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Heer ()is the German word for army. The German army is one of the three parts of the Bundeswehr ("Federal Defense"), as well as previously the Wehrmacht ("Defense Force") - the others are the Luftwaffe ("Air Force") and the Marine. The Austrian military is called Bundesheer ("Federal Army"), even though it not only includes ground forces, but also a small number of fighter planes.

History

Pre 1914

Following the defeat of Napoléon at the Battle of Waterloo the Prussian Empire had years of military successes in the 19th Century & 20th Century. Every able bodied man between the ages of 17 and 45 were liable for military service. There were 4 classes of service; Active, 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 Landstrum 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, but the entire population of young men from a city or region could be wiped out in one battle.

World War I 1914-1918

The Prussian Heer became the nucleus of the Imperial German Army (Kaiserliche Armee or Deutschen Reichsheeres) with the unification of Germany in 1871. By 1914 the German Heer fielded 50 Active Divisions.

Reichswehr 1918-1935

Following the end of WWI 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 less that protected a neighborhood or town. On March 6th, 1919 an army known as the Vorläufige Reichswehr, or Provisional German Defense Force was formed with about 400,000 men, many drawn form the Freikorps. Then, in September 30, 1919 the Übergangsheer, or Transitional Army was created from the Defense Force and the Freikorps. Finally, on January 1, 1921 the Reichswehr was formed with 7 Infantry Divisions and 3 Cavalry Divisions. The Reichswehr put down Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch.

Wehrmacht 1935-1945

Under the Treaty of Versailles the Reichswehr was only allowed 100,000 soldiers split between Heer and the Marine. In 1933 the Nazi party came to power and began dismantling the treaty. The Heer was founded as part of the Wehrmacht in May 1935 with the passing of the "Law for the Reconstruction of the National Defense Forces". The Wehrmacht was expanded to include the Heer and Navy and with a third branch known as the Luftwaffe. Initially, the Heer 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 Heer. 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 honor of WWII, the Knights Cross, 4777 were from the Heer making up 65% of the total awarded. The Allies dissolved the Heer on August 20 1946.

Current Heer

Command structure and units

Strength: 233.000 (2004)
The German Army is presently divided into a main force and a rapid reaction force, composed of 50,000 troops.
  • Under the command of Heeresführugskommando (Army Guidance Command) are 7 divisions. They are:
    • 1. Panzerdivision (1st Armoured Division) in Hannover. Units:
      • Panzergrenadierbrigade 1 (1st Armoured Infantry Brigade) in Hildesheim
      • Panzerlehrbrigade 9 (9th Armoured Brigade) in Munster
      • Artillerieregiment 1 (1st Artillery Regiment)
      • Logistikregiment 1 (1st Logistics Regiment)
      • Pionierbrigade 42 (42nd Engineer Brigade).
    • 7. Panzerdivision (7th Armoured Division)in Dusseldorf. It is Germany’s main contribution to NATO. Units:
      • Panzerbrigade 14 (14th Tank Brigade) in Neustadt
      • Panzerbrigade 21 (21st Tank Brigade) in Augustdorf
    • 10. Panzerdivision (10th Armoured Division) in Sigmaringen. Units:
      • Gebirgsjägerbrigade 23 (23rd Mountain Infantry Brigade) in Bad Reichenhall
      • Panzergrenadierbrigade 30 (30th Armoured Infantry Brigade) in Ellwangen
      • German Army contributions to the Franco-German Brigade and two artillery regiments (4 and 12)
    • 13. Panzergrenadierdivision (13th Armoured Infantry Division) in Leipzig. Units:
      • Panzerbrigade 12 (12th Armoured Brigade) in Amberg
      • Jaegerbrigade 37 (37st Cavalry Brigade) in Frankenberg
    • 14. Panzergrenadierdivision (14th Armoured Infantry Division) in Neubrandenburg. Units:
      • Panzerbrigade 18 (18th Armoured Brigade)in Neumunster
      • Panzerbrigade 41 (41st Armoured Brigade) in Eggesin
    • Division Spezielle Operationen (Special Operations Division) in Regensburg. Units:
      • Kommando Spezial Kräfte (KSK) German Army’s special forces in Calw
      • Luftlandebrigade 26 (26th Paratroops Brigade) in Saarlouis
      • Luftlandebrigade 31 (31st Paratroops Brigade) in Oldenburg
    • Division Luftbewegliche Operationen (Air Operations Division) in Veitshochheim, comprising all German Army’s helicopter assets of the Heeresflieger (Army Aviation):
      • Luftmechanisiertebrigade 1 (1st Air Mechanised Brigade) in Fritzlar
      • Heersfliegerbrigade 3 (3rd Army Flying Brigade) in Mendig

Units from the 10th Armoured Division contribute to the joint 1. German-Netherlands Corps and the Franco-German Brigade of Eurocorps. The German Army also supplies forces (from the 14th Armoured Infantry Brigade) to the Polish-German-Danish brigade of Multi-National Corps North-East (MNC NE). During wartime operations in Central Europe, German Army units would be assigned to the II (GE/ US) Corps and the V (US/GE) Corps. II (GE/US) Corps would be under German command while V (US/GE) Corps would be under US command.
  • An additional command, Heerestruppenkommando (Army Troop Command) in Koblenz, provides combat and logistical support to Army Guidance Command. Units assigned to Army Troop Command includes:
      • Artilleriebrigade 100 (100th Artillery Brigade) in Mulhausen
      • Logistikbrigaden (Logistics Brigades) 100 and 200 in Hannover and Tauber-Bischofsheim
      • Pionierbrigade 100 (100th Engineer Brigade) in Minden
      • ABC-Abwehrbrigade 100 (100th Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Brigade) in Bruchsal
      • Flug-Abwehr Brigade 100 (100th ? Brigade) in Fuldatal

Equipment

The German Army is equipped with about 2,560 MBTs, 3,150 AIFVs, 4,190 APCs, 950 artillery pieces and 509 helicopters.

Weapons

  • Heckler und Koch G36 - 5.56 mm x 45 Assault rifle replacing the Heckler und Koch G3
  • Heckler und Koch MG4
  • MG3 - 7.62 mm x 51 machine gun
  • Heckler und Koch MP7 - 4.6 mm x 30 sub-machine gun replacing the Heckler und Koch MP5
  • Heckler und Koch P8 - 9 mm x 19 pistol replacing the Heckler und Koch P1
  • Accuracy International G22 - 7.62 mm x 66.5 Sniper rifle
  • Dynamit Nobel Panzerfaust 3 - Rocket propelled grenade
  • Raytheon Fliegerfaust 2 - infrared homing surface-to-air missile
  • MILAN
  • Granatpistole
  • Eickhorn Kampfmesser KM2000 - 172 mm tanto style blade standard battle knife

Combat vehicles

  • Leopard 1 - Main Battle Tank (1000 - phasing out)
  • Leopard 2 - Main Battle Tank (1900)
  • Marder A2/A3 - infantry fighting vehicle (2100)
  • Wiesel 1/2 - light air-transportable infantry fighting vehicle
  • Boxer MRAV - Multirole Armored Vehicles (1000) to replace 2416 M113, 224 M557, 408 Luchs SPz-2 and 1016 Fuchs TPz-1 vehicles
  • Dingo 1/2
  • Mercedes Wolf
  • Mungo
  • Luchs
  • Fuchs
  • Fennek
  • Puma

Artillery

  • M270 MLRS - 270mm multiple rocket launcher (154)
  • LARS - 110 mm multiple rocket launcher (80)
  • PzH 2000 155mm self-propelled howitzer replacing 573 M109A3G
  • FH70 - 155 mm Howitzer (192)
  • M101 - 105 mm Howitzer (114)
  • Model 56 - 105 mm gun (19)
  • JPZ4-5 - 90 mm self-propelled gun (118)
  • Gepard - 35 mm self-proprolled anti-aircraft (379)
  • M113 Mortar 120 mm Tampella (515)

Non-combat vehicles

  • G-Wagen

Helicopters

  • CH-53G (108)
  • UH-1D - been phased out (174)
  • Bo105 attack, anti-tank and scouting/liaison (341)
  • Eurocopter Tiger UHT
  • NH90
  • Eurocopter EC135

See also

  • Military of Germany
  • Heer Order of Battle
  • Waffen-SS Order of Battle

External links