps level. There are 3 divisions in the Air Force and 2 flotillas in
the Navy. The Central Medical Services and the Joint Service Support Command are each organized
into four regional commands. All of these services also have general commands for training,
procurement, and other general issues. The Joint Service Support Command and the Central Medical
Services are both organized in four regional commands of identical shape.

The minister of defense or the chancellor is supported by the Chief of defense (CHOD,
Generalinspekteur) and the service chiefs (Inspekteure) and their respective staffs in his or her function
as commander-in-chief. The CHOD and the service chiefs form the Military Command Council
(Militärischer Führungsrat) with functions similar to those of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the United
States. Subordinate to the CHOD is the Armed Forces Operational Command
(Einsatzführungskommando). For smaller missions one of the service HQs (e.g. the Fleet Command)
exercise command and control of German armed forces on missions abroad.

The Bundeswehr in general is still among the world's most technologically advanced and well-supplied
militaries, as befits Germany's overall economic prosperity and infrastructure. Its budget is, however,
steadily shrinking and among the lowest military budgets in NATO in terms of share of GDP.

An infantryman stands at the ready with his G36 during a practice exercise in 2004 (Photo: US

Frigate "Karlsruhe" of the German Navy rescuing shipwrecked people off the coast of Somalia
which it is patrolling

Naval Air Wing 5 helicopter Sea King Mk41 in special 30th anniversary colour scheme at Weston-
super-Mare, UK, July 2005
Vehicle of the Sanitätsdienst

Vehicle of the Feldjäger

Since the early 1990s the Bundeswehr has become more and more engaged in international operations in
and around the former Yugoslavia, and also in other parts of the world like Cambodia or Somalia. After
the September 11, 2001 attacks, German forces were employed in most related theaters except Iraq.

Currently there are Bundeswehr forces in:

 Afghanistan
o 2,824 personnel
 Kosovo
o 3,006 personnel
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
o EUFOR (former SFOR)
o 881 personnel
o since 2 December 2004 under European Union Command
 Georgia
o 11 personnel
 Ethiopia and Eritrea
o 2 personnel
 Horn of Africa/Indian Ocean
o Enduring Freedom
o 333 personnel
 Frigates
 Maritime Patrol Aircraft
 Mediterranean Sea
o Active Endeavour
o 190 personnel
 1 Frigate
 1 Submarine
 Sudan
o 36 personnel
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
o 743 Soldiers and Personnel
o Starting July 31 2006 the Bundeswehr will secure Kongo's Capital
Kinshasa while parliamentary and presidential elections are held.
 Coast of Lebanon
o up to 2400 personnel
 2 Frigates
 4 Fast Patrol Boats
 1 Fleet Supply Ship
 1 Tender

In support of Allied stabilization efforts in Iraq, the Bundeswehr is also training the new Iraqi forces in
locations outside Iraq, such as the United Arab Emirates and Germany.
Former German military organizations have been the Reichswehr (1921-1935) and the Wehrmacht
(1935-1945). The Bundeswehr, however, does not consider itself as their successor and does not follow
the traditions of any former German military organization. The official Bundeswehr traditions are based
on three major subjects:

 the defense reformers at the beginning of the 19th century such as Scharnhorst,
Gneisenau, and Clausewitz
 the members of the military resistance against Hitler such as Claus von
Stauffenberg and Henning von Tresckow
 its own tradition since 1955

As its symbol the Bundeswehr uses a form of the Iron Cross. The Iron Cross has a long history, having
been awarded as a military war time decoration for all ranks since 1813, and earlier associated with the
Teutonic knights. The name Bundeswehr was proposed by the former Wehrmacht general and liberal
politician Hasso von Manteuffel.

One of the most visible traditions is the Großer Zapfenstreich, a form of military tattoo that goes back to
the landsknecht era.

According to the new thread-scenario facing Germany and its allies, the Bundeswehr is currently
reorganizing itself. To realize growth in mobility and the enlargement of the airforce's capabilities, the
bundeswehr is going to buy 60 A400M transporters as well as 180 EF2000 fighters. To improve the
capabilities of the ground forces it is currently developing a land soldier system and a new generation of
transportation vehicles and light tanks, such as the Fennek or thePuma (IFV) Further the german navy is
going to buy 3 new Sachsen class frigates and 8 Type 212 submarines
German Army

The German Army is the land component of the Bundeswehr ("Federal Defence Forces") of the Federal
Republic of Germany. Traditionally, the German military forces have been composed of the Army, the
Navy, and after the First World War, the Air Force. The Heer was re-formed in the 1950s as the West
German Army as part of the Bundeswehr. In October 1990, upon the reunification of Germany, the East
German army, the National People's Army (NVA), was integrated into the now unified force.

A German infantryman stands at the ready with his G36 during a practice exercise in 2004
Since Germany first became a modern unified state in 1871, previous names of German military forces
have included:

 1919–1935 Reichswehr ("Imperial Defense" and "Imperial Defense Forces")

consisting of the Reichsheer (Army) and the Reichsmarine (Navy);
 1935–1945 Wehrmacht ("Defense Forces") consisting of the Heer (Army),
Kriegsmarine (Navy), and Luftwaffe (Air Force);
 West Germany
o 1955–October 1990 Bundeswehr ("Federal Defense Forces") (West
Germany) consisting of the Heer, Bundesmarine (Federal Navy) and Luftwaffe;
 East Germany
o 1956–October 1990 Nationale Volksarmee ("National People's Army"),
consisting of the Landstreitkräfte (Land Forces), Grenztruppen der DDR (Border
Troops of the GDR), Luftstreitkräfte / Luftverteidigung (Air Forces / Air Defense)
and the Volksmarine (People's Navy).
 October 1990–present Bundeswehr: Heer, Bundesmarine and Luftwaffe.


Following the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo the Prussian Kingdom had years of military
successes in the 19th and 20th centuries. Every able bodied man between the ages of 17 and 45 was
liable for military service. There were 4 classes of service; Active (Aktiv), Reserve, Landwehr and
Landsturm. The Landwehr and Landsturm were only called up at times of war. The basic unit of the
army at this time was the Regiment. Regiments were typically raised and supported by a specific city or
region. Each regiment was then stationed near its home city. The Reserve regiment was often made up
of past members of the local regiment. The Landwehr and Landsturm units were also organized the
same way. An individual could spend all 22 years of military service surrounded by their friends and
family. This created close ties within regiments, however, because of this system, the entire population
of young men from a city or region could be wiped out in one battle.

World War I 1914–1918

The German army that fought in World War I was not in fact a single, unitary army. The four German
kingdoms that existed prior to the unification of Germany in January 1871, Bavaria, Prussia, Saxony and
Württemberg, each retained their own army upon unification. Prussia had the largest army of the four.
After the unification and the formation of the German Empire, the Prussian army became the nucleus of
the Imperial German army (Kaiserliche Armee or Deutsches Reichsheer). By 1914 the German army
fielded 50 active divisions and by 1918 over 250 divisions. The term "German army" did not come into
being until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

Reichswehr 1918–1935
Following the end of World War I and the collapse of the German Empire most of the German army
(Heer) was demobilized or simply dissolved. Many former soldiers drifted into small armed groups
known as Freikorps. The Freikorps were generally groups of 100 men or fewer that protected a
neighbourhood or town. On March 6th, 1919 an army known as the Vorläufige Reichswehr (Provisional
German Defence Force) was formed with about 400,000 men, many drawn form the Freikorps. Then, in
September 30, 1919 the Übergangsheer (Transitional Army) was created from the Defence Force and
the Freikorps. Finally, on January 1, 1921 the 100,000 man Reichswehr was formed with 7 Infantry
Divisions and 3 Cavalry Divisions. It was the Reichswehr who crushed Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch
in Munich in November 1923.

Wehrmacht 1935–1945

Wehrmacht troops during a training.

Under the Treaty of Versailles, the Reichswehr was only allowed 100,000 men split between the Army
and the Navy. In 1933 the Nazi party came to power and began to abrogate the treaty. The Army was
made part of the Wehrmacht in May 1935 with the passing of the "Law for the Reconstruction of the
National Defence Forces". The Wehrmacht included not just the Army and Navy but also a third branch
known as the Luftwaffe. Initially, the Army was expanded to 21 divisional-sized units and smaller
formations. Between 1935 and 1945 this force grew to consist of hundreds of divisions and thousands of
smaller supporting units. Between 1939 and 1945 close to 13 million served in the Army. Over 1.6
million were killed and over 4.1 million were wounded. Of the 7361 men awarded the initial grade of
the highest German combat honour of WWII, the Knight's Cross, 4777 were from the Army, making up
65% of the total awarded. The German Army was implicated in widespread war crimes including
assisting in the genocide of European Jewry during the The Holocaust. The Allies dissolved the German
Army on 20 August 1946.
Current Army

Teilstreitkräfte or TSK (Branches)


Organisationsbereiche (Organisation areas)

The Bundeswehr Heer was reformed in the 1950s as the Army of West Germany until 1990, and East
and West Germany after. The army of East Germany was called the Landstreitkräfte, part of Nationale

The German Army is commanded by the Chief of Army Staff (Heeresinspekteur) in the Federal
Ministry of Defence in Berlin and Bonn. The major commands are the German Army Command in
Koblenz and the German Army Office in Cologne.

German Army Command

The German Army Command in Koblenz (Heeresführungskommando) leads all combat units (three
armoured/mechanized divisions, two special divisions and one independent brigade). It is commanded
by a general-lieutenant.

 German Army Command

o HQ Company

 Franco-German Brigade
o HQ Company [mixed]
o Armoured Engineer Company 550
o Light Armoured Regiment [F]
o Light Infantry Battalion 292 (Jäger)
o Infantry Regiment [F]
o Artillery Battalion 295
o Support Battalion (mixed)
 1st Armoured Division
o HQ Company
o Army Band 1
o Signal Regiment 1
o Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 3
o Artillery Regiment 100
 Artillery Reconnaissance Battalion 131
 Artillery Missile Battalion 132
o Light Air Defence Battery 610
o Air Defence Regiment 6
o Engineer Regiment 1
 Heavy Engineer Battalion 130
 Armoured Engineer Battalion 1
o Light NBC Company 610
o NBC Battalion 7
o Logistics Battalion 3
o Mechanized Infantry Brigade 1
 Mechanized Infantry Batallion 421
 Mechanized Infantry Batallion 803
o Tank Training Brigade 9
 HQ Company
 Armoured Reconnaissance Company 90
 Armoured Engineer Company 90
 Armoured Battalion 33
 Armoured Battalion 93
 Mechanized Infantry Battalion 92
 Armoured Artillery Battalion 325
 Logistics Battalion 141
o Armoured Brigade 21
 HQ Company
 Armoured Reconaissance Company 210
 Armoured Engineer Company 200
 Armoured Battalion 203
 Mechanized Infantry Battalion 212
 Armoured Artillery Battalion 215
 Logistics Battalion 7
 10th Armoured Division
o HQ Company
o Army Band 2
o Mechanized Infantry Brigade 30
o Armoured Brigade 12
 HQ Company
 Signal Battalion 4
 Armoured Recconnaissance Battalion 8
 Armoured Battalion 104
 Mechanized Infantry Battalion 112
 Mechanized Infantry Battalion 122
 Engineer Battalion 4
 Logistics Battalion 4
o Mountain Brigade 23
 HQ Company
 Mountain Signal Battalion 210
 Mountain Reconnaissance Battalion 210
 Mountain Infantry Battalion 231 (Gebirgsjäger)
 Mountain Infantry Battalion 232 (Gebirgsjäger)
 Mountain Infantry Battalion 233 (Gebirgsjäger)
 Mountain Engineer Battalion 8
 Mountain Logistic Battalion 8
 Special Operations Division
o HQ Company
o Army Band 300
o Airborne Signal Battalion
o Longe Range Reconnaissance Company 200
o Light Air Defence Battery 100
o Airborne Brigade 26
 HQ Company
 Airborne Reconnaissance Company 260
 Airborne Engineer Company 260
 Paratrooper Battalion 261
 Paratrooper Battalion 263
 Air-Assault Support Battalion 262
o Airborne Brigade 31
 HQ Company
 Airborne Reconnaissance Company 310
 Airborne Engineer Company 270
 Paratrooper Battalion 313
 Paratrooper Battalion 373
 Airborne Support Battalion 272
o Special Forces Command
 HQ and Signal Company
 1st Commando Company
 2nd Commando Company
 3rd Commando Company
 4th Commando Company
 Support Company
 Training and Research Company

 Air Mobile Operations Division

o HQ Company
o Army Band 12
o Signal Bataillon
o Medium Aviation Regiment 15
o Medium Aviation Regiment 26
o Light Aviation Regiment 30
o Air Assault Brigade 1
 HQ Company
 Aviation Reconnaissance Squadron 100
 Aviation Support Squadron 1
 Aviation Mechanic Squadron 1
 Light Infantry Regiment 1 (Jäger)
 Attack Helicopter Regiment 26
 Attack Helicopter Regiment 36
 Light Aviation Regiment 10
o Army Support Brigade
 HQ Company
 Light Air Defence Battery 300
 Light NBC Company 120
 Artillery Reconnaissance Regiment 345
 Air Defence Battalion 12
 NBC Regiment 750

German soldiers of the 13th Mechanized Infantry Division qualify on the M16 at Würzburg as part
of partnership range with the U.S. 1st Infantry Division

 13th Mechanized Infantry Division

o HQ Company
o Army Band 10
o Mechanized Infantry Brigade 37
 HQ Company
 Signal Battalion 701
 Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 13
 Armoured Battalion 303
 Mountain Infantry Battalion 571 (Gebirgsjäger, this bn will be
decommisioned on 30th of March, 2008.)
 Mechanized Infantry Battalion 371
 Mechanized Infantry Battalion 391
 Armoured Engineer Battalion 701
 Logistics Battalion 131
 Reserve Mechanized Infantry Battalion 382
 Reserve Armoured Artillery Battalion 25
 Reserve Engineer Bridge Battalion 270
o Mechanized Infantry Brigade 41
 HQ Company
 Signal Battalion 801
 Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 6
 Armoured Battalion 413
 Mechanized Infantry Battalion 401
 Mechanized Infantry Battalion 411
 Engineer Battalion 803
 Logistics Battalion 142

 Forces Headquarters (ex II. GE/US Corps)

o HQ Company
o Signal Battalion 200

 I. German/Dutch Corps
o HQ Company (German shares)
o Signal Battalion (German shares)
o HQ Support Battalion (German shares)

 EuroCorps
o HQ Company (German shares)
o Corps Support Brigade
 Signal Battalion (German shares)
 HQ Support Battalion (German shares)

 Multinational Corps North-East

o HQ Company (German shares)
o Signal Battalion (German shares)

German Army Office (Heeresamt)

The German Army Office in Cologne is responsible for administration, education, training and logistic
of the German Army. It is commanded by a general-lieutenant or a general-major.
Schools, training centres, and miscellaneous offices:

 Airborne Operations and Air Transport School (Luftlande- und

Lufttransportschule) in Altenstadt (Schongau)
 Armoured Corps School (Panzertruppenschule) in Munster, Lower Saxony
 Army Air Defence School (Heeresflugabwehrschule) in Rendsburg
 Army Aviation School (Heeresfliegerwaffenschule) in Bückeburg
 Army Combat Simulation Centre (Gefechtssimulationszentrum des Heeres) in
 Army Combat Training Centre (Gefechtsübungszentrum des Heeres) in
 Army Human Resources Office (Stammdienststelle des Heeres) in Cologne
 Army Logistics Centre (Logistikzentrum des Heeres) in Bad Neuenahr-
 Army NCO Academy (Unteroffizierschule des Heeres) in Münster, Delitzsch,
and Weiden in der Oberpfalz
 Army Officers' Academy (Offizierschule des Heeres) in Dresden
 Army Tactics Centre (Taktikzentrum des Heeres) in Dresden
 Army Technical School (Technische Schule des Heeres und Fachschule des
Heeres für Technik) in Aachen
 Artillery School (Artillerieschule) in Idar-Oberstein
 Infantry School (Infanterieschule) in Hammelburg
 Mountain and Winter Combat School (Gebirgs- und Winterkampfschule) in
 NBC Defence School (ABC- und Selbstschutzschule) in Sonthofen
 Sappers' School and Army Technical School for Structural Engineering
(Pionierschule und Fachschule des Heeres für Bautechnik) in Munich
 SpecOps Training Centre (Ausbildungszentrum Spezielle Operationen) in


In the German Army, unlike in the armies of its neighbours (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark),
there are no individual regiments. Instead, individual battalions of infantry, armour, artillery etc are
given unique numbers.

The German Army distinguishes 11 different branches of service or corps, known as

Truppengattungen. Each corps is responsible for education and training of its units, mostly by its own
schools or training centers.

Signal Corps
Units of the signal corps are responsible for communication, strategic reconnaissance and electronic
warfare. Most units of the signal corps belong to the Joint Support Center (Streitkräftebasis).
Signal Units
Stabs- und Fernmeldebataillon 4
Stabs- und Fernmeldebataillon 200
Gebirgsfernmeldebataillon 210
Stabs- und Fernmeldebataillon 701
Stabs- und Fernmeldebataillon 801
Stabs- und Fernmelderegiment 1
Führungsunterstützungsbataillon DLO
Luftlandefernmeldebataillon DSO

Army Reconnaissance Corps

During Army Transformation, the armoured reconnaissance corps (Panzeraufklärungstruppe) was
given the new name Heeresaufklärungstruppen. The reason is that the original task of the armoured
reconnaissance troops has changed. Today they need artillery drones or specialists from military
intelligence units.

Reconnaissance Units
Aufklärungskompanie 90
Aufklärungskompanie 210
Luftlandeaufklärungskompanie 260
Luftlandeaufklärungskompanie 310
Fernspählehrkompanie 200
Aufklärungsbataillon 3
Aufklärungsbataillon 6
Aufklärungsbataillon 8
Aufklärungsbataillon 13
Gebirgsaufklärungsbataillon 230

The army reconnaissance corps is equipped with Fennek, Luchs, Wiesel 1, the drone reconnaissance
system KZO, ALADIN and LunaX, the radar system BÜR (Bodenüberwachungradar), Fuchs and
Dingo. A typical reconnaissance battalion (Aufklärungsbataillon) is structured in a HQ & support
company, two or three armoured reconnaissance companies, a drone reconnaissance company and a
separate military intelligence platoon.
Armoured Corps
The armoured corps (gepanzerte Kampftruppen) are armoured units (Panzertruppe), equipped with
main battle tanks, and mechanized units (Panzergrenadiertruppe) equipped with IFVs.

Armoured Units Mechanized Units Reserve Units

Panzerbatallion 33 Panzergrenadierbataillon 92 Panzergrenadierbataillon 382
Panzerbataillon 92 Panzergrenadierbataillon 112
Panzerbatallion 104 Panzergrenadierbataillon 122
Panzerbataillon 203 Panzergrenadierbataillon 212
Panzerbatallion 303 Panzergrenadierbataillon 371
Panzerbataillon 413 Panzergrenadierbataillon 391
Panzergrenadierbataillon 401
Panzergrenadierbataillon 411

A typical armoured battalion (Panzerbataillon) consists of a HQ & support company and three tank
companies (equipped with 42 MBTs). The new mechanized battalion (Panzergrenadierbataillon)
consists of a HQ & support company and three mechanized companies (equipped with up to 40 Marder
1 A5 or Puma). Formerly there was a fifth company with mortars or/and anti-tank units.

Infantry Corps
Within the German Army, there are three types of infantry:

 Jäger—Light Infantry / Rangers

 Gebirgsjäger—Mountain Infantry
 Fallschirmjäger—Airborne troops

Airborne Troops Mountain Infantery Light Infantry

Fallschirmjägerbatallion 261 Gebirgsjägerbataillon 231 Jägerbatallion 292
Fallschirmjägerbatallion 263 Gebirgsjägerbataillon 232 Jägerregiment 1 (luftbeweglich)
Fallschirmjägerbatallion 313 Gebirgsjägerbataillon 233
Fallschirmjägerbatallion 373 Gebirgsjägerbataillon 571

A typical infantry battalion is structured in a HQ & support company, three light infantry companies and
an indirect fire support company ("The Heavy Company"). These company consistis of two anti-tank
platoons (equipped with Wiesel 1, TOW), two machine gun platoons (equipped with Wiesel 1, machine
gun 20 mm) and two mortar platoons (today equipped with mortar 120 mm on M113, in future on
Wiesel 2). Then you find specialised Infantry Platoons like a ski (Skizug) and a mountain ranger platoon
(Hochgebirgszug) of the mountain infantery, a HALO platoon (Freifallzug) of the paratroops or K9
dog platoon (Diensthundezug) are found in the HQ & support company (Stabs- und

Special Forces
Through the Army Transformation the special forces division DSO was formed. Soldiers of the Special
Forces Command (Kommando Spezialkräfte), formerly belonging to the infantry, today have their
own corps.

Artillery Corps
The majority of artillery troops (Artillerietruppe) within the German Army are Panzerartillerie
(armoured artillery). After the Army Transformation the German Army will only have six artillery units.
The German Army doesn't need as much artillery for its peacekeeping missions as it did during the Cold
War, so the new artillery corps is really smaller, but the units are bigger and stronger.

- Two armoured artillery battalions (Panzerartilleriebataillon) in the two brigades of the

1st Armoured Division with a HQ & support battery and three armoured artillery
batteries (equipped with 27 Panzerhaubitze 2000).

- An artillery regiment with HQ Battery in the divisional troops of the 1st Armoured
Division with:

- An artillery reconnaissance battalion (Panzerartillerieaufklärungsbataillon) with a

HQ & support battery, an artillery reconnaissance battery, a drone reconnaissance battery
and two armoured artillery batteries (equipped with Fennek or Marder or Puma, KZO, 2
COBRA, 1 SMA, 2 ATMAS, 18 Panzerhaubitze 2000).

- An artillery missile battalion (Raketenartilleriebataillon) with a HQ & support battery

and four artillery missile batteries (equipped with 32 MLRS).

- A mixed artillery battalion (gemischtes Artilleriebataillon) of the Franco-German-

Brigade with a HQ & support battery with artillery reconaissance elements, two
armoured artillery batteries and an artillery missile battery (equipped with 18
Panzerhaubitzen 2000, 10 MLRS, 1 KZO, 1 ATMAS, Fennek or Marder or Puma).

- An artillery reconnaissance regiment (Panzerartillerieaufklärungsregiment) with a

HQ & support battery, an artillery reconnaissance battery, a drone reconnaissance battery
and three armoured artillery batteries (equipped with 27 Panzerhaubitzen 2000, 1 KZO, 3
COBRA, 2 SMA, 4 ATMAS, Fennek or Puma or Marder).

Army Air Defence Corps

The army air defence corps (Heeresflugabwehrtruppe) is made up of five units:
 Three light air defence batteries of the 1st Armoured Division, the Division for
Special Operations (Division Spezielle Operationen) and the Army Troop Brigade
(Heerestruppenbrigade), equipped with 19 Wiesel2-based Ozelot.
 A air defence regiment (Panzerflugabwehrregiment) of the 1st Armoured
Division, equipped with Gepard.
 An air defence battalion (Panzerflugabwehrbataillon) of the Army Troop
Command, equipped with Gepard.

Army Aviation Corps

The army aviation corps (Heeresfliegertruppe) provides helicopter assets to the German Army. These
units are mainly organized into regiments. There are three types of helicopter regiments: the attack
helicopter regiment (equipped with Bo155PAH, to be replaced by the Tiger), the light transport
helicopter regiment (equipped with UH-1D, to be replaced by the NH90) and the transport helicopter
regiment (equipped with CH-53G). The German Air Force and the German Navy also have helicopter

Army Aviation Troops

Heeresfliegeraufklärungsstaffel 100
Heeresfliegerunterstützungsstaffel 1
Heeresfliegerinstandsetzungsstaffel 1
Transporthubschrauberregiment 10
Transporthubschrauberregiment 15
Kampfhubschrauberregiment 26
Transporthubschrauberregiment 26
Transporthubschrauberregiment 30
Kampfhubschrauberregiment 36

A helicopter regiment is normally structured in a HQ squadron, a support squadron, a flying group

(Fliegende Gruppe), with three squadrons, and a mechanic group (Luftfahrzeugtechnische Gruppe),
with four squadrons. Each regiment is mostly equipped with up to 40 helicopters.

Engineer Corps
Units of the engineer corps (Pioniertruppe) engage in mobility, countermobility, survivability and
general engineering operations. They have many faces: the engineers (Pioniere), the armoured engineers
(Panzerpioniere), the airborne engineers (Luftlandepioniere), the mountain engineers
(Gebirgspioniere) and other units. Special engineers (Spezialpioniere) do not belong to the army
engineer corps- they belong to the Joint Support Command (Streitkräftebasis). They are responsible for
repairing runways, maintaining pipelines, and building field camps. The engineer corps unit structure
becomes larger and more effective in the new army.
Engineers Armoured Engineers Airborne Engineers Mountain Engineers Reserve Engineers
Pionierbataillon Panzerpionierkompanie Luftlandepionierkompanie Gebirgspionierbataillon Pionierbrückenbataillon
130 92 260 8 270
Panzerpionierkompanie Luftlandepionierkompanie
203 270

 An armoured engineer battalion (Panzerpionierbataillon) consists of a HQ &

support company and three armoured engineer companies.
 The mountain engineer battalion consists of a HQ & support company, two
mountain engineer companies and a mountain engineer machine company.
 A heavy engineer battalion consists of a HQ & support company, two amphibious
or bridge companies and two engineer machine companies.

NBC Corps
The units of the NBC corps (ABC-Abwehrtruppe) are responsible for decontamination of personnel,
vehicles and other material. They also search for nuclear, bacterial or chemical sources. These research
squads are equipped with the NBC Fox (ABC-Spürpanzer Fuchs), which will be replaced by the
MRAV Boxer.

NBC Units
leichte ABC-Abwehrkompanie 110
leichte ABC-Abwehrkompanie 120
ABC-Abwehrbataillon 7
ABC-Abwehrregiment 750

Logistics Corps
Units belonging to the logistics corps (Logistiktruppen) support combat units. The logistics corps is the
result of the fusion of the ordnance corps (Instandsetzungstruppe) and the supplies corps
(Nachschubtruppe). Logistics units, mostly logistics battalions (Logistikbataillone) have many tasks:
transportation, maintenance/repairing of vehicles, weapons and other material, supply of material,
cooking meals for troops, etc.

Logistics Troops
Versorgungsbataillon D/F Brigade
Logistikbataillon 3
Logistikbataillon 4
Logistikbataillon 7
Logistikbataillon 141
Logistikbataillon 131
Logistikbataillon 142
Luftlandeunterstützungsbataillon 262
Luftlandeunterstützungsbataillon 272

A typical logistics battalion of the German Army consists of a HQ & support company, two light
maintenance companies and two supply/transport companies. (In contrast a logistics battalion of the
Joint Support Center consists of a HQ & support company, two maintenance companies, two supply
companies, a transport company and a special supply company.)

Light Weapons
 Heckler & Koch G36—5.56 mm x 45 assault rifle replacing the Heckler & Koch
 Heckler & Koch MG4 5.56 mm light machine gun, replacing the MG3 in the
squad automatic weapon role
 MG3—7.62 mm x 51 machine gun
 Heckler & Koch MP7—4.6 mm x 30 submachine gun replacing the MP2 (Uzi
submachine gun)
 Heckler & Koch MP5—9 x 19 mm submachine gun, only used by the military
police (Feldjäger) and the KSK
 Heckler & Koch P8—9 mm x 19 pistol replacing the Walther P1
 Accuracy International G22—7.62 mm x 66.5B sniper rifle
 Barrett M82 sniper rifle
 Dynamit Nobel Panzerfaust 3—Rocket propelled grenade
 Raytheon Fliegerfaust 2 (FIM-92 Stinger)—infrared homing surface-to-air missile
 HK 79 Granatpistole
 AG36 Granatpistole
 Eickhorn Kampfmesser KM2000—172 mm tantōstyle blade standard battle knife
Reconnaissance Systems

 Fennek (light wheeled reconnaissance vehicle), replacing the Luchs

 Luchs A2 (wheeled tracked reconnaissance vehicle), being phased out
 LunaX (reconnaissance drone system)
 KZO (reconnaissance drone system)
 ALADIN (reconnaissance drone system)
 RASIT (radar system), being phased out
 BÜR (radar system), replacing RASIT and ABRA

Combat vehicles

Leopard 2A5 MBT in 2004 during a training exercise

 Leopard 2 (Main Battle Tank)

o A4, being phased out
o A5
o A6
 Marder 1 A3/A5 (infantry fighting vehicle)
 Puma (IFV) (infantry fighting vehicle), replace the Marder in the
 Wiesel 1/2 (light air-transportable tracked multirole vehicle)
o as a reconnaissance vehicle for the airborne troops
o with machine gun 20 mm
o with TOW
o with mortar 120 mm
o as a radar vehicle for the light air defence system (LeFlaSys)
o as a command vehicle for the LeFlaSys
o as an engineer reconnaissance vehicle
o with Stinger equipped for the LeFlaSys
o as a medical vehicle for the airborne troops
 M113 A2 (multirole armoured vehicle), being phased out
 Boxer (multirole armoured vehicle), replace M113 and Fuchs
 Dingo 1/2 (wheeled tracked vehicle)
 DURO 3 (light wheeled tracked vehicle)
 Mungo (light wheeled tracked vehicle)
 Fuchs 1/2 (multirole armoured vehicle)


 M270 MLRS (270 mm multiple rocket launcher)

 PzH 2000 (155 mm self-propelled howitzer), replacing M109
 M109 A3 GE A1 (155 mm self-propelled howitzer), being phased out
 ABRA (artillery radar system), being phased out
 COBRA (artillery radar system)
 ATMAS (artillery weather measure system)
 SMA (artillery sound measure system)
 Taifun (attack drone system)—project canceled

Air Defence Systems

 Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard 1 A2 (air defence tank, gun)
 ROLAND (air defence tank, missiles), being phased out until 2007
 LeFlaSys (leichtes Flugabwehrraketensystem), based on Wiesel 2
 LÜR (radar system), being phased out
 BÜR (radar system), ordered

Engineer Equipment

 Dachs (tracked engineer tank)

 Büffel (tracked salvage tank)
 Biber (bridge layer)
 Panzerschnellbrücke 2 (bridge layer), replacing the Biber
 Scorpion (mine system)
 Keiler (mine breaker)
 M3 (amphibious vehicle)
 Medium Girder Bridge (bridge system)
 Faltschnellbrücke (bridge system)
 Schwimmschnellbrücke (bridge system)
 Pontoon bridge
 Faltstraßensystem (mobile roadway system)


 CH-53G/GS (transport helicopter)

 UH-1D (light transport helicopter), being phased out
 Bo105 (anti-tank helicopter)
 UHT Tiger (multirole attack helicopter)
 NH90 (multi-purpose helicopter), replacing the UH-1D
 Eurocopter EC135 (training helicopter)
Logistic Equipment

 SLT 50-3 Elefant (heavy tractor trailer, tank transport)

 Berge- und Kranfahrzeug, BKF 30.40 (salvage vehicle)

Non-combat vehicles

 Mercedes-Benz 250 GD "Wolf"

 LKW 2t mil gl, 4x4
 LKW 5t mil gl, 4x4
 LKW 5t tmil, 4x4
 LKW 7t mil gl, 6x6
 LKW 7t tmil, 6x6
 LKW 10t mil gl, 8x8
 LKW 15t mil gl, 8x8
 LKW 15t mil gl MULTI, 8x8
German Navy

The German Navy (German: Deutsche Marine) is the navy of Germany and part of the Bundeswehr.

The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet (Reichsflotte) of the revolutionary era of
1848-1852 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German
Federal Navy (Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, 1866-1871) and became the Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche
Marine, 1872-1918). From 1919 to 1921 it was known as the Temporary Imperial Navy (Vorläufige
Reichsmarine) and then became the Reichsmarine. It was known as the War Navy (Kriegsmarine) from
1935 to 1945.

In 1956, with West Germany's accession to NATO, a new navy was established and was referred to as
the Federal Navy (Bundesmarine). With the reunification of Germany in 1990, it was decided to simply
use the name Deutsche Marine ("German Navy").

German frigate "Karlsruhe" rescuing shipwrecked people off the coast of Somalia while
participating in the international anti-terror operation ENDURING FREEDOM, April 2005
The Laboe Naval Memorial for sailors who lost their lives at sea during the World Wars and while
on duty at sea and U 995

The German Navy is part of the German armed forces (Bundeswehr), and is deeply integrated into the
NATO alliance. Its mission includes the participation in peace-keeping and peace enforcement
operations as well as the protection of German and Allied territories.

German war ships permanently participate in all four NATO Maritime Groups. The German Navy is also
engaged in operations against international terrorism such as Operation Enduring Freedom and NATO
Operation Active Endeavour.

Presently the largest operation the German Navy is participating in is UNIFIL II off the coast of
Lebanon. The German contribution to this operation is two frigates, four fast attack craft, and two
auxiliary vessels. The naval component of UNIFIL is commanded by a German admiral. There has been
reports of Israeli F-16's firing against German ships. Israel denied that the F-16's fired againt the ships
and stated that it was only overflying the ships.

The German Navy is commanded by the Chief of the Naval Staff in the Federal Ministry of Defense in
Bonn. The major commands are the Fleet Command at Glücksburg near Flensburg and the Naval
Office at Rostock. The Fleet is commanded by the Commander-in-Chief German Fleet
(CINCGERFLEET) and comprises all combat vessels, aircraft, helicopters and other combat forces,
while schools, naval bases and test installations are under the purview of the Naval Office. The strength
of the Navy is about 19,000 men and women with another 6,000 navy personnel serving in different
elements of the central military organization of the Bundeswehr.
The navy as a part of the Bundeswehr is responsible for developing and providing the maritime
capabilities of the German armed forces. Therefore it is operationg a number of development and testing
installations as part of an inter-service and international network.

The Fleet
 Fleet Command (Flottenkommando), Glücksburg
o 1st Flotilla (Einsatzflottille 1), Kiel
 HQ 1st Flotilla
 1st Corvette Squadron (1. Korvettengeschwader), Warnemünde
 1st Submarine Squadron (1. Unterseebootgeschwader),
 Submarine Training Centre (Ausbildungszentrum Unterseeboote),
 3rd Mine Counter-Measure Squadron (3. Minensuchgeschwader),
 7th Fast Patrol Boat Squadron (7. Schnellbootgeschwader),
 5th Mine Counter-Measure Squadron (5. Minensuchgeschwader),
 Force Protection Group, (Marineschutzkräfte), Eckernförde
 one HQ & support company
 four Force Protection companies
 Special Warfare Group, (Spezialisierte Einsatzkräfte Marine),
 HQ & support company
 combat diver company (Kampfschwimmerkompanie)
 clearance diver company (mine counter measures and
explosive ordnance disposal; Minentaucherkompanie)
 combat diver support company (KS-
 company for special operations (e.g. boarding)
 support company
 special training center
o 2nd Flotilla (Einsatzflottille 2), Wilhelmshaven
 HQ 2nd Flotilla
 2nd Frigate Squadron (2. Fregattengeschwader), Wilhelmshaven
 4th Frigate Squadron (4. Fregattengeschwader), Wilhelmshaven
 Auxiliary Squadron (Trossgeschwader), Wilhelmshaven/Kiel
o Naval Air Wing 3 (Marinefliegergeschwader 3), Nordholz
o Naval Air Wing 5 (Marinefliegergeschwader 5), Kiel (will be closed)
o Naval Medical Institute (Schiffahrtsmedizinisches Institut), Kiel
(responsible especially for diving medicine)
Naval Office

 Naval Office (Marineamt), Rostock

o Department for Development of the Navy, Bremerhaven
o Navy Schools (Admiral Naval Training)
 Naval Academy (Marineschule Mürwik), Flensburg-Mürwik
 Petty Officer School (Marineunteroffiziersschule), Plön
 Engineering School (Marinetechnikschule), Parow, near Stralsund
 Damage Control Training Centre (Ausbildungszentrum für
Schiffssicherung), Neustadt in Holstein
 Operations School (Marineoperationsschule), Bremerhaven
o Supporting Installations (Admiral Naval Logistics)
 Naval Base Command (Marinestützpunktkommando)
 Naval Base Command (Marinestützpunktkommando) Eckernförde
 Naval Base Command (Marinestützpunktkommando) Kiel
 Naval Base Command (Marinestützpunktkommando) Warnemünde
 Naval Test Command (Kommando Truppenversuche der Marine),
 Naval Command & Control Systems Command (Kommando
Marineführungssysteme), Wilhelmshaven
Ships and weapon systems
Surface Vessels

Modern Air Defence Frigate "Hamburg", commissioned 2005

F218 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

 Frigates
o 3 Sachsen class anti-air frigate (officially classified as frigates but since
they have replaced the last class of German destroyers, and also in size and role, they
could be classified as destroyers)
o 4 Brandenburg class anti-submarine frigate
o 8 Bremen class guided missile frigate

 Fast Attack Craft

o 10 Gepard class fast attack craft
M1093 Ensdorf class mine sweeper Auerbach/Oberpfalz

 Mine Counter-Measure Vessels

o 5 Ensdorf class minesweeper, drone guidance
o 5 Kulmbach class (Type 333) mine hunter
o 10 Frankenthal class (Type 332) mine hunter
o 1 M1052 Mühlhausen (diver support)
o 18 Seehunde ROV (remote or manually controlled drones) part of the
TROIKA PLUS system together with the Ensdorf class minesweepers


Undetectable Type 212A Submarine with air independent propulsion, commissioned 2005

 Submarines
o 4 U212A class (multi-purpose submarine), 2 more ordered, replace some
U206A class
o 10 U206A class (coastal submarine)
Auxiliary Vessels

A1411 Berlin

The Gorch Fock

 Landing craft
o 2 Barbe class (Type 520) utility landing craft
 Auxiliary vessels
o 2 Berlin class (Type 702) multi-product replenishment ship, one more
o 2 Walchensee class (Type 703) fleet oiler
o 2 Rhön class (Type 704) fleet oiler
o 1 Westerwald (Type 760A) ammunition transport
o 6 Elbe class (Type 404) tender
o 4 Wangerooge class (Type 722B) seeschlepper (sea-going tug)
o 1 Fehmarn class (Type 720) offshore tug (also used for mine recovery
o 1 Helgoland class (Type 720) large sea-going tug
o 3 Oste class (Type 423) electronic surveillance ship
o 2 Bottsand class (Type 738) oil recovery ship
o 1 Eisvogel Class (Type 721) icebreaker
o 1 Gorch Fock tall ship (Type 441) sail training ship
o 1 Planet class (Type 751) research ship


Breguet Atlantic Br.1150 of the German Navy

 Maritime Patrol Aircraft

o 3 Bréguet Atlantic Sigint
o 8 P-3 Orion, replaced some of the Bréguet Atlantic
o 2 Dornier Do 228

 Helicopters
o 22 Sea Lynx Mk88A
o 21 Sea King Mk41

Sea King Mk41 from MFG5 in special 30th anniversary colour scheme at Weston-super-Mare,
UK, July 2005
Weapon Systems

Future Developments
 A first batch of 4 frigates of the F125 class specialised for stabilisation missions
are planned to replace the Bremen-Class (8 guided-missile frigates). F 125 will have
two crews per ship.

 Some surface combat ships are planned under the name "MÜKE" (Mittlere
Überwasserkampfeinheit / Medium Surface Combatant), no further details are

 5 Braunschweig class corvette multi-purpose corvette, under construction,

replace Albatros class

 30 MH90 helicopter will replace 22 Sea King helicopter of the Naval Air Wing 5
and some Sea Lynx helicopter

The Deutsche Luftwaffe or Luftwaffe is the commonly used term for the German air force. Generally,
the word Luftwaffe is not restricted to any particular country, so "die Britische Luftwaffe" would mean
"the British Air Force".

Unlike other air forces, the German Air Force not only operates aircraft, but comprises also the services
of the "Einsatzführungsdienst" (Tactical Air Control Service) and Ground Based Air Defense named
"FlaRak-Dienst" (Flugabwehr-Raketen-Dienst, commonly known as SAM).

The history of the German military aviation forces began in 1910 with the founding of the Imperial
German Army Air Service, yet it has not been continuous because Germany lost both World Wars
(1914-1918 and 1939-1945). As a result, Germany had no military air force between 1918 and 1935 and
again between 1945 and 1956.

Beside the well known military aviation part of the Luftwaffe, a very large ground based organization
belongs to the Luftwaffe as of 1935 and throughout the entire phase of World War II. The
Luftnachrichtentruppe as well as ground based air defense forces, better known as Flak actually
comprised of the biggest part of the Luftwaffe in terms of personnel and material. During wartime, new
capabilities like radar assisted air surveillance and use of radar in support of the Flak as well as first
attempts of what later became Ground Controlled Intercepts (GCI) were developed and successfully

In 1939-1940, the Luftwaffe helped the German army to astonishingly rapid success in both Eastern and
Western Europe, but failed to win control of the skies over Great Britain. Later, despite its best efforts, it
could not prevent the defeat of Germany either by day, or by night, owing to constant Allied bombing of
Germany's factories and cities by a numerically overwhelming force of bombers based in England. This
was coupled with the advances of the Soviet armies from the East, as numbers of available German
aircraft dwindled in the face of ever-growing numbers of Soviet aircraft. The Luftwaffe was, however,
notable in putting the world's first jet fighter and the world's only rocket-powered fighter into action
during the war.
Teilstreitkräfte or TSK (Branches)


Organisationsbereiche (Organisation areas)

Following the division of Germany after the World War II both West Germany and The German
Democratic Republic established their own air forces; West Germany's Luftwaffe was founded in 1956
and the GDR's Luftstreitkräfte der NVA was established in 1955. The Luftstreitkräfte was subsumed
into the Luftwaffe following German reunification in 1990. Only in Kosovo in 1999 has the Luftwaffe
ever seen war action since the end of World War II.

Continuing the same composition of forces and weapon system categories, the new Luftwaffe as of 1956
included the successor of the Luftnachrichtentruppe, now called Radarführunsgdienst as well as the
successor of the Flak air defense organisation, again as integral part of the new Luftwaffe. With the help
of NATO, radar heads and bunker installations were erected in West-Germany as part of the NATO
Integrated Air Defense System (NATINADS), basicly a mixed chain of radar stations, command and
control facilities, airbases for air defense jet fighters and SAM-sites. This chain extended from North-
Norway all the way through Europe along the Iron Curtain ending in East-Turkey.

The use of radar for air surveillance and SAM continued under the auspices of the new Luftwaffe which
was not always the case in other NATO member states. In the USA for example, SAM was and still is
integral part of the US Army.

World War I

The forerunner of the Luftwaffe, the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte), was founded
in 1910 before the outbreak of World War I (1914–1918) with the emergence of military aircraft,
although they were intended to be used primarily for reconnaissance in support of armies on the ground,
just as balloons had been used in the same fashion during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 and
even as far back as the Napoleonic Wars. It was not the world's first air force, however, because France's
embryonic army air service, which eventually became the Armée de l'Air, had also been founded in
1910, and Britain's Royal Flying Corps (which merged in 1918 with the Royal Naval Air Service to
form the Royal Air Force), was founded in 1912.
During the war, the Imperial Army Air Service utilised a wide variety of aircraft, ranging from fighters
(such as those manufactured by Albatros-Flugzeugwerke and Fokker), reconnaissance aircraft (Aviatik
and DFW) and heavy bombers (Gothaer Waggonfabrik, better known simply as Gotha, and Zeppelin-

Portrait of Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron", who brought down 80 Allied aircraft before
being shot down and killed on April 21, 1918. The Pour le Mérite medal is clearly in view here.

However, the fighters received the most attention in the annals of military aviation, since it produced
"aces" such as Manfred von Richthofen, popularly known in English as "The Red Baron" (in Germany,
he was known as "der rote Baron"), Ernst Udet, Hermann Göring, Oswald Boelcke (considered the first
master tactician of "dogfighting"), Max Immelmann (the first airman to win the Pour le Mérite, Imperial
Germany's highest decoration for gallantry, as a result of which the decoration became popularly known
as the "Blue Max"), and Werner Voss. As well as the German Navy, the German Army also used
Zeppelins as airships for bombing military and civilian targets in France and Belgium as well as the
United Kingdom.

All German and Austro-Hungarian military aircraft in service used the Iron Cross insignia until early
1918. Afterwards, the Balkenkreuz, a black Greek cross on white, was introduced.

After the war ended in German defeat, the service was dissolved completely under the conditions of the
Treaty of Versailles, which demanded that its aeroplanes be completely destroyed. As a result of this
disbanding, the present-day Luftwaffe (which dates from 1956) is not the oldest independent air force in
the world, since the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom is older, having been founded on 1 April
Inter-war period

Since Germany had been banned by the Treaty of Versailles from having an air force, there existed the
need to train its pilots for a future war in secret. Initially, civil aviation schools within Germany were
used, yet only light training planes could be used in order to maintain the facade that the trainees were
going to fly with civil airlines such as Lufthansa. In order to train its pilots on the latest combat aircraft,
Germany ironically solicited the help of its future enemy, the USSR, which was also isolated in Europe.
A secret training airfield was established at Lipetsk in 1924 and operated for approximately nine years
using mostly Dutch and Russian, but also some German, training aircraft before being closed in 1933.
This base was officially known as 4th squadron of the 40th wing of the Red Army.

Collar tabs of a major in the Luftwaffe (1935–1945). The background colour denotes officers were
in the flying divisions of the Luftwaffe. Other divisions, such as anti-aircraft artillery (Flak) had
patches with different coloured backgrounds.

On February 26, 1935, Adolf Hitler ordered Hermann Göring to reinstate the Luftwaffe, breaking the
Treaty of Versailles signed in 1919. Germany broke it without sanction from Britain and France or the
League of Nations, yet neither the two nations nor the League did anything to oppose either this or any
other action which broke the provisions of the Treaty. Although the new air force was to be run totally
separately from the army, it retained the tradition of according army ranks to its officers and airmen, a
tradition retained today by the Bundesluftwaffe of the unified Germany and by many air forces
throughout the world. However, it is worth noting that, before the official promulgation of the
Luftwaffe, what was a paramilitary air force was known as the Deutscher Luftverband ("German Air
Union"; DLV for short), with Ernst Udet as its head, and the DLV uniform insignia became those of the
new Luftwaffe, although the DLV "ranks" were actually given special names that made them sound more
civilian than military.

Dr. Fritz Todt, the engineer who founded the forced labour Organisation Todt, was appointed to the
rank of Generalmajor in the Luftwaffe. He was not, strictly speaking, an airman, although he had served
in an observation squadron during World War I, winning the Iron Cross. He died in an air crash in
February 1942.
It is said that Hermann Göring has personally chosen an emblem for the Luftwaffe that differed from
that of the other armed branches. The eagle, an old symbol of the German Empire remained, but in
another posture. Since 1933, when Hitler's National Socialist Party came to power, the eagle held
between his claws the symbol of the party - the swastika (an old symbol of sunrise), which usually was
enveloped by an oak wreath. Göring refused for the Luftwaffe the old heraldic eagle that appeared too
stylized, too static and too massive, and he chose a younger, more natural and lighter eagle with wings
spread in flying position that was more suitable for an air force. While the Wehrmacht eagle held firmly
with his both claws the symbol of the Nazi Party, the Luftwaffe eagle held the swastika only with one
claw while the other was bent in a threatening gesture.

The Luftwaffe had the ideal opportunity to test its pilots, aircraft and tactics in the Spanish Civil War of
1936–1939, when the Condor Legion was sent to Spain in support of the anti-Republican government
revolt led by Francisco Franco. Modern machines included names which would become world famous:
the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bomber and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane. However, as aircraft
seconded to Franco's Nationalist air force, Luftwaffe markings were replaced so as not to make the
world believe that Germany was actively supporting the revolt. Instead of the Nazi Party's swastika on
the tailplane, the German planes used the Nationalist air force aircraft markings (a Saint Andrew's cross
over a white background, painted on the rudder of the aircraft and a black disc on fuselage and wings).
All aircraft in the Legion were affiliated to units given a designation ending in the number 88. For
example, bombers were in Kampfgruppe ("Combat Group") 88, abbreviated to K/88, and fighters in
Jagdgruppe ("Pursuit Group") 88, J/88.

An aerial view of the devastation to the Basque city of Guernica after the attack by Condor Legion
bombers on April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.

A grim foretaste of the systematic bombing of cities during World War II came in April 1937 when a
combined force of German and Italian bombers under National Spanish command destroyed most of the
Basque city of Gernika in north-east Spain. This bombing received worldwide condemnation, and the
collective memory of the horror of the bombing of civilians has ever since become most acute via the
famous painting, named after the town, by the Cubist artist, Pablo Picasso. Many feared that this would
be the way that future air wars would be conducted, since the Italian strategist, General Giulio Douhet
(who had died in 1930), had formulated theories regarding what would be dubbed "strategic bombing",
the idea that wars would be won by striking from the air at the heart of the industrial muscle of a warring
nation, and thus demoralising the civilian population to the point where the government of that nation
would be driven to sue for peace—a portent of things to come, certainly, and not just during the war
which would break out in Europe only months after the end of the civil war in Spain.

World War II

At the outset of the war, the Luftwaffe was one of the most modern, powerful, and experienced air
forces in the world, dominating the skies over Europe with aircraft that were much more advanced than
their initial counterparts. The Luftwaffe was central to the German Blitzkrieg doctrine, as the close air
support provided by Stuka dive bombers and an overwhelming force of tactical fighters were key to
several early successes. Following the Battle of Britain, however, the Luftwaffe went into a steady,
gradual decline that saw it both outclassed and outgunned by the sheer number of Allied aircraft being
deployed against it. Towards the end of the war the Luftwaffe was no longer a major factor, and despite
fielding advanced aircraft like the Me262, was crippled by fuel shortages, insufficient production
capacity, and a lack of trained pilots.

Cold War

The Canadian version of the North American F-86 Sabre, the Canadair CL-13, had a long career
in the Luftwaffe, with which seventy-five examples served. This model is in the markings of 1.
Staffel of Waffenschule 10 (1. / WaSLw 10), based at Oldenburg in 1959.
(Model by Peter Mojzisek Gallery/CL13Sabre/CL-13 Sabre.htm)
Following the war, German aviation in general was severely curtailed, and military aviation was
completely forbidden when the Luftwaffe was officially disbanded in August 1946 by the Allied Control
Commission. This changed when West Germany joined NATO in 1955, as the Western Allies believed
that Germany was needed in view of the increasing threat militarily from the USSR and its Warsaw Pact
allies. Throughout the following decades, the West German Luftwaffe was equipped mostly with U.S.-
designed aircraft manufactured locally under licence. All aircraft sported—and continue to sport—the
Iron Cross on the fuselage, harking back to the days of World War I, while the national flag of West
Germany could be seen on the tailplanes.

Many well-known fighter pilots, who had fought with the Luftwaffe in World War II, joined the new
post-war air force and underwent refresher training in the U.S. before returning to West Germany to
upgrade on the latest U.S.-supplied hardware. These included Erich Hartmann, the highest-ever scoring
ace (352 enemy aircraft destroyed), Gerhard Barkhorn (301), Günther Rall (275) and Johannes Steinhoff
(176). Steinhoff, who suffered a crash in a Messerschmitt Me 262 shortly before the end of the war
which resulted in lifelong scarring of his face and other parts of his body, would eventually become
commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, with Rall as his immediate successor. Hartmann retired as an
Oberst (colonel) in 1970 aged 48. The aforementioned Josef Kammhuber also served with the post-war
Luftwaffe, retiring in 1962 as Inspekteur der Bundesluftwaffe.

1960's Starfighter crisis

During the 1960's, the "Starfighter crisis" was a big problem for German politics, as many of these
Lockheed F-104 fighters crashed after being modified to serve for Luftwaffe purposes - specifically for
terrain, weather and ground troop support issues. In Luftwaffe service, 292 of the 916 Starfighters
crashed, claiming the lives of 115 pilots, leading to cries from the West German public that the
Starfighter was fundamentally unsafe and earning it the Witwenmacher (English - Widowmaker)

Steinhoff and his deputy Rall noted that the non-German F-104's proved much safer - Spain lost none in
the same period. The Americans blamed the high loss rate of the Luftwaffe F-104s to the extreme low-
level and aggressive flying by the German pilots, rather than any faults in the aircraft. [1]. Steinhoff and
Rall immediately left their daily work and learned to fly the aircraft in America under Lockheed
instruction, and noted some specifics in the training (a distinct lack of mountains and foggy weather
training), combined with handling capabilities (sharp start high G turns) of the aircraft that could create
accidents situations.

Steinhoff and Rall immediately changed the training regimen for the F-104 pilots, and accident ratio's
quickly fell to those comparable or better than other airforces. They also brought about the high level of
training and professionalism seen today throughout the Luftwaffe, and the start of a strategic direction
for Luftwaffe pilots to tactically and combat train outside Germany. However, the F-104 never removed
its Witwenmacher reputation, and was replaced much earlier by the Luftwaffe than other national

One of 212 Panavia Tornado IDSs delivered to the Luftwaffe.

From 1965 through 1970, two surface to surface missile wings (Flugkörpergeschwader) fielded 16 of
the Pershing I missile systems with nuclear warheads under US Army custody. In 1970, the system was
upgraded to Pershing IA with 72 systems. Although not directly affected by the 1988 Intermediate-
Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Luftwaffe unilaterally agreed to the retrograde of the Pershing 1A
system from their inventory in 1991, and the missiles were destroyed.

Beginning in June 1979 the Luftwaffe received 212 Panavia Tornado IDSs.

The United States provides nuclear weapons for use by Germany under a NATO nuclear sharing
agreement. As of 2005, 60 tactical B61 nuclear bombs are provided, stored at Büchel and Ramstein Air
Bases, which in time of war would be delivered by Luftwaffe Panavia Tornados.


The GDR's air force, the Luftstreitkräfte der NVA, was supplied exclusively with Eastern Bloc-produced
aircraft, such as the Sukhoi Su-17 "Fitter" and the more famous Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) family of
aircraft, such as the MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-29 fighters, and served primarily as an extension of Red
Air Force units in Eastern Germany. The East German air force was unique among Warsaw Pact
countries in that it was often equipped with Soviet-standard combat aircraft, instead of downgraded
export models. As an extension of Soviet air power, the "Luftstreitkräfte" enjoyed less autonomy than
other Eastern Bloc air forces. Unlike the West German Luftwaffe, the markings sported on the aircraft
reflected the identity of the country as belonging to the Communist bloc. These markings consisted of a
diamond-shaped design, in which could be seen the vertically oriented three stripes in black, red and
gold surmounted by the stylised hammer, compass and wreath-like ears-of-grain design, which was also
seen on the Flag of East Germany, although the stripes were a 90-degree orientation from those to be
seen on either national flag of the two German nations between 1959 and 1990.

After the GDR and West Germany were reunified in October 1990, the aircraft of the NVA were taken
over by the unified Federal Republic of Germany, and their GDR markings were replaced by the Iron
Cross, thus creating the situation of Soviet-built aircraft serving in a NATO air force. However, most of
these would eventually be taken out of service altogether, in many cases being sold to the new Eastern
European allies now part of NATO, such as Poland and the Baltic states.

Luftwaffe MiG-29UB

The exception to this was the Jagdgeschwader 73 "Steinhoff" in Laage. The pilots of this squadron flew
MiG-29s acquired during the reunification and were some of the most experienced MiG-29 pilots in the
world. One of their primary duties was to serve as aggressor pilots, training other pilots in dissimilar
combat tactics. The United States sent a group of fighter pilots to Germany during the Red October
exercise in order to practice real tactics against the aircraft they were most likely to meet in real combat.
In 2004, however, the MiG-29s were sold to Poland. Since then, the JG 73 uses the Eurofighter

In March 1999, for the first time since 1945, the Luftwaffe engaged in combat operations as part of the
NATO-led Kosovo War. This event was noted as significant in the British press with The Sun running
the headline "Luftwaffe and the RAF into battle side by side". The Luftwaffe flew suppression of enemy
air defence (SEAD) sorties. No Luftwaffe aircraft were lost during the campaign, but the force's role
proved to be controversial in Germany because of the strong pacifist sentiment still present in the
population that is opposed to the use of force by Germany in international affairs. Moreover, there were
constitutional concerns, because Germany was not and, indeed, still is not allowed to participate in
"wars of aggression" owing to its 1949 Grundgesetz ("Basic Law" - constitution).


In 2005, 4 F-4F Phantoms participated on NATO's Baltic Air Policing operation.


A Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoon (2-seated trainer version).

Since the 1970s, the Luftwaffe of West Germany and later the reunited Germany (as well as many other
European air forces) has actively pursued the construction of European combat aircraft such as the
Panavia Tornado and more recently the Eurofighter Typhoon, which has been introduced in 2006.

On January 13 2004 the then German Defence Minister Peter Struck announced major changes to the
German armed forces. A major part of this announcement is the plan to cut the German fighter fleet
from 426 in early 2004 to 265 by 2015. Assuming the full German order for 180 Eurofighter Typhoons
is fulfilled, this will see the Tornado force reduced to 85. The German Navy's air wing (Marineflieger)
received 112 Tornado IDSs. In late 2004 the last Tornado unit was disbanded. The maritime combat role
has been assumed by the Luftwaffe a unit of which has had its Tornados upgraded to carry the
Kormoran II and AGM-88 HARM missiles.
Tactical Training Centers

Luftwaffe Panavia Tornado at CFB Goose Bay

In light of the destroyed infrastructure of West Germany post World War 2, the restrictions on aircraft
production placed on Germany and the later restrictive flying zones available for training pilots, the
reconstructed Luftwaffe trained most of its pilots tactically away from Germany, mainly in the United
States where most of its aircraft were sourced from.

During the 1960's and 1970's, when large numbers of Luftwaffe jets began to crash - the Luftwaffe
suffered a 36 percent crash rate for F-84F Thunderstreak, and almost 30 percent loss of the F-104
Starfighter - created demands from Germany's citizens that the Luftwaffe move most combat training
away from Germany.

Resultantly, the Luftwaffe set up two Tactical Training centres: one, like many of the NATO forces at
the Canadian Forces Air Command base at Goose Bay; and a second one in a unique partnership with
the United States Airforce at Holloman AFB in New Mexico. Both of these facilities provide access to
large unpopulated areas, where tactical and combat training can take place without danger to large

In September 2004, Luftwaffe chief of staff, Klaus-Peter Stieglitz announced a reduction in its training
program of roughly 20%.
Holloman AFB

On 1 May 1996, the Luftwaffe established the German Air Force Tactical Training Center in concept
with the United States Air Force 20th Fighter Squadron which provides aircrew training in the F-4F
Phantom II. The TTC serves as the parent command for two German air crew training squadrons. The F-
4 Training Squadron oversees all German F-4 student personal affairs, and provides German instructor
pilots to cooperate in the contracted F-4 training program provided by the U.S. Air Force (20th Fighter
Squadron). A second TTC unit, the Tornado Training Squadron, provides academic and tactical flying
training, by German Air Force instructors, for German Tornado aircrews.

The first contingent of Tornado aircraft arrived at Holloman in March 1996. More than 300 German Air
Force members are permanently assigned at Holloman to the TTC - the only unit of its kind in the
United States. The German Air Force Flying Training Center activated 31 March with German Air
Force Chief of Staff Gen. Portz and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Ryan present. The
Luftwaffe has since kept up to 800 personnel at Holloman for training exercises, due to limited training
space in Europe.

On 29 September 1999 two Luftwaffe Tornado's crashed near Marathon Indian Basin, about 15 miles
northwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The crash details were kept quiet from the American public, as the
crash was investigated under Luftwaffe jurisdiction. Subsequent questioning of the authorities revealed
that a training agreement existed between the United States and various foreign national governments
post World War II.

 Jagdgeschwader 73 "Steinhoff" - Eurofighter Typhoon
 Jagdgeschwader 74 - Eurofighter Typhoon - Neuburg an der Donau
 Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen"
 Jagdbmbergeschwader 31 "Boelcke"
 Jagdbombergeschwader 32
 Jagdbombergeschwader 33
 Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 "Immelmann"

Logo of the Streitkräftebasis

Vehicle of the Feldjäger

Streitkräftebasis (Joint Service Support Command, SKB) is a German military branch of the
Bundeswehr established in October 2000. It handles various logistics and organizational jobs of the
German armed forces.

Organizations it manages include:

 Feldjägertruppe (FJgTr) - Military Police

 Führungsunterstützungstruppe (FüUstgTr) - Command Support Element
 Fernmeldetruppe EloKa (EloKa) - Signal Corps and Electronic Warfare
 Truppe für Operative Information (OpInfoTr) - Operative Information
 Teile der Pioniertruppe (PiTr) - Parts of the Corps of Engineers
 Zentrum für Nachrichtenwesen der Bundeswehr (ZNBw) - Military Intelligence
 Teile der Nachschubtruppe (NschTr) - Parts of the Supply Forces
 Teile der Instandsetzungstruppe (InstTr) - Parts of the Maintainence Forces
Central Medical Services

Vehicle of the Sanitätsdienst

Central Medical Services is the English translation of the German Zentraler Sanitätsdienst (in short:
Sanitätsdienst) which is the term for the medical services of the German armed forces. Medical
professionals in the German forces are part of a central command common to all the various branches
rather than commissioned or appointed to serve as a member of any one of them, in contrast systems
employed in most other nations, in which medical personnel are assigned to the various branches (Army,
Navy, etc.). This system is considered by the German government to be more efficient as the duties of
the medical services personnel are seen as being as primarily medical rather than primarily military in

Ranks of the Central Medical Service

Army and Airforce

Army and
Human Medicine Dentistry Pharmacy Veterinary

Stabsarzt Stabsarzt Stabsapotheker Stabsveterinär Hauptmann

Oberstabsarzt Oberstabsarzt Oberstabsapotheker Oberstabsveterinär Major

Oberfeldarzt Oberfeldarzt Oberfeldapotheker Oberfeldveterinär Oberstleutnant

Oberstarzt Oberstarzt Oberstapotheker Oberstveterinär Oberst

Generalarzt Generalarzt Generalapotheker -- Brigadegeneral

Generalstabsarzt -- -- -- Generalmajor

Generaloberstabsarzt -- -- -- Generalleutnant


rank insignia of the highest Navy doctor (Admiraloberstabsarzt / AdmOSA)

Human Medicine Dentistry Pharmacy Navy

Stabsarzt Stabsarzt Stabsapotheker Kapitänleutnant

Oberstabsarzt Oberstabsarzt Oberstabsapotheker Korvettenkapitän

Flottillenarzt Flottillenarzt Flottillenapotheker Fregattenkapitän

Flottenarzt Flottenarzt Flottenapotheker Kapitän zur See

Admiralarzt Admiralarzt Admiralapotheker Flottillenadmiral

Admiralstabsarzt -- -- Konteradmiral

Admiraloberstabsarzt -- -- Vizeadmiral

Feldjäger patrol vehicle

The Feldjäger are the military police of the German Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces. The term
Feldjäger ("field rifleman" or "field hunter") has a long tradition and dates back to the mid-17th century.
Their motto is Suum Cuique (Latin: "To each his own", derived from Cicero, De Finibus, Bonorum et
Malorum, liber V, 67: "(...) ut fortitudo in laboribus periculisque cernatur, (...), iustitia in suo cuique

The Feldjäger corps serves all component forces of the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr)
i.e., Army, Navy, Air Force, Medical Corps and Joint Support Service, under the command of the Joint
Support Command in Cologne.

The 30 Feldjäger MP Stations located throughout Germany work around the clock to perform the
Feldjägers’ main mission which is to be a central point of contact for all soldiers who need assistance.
There is a nationwide emergency phone number (01803-90 9999) so Bundeswehr soldiers can contact
their nearest Feldjäger station at any time.

The Feldjäger also have four more missions: Maintaining military discipline and order, military traffic
control, security operations and investigations.

To maintain military discipline, the Feldjäger perform regular patrols on-post and at places where
Bundeswehr personnel congregate. They also patrol at large military events, conduct checks in military
installations, support the military courts of justice, assist in collecting and returning stragglers and
apprehended soldiers, and assist in collecting and transporting prisoners of war.

When directing and controlling military traffic, Feldjäger work closely with the civilian police to
improve traffic safety and protect soldiers. Feldjäger traffic missions therefore include route
reconnaissance and marking of convoy routes, preparing reports on road accidents with Bundeswehr
involvement, directing and controlling military traffic, escorting military oversize or hazardous material
vehicles, assisting with the planning and supervision of military traffic, safety checks on military
hazardous material vehicles, and setting up military traffic networks.

Feldjäger security operations prevent crimes against the German Federal Armed Forces and prevent
illegal disturbances of official Bundeswehr ceremonies. In addition, Feldjäger can be tasked to protect
allied armed forces and provide personal security protection for high-risk Bundeswehr officials. They
also secure the command posts of large units, escort VIPs, safeguard conferences and exhibitions, secure
military property, assist commanders in physical security matters, and perform riot control missions.

Investigations and inquiries are another focus of the Feldjäger. These range from reporting serious
accidents, analyzing matters of official interest, assisting in the investigation of military offenses, and
searching for deserters. The Feldjäger corps also has military working dog teams. The dogs are first
trained to be patrol dogs and then as sniffer dogs at the Bundeswehr MWD school in Koblenz. Their
teams assist in the search for explosives and drugs.

On overseas deployments, Feldjäger support the respective contingent by performing military police
tasks. They are frequently employed in multinational military police units and not only monitor the
behavior of German soldiers in the area of operations, they also cooperate closely with local authorities,
police, organizations, or the military police of other states under the Charter of the United Nations.
House searches for illegal weapons and explosives are the day-to-day business in foreign deployments.
One mission only performed overseas, for example, is the airport security and border clearance mission.

To be able to conduct these varied and challenging missions, Feldjäger soldiers are sent to numerous
training courses at the Feldjäger School in Sonthofen or to specialist courses with the civilian police.
One course that all Feldjäger must complete is the proficiency test in English, which makes them
excellent liaison officers when dealing with other MP forces.