German Military Glossary  A-J

 
 
Kadetten-Korps:  cadet corps
Kaiser:  emperor
Kanone:  large gun, cannon
Kanonier:  gunner, artillery man;  serving in field or foot artillery units
Kar 88:  carbine model 1888;  also used was the Kar 98 and 98A
Karabinier:  carabinier;  private serving in Saxon heavy artillery regiments
Kassen-Abteilung (B1):  Finance Section;  in War Ministry's Army Administration Department (BD)
Kavallerie:  cavalry
Kavallerie-Abteilung (A3):  Cavalry Section;  in War Ministry's General War Department (AD)
KFZ:  Kraftfahrzeug
KG:  Kommandierender General 
kleiner Rock officer's double-breasted dress tunic, worn after 1915
Kokarde:  cockade;  circular insignia on headgear designating state of unit's origin
Koller:  cuirassier's tunic
Kolonne:  column
Kommandant:  commanding officer 
Kommandantur:  command
Kommandeur:  commander;  general reference to the commander of a division, brigade, regiment or battalion
Kommandierender General (KG):  commanding general; commander of an army corps
kommandiert:  detailed;   temporarily assigned to unit (for tng, probation etc) but remaining assigned to another unit
kommandiert zur Dienstleistung on special assignment; temporarily attached to a unit
Kommando:  command
Kompanie:  company; usually comprised of three platoons and normally commanded by a Hauptmann.
Königsjäger:  Imperial German Jäger;  serving in Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr.1
Korporalschaft:  squad;  same as 'Gruppe' but only in basic training units 
Korps:  corps  (see Armeekorps)
Kraftfahrtruppen:  motor vehicle troops
Kraftfahrzeug:  truck
Krätzchen:  field cap, fatigue cap; circular cap without visor;  see Feldmütze
Krieg:  war 
Kriegsakademie:  
Kriegsgliederung:  order of battle
Kriegsminister:  War Minister;  on mobilization the War Minister went to Great Headquarters with his mobile staff, leaving his deputy in charge. 
Kriegsministerium:  War Ministry
Kürassier:  cuirassier;  mounted soldier distinguished by his wearing of the cuirass, an armored breastplate which covered him from neck to waist.
K.u.K.:  Austro-Hungarian;  Kaiserlich und Koeniglich
 
 
Landesaufnahme:  Topographical Mapping Department; the Prussian General Staff's geographical survey office 
Landsturm:  home guard; 3rd-line reservists who served within the boundaries of the German Empire. Two groups: those aged 17 to 20 and awaiting call-up, and those aged 39 to 45 who had previously served in the Landwehr.
Landsturmmann:  reservist soldier in the home guard 
Landwehr:  territorial army (usually not translated); those aged 27 to 38 who had completed seven years of active duty, acting as secondary reserve support for regular army units.
Lebensmittelwagen:  provisions wagon
Leib~body guard, lifeguard;  ie Leibgarde-Regiment
Leibgendarmeriemilitary guard at Hauptquartier, charged with protecting the Kaiser
leichte:  light (not heavy)
Leutnant:  second lieutenant;  usually commands company or platoon.
Litewka:  undress or loose tunic;  loose service jacket with fly front - basically an updated kleiner Rock
Litzen:  decorative braid or bars found on the collar/cuff of designated regiments (ie: Guard Regts)
Luftfahrt-Abteilung (A7L):  Aviation Section;  in War Ministry's General War Department (AD)
Luftschiff:  airship
Luftstreitkräfte:  air force
 
 
M1910:  uniform adopted by German Army in 1910 to serve as mult-purpose parade and field uniform.
M1915:  uniform adopted in 1915 with Bluse for field wear and Waffenrock for more formal occasions
Major:  major;  usually commands regiment or battalion.
Mantel:  greatcoat, overcoat 
Marine:  navy
Maschinengewehr Kompanie  (MGK):  machine-gun company; usually comprised three platoons with two guns per platoon
Materialwagen:  material wagon
Medizal-Abteilung:  Medical Department;  department MA in War Ministry, headed by Dr von Schjerning
MG 08:  Maxim heavy machine gun; model 1908
MG 08/15:  light machine gun developed from the MG 08
MGK:  Maschinengewehr Kompanie
Minenwerfer:   trench mortar
Minister des königliches Hauses:  Minister of the Royal House;  managed Kaiser's personal affairs; August Graf zu Eulenburg 1907-18
Ministerial-Abteilung (Z1):  Ministerial Section;  in War Ministry's Central Department (ZD)
Mobilmachung:  mobilization;  also known as M-Tag
Mörser:  large caliber howitzer;  generically translated as mortar
M-Tag:  mobilization day
Munitionskolonne:  munitions column  (convoy)
Musketier:  musketeer, rifleman;  serving in Prussian infantry regiments
 
 
Nachrichten-Abteilung:  signal troops detachment
Nachrichtendienst:  German Intelligence Service  (see Geheimer Nachrichtendienst)
ND:  Nachrichtendienst
 
 
Oberbefehlshaber:  commander-in-chief, supreme commander;  usually refers to the commander of a numbered army or an army group
Obergefreiter:  senior private;  serving in foot artillery unit
Oberjäger:  senior chasseur;  same rank as Unteroffizier but serving with Jäger or Schützen battalion
Oberkommando in den Marken:  High Commander in the Mark;  wartime military leader in Berlin (Gen. Gustav von Kessel); with name taken from the historical reference to the March (Margraviate) of Brandenburg
Oberleutnant:  first lieutenant, senior lieutenant;  usually commands company or platoon
Ober-Militär-Prüfungs-Kommission:  
Ober-Quartiermeister:  senior quartermaster;  third in command of a numbered field army, responsible for supplies and communications lines
Oberhof- und Hausmarschall:  Senior Marshal of the Court and the Householdresponsible for court expenditures, festivities, ceremonial issues, audiences, trips, 76 royal palaces, and about 500 servants; Hugo von Reischach 1914-18
Oberkommando in den Marken:  sen
Oberst:  colonel;  usually commands brigade or regiment
Oberste Heeresleitung  (OHL):  Supreme Army Command  
Oberstkämmerer:  High Chamberlain; highest ranking court official in His Majesty's service; Friedrich Furst zu Solms-Baruth 1899-18
Oberstleutnant:  lieutenant colonel;  usually commands regiment or battalion
Oberst-Lieutenant:  lieutenant colonel;  modified to Oberstleutnant after 1 Jan 1899
Offizier von der Armee:  
Offizierstellvertreter:  senior NCO in officer's appointment, deputy officer
OHL:  Oberste Heeresleitung
OKM:  Oberkommando in den Marken
Ordonnananzug:  orderly dress;  one of the four main orders of formal dress - 1914
 
 
Packwagen:  baggage wagon
Paletot:  overcoat
Paradeanzug:  parade dress, review dress;  one of the four main orders of formal dress - 1914
Pelzmütze:  busby;  fur cap worn by Hussars
Pensions-Abteilung (C2):  Army Pensions Section;  in War Ministry's Supply & Legal Department (CD)
Pferde-Depot:  horse depot
Pickelhaube:  spiked helmet
Pioniere:  combat engineers, sappers, pioneers;  sometimes left untranslated
Portepee:  sword knot;  worn by NCOs and officers
Portepee-Fähnrich:  officer cadet;  modified to Fähnrich after 1 Jan 1899
Pour-le-Merite:  Blue Max (Blauer Max);  highest Prussian award for bravery
Premier-Lieutenant:  first lieutenant;   modified to Oberleutnant after 1 Jan 1899
Preußische Hauptkadettenanstalt:  Prussian Military Academy; located in Groß-Lichterfelde and in operation from 1822 to 1918
Preußische Kriegsakademie:  Imperial Prussian War Academy;  staff college located in Berlin, 74 Unter den Linden. Founded by Scharnhorst in 1810, prerequisite for appointment to German General Staff. 
Proviant-Kolonne:  provisions column
Provisorische Bau-Abteilung (U5):  Construction Section;  in War Ministry's Billeting Department (UD)
 
 
Radfahrer:  cyclist
RAK:  Reserve-Armeekorps
Rang:  rank
Regiment:  regiment; usually comprised of three battalions and (until 1915) one machine-gun company; a cavalry regiment was comprised of four squadrons. Normally commanded by an Oberst or Oberstleutnant.
Reichs-Militär-Gericht:  
Reitendes Feld-Jäger-Korps:  
Reiter:  mounted troop; serving with Bavarian heavy cav (Schwere Reiter) units
Reitpferd:  saddle horse
Remonte-Inspektion:  Remount Inspectorate; War Ministry Department RI
Reservekorps:  reserve corps 
Reservist:  reserve troop
RID:  Reserve Infanteriedivision
RIR:  Reserve Infanterieregiment
Ritter:  count, knight, sir;  General Karl Ritter von Fasbender
Rittmeister:  captain;  serving in cavalry, supply or airborne units (see Hauptmann)
 
 
Sani:  medic
Sanitäts-Kompanie:  medic company
Schako:  shako;  visored helmet worn by Jäger. Schützen, Landsturm and MGK troops
Scheinwerferzug:  searchlight section
Schirmmütze:  service cap;  visored cap in dress or crusher style;  see Dienstmütze
Schlacht:  battle 
Schlanke Emma:  "Slim Emma"; the Skoda 305mm howitzer
Schlossgarde-Kompanie:  Palace Guards;  headed by Max von Mutius and charged with guarding royal palaces and parks
Schmiedewagen:  farrier's wagon  (blacksmith) 
Schütze:  rifleman;  serving in Schützen or machine gun units
Schützenbataillon:  rifle battalion
SCHWELFA:  Schwereste Flachfeuerartillerie
schwer:  heavy 
Schwere Reiter:  Bavarian heavy cavalry; originally cuirassier and guard units, there were two regiments at mobilization
Schwereste Flachfeuerartillerie  (SCHWELFA):  heavy flat trajectory artillery; heaviest guns which targeted bridges and reinforced command posts; included own air observation and survey units
Sekonde-Lieutenant:  second lieutenant;  modified to Leutnant after 1 Jan 1899
Sektion:  section; usually comprised of two or three squads. Normally commanded by an Unteroffizier or Sergeant.
Sektion IIIb:  Section IIIb; Imperial Germany's Military Intelligence Service, later named Abteilung IIIb;  see Nachrichtendienst
Sergeant sergeant
Soldat:  soldier, private
Spieß:  first sergeant
Stab:  staff
Stabsoffiziere:  field grade officers;  major, lt. colonel, colonel
Stahlhelm:  steel helmet, trench helmet, coal scuttle; styles = M1916, M1917, M1918
Stellenbesetzung command and staff positions; appointment, posting
Stollen:  tunnel; deeply dug underground barracks holding up to 1,000 troops, a fixture at Verdun
Sturmtruppen:  stormtroops; assault troops of 14-18 men, variously armed with light machine guns, automatic rifles or light mortars.
Subalternoffiziere:  subalterns;  lieutenant
Suchscheinwerfer:  search light 
 
 
Tank-KFZ:   fuel truck
Telegraphen~ :  telegraph
Train:   supply train
Traingemeiner:   supply train soldier;  two yrs service (Prussian/Bavarian)
Trainkolonne:   supply column
Trainsoldat:   supply train soldier;  one yr of service (Prussian/Bavaria) or two yrs service (Saxon)
Trupp:  squad, group; an ad hoc sub-unit of a "Gruppe"
Tschapka:  lance helmet;  square-topped headgear worn by uhlan troops
 
 
Überrock:  frock coat, "uberrock";  knee-length great coat
Übungs-Abteilung (U3):  Maneuvers Section;  in War Ministry's Billeting Department (UD)
Ulan:  uhlan, lancer;  member of the elite of an Prussian cavalry unit modeled after the Tatar lancers. Equivalent to a British lancer. There were 21 regiments at mobilization, but they were rendered almost powerless during the War by the machine gun.
Ulanka:  double-breasted tunic worn by uhlan troops, two rows of seven buttons
unter Belassung zur Dienstleistung bei...:  while still temporarily attached to...
Unterkunfts-Abteilung (B4):  billeting section;  in War Ministry's Army Administration Department (BD)
Unterkunfts-Departement (UD):  Billeting Department ; War Ministry's Department UD, aka Accomodation Deptarment
Unteroffizier:  corporal
 
 
verabschiedet:  
Verband:  unit
Verkehrs-Abteilung (A7V):  Transportation Section;  in War Ministry's General War Department (AD)
Verkehrstruppen:  transport troops
Verpflegungs-Abteilung (B2):  Peacetime Rationing Section;  in War Ministry's Army Administration Department (BD)
versetzt:  transferred;  moving to a follow-on assignment, with a billet
Versorgungs-Abteilung (C3):  Supply Section;  in War Ministry's Supply & Legal Department (CD)
Versorgungs & Justiz-Departement:  Supply and Justice Department, in the War Ministry
Vize-Feldwebel:  vice sergeant-major  (U.S. = staff sergeant)
Vize-Wachtmeister:  vice sergeant-major (U.S. = staff sergeant)mounted or artillery units  
Vorratswagen supply wagon
vortragender Generaladjutant:  Chief of the Military Cabinet, Kaiser's closest military advisor (see diensttuender Generaladjutant)
 
 
Wachtanzug:  guard dress;  one of the four main orders of formal dress - 1914
Wachtmeister:  sergeant-major;  administrative posting for company HQ - mounted or artillery units
Waffenrock:  dress tunic, uniform jacket;  same as Feldrock
Wehrmann:  territorial soldier;  serving in Landwehr regiments
Werkstatt-KFZ:  repair truck
Wetterwarte:  meteorological service
wirklicher Geheimer Kriegsrat:  High Privy Councillor
 
 
ZD:  designator for the Zentral-Departement
z.D.:  zur Disposition
Zentral-Departement:  Central Department; War Ministry department ZD
Zug:  platoon; usually comprised of four sections. Normally commanded by an Oberleutnant, Leutnant, Feldwebel-Leutnant, or Offizierstellvertreter.
Zugpferd:  draft horse
zur Disposition (gestellt):  active reserve statue;  when an officer goes into temporary retirement
 
 
 

 

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