Army History

The German Army

The German Army, or the Deutsches Heer as it is called in German, is the land armed forces of Federal Republic of Germany. It was established in 1955 as a part of West German Bundeswehr at the same time the Luftwaffe (the Air Force) and the Marine (Navy) was formed. Earlier, the Land Forces or the Landstreitkräfte was affiliated to National People's Army of former GDR or German Democratic Republic. After the reunification of East Germany and West Germany in 1990, the Landstreitkräfte was partly incorporated into the Heer.

The existence of a German Army that is organized, equipped and trained under one single doctrine and unified under a single command dates back to 1871. Germany was unified under the rulership of Prussia. From the year 1871 to the year 1919, the army was officially known as Deutsches Heer or the German Army; it was also the same title that the German army carried during World War I. Under Weimar Republic from the years 1921 to 1935, the title of army was Reichsheer or Empire Defence. From the year 1935 to the year 1945, under Wehrmacht, the German armed forces under Third Reich, the title carried by the army were Heer (Army). Since 1938, Heer was involved in occupation of Czechoslovakia as well as in successive events which led to World War II. From 1945, the Heer ceased to exist; Germany was eventually divided into 2 regions and the Landstreitkräfte was created in East Germany. The German Army or the Deutsches Heer became a part of West German Bundeswehr in West Germany. Both these armies came face to face across Inner German Border as a part of Warsaw Pact and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Since 1990, the army has been reunified and was involved in the peacekeeping operations of Somalia. In Afghanistan, they have also fought with International Security Assistance Force since 2002.

The German Army Photo Certain traditions can be linked between the Reichswehr, the Wehrmacht Heer and Imperial Deutsches Heer. After World War II, architects of new Bundeswehr Heer decided not to carry on with any of the traditions of previous armies and new army of Federal Republic of Germany. Only certain elements from Prussian military reformers between 1807 and 1814 and active participators of resistance against Nazi regime, mainly the officers who were involved in 20th July's plot can be found in today's Bundeswehr Heer.

German Army at present

All of the corps have currently either been transferred to multinational level like Multinational Corps North East or disbanded. The IV Corps was remodeled and it was changed to an international deployment command on 31st March, 2002, namely, the Einsatzführungskommando der Bundeswehr, much like British Permanent Joint Headquarters.

The number of soldiers currently serving the German Army actively is 73823.

A planned army reduction/reorganization in 2012 will allow for the disbandment of 13th Mechanized Infantry Division headquarters, merging of Special Operations Division headquarters and Airmobile Operations Division, disband the first Airmobile Brigade, and reshuffle units between divisions. Although none of the heavy brigades are going to be disbanded, the 2 remaining heavy divisions are going to monitor 3 instead of 2 brigades.