German Navy

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German Navy
Deutsche Marine
Bundeswehr Logo Marine with lettering.svg
Founded 2 January 1956
Country  Germany
Type Navy
Size 16,045 personnel (31 December 2015)[1]
81 ships
52 aircraft
Part of Bundeswehr
Headquarters of the German Navy Rostock (Navy Command)
Motto Wir. Dienen. Deutschland
(We. Serve. Germany)
March "de (Gruß an Kiel)"
Anniversaries 14 June
Inspector of the Navy Vice Admiral Andreas Krause
Deputy Inspector of the Navy Vice Admiral Rainer Brinkmann
Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Klaus von Dambrowski
Naval Ensign Naval Ensign of Germany.svg

German Navy
Deutsche Marine
German Naval Ensign
Naval Air Arm
Navy Command
Ship Classes
History and Traditions
Prussian Navy
Norddeutsche Bundesmarine
Imperial German Navy
Awards, Decorations and Badges
Badge of Honour of the Bundeswehr
Military Proficiency Badge
Badge of Marksmanship
Deployment Medal
Flood Service Medal

The German Navy (German: Deutsche Marine or simply German: MarineAbout this sound listen ) is the navy of Germany and part of the unified Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces. The German Navy was originally known as the Bundesmarine from 1956 until 1995 when Deutsche Marine (German Navy) became the official name with respect to the 1990 incorporation of the East German Volksmarine. It is deeply integrated into the NATO alliance. Its primary mission is protection of Germany's territorial waters and maritime infrastructure as well as sea lines of communication. Apart from this, the German Navy participates in peacekeeping operations, and renders humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.


The German Navy traces its roots back to the Reichsflotte (Imperial Fleet) of the revolutionary era of 1848–52. The Reichsflotte was the first German navy to sail under the black-red-gold flag. Founded on 14 June 1848 by the orders of the democratically elected Frankfurt Parliament, the Reichsflotte's brief existence ended with the failure of the revolution and it was disbanded on 2 April 1852; thus, the modern day navy celebrates its birthday on 14 June.

Between May 1945 and 1956, the German Mine Sweeping Administration and its successor organizations, made up of former members of the Kriegsmarine, became something of a transition stage for the navy, allowing the future Marine to draw on experienced personnel upon its formation. In 1956, with West Germany's accession to NATO, the Bundesmarine, as the navy was known colloquially, was formally established. In the same year the East German Volkspolizei See became the Volksmarine ("People's Navy"). With the accession of East Germany to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990 the Volksmarine along with the whole National People's Army became part of the Bundeswehr. Since 1995 the name German Navy is used in international context, while the official name since 1956 remains Marine without any additions. As of 31 December 2015, the strength of the navy is 16,045 men and women.[1]

A number of naval forces have operated in different periods. See

Current operations

German warships 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 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 has been under German command.[2]

The navy is operating a number of development and testing installations as part of an inter-service and international network. Among these is the Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters (COE CSW), an affiliated centre of Allied Command Transformation. The COE CSW was established in April 2007 and officially accredited by NATO on 26 May 2009.[3] It is co-located with the staff of the German Flotilla 1 in Kiel whose Commander is double-hatted as Director, COE CSW.


Ships and submarines

In total, there are about 81 commissioned ships in the German Navy, including 5-6 submarines and 21 auxiliary ships. The displacement of the navy is 220,000 tonnes. In addition, the German Navy and the Royal Danish Navy are in cooperation in the "Ark Project". This agreement made the Ark Project responsible for the strategic sealift of German armed forces where the full-time charter of three roll-on-roll-off cargo and troop ships are ready for deployments. In addition, these ships are also kept available for the use of the other European NATO countries.

The three vessels have a combined displacement of 60,000 tonnes.[4][5] Including these ships, the total ships' displacement available to the Deutsche Marine is 280,000 tonnes.

A total of five Joint Support Ships, two JSS800 and three JSS400, were planned during the 1995-2010 period but the programme appears now to have been abandoned, not having been mentioned in two recent defence reviews. The larger ships would have been tasked for strategic troop transport and amphibious operations, and were to displace 27,000 to 30,000 tons for 800 soldiers.[6]


The naval air arm of the German Navy is called the Marineflieger. The Marineflieger operate approx. 50 aircraft.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions Quantity[7] Notes
Fixed-wing aircraft
P-3C Orion - CUP  United States Maritime patrol P-3C MPA 8 Former Royal Netherlands Navy
Dornier Do 228  Germany Pollution control Do 228 LM/NG 2
Westland Lynx  United Kingdom Maritime helicopter Mk 88 21 Will be replaced by NH90 NFH
Westland Sea King  United Kingdom Search and rescue Mk 41 21 Replacement planned
NHI NH90  European Union Maritime helicopter NFH 0 18 ordered[8]
Camcopter S-100  Austria UAV S-100 0 6 on order.
A German Navy boarding team member assigned to the frigate FGS Augsburg (F213) provides security with a P8 pistol for the remainder of his team as they board a local cargo dhow by fast rope to conduct a search of the vessel.


The German Navy is commanded by the Inspector of the Navy (Inspekteur der Marine) supported by the Navy Command (Marinekommando) in Rostock.


  • 1st Corvette Squadron (1. Korvettengeschwader), Warnemünde
  • 1st Submarine Squadron (1. Ubootgeschwader), Eckernförde
    • Submarine Training Centre (Ausbildungszentrum Unterseeboote), Eckernförde
  • 3rd Minesweeping Squadron (3. Minensuchgeschwader), Kiel
  • 5th Minesweeping Squadron (5. Minensuchgeschwader), Kiel
  • 7th Fast Patrol Boat Squadron (7. Schnellbootgeschwader), Warnemünde
  • Naval Force Protection Battalion, (Seebataillon), Eckernförde
  • de (Naval Special Forces Command), (Kommando Spezialkräfte Marine), Eckernförde
  • Naval Base Command Kiel (Marinestützpunktkommando Kiel)
  • Naval Base Command Eckernförde
  • Naval Base Command Warnemünde
  • HQ 2nd Flotilla
  • 2nd Frigate Squadron (2. Fregattengeschwader), Wilhelmshaven
  • 4th Frigate Squadron (4. Fregattengeschwader), Wilhelmshaven
  • Auxiliary Squadron (Trossgeschwader), Wilhelmshaven
  • Naval Base Command Wilhelmshaven
  • Naval Aviation Command (Marinefliegerkommando), Nordholz
  • Naval Air Wing 3 (Marinefliegergeschwader 3), Nordholz
  • Naval Air Wing 5 (Marinefliegergeschwader 5), Nordholz



NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student Officer
Naval Ensign of Germany.svg
no equivalent MDS 64 Admiral Trp.svg
MDJA 64 Admiral Trp Lu.svg
MDS 63 Vizeadmiral Trp.svg
MDJA 63 Vizeadmiral Trp Lu.svg
MDS 62 Konteradmiral Trp.svg
MDJA 62 Konteradmiral Trp Lu.svg
MDS 61 Flottillenadmiral Trp.svg
MDJA 61 Flottillenadmiral Trp Lu.svg
MDS 53 Kapitän zur See Trp.svg
MDJA 53 Kapitän zur See Trp Lu.svg
zur See
MDS 52 Fregattenkapitän Trp.svg
MDJA 52 Fregattenkapitän Trp Lu.svg
MDS 51 Korvettenkapitän Trp.svg
MDJA 51 Korvettenkapitän Trp Lu.svg
MDS 44 Stabskapitänleutnant Trp.svg
MDJA 44 Stabskapitänleutnant Trp Lu.svg
MDS 43 Kapitänleutnant Trp.svg
MDJA 43 Kapitänleutnant Trp Lu.svg
MDS 42 Oberleutnant zur See Trp.svg
MDJA 42 Oberleutnant zur See Trp Lu.svg
zur See
MDS 41 Leutnant zur See Trp.svg
MDJA 41 Leutnant zur See Trp Lu.svg
zur See
No equivalent Enlisted rank plus a star indicating cadet's career

Petty officers and enlisted seamen

NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Germany Germany
MDS 35 Oberstaabsbootsmann 20.svg MDS 34 Staabsbootsmann 10.svg MDS 33 Hauptbootsmann 70.svg MDS 32 Oberbootsmann 60.svg MDS 31 Bootsmann 30.svg MDS 22 Obermaat 30.svg MDS 21 Maat 10.svg MDS 16 Oberstabsgefreiter 70 L.svg MDS 15 Stabsgefreiter 60 L.svg MDS 14 Hauptgefreiter 50 L.svg MDS 13 Obergefreiter 30 L.svg MDS 12 Gefreiter 20 L.svg MDS 11 Matrose 10 L.svg
MDJA 35 Oberstabsbootsmann 30 Lu.svg MDJA 34 Stabsbootsmann 40 Lu.svg MDJA 33 Hauptbootsmann 50 Lu.svg MDJA 32 Oberbootsmann 70 Lu.svg MDJA 31 Bootsmann 60 Lu.svg MDJA 22 Obermaat 20 Lo.svg MDJA 21 Maat 10 Lo.svg MDJA 16 Oberstabsgefreiter 10 Lo.svg MDJA 15 Stabsgefreiter 20 Lo.svg MDJA 14 Hauptgefreiter 30 Lo.svg MDJA 13 Obergefreiter 40 Lo.svg MDJA 12 Gefreiter 50 Lo.svg MDJA 11 Matrose 81 Lo.svg
Oberstabsbootsmann Stabsbootsmann Hauptbootsmann Oberbootsmann Bootsmann Obermaat Maat Oberstabsgefreiter Stabsgefreiter Hauptgefreiter Obergefreiter Gefreiter Matrose
Germany Germany
(Officer designate)
No equivalent No equivalent MDS 33a Oberfähnrich zur See Trp.svg MDS 31a Fähnrich zur See Trp.svg MDS 21a Seekadett Trp.svg No equivalent No equivalent No equivalent No equivalent
MDJA 33a Oberfähnrich zur See Trp Lu.svg MDJA 31a Fähnrich zur See Trp Lu.svg MDJA 21a Seekadett Trp Lo.svg
Oberfähnrich zur See Fähnrich zur See Seekadett

Radio and communication stations

Future developments

  • A first batch of four frigates of the F125 class (Baden-Württemberg class) specialised for persistent stabilization missions is planned to replace all eight Bremen class guided-missile frigates. Each F125 will have two crews. They are expected to enter service between 2016 and 2018.
  • Six medium surface combat ships are planned under the name Korvette "K131" (corvette "K131")
  • A new development called "Mehrzweckeinsatzschiff" (multi-mission ship) was announced in January 2009.[9]
  • 18 NH90 NFH Helicopters ordered to replace Lynx in ASW/AsuW role, originally ordered by the German Army as NH90 TTH variant.
  • 12 Medium Sized Helicopters are planned to replace the current 22 Sea King helicopters of Naval Air Wing 5 in SAR & ship-based Transport Role (VertRep)
  • A first batch of six Camcopter S-100 UAVs for the use on the Braunschweig class corvettes has been ordered (more being planned). Deliveries will take place in 2013.[10]
  • In May 2013 it was announced by both Ministers of Defence that the German- & Dutch Navy agreed to integrate submarine operations, training and design for future replacements.

See also

Further reading (COE CSW)

  • Jan Wiedemann: COE CSW celebrates fifth anniversary; in: NAVAL FORCES III/2014 p. 90 f.
  • Hans-Joachim Stricker: Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters COE CSW - Das COE als Ausdruck unserer besonderen nationalen Fähigkeiten im Bündnis; in: Marineforum 6-2007 p. 3 f.
  • Fritz-Rudolf Weber: Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters - Think Tank für die NATO; in: Marineforum 1/2-2010 p. 11 ff.
  • Hans Georg Buss, Stefan Riewesell: Maritime C-IED and Harbour Protection: A Joint Effort; in: The Transformer Fall 2013 Vol 9 Issue 2 p. 18


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Die Stärke der Streitkräfte [Personnel strength of German Armed Forces]". 11 January 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Deutsche Marine - press release: Neues Nato-Expertenzentrum an der Kieler Förde nimmt Fahrt auf; Faermann, 2009
  8. "Tiger & N90 orders" (in German). German MOD. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links