German Military Glossary  K-Z

 
 
a la suite:  special honorary regimental command granted to deserving generals; the general has no command authority but may wear that regiment's colors; also has influence over promotions, awards, etc
Abt:  Abteilung
Abteilung  (Abt):  detachment, unit, battalion (artillery)
Abwehr:  defense  
a.D.:  außer Dienst 
AD:  designator for the Allgemeines Kriegs-Departement
Adjutant:  adjutant, aide-de-camp
Adjutantur:  administrative staff
aggregiert:  attached;  transferred to a new unit but still without a billet  (also: aggregirt)
AK:  Armeekorps
AKA:  Artilleriebekaempfungsartillerie
Allgemeines Kriegs-Departement  (AD):  General War Department; War Ministry department with the following subordinate sections:  infantry, cavalry, field artillery, foot artillery, engineers & pioneers, transport, aviation, and factories. 
Alpenkorps:  Alpine Corps; an elite mountain division composed of light infantry and Bavarian guard troops
AOK:  Armee-Oberkommando
Arko:  Artillerie-Kommandeur
Armee:  field army; composed of two or more corps  (see AOK)
Armee-Abteilung:  army detachment;  usually not translated, there were four main detachments during the war, lettered A through D and going by the name of the commander.
Armee-Abteilung (A1):  Army Section;  in War Ministry's General War Department (AD)
Armee-Gruppe:  group, army roup;  elements of a field army formed for a specific period or task. (compare with Heeresgruppe)
Armee-Inspektion:  army inspectorate;  there were eight pre-war inspectorates, from which the field armies were formed.
Armeekorps  (AK):  army corps;  25 army corps at outbreak, usually comprised two divisions with various corps-level support troops. Normally commanded by a General or Generalleutnant.
Armee-Oberkommando  (AOK):  field army;  in August 1914 the largest autonomous formation was the AOK, of  which there were eight based on the eight pre-war inspectorates.  Ten more AOKs were formed as the war progressed.
Armee-Verwaltungs-Departement  (BD):  Army Administration Department; this War Ministry department was dissolved upon mobilization with its director joining the Quartermaster-General's department as Intendant General of the Field Army. The administration department was reestablished in March 1915 due to military's increased volume of work in the areas of finance, food, and uniform issue.
Armierungs~ :  equipment 
Artilleriebekämpfungsartillerie  (AKA):  artillery countery battery
Artillerie-Kommandeur  (Arko):  artillery command(er);  in early 1917, field and foot artillery assets were combined into the ARKO which controlled all big guns within a divisional sector.
Attila:  Hussar's jacket with embroidered frogging on the front
Ausgehanzug:  walking out dress;  one of the four main orders of formal dress - 1914
außer Dienst:  retired status; a retired officer could be recalled to active duty, ie Oberst aD
Avantageur:  officer cadet  (Fahnenjunker)
 
 
Bataillon:  battalion; usually comprised of four rifle companies (approx. 1000 soldiers); in 1915 a machine-gun company was added to each battalion. Normally commanded by an Oberstleutnant or Major.
Batterie:  artillery battery;  company-size artillery unit (4 - 6 guns)
Bau-Abteilung (U4):  Construction Section;  in War Ministry's Billeting Department (UD)
bayerisch:  bavarian
BD:  designator for the Armee-Verwaltungs-Departement
Befehlshaber:  commander
Bekleidungs-Abteilung (B3):  Clothing Section;  in War Ministry's Army Administration Department (BD)
(unter) Belassung zur Dienstleistung bei...:  while still temporarily attached to...
Beobachtungs~ :  observation~
Bergmütze:  mountain cap
Blauer Max:  Blue Max, Pour-le-Merite;  highest Prussian award for bravery
Bluse:  field-gray tunic;  worn in field, see M1910 and M1915
Brigade:  brigade;  comprised of two regiments, one cavalry regiment and one Jaeger battalion; in 1915 the brigade was reduced to administrative staff function. Normally commanded by a Generalmajor or Oberst.
Brückentrain:  bridging (pontoon) train 
 
 
CD:  designator for the Versorgungs & Justiz-Departement
Chef:  chief, commander (of a company)
Chef des Generalstabes:  Chief of General Staff of the Field Army ;  general in charge of Germany's Supreme Army Command (see Oberste Heeresleitung); also chief of general staff is the title for the general who was second in command of a numbered army high command (AOK) or an army corps (AK)
Chevaulegers:  Bavarian light cavalry; similar to the Dragoons, eight regiments at mobilization
 
 
Degen:  dagger, sword
Deutscher Krieg:  Austro-Prussian War  15.06.1866 to 23.08.1866  (lit: German War)
Deutsch-Dänischer Krieg:  Danish-Prussian War  01.02. to 30.10.1864
Deutsch-Französischer Krieg:  Franco-Prussian War  19.07.1870 to 10.05.1871
Dicke Berta:  "Big Bertha"; the Krupp 420mm heavy howitzer
Dienstgrad:  rank 
Dienstmütze:  service cap;  visored cap in dress or crusher style;  see Schirmmütze
Dienstpflicht:  mandatory military service
diensttuender Generaladjutant:  senior aide-de-camp to the Kaiser (see vortragender Generaladjutant)
Division:  division; comprised of two brigades and one field arty brigade...in 1915 changed to three regiments and one field arty regiment (one brigade-level staff remained); in 1914 a cavalry division was comprised of three cavalry brigades. Normally commanded by a Generalleutnant or Generalmajor.
Divisions-Stabs-Quartier:  divisional headquarters
Dragoner:  dragoon;  heavily armed mounted soldier, originally employed as mounted infantry, but by WW1 the 26 Dragoon regiments were part of the cavalry
Drillichanzug:  fatigue dress;  very light-gray in color
 
 
Einheit:  unit
Einjährig-Freiwilliger:  one-year volunteer;  educated reserve officers who reduced their period of service to one year by purchasing their own equipment and clothing.
einrangiert:  transferred;  placed in an open billet (between being aggregiert and versetzt)
Eisenbahn:  railway
Eisernes Kreuz:  The Iron Cross; a military decoration for outstanding heroism instituted in 1813 by Friedrich Wilhelm III. There were three basic classes of the medal: Iron Cross Second Class, Iron Cross First Class, Grand Cross (only 5 recipients during Great War), and Iron Cross with Gold Breast Star (2 recipients: von Bluecher and von Hindenburg)
Erkennungsabzeichen:  dog tags
Ermattungsstrategie:  war of attrition
Ersatz~ :  replacement~;  ie: Ersatzbataillon = replacement battalion
Ersatz Reserve:  replacement reservists; these were generally untrained contingency soldiers who were fit for military service but had not been called up, either due to domestic reasons or minor disabilities; they trained three times per year and after twelve years passed to the Landsturm.
Ersatz- Versorgungs- und Justiz-Departement  (CD):  Replacements, Supply, & Legal Department;  War Ministry department
Ersatzwesen-Abteilung (C1):  Replacement Troops Section;  in War Ministry's Supply & Legal Department (CD)
Eskadron:  cavalry squadron
Etappe:  transport and communications troops
Etappen~ :  line of communication
Exzellenz:  excellency, lieutenant generals and above addressed as "Euer Exzellenz"  (your excellency)
 
 
Fabriken-Abteilung (B5):  Factories Section;  in War Ministry's Army Administration Department (BD)
Fähnrich:  officer cadet, ensign; included with senior NCOs. He was senior to a sergeant and upon passing exam was senior to Vize-Feldwebel.
Fahnenjunker:  officer cadet
FEKA:  Fernkampfartillerie  
Feldabzeichen:  field badge;  worn on headgear to show state of origin
Feldartillerie:  field artillery
Feldartillerie-Abteilung (A4):  Field Artillery Section;  in War Ministry's General War Department (AD)
Feldartillerie-Brigade:  field artillery brigade;  comprised of two field arty regiments; this level of command disappeared in mid-1915
Feldartillerieregiment:  field artillery regiment;  comprised of two Abeilungen (sections); in 1915 comprised of three Abteilungen and directly subordinate to the division
Feldbäckerei:  field bakery, field kitchen
Feldbluse:  field-gray tunic, field blouse;  worn in field, see M1910 and M1915
Feldflieger-Abteilung:  field aviation detachment
Feldgendarmerie:  military police
feldgrau:  field gray;  standard german military uniform color adopted by 1907
Feldhaubitze:  field howitzer
Feldkanone:  field gun
Feldlazarett:  field hospital
Feldmütze:  field cap, fatigue cap;  circular cap without visor;  see Krätzchen
Feldpost:  Army Postal Service
Feldrock:  dress tunic, uniform jacket;  same as Waffenrock
Feldwebel:  company sergeant-major;  administrative posting at company HQ
Feldwebelleutnant:  sergeant-major-lieutenant;  usually commands company or platoon.
Feldzeugmeister:  chief of Prussian Ordnance Department
Feldzeugmeisterei:  Prussian Ordnance Department;  autonomous agency located in Berlin and responsible for procurement, production, and maintenance of all war materiels and field equipment; reorganized in September 1916 into the Department for Procurement of Arms & Munitions and subordinated to the War Ministry.
Fernkampfartillerie  (FEKA):  long range artillery; tasked with hitting command posts, ammo dumps and reserve concentrations
Fernsprech-Abteilung :  telephone detachment
Festung :  fortress
FLAK:  Flugabwehrkanone 
Flammenwerfer:  flame thrower
Flugabwehrkanone (FLAK):  anti-aircraft gun
Flügeladjutantaide-de-camp; an assistant to a prince (in a general's rank)
Freiherr:  baron;  hereditary title of nobility - General Walther Freiherr von Lüttwitz
Friedensuniform:  peacetime uniform
Füsilier:  fusilier, rifleman
Fuhrpark:  supply park
Fuhrpark-Kolonne:  vehicle park column
Funker-Abteilung:  radio detachment
Fußartillerie:  foot artillery  
Fußartillerie-Abteilung (A5):  Foot Artillery Section;  in War Ministry's General War Department (AD)
Futterwagen:  feed wagon
 
Garde:  guard
Garde du Corps:  an elite Prussian heavy cavalry regiment formed in 1740
Garderegiment zu Fuß:  foot guards regiment
Gardistguardsman; serving with guard regiments
Gebirgs~ :  mountain 
Gefreiter:  lance corporal, senior private
Geheimer Nachrichtendienst:  Imperial German Military Intelligence Service
Gemeiner:  common foot soldier
General der Artillerie:  general of artillery;  usually commands field army or army corps
General der Infanterie:  general of infantr;  usually commands field army or army corps
General der Kavallerie:  general of cavalry;  usually commands field army or army corps
Generaladjutant:  adjutant general; an assistant to a general (see:  Flügeladjutant; diensttuender Generaladjutant; and vortragender Generaladjutant)
Generalfeldmarschall:  field marshal;  usually commands army group or field army
Generalintendant:  intendant general
Generalintendantur:  
Generalität:  general grade officers
Generalkapitän:  captain general;  Bavarian senior commander of the "Hartschiere"
Generalkommando  (GenKdo):  general command, corps headquarters
Generalleutnant:  lieutenant general;  usually commands army corps or division
General-Lieutenant:  lieutenant general;  modified to Generalleutnant after 1 Jan 1899
Generalmajor:  major general;  usually commands division or brigade
Generaloberst:  colonel general  (senior general)usually commands field army
General-Ordens-Kommission:  general orders issuing committee 
General-Quartier-Meister:   
1.General-Quartier-Meister: 
Generalstab:  general staff
Generalstabs-Offizier:  general staff officer;  head of division-level general staff
GenKdo:  Generalkommando 
Gerätewagen:  equipment wagon
Geschütz:  gun  
Gewehr:  rifle
Gliederung:   structure, order of battle  (see Kriegsgliederung)
Graf:  count;  General Felix Graf von Bothmer
Granatenwerfer:  grenade launcher, mortar
Grenadier:  grenadier
Großer Generalstab:  Great General Staff
Gruppe:  squad, group; usually eight foot soldiers within a squad, the basic tactical infantry unit
Gruppen~ :  group
 
Halbzug:  half-platoon (see Zug)
Hartschiere:  honorary company serving the bavarian king  (see Generalkapitän)
Hauptkadettenanstalt:  see Preußische Hauptkadettenanstalt   
Hauptleute:  company grade officers;  captain
Hauptmann:  captain;  usually commands battalion or company.  (see also Rittmeister)
Hauptquartier:  headquarters
Hausmarschall:  Marshal of the Household;  assisted Hofmarschall in dealing with the royal family and its possessions
Heer:  army
Heeresgruppe:  army group;  two or more field armies (AOK)
HKK:  Höhere Kavallerie Kommandeur 
Höherer Kavallerie Kommandeur (HKK):  senior cavalry commander, cavalry corps
Hofmarschall:  Marshal of the Court;  superintended the royal kitchen, ceremonies, excursions, and invitations to Court affairs
Husar:  hussar;  member of an elite cavalry regiment originally modeled after the brightly-dressed Hungarian light cavalry of the 17th century. The mounted soldier often carried a lance, but the scope of Hussar activity was fairly limited by 1914. The word originates from the obsolete Hungarian term for highway robber. There were 20 Hussar regiments at mobilization.
 
 
ID:  Infanteriedivision
IKA:  Infanteriebekaempfungsartillerie
Infanteriebekämpfungsartillerie  (IKA):  artillery which specifically engaged infantry units.  75% of German artillery guns were assigned to IKA
Infanterie-Abteilung (A2):  Infantry Section;  in War Ministry's General War Department (AD)
Infanterist:  infantryman;  serving in Bavarian infantry regiments
Ingenieur- und Pionier-Abteilung (A6):  Combat Engineers Section;  in War Ministry's General War Department (AD)
Inspektion:  inspectorate
Intendant:  intendant;  administrative officer on a general staff
Intendantur:  intendance;  quartermaster general's department
Intendantur-Abteilung (Z2):  Financial Section; in War Ministry's Central Department (ZD)
Invaliden-Haus:  
IR:  Infanterieregiment;  sometimes appears as "J.R." in german script
 
 
Jäger:  chasseur, light infantryman;  usually not translated, a soldier who was more lightly equipped than a standard infantryman. In mid-1700s specialist troops were recruited from the ranks of hunters (Jaeger = hunter). The very elite Jaeger battalions (only 18 during WW1) were attached to cavalry divisions and were often used for skirmishing and scouting.  Also referred to as chasseur (Fra) or scout (U.S.)
Jäger zu Fuß:  foot Jäger;
Jäger zu Pferde:  mounted Jäger;  grouped in regiments
JR:  see IR
Junker:  squire; member of the Prussian landed aristocracy. The German officer corps of 1914 was largely an aristocratic, landowning elite. Term originates from Old High German word for Young Lord.
Justiz-Abteilung (C4):  Legal Section;  in War Ministry's Supply & Legal Department (CD)
 
 
 

 

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