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Heer - German Army - 1995

In early 1995, the German Army (Bundeswehr), headquartered in Koblenz, had a personnel strength of appropriately 255,000, including 123,000 conscripts. It was composed of two principal elements, the field army and the much smaller territorial army. Territorial army units were slated to be merged with the field army by the end of 1995. The field army in 1994 consisted of three corps and eight divisions (four armored divisions, three armored infantry divisions, and one mountain division).

A radical reshaping of the army was completed by the end of 1994, in which the Bundeswehr was adapted to the diminishing threat in Central Europe, the recasting of NATO's force structure, and Germany's 1990 commitments to reduce its force level and armaments. These commitments were embodied in the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, or, as it was more commonly known, the Two-Plus-Four Treaty signed in September 1990 and the CFE Treaty signed that November. According to these commitments, manpower had to be reduced so that all services could meet the CFE ceiling of 370,000 by December 1994, with a sublimit of 345,000 for the army and air force. Naval forces also had to be cut, although they were not included in the CFE Treaty except for land-based marines (of which Germany has none) and naval air units.

The treaty obligations were met successfully, and in early 1995 the Bundeswehr amounted to about 255,000 soldiers, of whom about 123,000 were conscripts. The army consists of three corps, under the overall direction of the Army Forces Command. The headquarters of I Corps was in Münster, that of II Corps in Ulm, and that of IV Corps in Potsdam. Only IV Corps was solely German. The other two were joint corps: I Corps was German-Dutch; II Corps was German-United States. Under the corps commands were seven divisions in place of the previous twelve, and twenty-four combat brigades instead of the previous forty-eight. Six of the divisions were committed to NATO's main defense force, but the two divisions of IV Corps in the east remain under German national command. Under the operational command of II Corps was the Eurocorps, scheduled to be operational in late 1995 with 50,000 troops. Lastly, there was the Air-Mobile Forces Command, which commands crisis-reaction forces.

The army's twenty-four combat brigades included sixteen mechanized brigades, three airborne brigades, one mountain brigade, and the German component of the Franco-German Brigade. Only six brigades were maintained at full strength--two airborne brigades, three mechanized brigades, and the mountain brigade. Some of these ready brigades were committed to the NATO Rapid Reaction Force. All of the active units were staffed with a high proportion of regulars. The remaining brigades were staffed at about a 60 percent level in peacetime, mainly with conscripts. In each brigade, one armored battalion and one infantry battalion were filled out by drawing cadres from staffed units when expanded to full strength. Tanks and other armored vehicles of the cadre units were stored, as were 25 percent of the vehicles of active battalions.

According to Ministry of Defense plans, the Bundeswehr was to become even smaller in the second half of the 1990s. By the year 2000, the army was to consist of about 233,000 personnel, of which 37,000 would be assigned to rapid-reaction units. The army would eliminate one division headquarters and two brigade headquarters. To meet NATO obligations, the 14th Division headquarters in Neubrandenburg would assume the mission of the 6th Division, which was to be disbanded. This move would integrate a division in the new Länder into the NATO military structure for the first time.

With the absorption of equipment from the NVA in 1990, the Bundeswehr had more than 7,000 main battle tanks, most of them highly regarded German-built Leopards plus nearly 2,300 Soviet models. It had 3,250 armored infantry fighting vehicles, of which about two-thirds were German Marder A1/A2 models and the remainder Soviet BMPs. The Bundeswehr's inventory listed 11,000 armored personnel carriers, including a large number of Soviet vehicles inherited from the NVA.

As of 1995, Germany had kept little of the weaponry of the former NVA, giving away many spare parts, destroying huge caches of weapons and ammunition, and selling surplus equipment. East German tanks had been shipped to Finland, and warships had been sold to Paraguay and Indonesia.

In line with its CFE commitments, Germany reduced its inventory of main battle tanks to 2,855, its armored infantry fighting vehicles to 2,443 units, and its artillery to 2,090 pieces. This represented the highest rate of disarmament among the CFE signatories, with the exception of Russia.

In accordance with several international commitments, no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons were in the German arms inventory. Under the Two-Plus-Four Treaty, Germany reaffirmed its renunciation of the manufacture, possession, and control of such weapons. A number of German weapons systems were nuclear-capable, but nuclear warheads and bombs remain under the control of the United States. Some Tornado aircraft have been fitted to accept nuclear bombs.

The Federal Government was committed to general conscription, which was thought to remain the best form of military service. It determines the development of the Bundeswehr and the way in which it perceives its role while maintaining a strong bond between the armed forces and society. Alternative civilian service remained as a substitute for military service. Given the great social importance of civilian service (for example in the realm of support for persons with disabilities) and its role in youth policy, it undoubtedly merits retention, not least as an important field enabling young men to acquire key knowledge and skills.

General compulsory military service for men and women was rejected. The performance and duration of civilian service would continue to be based on the rules governing military service. The Government would look into the question of whether the system of compulsory military service and the call-up system can be further improved in terms of their fairness, with a view to providing a secure planning basis for all parties involved in civilian service.

Bundeswehr planning was continued on the basis of task-based funding, with a balance being struck between operational and capital expenditure. The implementation of the Bundeswehr stationing concept was continued. Within the overarching aim of guaranteeing the operational capability of the Bundeswehr, armaments planning seeks to preserve appropriate core industrial capabilities. Enhanced cooperation with business, privatisation measures and public-private partnerships were suitable means by which additional capital and know-how from the private sector can be made available to the Bundeswehr. The decisive criteria must be that the Bundeswehr makes efficiency gains and was relieved of responsibilities that lie outside its core tasks.

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Page last modified: 08-02-2013 19:06:27 ZULU