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Heer - German Army - 1989

By 1989 the Army was the basic and largest branch of the Armed Forces (340,000 persons). It consisted of the Field and Territorial armies. The Field Army was the most combat-ready component ofthe Army (it included some 80 percent of Army personnel). In peacetime large and small units of the Field Army were assigned for transfer to the NATO Allied Forces. They were kept in a high state of combat readiness and were at 85-90 percent strength in personnel and 100 percent in weapons and equipment. The Army Inspector (CIC) exercises direct control over them through the Main Staff.

The Field Army was organized as army corps and divisions. There was a total of 12 divisions (four mechanized infantry, six armored, one mountain infantry and one airborne), 11 of which were in I, II and III army corps. The I Army Corps included the 11th Mechanized Infantry Division and the 1st, 3d and 7th armored divisions; II Army Corps included the 4th Mechanized Infantry Division, 1st (8th) Mountain Infantry Division, 10th Armored Division and 9th Airborne Division; III Army Corps included the 2d Mechanized Infantry Division and the 5th and 12th armored divisions. The 6th Mechanized Infantry Division, intended for conducting combat operations together with the Danish Army in the Northern European sector, was not included in the army corps. During a war these army corps would function in operational formations of the NATO Ground Forces in the Central European sector (I Army Corps in the Northern Army Group and II and III army corps in the Central Army Group) and were an important combat component of them.

An army corps was the highest tactical unit of the Field Army. It could include from three to five divisions of different types and units and subunits of corps subordination, which were permanent and of the same type for those army corps. They were the basis of command authorities of the combat arms: missile troops and artillery; tactical air defense; army aviation; signal troops; engineer troops; logistics; repair, overhaul and rebuilding service; and medical service. In addition, organic corps subunits which were not part of the command authorities included deep and front reconnaissance companies as well as four reserve battalions. An army corps, which included, for example, twoarmored divisions and one mechanized infantry division, could have around 100,000 personnel, six Lance operational-tactical missiles, 900 medium tanks, 500 ATGM launchers, 400 guns, multiple-launch rocket systems and mortars, and 500 air defense weapons including 36 Roland surface-to-air missile systems.

The division was the basic tactical large unit. It was capable of conducting combat operations under conditions of the use of nuclear and conventional weapons both as part of the army corps and independently. Divisions of the Bundeswehr Field Army differed according to the types of brigades included in them. The mechanized infantry division had two mechanized infantry brigades and one armored brigade, the armored division had two armored brigades and one mechanized infantry brigade, and the mountain infantry division had a mechanized infantry brigade, armored brigade and mountain infantry brigade.

The organization and armament of brigades as well as of units and subunits of division subordination remained type in all divisions. Units and subunits of all combat arms were represented in the division. The division had great firepower and striking power. It was equipped with Leopard tanks; Marder infantry fighting vehicles; field artillery, including 203.2-mm and 155-mm self-propelled howitzers capable of employing nuclear ammunition; anti-tank weapons, particularly the Milan, TOW and HOT antitank missile systems; and air defense weapons including the Gepard self-propelled AA mount. The airborne division was the exception, differing from the others in organization and armament. It includes three airborne brigades and a signal battalion. The airborne brigade usually operated in the interests of one of the army corps. It was armed with a considerable number of Milan and TOW antitank missile systems.

The Territorial Army was intended for accomplishing a wide range of missions in the interests both of the Bundeswehr and of support to combat operations of NATO Allied Forces Central Europe and partially of Allied Forces Northern Europe. In addition, they were a base for mobilization deployment of the Armed Forces.

Among the basic missions of the Territorial Army were supporting Bundeswehr mobilization deployment and NATO Allied Forces operational deployment on FRG territory; participating in combat operations as part of FRG army corps; providing combat and logistic support to American troop reinforcements; defending rear areasand combating airborne and amphibious assault forces; securing and defending important state, military andindustrial installations, transportation routes and linesof communication; training reservists in peace and war-time; and replacing losses of large and small army units in the course of a war.

The Territorial Army was in three territorial commands (Schleswig-Holstein, North, and South); subordinate to them were six military districts, individual commands (signal, logistics, engineer, medical), 12 brigades and 15 regiments of Home Defense, 29 region and 80 subregion defense staffs, and 150 security companies and 300 security platoons. It was planned to transfer deployed Home Defense brigades together with army corps to the operational subordination of the NATO Allied Forces Command. These brigades would be employed tactically under plans of FRG army corps.In peacetime the large and small units and sub-units of the Territorial Army were at 10 percent strength in personnel and 100 percent in weapons and military equipment. The peacetime personnel strength was 50,000 and in wartime it could be taken to 600,000.

The Army had 24 Lance operational-tactical missilelaunchers, over 4,800 tanks including 1,800 Leopard 2, over 2,100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 2,100 field artillery pieces and mortars (105-mm and larger), some 2,740 antitank missile systems, 140 Roland surface-to-air missile systems, 400 Luchs combat reconnaissance vehicles, 3,500 APC's, 2,300 AA guns, and 700 army aviation helicopters, of which 200 were antitank helicopters

By the mid-1990's it was planned to shift to a new organization and establishment called "Structure-2000," increase the number of brigades in the ground forces to 42 by transferring to them six separate Territorial Army brigades, and carry out a number of organizational changes in brigades and battalions. The Bundeswehr command planned to concentrate principal efforts on outfitting Army and Navy forces with modern systems of weapons and military equipment to increase their combat power.

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Page last modified: 18-11-2012 13:11:41 ZULU