UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Marineschutzkräfte (MSK) / Naval Protection Forces

The Naval Protection Force (German: Marineschutzkräfte, MSK) are the only infantry unit of the Navy in addition to the Navy specialised forces. The men and women of naval protection force (Marineschutzkräfte - MSK) are versatile trained soldiers who are used as backup soldiers, snipers, drivers, and boat drivers.

There are no German "Teufelshunde" [the "devil-dog" sobriquet appended to the USMC by German troops in the Great War]. In the history of German warfare, Germany never truly had a Marine Corps along the lines of the US Marine Corps. Today, the German Navy has Marineschutzkräfte - Naval Protection Forces - which are not trained for Amphibious Assault. These troops were never truly considered as the Marines. The Marineschutzkräfte operate under Bundeswehr Navy Jurisdictions and are not regarded as Marines, like the USMC, but are rather analogous to the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment of the US Marine Corps.

There’s some confusion as to German "marines" due to language, since “Marine” in German means “navy” or “naval”. For instance, in 2007 it was reported that cooperation between Ukrainian and German "marines" was progressing, Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Ihor Tenyukh told a meeting in Sevastopol (South Ukraine) with German Embassy in Ukraine Military Attache, Colonel Eberhard Karl Frigerr Fon Zeidlitz-Kerzbach. It will be seen that this report references navy, not "marine" [in the USMC sense], as Tenyukh was satisfied with a state of interrelations between the fleets of the two countries, which jointly participate in the NATO Partnership for Peace Program. The cooperation between the two Naval Forces was focused on the exchange of visits of ships and "marines" training abroad.

The MSK is tasked with the protection of units of the Navy, their agencies and assigned objects both on land and in the field of ports, anchorages and coastal waters. They protect against regular attacks, and in particular irregular forces - including terrorist forces, for the survival of the members of the Bundeswehr, to ensure the viability of important infrastructure and the enforcement of its forces.

The naval protection force (MSK) is an infantery unit of the German Navy, formed in battalion strength on 01 April 2005. The naval protection forces are stationed in Eckernförde on the Baltic Sea. The battalion is subject to Employment Flotilla 1. The battalion of naval protection forces covers about 500 soldiers. Beside occupation and non-career soldiers the naval protection forces have the highest density at basic military service conscripts within the fleet. The battalion consists of one staff, three employment companies and the field message course. The units do not carry further designation; it is spoken of the first, second or third company. Each company consists of approximately 140 soldiers, among them four officers. The company commander and the platoon leaders I. and the IVTH course are in each case officers of the troop service. The service post of the company employment officer is occupied by an officer of the military-technical service. Platoon leaders II. and the IIITH course are boat people.

The basic training as well as group and platoon leaders course take place at the MUS in Plön, the full training takes place at the naval protection force in Eckernförde. The full training takes six months. After training the soldiers deployed in the battalion of the naval protection force in Eckernförde, and from Eckernförde the men and women of the MSK are sent to the provided operations.

The tasks of the unit include an extensive area of land, in ports or in coastal waters, for which in the near future, converted mine hunting boats of the FRANKENTHAL class are made available. They work with their resources in particular in combination with other sea and Lake luftstreitkräften and are dependent on close cooperation. This includes a force joint or multi-national deployment. Tasks include land and sea-side protection of marine units and their facilities on land, in ports and anchorages in the country and abroad; Protection of units of the Navy to sea through the use of on-board; Intelligence through the field message train to protect of their own forces and in support of tactical leader in the field of application; Construction, operation and protection of the support point of the Navy; and protecting road transport activities in Germany and abroad.

The major tasks of the naval protection forces are:

  • Country and sea-lateral protection of the units of the German navy and their mechanisms ashore, in ports, on Reeden and in offshore waters at home and abroad
  • Consultation of the leadership levels locally
  • Acquisition of information by field message forces of the navy for the support of the operational protection as well as for the preparation and support of the use of sea and sea-air forces “
  • Support with structure and enterprise as well as protection of a support point navy (APM)
  • Protection of road transports at home and abroad in the context of the employment support
  • Support of special operations
  • weapon investigation (EOR)
  • CBR defense service measures ashore
  • Support during the preservation of evidence
  • Support of foreign armed forces in Germany in the context host nation support (HNS)
  • Support in the context of the humanitarian assistance (disaster relief) organization

Mobile Protection Units (MDU) are used for the protection of ships and boats in lake so-called . The number of soldiers mdu varies depending upon ship type. Thus MDU insists on speedboats of three soldiers (one NCO and two crews) and on board frigates out up to ten soldiers. Heavy weapons or sniper can be supplemented depending upon order. The MDU can be strengthened with members of on-board crew.

Vessel Protection Detachments (VPD) - so the international designation - are developed and as protection teams on trading vessels are used similarly the mdu. They advise the ship commander and protect the ship against Pirate attacks. VPD can be ferried over by onboard helicopters or ship's boat on another ship. VPD are always led by an officer and accompanied by a rescue assistant.

Harbor Protection of element (HPE) are inserted to the protection by ships and boats into ports. HPE have the size of one course, i.e. about 30 to 40 soldiers. HPE consist of at least two groups, in order to be able to ensure a constant protection of the ship. In addition HPE operates checkpoints (checkpoints) for persons and vehicles. The infantry core of the HPE supplemental by specialists, e.g. Force boat drivers or sonarists, who clear the harbor basin up e.g. after divers.

It is planned to make the MSK available of four converted mine hunters of the Frankenthal class as swimming units. Troop-officially they are subordinate the far 5th mine search squadron with seat in Kiel.

  • M1063 „Bad Bevensen “
  • M1064 „Grömitz “
  • M1067 „Bad Rappenau “
  • M1068 „Datteln “

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list