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Introduction

f Germany and post-World War II army of West Germany|the World War II army of Germany|German Army (1935?1945)|the World War I army of Germany|German Army (German Empire)}}The German Army () is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. The German Army was founded in 1955 as part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Marine (Navy) and the Luftwaffe (Air Force). As of March 2014, the German Army has a strength of 61,831 soldiers.



        Introduction
                        Overview
                        Founding of the Army
                        Post Cold War
                German Army today
                        Modern equipment
                Structure and organisation
                        Truppengattungen
                Rank structure
                See also
                Further reading
                        Historical links


Overview

A German Army, equipped, organized and trained following a single doctrine, and permanently unified under one command dates from 1871, and the unification of Germany under the leadership of Prussia. From 1871 to 1919 the title Deutsches Heer (German Army) was the official name of the German land forces. Following the German defeat in World War I and the end of the German Empire the name army dissolved. From 1921 to 1935 the name of the German land forces was Reichsheer (Army of the Realm) and from 1935 to 1945 the name Heer was used. The Heer was one of two ground forces of the Third Reich during World War II, but unlike the Heer the Waffen SS was not a branch of the Wehrmacht. The Heer ceased to exist in 1945.After World War II Germany was split into two sovereign states and both formed their own militaries: on 12 November 1955 the first recruits began their service in the West German Heer, while on 1 March 1956 the East German Landstreitkräfte der NVA (Land Forces of the National People's Army) were founded. During the Cold War the West German Army was fully integrated into NATOs command structure, while the Landstreitkräfte were part of the Warsaw Pact. Following the German reunification in 1990 the Landstreitkräfte were partially integrated into the German Army. Since then the German Army has been employed in peacekeeping operations worldwide and since 2002 also in combat operations in Afghanistan as part of NATOs International Security Assistance Force.Traditions can be traced between the Imperial Deutsches Heer, the Weimar Reichsheer and the Third Reich Heer. However after World War II the architects of the new Heer chose not to continue any traditions of any of the previous armies. The only permitted historical antecedents for today's Heer are the 1807 to 1814 Prussian military reformers and the servicemen who participated actively in the resistance against the Nazi regime, specifically the officers involved in the 20 July plot.




Founding of the Army

Following World War II the Allies dissolved the Wehrmacht with all its branches on 20 August 1946. However already one year after the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949 and because of its increasing links with the West under German chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the Consultative Assembly of Europe began to consider the formation of a European Defence Community with German participation on 11 August 1950. Former high-ranking German Wehrmacht officers outlined in the Himmeroder memorandum a plan for a "German contingent in an international force for the defense of Western Europe." For the German land forces the memorandum envisioned the formation of a 250,000 strong army. The officers saw the need for the formation of twelve Panzer divisions and six corps staffs with accompanying Corps troops, as only armored divisions could muster a fighting force to throw back the numerically far superior forces of the Warsaw Pact.On 26 October 1950 Theodor Blank was appointed "officer of the Federal Chancellor for the Strengthening of Allied Troops questions". This Defence Ministry forerunner was known somewhat euphemistically as the Blank Office (Amt Blank), but explicitly used to prepare for the rearmament of West Germany (Wiederbewaffnung). In total of twelve armoured and infantry divisions were to be established by 1959, as planned in Army Structure I. To achieve this goal existing units were split approximately every six months. However the creation of all twelve divisions did not take place until 1965. At the end of 1958 the strength of the army was about 100,000 men. The army was equipped at first with American material, such as the M-47 Patton main battle tank. Three corps commands were formed beginning in 1957: the I Corps, II Corps, and the III Corps.Also in 1957 the "Office for Territorial Defence" was established as the highest Territorial Army authority. The Office for Territorial Defence was under the direct command of the Federal Ministry of Defence and commanded the Territorialheer a reserve formation. While the Heer along with the Marine and Luftwaffe were firmly integrated into NATO command structures the Territorialheer remained under national command. The main function of the Territorialheer was to maintain the operational freedom of NATO forces through providing rear area defence against saboteurs, enemy special forces, and the like.The development of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons required the development of a new Army structure even before Army Structure I was fully achieved. To minimize the effects of attacks with tactical nuclear weapons on massed forces, the 28,000 strong divisions of the Heer were broken up into smaller and more mobile brigades. These smaller units were also to be capable of self-sustainment on an atomic battlefield for several days, and to be capable of to move quickly from defense and to attack. The new armoured and mechanized brigades were capable of combined arms combat. Each division was composed of three brigades. The armoured brigades consisted of an armoured infantry battalion, two armoured battalions, an armoured artillery battalion and a supply battalion. The mechanized brigades consisted of a motorized infantry battalion, two me
Post Cold War

After 1990, the Heer absorbed the army of East Germany, a part of the Nationale Volksarmee. The former East German forces were initially commanded by the Bunderwehr Command East under command of Lieutenant General Jörg Schönbohm and disbanded on 30 June 1991. In the aftermath of the merger, the German Army consisted of four Corps (including IV Corps at Potsdam in the former DDR) with a manpower of 360,000 men. It was continuously downsized from this point. In 1994 III Corps was reorganised as the German Army Forces Command. In 1996, the 25th Airborne Brigade was converted into a new command leading the Army's special forces, known as the Kommando Spezialkräfte.The 2001 onwards restructuring of the German Army saw it move to a seven division structure ? 5 mechanized (each with two mechanized brigades), 1 special forces, and one airmobile.In 2003, three Corps still existed, each including various combat formations and a maintenance brigade. I. German/Dutch Corps, a joint German-Netherlands organization, used to control in peacetime the 1st Panzer and 7th Panzer Divisions as well as Dutch formations. The 1st Panzer would have reported to the corps in wartime while the 7th would be posted to the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. II Corps was German in peacetime but would have exchanged a division with the V U.S. Corps in time of war (the 5th Panzer). 5th Panzer Division disbanded as of 30 June 2001. In peacetime it also commanded the 10th Panzer Division, which was allocated to Eurocorps and which parents the German half of the Franco-German Brigade. The 1st Mountain Division at Munich was also under this headquarters.The IV Corps was headquartered at Potsdam in eastern Germany and controlled two Panzer-Grenadier Divisions, the 13th and 14th. The 14th Panzer-Grenadier Division also took control of units in Western Germany re-subordinated from the 6th Panzer-Grenadier Division when it lost its command function. It would have made up the German contribution to the Multinational Corps Northeast in time of war. IV Corps also used to have under its command the Military District Command I, the 1st Air Mechanised Brigade, and the Berlin Command ().




German Army today

All corps have now been disbanded or transferred to a multinational level such as Multinational Corps North East. IV Corps was reorganized and on 31 March 2002 became an overseas deployment command, the Einsatzführungskommando der Bundeswehr, like the British Permanent Joint Headquarters. A planned army reorganisation/reduction in 2012 will see the disbandment of the 13th Mechanized Infantry Division headquarters, a merge of the Airmobile Operations Division and Special Operations Division headquarters, the disbandment of the 1st Airmobile Brigade, and reshuffling of units between divisions. No heavy brigades will be disbanded, but the two remaining heavy divisions will command three rather than two brigades.A total of 62,279 soldiers are currently (February 2013) on active service in the German Army.




Modern equipment

File:Leopard 2A6, PzBtl 104.jpg|Leopard 2A6 main battle tankFile:PzH2000 houwitser.png|PzH2000 self-propelled artilleryFile:Gepard 1a2 overview.jpg|Gepard 1a2 air-defence artillery gunsFile:NH-90 ILA-2006 2.jpg|NH-90 transport helicopter




Structure and organisation

The German Army is commanded by the Inspector of the Army (Inspekteur des Heeres) based at the Army Command in Strausberg near Berlin. The training centers are supervised by the Army Training Command in Leipzig. The combat units of the army include two armored divisions with three brigades each, one rapid forces division and the Franco-German Brigade, which is under direct supervision of the Army Command.Depending on their size and role, brigades can be commanded either by a Brigadier General alike or a Colonel. Unlike other European armies such of neighbouring Netherlands and France, regiments are not a common form of organization and are thus rare in the German army. Battalions are directly subordinate to brigades or to divisions as divisional troops.

    Divisional troops
    Panzergrenadierbrigade 42 (41st Mechanized Infantry Brigade) "Vorpommern"
    Divisional troops
    Panzerbrigade 12 (12th Armoured Brigade) "Oberpfalz"
    Gebirgsjägerbrigade 23 (23rd Mountain Infantry Brigade) "Bayern"
    Divisional troops
    Command Support Brigade
    German elements in two permanent battalions and one staff company
    German elements in two permanent battalions and one staff company
    Fernmeldebataillon 610 (610th Signal Battalion)
    German elements
    40px Zentraler Mobilmachungsstützpunkt (Central Mobilisation Base) in Brück




Truppengattungen

The German Army has eleven different branches of troops, designated as Truppengattungen. Each Truppengattung is responsible for training and readiness of its units and disposes of its own schools and centres of excellence for doing so.Optically this distinction can be made by the branch colour, called Waffenfarbe which is displayed by a cord attached to the rank insignia, and the colour of their beret with a specific badge attached to it.Beret Colour (Army only and Security Units of Navy and Air Force)

    Black: Armoured Corps, Reconnaissance Corps
    Green: Mechanized Infantry and Rifles Corps
    Dark Red: Aviation Corps, Airborne Corps, Special Forces, formations assigned to airborne division
    Light Red: Combat Support Corps and Military Police
    Dark Blue: Medical Corps
    Navy Blue: Multinational Units, Officer Cadet Battalions, Navy and Air Force Security Units
    Bright Blue: Troops with United Nations Missions
Grey mountain cap (Bergmütze): Mountain Troops GebirgsjägerWaffenfarbe (Army and army support branch only)Kragenspiegel ABC-Abwehrtruppe Bw.svg|NBCKragenspiegel Artillerietruppe Bw.svg|ArtilleryKragenspiegel Feldjäger Bw.svg|Military PoliceKragenspiegel Fernmeldetruppe Bw.svg|SignalsKragenspiegel Heeresaufklärungstruppe Bw.svg|ReconnaissanceKragenspiegel Heeresfliegertruppe Bw.svg|Army AviationKragenspiegel Heeresfllugabwehrtruppe Bw.svg|Army Air DefenceKragenspiegel Heereslogistiktruppe Bw.svg|Technical TroopsKragenspiegel Infanterie Bw.svg|Infantry Kragenspiegel Militärmusikdienst Bw.svg|Military bandKragenspiegel Panzertruppe Bw.svg|Armoured Troops (i.e. Tanks)Kragenspiegel Pioniertruppe Bw.svg|Pioneers (i.e. Engineering)Kragenspiegel Sanitätstruppe Bw.svg|Medical Troops
    Bright Red:General ranks (only "Kragenspiegel", not "Litze"),
    Crimson: General Staff




Rank structure

The rank structure of the German army is adjusted to the rank structure of the NATO. Unlike its predecessors, the modern German Army does not use the rank of Colonel General.The highest rank for an army officer is Lieutenant General, as the rank of Full General is reserved for the Armed Forces chief of staff or officers serving as NATO officers.Officer cadets do not pass through all enlisted ranks, but are directly promoted to Lieutenant after 36 months of service.
Equivalent US Army ranks are shown below according to "STANAG 2116 NSA MC LO (EDITION 6) ? NATO CODES FOR GRADES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL":




See also




Further reading

    Catherine M. Kelleher, ?Fundamentals of German Security: The Creation of the Bundeswehr: Continuity and Change,? in Stephen F. Szabo (ed.), The Bundeswehr and Western Security, St. Martin?s Press, New York, 1990.




Historical links





 
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License [copyleft]. This page may use material from the Wikipedia article "German_Army". German_Army