Portal:Military of Germany

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A stylized black cross; the insignia of the Bundeswehr.
Insignia of the Bundeswehr

The Bundeswehr (German for "Federal Defence Force"; <phonos file="De-Bundeswehr.ogg">listen</phonos>) consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The States of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government.

The Bundeswehr is divided into a military part (armed forces or Streitkräfte) and a civil part with the armed forces administration (Wehrverwaltung), Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr; BAAINBw). The military part of the federal defense force consists of Army (Heer), Navy (Marine), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joint Support Service (Streitkräftebasis), and Central Medical Services (Zentraler Sanitätsdienst) branches.

By international agreement, the Bundeswehr may not exceed an active strength of 370,000. The Bundeswehr currently has 247,100 active troops. Of these, 188,112 are professional soldiers, 25,566 18–25-year-old conscripts, who used to serve for at least six months, until conscription was ended in January 2011, and 33,417 volunteer conscripts serving a longer military service. In addition the Bundeswehr has approximately 350,000 reserve personnel.

Women have served in the medical service since 1975. From 1993 to 2000, they were also allowed to serve as enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers in the medical service and the army bands. 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 were not subject to conscription. There are presently around 14,500 women on active duty and a number of female reservists who take part in all duties including peacekeeping missions and other operations. In 1994, Verena von Weymarn became Generalarzt der Luftwaffe ("Surgeon General of the Air Force"), the first woman ever to reach the rank of general in the armed forces of Germany. Template:/box-footer

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File:Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiere.jpg
Panzergrenadiere of the Bundeswehr during basic training.

Panzergrenadier (short: PzGren or Pzg) is a German term for motorised or mechanized infantry – that is, infantry transported in combat vehicles specialized for such tasks – as introduced during World War II.

However, in the German Heer, Panzergrenadier is also the lowest rank of enlisted men (de: Mannschaften) in the Panzergrenadiertruppe, comparable to NATO OR-1.

The term Panzergrenadier had been introduced in 1942, and was applied equally to the infantry component of Panzer divisions as well as the new divisions known as Panzergrenadier Divisions. Most of the Heer's PzGren. divisions evolved via upgrades from ordinary infantry divisions, first to Motorized Infantry divisions and then to PzGren. divisions, retaining their numerical designation within the series for infantry divisions throughout the process. This included the 3rd, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 25th, and 29th divisions. Others, such as the Großdeutschland Division, were built up over the course of the war by repeatedly augmenting the size of an elite regiment or battalion. The Waffen-SS also created several PzGren. divisions by the same methods, or by creating new divisions from scratch later in the war. A number of PzGren. divisions in both the Heer and Waffen-SS were upgraded to Panzer divisions as the war progressed.

In the German army, Panzergrenadiere act as mechanized infantry and escort of armored vehicles and tanks.

According to the German central army regulation HDv 100/100 (State of 2000), the Panzergrenadiertruppe and their co-operation with other armoured troops is characterized as following:

The Armoured military forces consist of the Panzertruppe and the Panzergrenadiertruppe. [...] Due to the mobility and protection offered by their armoured fighting vehicles, the Panzergrenadiertruppe is especially suited for swift changes between mounted and dismounted combat to maintain the momentum of armoured troops. [...] The direct and close cooperation of the Panzertruppe and the Panzergrenadiertruppe is, next to the cooperation with Combat support, mandatory to succeed. Their versatility and reactivity enables them to gain and maintain the initiative and bring about the decision. (Read more)

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Werner von Haeften in 1939.
Werner von Haeften in 1939.

Werner Karl von Haeften (9 October 1908 – 21 July 1944) was an Oberleutnant in the Wehrmacht, who took part in the military-based conspiracy against Adolf Hitler known as the 20 July plot. He is considered a hero of the German anti-Nazi resistance.

Haeften and his brother Hans were born in Berlin, the sons of Hans von Haeften, an army officer and President of the Reichsarchiv (German National Archives). He studied law in his home town and then worked for a bank in Hamburg until the outbreak of the Second World War when he joined the German Army.

In 1943, having recovered from a severe wound he had suffered on the Eastern Front, Haeften became adjutant to Oberst Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, one of the leading figures in the German Resistance.

On 20 July 1944, Haeften accompanied Stauffenberg to the military high command of the Wehrmacht near Rastenburg, East Prussia (now Kętrzyn, in Poland), where Stauffenberg planted a briefcase bomb in a conference room at Hitler's Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) headquarters. After the detonation, Stauffenberg and Haeften rushed to Berlin and, not knowing that Hitler had survived the explosion, attempted to launch the long-planned coup d'état, which would swiftly fail.

On the same day, Haeften, along with Stauffenberg and fellow conspirators General Friedrich Olbricht and Oberst Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, was arrested after a summary court martial and sentenced to death by General Friedrich Fromm, who was himself later arrested and executed by the Nazi regime for his tacit complicity. All four plotters were shot after midnight by a ten-man firing squad from the Grossdeutschland Guards Battalion in the courtyard of the War Ministry, the Bendlerblock. When Stauffenberg was about to be shot, in a last gesture of loyalty and defiance, Haeften placed himself in the path of the bullets meant for Stauffenberg. (Read more)

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AGM-88 and AIM-9 on Tornado.jpg
A Luftwaffe Tornado ECR during the air campaign over Kosovo (1999).


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