With the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945, the armed forces of the Wehrmacht were dismantled according to guidelines established by the victorious allied powers. The Kriegsmarine (Navy) of Nazi Germany had presented quite a foe on the high seas during the war. In June 1945, the allies effectively established the German Mine Sweeping Administration (GMSA) using former Kriegsmarine personnel and ships and operated under the supervision of the Allied navies, particularly the British Royal Navy; and they were tasked with minesweeping in the Baltic and North Seas. This incarnation of the Germany Navy would last until 1948. The reason for disbandment came under pressure from the Soviet Union who insisted that the GMSA was an allied attempt at rebuilding the defeated Kriegsmarine. The Royal Navy denied this extensively however in the end the GMSA was dissolved and replaced with a civilian organization.
The Bundesmarine would come into existence in 1956, drawing into it's ranks many veterans of the former Kriegsmarine. This allowed the new German Navy to draw from an experienced pool of personnel upon its formation. Unlike the East German Volksmarine, the Bundesmarine was allowed to operate a force of Underseeboots or U-Boats (Submarines) as well as a number of destroyers. The first approved shipbuilding plan issued by the German Parliament provided in 1957 for the Marine to operate a number of warships essentially twelve destroyers, six escort boats, 40 torpedo boats, 24 coastal minesweepers, 30 fast minesweepers, twelve submarines , 36 landing craft, two mine ships, ten patrol boats, eleven tenders for small boats, a training ship, a sail training vessel, 65 aircraft, various auxiliary, test and training vehicles. This set up would be the standard framework remaining technically unchanged until reunification in 1990.
Ms. Lucy Rommel, widow of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel smashes a bottle of champagne against the hull of the destroyer which bears her husbands name.
Three Bundesmarine destroyers named after three German officers of the Second World War. Shown here are the FGS Rommel, FGS Lutjens and FGS Molders.
Many of the West German Bundesmarine's ships would as in other Naval traditions worldwide, be named after persons who provided considerable contributions to the nation as well as cities and towns. The designation FGS or Federal German Ship is the given prefix to all vessels operating in the Bundesmarine. In 1970 one of the most prominent of the ships of the new West German Navy a destroyer, the FGS Rommel was commissioned in honor of the Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Rommel was forced to commit suicide in 1944, by the Nazis for implications in his role in the July 20 attempted assassination of German dictator Adolf Hitler. The late Field Marshal Rommel's widow, Ms. Lucy Rommel was in attendance to christen the vessel as it left the dry dock.
Operating primarily out of Kiel and Bremerhaven in Northern Germany, the Bundesmarine was tasked with securing the Baltic Approaches and combating enemy shipping in the western Baltic in support of the army of amphibious operations. Its secondary duty was to provide security for West Germany's trade routes in the North Sea, Skagerrak, Kattegat and western Baltic Sea and the limited participation in securing the sea routes in the Atlantic. The Marine also performed peaceful duties representing the Federal Republic of Germany abroad, with the heading: "Ambassadors in Blue" and providing global training rides.
With the increased integration into the NATO alliance, the mission of the Marine became more and more adapted to the requirements of the Alliance, and supporting the army stepped further into the background. Constant participation in NATO maneuvers and in NATO aligned associations were the rule.
The uniform show here is of a Enlisted Matrose (Sailor) of the West German Navy. Unlike the other branches in the West German Bundeswehr, rank insignias were not worn on shoulderboards unless on the blue duty shirt; instead rank insignia was displayed on the sleeves. Shown here is the white summer uniform. It follows the line of many Navies around the world resembling middys worn by other Western Navies.
The Tellermütze technically 'round hat' is in the standard visorless hat style worn by enlisted personnel in most modern Navies. It bears the distinctive difference from it's earlier predecesors in the cap tally style. Earlier incarnations of the German Navy, the Reichsflotte of Imperial Germany and the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany used Gothic style lettering on their cap bands. This was done away with to promote the Bundesmarine's own identity rather than being a successor organization to any previous Navy. The cap band remains gold lettering on a black band reading out 'BUNDESMARINE'. Like all German military hats, it retains the National insignia roundel.
Here is a detailed picture of the standard Navy sailor's button depicting an anchor and rope adorning the cuff of the Sailor's Middy.
West German Sailors from the ship the FGS Rommel stand at attention during the christening ceremony for the new warship.
The destroyer FGS Lutjens is seen here alongside the American aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal during NATO training exercises in the North Atlantic.
Westland Lynx Lynx Mk.88
Role: Multi-Purpose Shipborne Military Helicopter
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer: Westland Helicopters
First flight: March 1971
Introduction: 1981 (Marineflieger Service)
Crew: 2 or 3
Capacity: 10 Troops
Payload Capacity: 737 kg
Length: 15.241 m (50 ft)
Rotor diameter: 12.80 m (42 ft)
Height: 3.734 m for mk7; 3.785 m for mk9 (12.25 ft for mk7; 12.41 ft for mk9)
Disc area: 128.71 m² (1,385 ft²)
Empty weight: 3,291 kg (7,255 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 5,330 kg (11,750 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Gem turboshaft, 835 kW (1,120 shp) each
Maximum speed: 324 km/h (201 mph)
Range: 528 km (328 miles) with standard tanks
2 x torpedoes or 4x Sea Skua missiles or 2 x depth charges.