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"; About this sound listen ) 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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KSK unit badge
KSK unit badge

KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command, KSK) is an elite special forces military unit composed of special operations soldiers handpicked from the ranks of Germany's Bundeswehr and organized under the Rapid Forces Division. KSK has received many decorations and awards from NATO, the USA and its affiliates and KSK operatives are frequently requested for joint anti-terror operations, notably in the Balkans and Middle East.

From 1973, until the KSK’s formation in 1996, the West German (and later German) government assigned all counter-terrorist and special operations activities to the GSG 9, a highly trained police force created shortly after the hostage-taking that transpired during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Prior to 1973, the army’s Fernspäher (Long-Distance Reconnaissance), the navy’s Kampfschwimmer (Combat Swimmers/"Frogmen"), and (until 1989) the Special Weapons Escort Companies—Sonderwaffenbegleitkompanien were the only military units comparable to anything that other nations may have seen as dedicated special forces units. Following the KSK’s activation on April 1, 1997, all but one of the Fernspähkompanie have been either disbanded or merged into the newly constituted unit.

Like those of all German military units, KSK deployments require authorization from the German Bundestag (Federal Assembly). The unit has engaged in numerous anti-terror campaigns both in Europe and abroad; known engagements include operations inside Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and most recently in Afghanistan. As is to be expected with such units, specific operational details such as success and casualty rates are considered to be top secret and withheld even from the highest-ranking members of the Bundestag. This practice has elicited some serious concerns, resulting in agreement to increase both transparency and accountability, by disclosing mission details to selected members of the Bundestag, in relation to the future deployments of KSK forces. (Read more)

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Walter Model wearing his Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, April 1943

Otto Moritz Walter Model (German pronunciation: [ˈmoːdəl]; 24 January 1891 – 21 April 1945) was a prominent German field marshal during World War II. He is noted for his defensive battles in the latter half of the war, mostly on the Eastern Front but also in the west. He has been called the Third Reich's best defensive tactical commander.

Although he was a hard-driving, aggressive panzer commander early in the war, Model became best known as a practitioner of defensive warfare. His success at the head of the 9th Army in the defensive battles of 1941–42 determined his future career path.

Model first came to Hitler's attention before World War II, but their relationship did not become especially close until 1942. His tenacious style of fighting and aggressive personality won him plaudits from Hitler, who considered him one of his best field commanders and repeatedly tasked him with retrieving desperate situations. However, their relationship had broken down by the end of the war after Model was defeated at the Battle of the Bulge. In April 1945, with the Third Reich's defeat imminent, Model committed suicide rather than be captured. (Read more)

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Battlecruisers of Germany

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