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The military of West Germany and the reunified Germany. The Bundeswehr (Federal Defence Force) was founded in 1955 on initiative by the Western Allies/NATO and is most notable for two things: Not being the Wehrmacht and not appearing in fiction very often.
During the Cold War, the Bundeswehr, like their East Germany counterpart, spent most of their time waiting for World War III to break out and occasionally helped out after natural disasters. They didn't see combat until The Nineties. Since the reunification, the Bundeswehr has undergone an extensive reform process from two land forces built to attack each other into one international crisis intervention force. Quite a task, considering its budget is steadily shrinking and among the lowest military budgets in the NATO (in terms of share of GDP) due to the low popularity of The War on Terror and the military in general. It is currently engaged in a "situation similar to war" in Afghanistan.
The Bundeswehr is split into the three main fighting branches (Army; Navy; Air Force) as well as several supportive and organisational braches. The commander-in-chief of the Bundeswehr is the Minister of Defense (Newly former Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, because
Doctor Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg stepped down), except when a state of emergency is declared, then it's the chancellor.
General notes about the Bundeswehr
- The Bundeswehr was the first NATO member to get their hands on Warsaw Pact military equipment after reunification; and not just the cheap export versions, as the GDR got all the latest, coolest Soviet toys because of its key role in any potential World War III. Most of it has been decommissioned and scrapped or sold to other countries by now.
- (W) Germany being very capable of supplying their own much fancier military equipment within the NATO standards. German thoroughness and reliability you know... what would you rather drive; a Mercedes or just about anything else? Same goes for their weapons and equipment; when it is German it WORKS.
- But a squadron of Mi G-29 fighters were kept for more than a decade. They were much appreciated in NATO manoeuvres for playing Team Red. Additionally, they were the most capable dog fighters until the Eurofighter arrived.
- The GSG 9, Germany's elite counter-terrorist unit, is often lumped with the Bundeswehr, but is actually a part of the Bundespolizei (Federal Police). They are known to be very good at what they do and have turned up a lot in of military related fiction and Video Games such as Counter-Strike and served as the inspiration for Section 9. They even had their own TV series in Germany : GSG 9 - Ihr Einsatz ist ihr Leben.
- GSG 9 was formed in response to the fiasco at the Munich Olympics. The Bundeswehr was not allowed to act inside Germany and the police had no specialized anti-terror unit or even snipers.
- Their first and most remembered Crowning Moment of Awesome is the freeing of all 86 hostages from a hijacked Lufthansa plane in Somalia without any losses (except 3 of the hijackers).
- The hijackers were armed with handguns and grenades, so the freeing of the hostages without losses is really quite impressive. This was done by luring the hijackers into the cockpit and shoting it from the outside.
- The German military counterpart to the GSG 9 is the KSK (Kommando Spezialkräfte). They are somewhat less known due to being founded several decades after the GSG 9 and being shrouded in secrecy.
- Most medical personnel of all three fighting branches were assigned to a centralized support branch, the Joint Medical Service (Zentraler Sanitätsdienst).
Traditionally, the Heer is the strongest part of the German military and made up the backbone of the NATO's ground forces in Europe during the Cold War. It features many fancy tanks and other armored vehicles.
- The first time German ground troops have been in combat against an organized enemy since World War II was 2002 in Afghanistan.
- The Army's main infantry weapon is the G36. As a Cool Guns, it has appeared a few times in Speculative Fiction.
- The army is also the primary user of the Leopard 2 tank, one of the best main battle tanks in the world, often considered equal to or even superior to the American Abrams.
- As it likely should be, considering that the Abrams and the Leopard are both descendants of the aborted MBT-70 tank project of the 1960s.
The Marine was usually the least recognized part of the German military, except under the Kaiser where it was a Creator's Pet. Its main objective during the Cold War was to defend the access to the Baltic Sea againt the Warsaw Pact and to escort the vessels of the "real" NATO navies. The Marine is currently trying to outgrow this limited role (and its Scrappy status) and become more of a "Blue-Water Navy".
- Together with Italy, Germany developed the first class of non-nuclear submarines with hydrogen fuel cells and operates 4 of them.
- Germany still exports rather good U-boats as well, producing the highly-capable 209 class exclusively for export. As part of the ongoing "We're really, really, really sorry" relationship the Germans have with Israel, the German government donated two highly-modified (for the better) 209s (the Type 800 or Dolphin class) to the Israel Defense Forces (Israel has since purchased four more, with one delivered), whose armament can be modified to carry nuclear weapons.
- Due to political reasons, the German Navy avoids calling any of their post Cold War types of warships Destroyers. Instead the Type F124 and F125) are designated as the world's largest Frigates.
Luftwaffe (Air Force)
- "Luftwaffe" (lit. "Air Arm") is just the German word for "Air Force". Compare to Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. No, it's not the Wehrmacht!
- The first time the Luftwaffe saw combat since WWII was during the Kosovo War in March 1999.
- The Luftwaffe still has F-4 Phantoms in service, which are scheduled for decommission in 2013.
- Between 1990 and 2004 there were several MiG-29s with the Luftwaffe. These have been passed on to Poland.
The Bundeswehr in fiction
- Red Storm Rising. Well the Warsaw Pact does invade West Germany. They kick some serious ass.
- Featured several places in John Ringo's Posleen War Series. The German military as a whole, from World War II to Twenty Minutes Into the Future, gets special attention from Tom Kratman, a co-writer in the series.
- Command and Conquer Red Alert 2 features German Tank Destroyers on the Allied side, and at least one mission requires you to cross from Germany into Poland to destroy some Soviet nukes. Skirmish battles allow you to fight as Germany, granting you the Tank Destroyer.
- In Red Alert 1, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces was an general of the alternative WWII Wehrmacht, since in the Red Alert Verse, the Soviets, and not the Germans, were the bad guys.
- The Battlefield 2 mod Project Reality will feature the Bundeswehr as a playable faction in version 0.95 due out October 2010.
- The Battlefield 2 mod Point Of Existence Two was initially about the Bundeswehr vs. the Ukrainian army, but added the USMC later on.
- Michael Bay wanted to have Bundeswehr troops appear as part of NEST in the Transformers sequel. The Bundeswehr was supposedly eager to do it too, but the idea was shot down by the German government.
- Damn you, Berlin!
- The Knight Templar villain Herr Starr in Preacher (Comic Book) is a former member of GSG 9, although by the time he appears in the story he's a member of a completely unrelated organization.
- ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead will feature the Bundeswehr operating in the fictional Afghanistan-like Takistan, in a likely parallel to its real-world operations in Afghanistan. Turns out that it's also a thank you to German fans who supported ARMA 2. Same goes for the Czech fans, with Czech military units appearing in-game.
- World in Conflict. The NATO faction features quite a few Bundeswehr units, from Leopard 2 tanks to Tornado jets.
- In Red Army the Bundeswehr are the principle adversary the Reds have to overcome.
- In one Episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Section 9 assists German military intelligence in capturing an international terrorist in Berlin. While the Germans are wearing contemporary Bundeswehr uniforms, such operations would actually be handled by the Federal Police. But being a Crapsack World, there might have been some considerable changes to the German constitution.
- The Bundeswehr gets brief but moving mention in World War Z.
- Bundeswehr's forces are present in the wargame People's General.
- Bundeswehr forces get beat up pretty badly in Ralph Peters' Red Army.
- In a surprising turn of events, in Modern Warfare 3 the Americans fight alongside the modern German military. This is the first time in the Call of Duty series that Germans are allies instead of enemies, against Russia no less which is now the opposing side.
- The German movie Kein Bund fürs Leben (also known by the comparatively unimaginative international title Military Academy) takes a humorous look into the lives of some average Bundeswehr soldiers (during the time when conscription was still in action). Also many War Tropes get spoofed when American soldiers from a nearby base come for a visit for a competitive maneuver exercise.