Welcome to DECODED, a blog site for those interested in the period of history between the end of the Second World War and the final reunification of Berlin, Germany. This site is maintained by a Cold War history enthusiast, for other Cold War history enthusiasts and will be a source of information from both sides of the Cold War for history enthusiasts, political science fans, researchers, military history collectors and military veterans alike. Please visit the site regularly for updates. This site by no means is to represent or endorse any political agenda or ideology, information contained within is strictly used for the purpose of education and preservation of history for future generations. Thank you for visiting my blog, and welcome to the brink...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hauptgefreiter Panzergrenadiertruppe Uniform - Federal Republic of Germany

The uniform here is of a Hauptgefreiter or Lance Corporal of the Panzergrenadiertruppe assigned to the Panzerlehrbrigade 9. All Bundeswehr soldiers enter the 12 week basic training program with the title of Schütze 'Rifleman' or another title of significance in relation to their desired branch of service and upon graduation are promoted to the rank of Gefreiter 'Private', after three months of satisfactory federal service a Gefreiter is then promoted to the rank of Obergefreiter or Private First Class and after nine months of satisfactory federal service the Obergefreiter is then promoted to the rank of Hauptgefreiter.

The uniform is designated with the green waffenfarbe color piping of the Infanterietruppe, the German Infantry Corps which is divided into two groups: Jägertruppe/Panzergrenadiertruppe effectively 'Light Infantry Corps/Mechanized Infantry Corps'. Being an enlisted soldier, note the metal Hauptgefreiter insignia on the shoulderboards. The metal insignia are typically mounted with five to six prongs pushed through the material of the uniform epaulette and then secured on the underside of the uniform shoulderboard.

On the left shoulder is the shoulder flash patch of the Panzerlehrbrigade 9. The patch displays two crossed swords with a white "L" for Lehrbrigade (Demonstration Brigade) against a red background with an accompanying pink border. It resembles the badge of the Armored Troops School. School units technically have an 'S' for School on their patches and the 'L' designates the unit as a Lehrtruppenteil or 'Training Force' of the Panzertruppenschule or Armored Corps School. The pink border is representative of the branch of service for the Armored Troops. Each Heer branch school has patches of similar constitution using the colors of their branch of service.

Also note the cuffbands on the sleeves bearing the unit name Panzerlehrbrigade 9 embroidered in white against a black background. The cuff title Panzerlehrbrigade was authorized for the Brigade by the German President on 24 September 1987. This is a fundamental coat of arms for the unit with influences from the Prussian era in the colors of black and white. The colors black and white were the colors of the standards and the lances of the Prussian-German cavalry forces dating back to the Napoleonic Wars. These colors were retained in modern German heraldry as a symbol of the armored corps which is regarded as the successor branch to heavy cavalry.

Here is the green beret of the Infantry Corps. The moss green beret is utilized by the Infanterietruppen, Army contingents of the Wachbataillon and Panzerjäger or Anti-Armor forces. 

The beret badge depicts an oak wreath with crossed Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles, the flag of the Federal Republic of Germany and a tank. This is the badge of the Panzergrenadiertruppe. 

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. The unit was established on 1 June 1958 with with the new Army structure of four combat companies, a headquarters and a supply company.

The unit was reorganized further in 1959 under the reorganizations of Army Structure II which added the brigade headquarters company and a the Armored Reconnaissance Training Battalion. In peacetime, the unit trains both armored forces and mechanized infantry troops and in wartime it would be mobilized into a rapid reaction force.

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.

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