|The Destroyer FGS Rommel during Naval Exercises in the North Sea|
The Marine is the naval force of West Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces. It is deeply integrated into the NATO alliance. Its mission is protection of German and Allied territories as well as peace-keeping and peace enforcement operations.
The Marine traces its roots back to the Reichsflotte (Empire Fleet) of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52. The Reichsflotte was the first German Navy to sail under the black-red-gold flag. Founded on 14 June 1848 by the orders of the democratically elected Frankfurt Parliament the Reichsflottes brief existence ended with the failure of the revolution and was disbanded on 2 April 1852. Thus for today's Marine the birthday is celebrated every year on the 14 June.
From 1945 to 1956, the German Mine Sweeping Administration and its successor organizations, made up of former members of the Kriegsmarine, became something of a transition stage for the Marine, allowing the future Marine to draw on experienced personnel upon its formation. In 1956, with West Germany's accession to NATO, the Marine was formally established. With the reunification of Germany in 1990 the Marine took over the former East German Volksmarine ("People's Navy").
The Marineflieger is the naval air arm of the German Navy.
During the First World War, naval aviators were part of the Kaiserliche Marine. Between the wars, naval aviation, the Seeflieger was absorbed by Hermann Goering's Luftwaffe in 1935. It almost came into existence when the aircraft carrier German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin was laid down in 1936, but lack of suitable aircraft, coupled with the reluctance of the Luftwaffe to support the Kriegsmarine in the carrier's construction, culminated in its eventual cancellation in 1943, and all anti-ship operations were transferred to the Luftwaffe shortly afterwards.
After the Second World War, it was not until West Germany's entry into NATO in the 1950s and the establishment of the Bundesmarine, that a naval aviation force (Marineflieger) was set up.
The British were largely instrumental in creation of the Marineflieger, supplying training and aircraft. A number of Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) officers operated as part of the German Navy in the process. The first aircraft included Hawker Sea Hawks which were used by Marinefliegergeschwader 1 and 2 and Fairey Gannets. Until the new bases were ready, pilots were trained with the FAA in the UK.
Ranks of the Bundesmarine
Matrose - Seaman Recruit
Gefreiter - Seaman Apprentice E2
Gefreiter-MA - Seaman Apprentice E2 - Petty Officer Candidate
Gefreiter-BA - Seaman Apprentice E2 - Chief Petty Officer Candidate
Gefreiter-OA - Seaman Apprentice E2 - Officer Candidate
Obergefreiter - Seaman
Hauptgefreiter - Ordinary Seaman
Stabsgefreiter - Able Seaman
Oberstabsgefreiter - Leading Seaman
Non Commisioned Officers (NCOs)
Maat - Petty Officer 3rd Class
Maat-BA - Petty Officer 3rd Class - Probationary Petty Officer 1st Class
Obermaat - Petty Officer 2nd Class
Bootsmann - Petty Officer 1st Class
Oberbootsmann - Chief Petty Officer
Hauptbootsmann - Senior Chief Petty Officer
Stabsbootsmann - Master Chief Petty Officer
Oberstabsbootsmann - Command Master Chief Petty Officer, Fleet/Force Master Chief Petty Officer
Seekadett - Sea Cadet in the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class
Fähnrich zur See - Midshipman 2nd class in the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class
Oberfähnrich zur See - Midshipman 1st class in the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer
Leutnant zur See - Ensign
Oberleutnant zur See - Lieutenant (junior grade) / Sublieutenant
Kapitänleutnant - Lieutenant/Captain Lieutenant
Stabskapitänleutnant - Senior Lieutenant/Senior Captain Lieutenant
Korvettenkapitän - Lieutenant Commander
Fregattenkapitän - Commander
Kapitän zur See - Sea Captain (naval)
Flottillenadmiral - Flotilla Admiral
Konteradmiral - Counter Admiral, Rear Admiral
Vizeadmiral - Vice Admiral