Saturday, June 16, 2012

West German Heer Panzergrenadiertruppen Hauptgefreiter Uniform

When the Bundeswehr was established in 1955, it's troops were divided amongst three categories of force: Eingreifkräfte or 'Intervention forces' tasked with crisis intervention and contribution to intervention forces such as NATO Response contingents, Stabilisierungskräfte 'Stabilization forces' which provide forces for multinational, joint military operations of low to medium intensity. These differentiate from intervention forces in that they are intended for peacekeeping operations of longer duration. The last class being Unterstützungskräften 'Supply forces' tasked with providing logistic and manpower support for the operations of the armed forces.

The German Army maintains several specialized units known for conducting exercises known in Germany as Informationslehrübung Gefechts und Luftfahrzeuge des Deutschen Heeres or German Army Combat Vehicle and Aircraft Demonstration Exercises in English; which showcased the capabilities of the Army's fighting vehicles and aircraft and how they operate in a combined effort jointly in various scenarios. One such unit the pride of the Heer is the Panzerlehrbrigade 9 (9th Armored Demonstration Brigade), which during the Cold War was stationed in the city of Munster, Lower Saxony in West Germany.

A Marder infantry fighting vehicle on maneuvers in West Germany
 The Panzerlehrbrigade 9 operated a force of Leopard main battle tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles and M109 Paladin self propelled howitzers for leading combined arms operations under a multinational or joint forces environment under the direction of a divisional command, in mobile and or networked operations.

The uniform here is of a Hauptgefreiter (Lance Corporal) of the Panzergrenadiertruppen assigned to the Panzerlehrbrigade 9. All German soldiers enter the 12 week basic training program as Schütze (Rifleman) and upon graduation are promoted to the rank of Gefreiter (Private), after three months federal service a Gefreiter is then promoted to Obergefreiter (Private First Class) and after nine months of federal service they are promoted to the rank of Hauptgefreiter.

The uniform retains the green color piping of the Infanterietruppen (Jägertruppen/Panzergrenadiertruppen) and also note the metal Hauptgefreiter insignia on the shoulderboards.

On the left shoulder is the shoulder flash patch of the Panzerlehrbrigade 9. The patch displays two crossed swords and an "L" for Lehrbrigade (Demonstration Brigade) against a red background with an accompanying red border.

Also note the cuffbands on the sleeves bearing the unit name Panzerlehrbrigade 9 embroidered in white against a black background. 

A Koppelschloss (buckle) und Hosengurtel (belt) of the Bundeswehr. This belt is very similar to those belts worn by soldiers of the German Wehrmacht throughout Second World War. The German logo and Eagle was retained using the Imperial style Prussian heraldry eagle over the outlawed Nazi Eagle & swastika and instead of Gott Mit Uns (God's With Us) which was also associated with the previous regime it has been replaced with the motto of the Bundeswehr taken from the German National Anthem "Einigkeit, Recht, Freiheit", or "Unity, Justice, Freedom".

A close view of the ceremonial belt buckle.

Fighting Vehicles of the Cold War Heer Panzergrenadiertruppen:

Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Type: Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Country of Origin: West Germany
Introduced into Service: May 1971


Weight: 28.5 t (31.4 short tons)
Length: 6.79 m (22 ft 3 in)
Width: 3.24 m (10 ft 8 in)
Height: 2.98 m (9 ft 9 in)
Crew: 3 (Commander, Gunner & Driver) Plus seating for six fully equipped combat soldiers in the rear hull
Armor: Welded steel, protection up to 20 mm APDS DM43 from 0 m and 25 mm APDS from 200 m (220 yd)
Main Armament: 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon & MILAN anti tank guided missile launcher
Secondary Armament: 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun
Engine: MTU MB 833 Ea-500 diesel engine 600 hp (441 kW)
Power/Weight: 21.1 hp/tonne
Transmission: RENK HSWL 194
Suspension: Torsion bar
Ground Clearance: 0.45 m (18 in)
Fuel Capacity: 652 L (143 imp gal)
Operational Range: 520 km
Speed: 75 km/h (47 mph)

Fuchs Armored Personnel Carrier

Type: Armored Personnel Carrier
Country of Origin: West Germany
Introduced into Service: June 1979


Weight: 18.3 t
Length: 7.33 m (24 ft 1 in)
Width: 2.98 m (9 ft 9 in)
Height: 2.37 m (7 ft 9 in)
Crew: 2 Plus seating for 10 combat troops in rear hull, sitting 5 per bench on either side facing inwards
Main Armament: Up to three Rheinmetall MG3 7.62mm machine guns
Secondary Armament: MILAN anti-tank guided missile, smoke grenade launchers depending on mission load out
Engine: Mercedes-Benz Model OM 402A V-8 liquid-cooled diesel 320 hp
Suspension: 6x6
Operational Range: 800 km (500 mi)
Speed: 105 km/h (65 mph) on land, 10 km/h (6.2 mph) in water

A Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle of the Heer Panzergrenadierbataillon 292 (PzGrenBtl 292) based out of Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg in south eastern  West Germany. 

Originally established in March of 1959 as the PzGrenBtl 293, the unit was redesignated as the PzGrenBtl 292 in March of 1967. Following the end of the Cold War as part of a large restructuring of the German Armed Forces since the demise of East Germany and the Soviet Union, the unit was downsized and redesignated as the Jägerbattaillon 292 (JgBtl 292) in 1993.

  The insignia of Panzergrenadierbataillon 292

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