Honorary name

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Honorary names are names for military facilities, organizations or associations that serve to motivate the troops and to preserve the tradition of a unit. Mostly they remind of historical events or people. Traditional names are names that belong to the name treasury of a state or an organization that have been used for a long time. Flying formations, which in addition to their military designation have an honorary name, are also known as traditional squadrons.

Honorary names of military associations

Above all, to motivate the troops and to preserve tradition, military units are sometimes given names of honor that recall historical events or people.


After the death of the fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen on 21 April 1918, received Fighter Wing no. 1 in the First World War, on 14 May 1918, the name Jagdgeschwader Freiherr v. Richthofen No. 1 and forms the origin of the later traditional air force squadron.

Wehrmacht and SS

In the Wehrmacht there were only a few units that had such honorary or traditional names, e.g. B. the Infantry Regiment 199 - Regiment List , which was named after the commander of the regiment in which Adolf Hitler served during the First World War. Other names were Großdeutschland ( Division and Panzer Corps ) or Feldherrnhalle in the Army and Hermann Göring , Mölders or Immelmann in the Air Force.

The traditional Wehrmacht squadrons:

Squadron name before allocation Designation as a traditional squadron Namesake
Jagdgeschwader 1 from May 11, 1944 Jagdgeschwader 1 "Oesau" Walter Oesau
Döberitz Air Wing from March 14, 1935: Jagdgeschwader Richthofen ,
later: Jagdgeschwader 132 Richthofen and Jagdgeschwader 131 Richthofen
and from May 1, 1939 Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthofen
Manfred von Richthofen
Jagdgeschwader 3 from the beginning of 1942 Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" Ernst Udet
Fighter Squadron 132 from December 11, 1938 Jagdgeschwader 132 Schlageter ,
from May 1, 1939 Jagdgeschwader 26 Schlageter
Albert Leo Schlageter
Jagdgeschwader 51 from 1941/42 Jagdgeschwader 51 Mölders Werner Mölders
On April 20, 1935, Fighter Squadron 134 was reorganized as a "military gift of the SA "
From March 24, 1936 Jagdgeschwader 134 Horst Wessel ,
later Destroyer Wing 142 Horst Wessel ,
from May 1, 1939 Horst Wessel , Destroyer Wing 26 and
from October 13, 1944 Division into Jagdgeschwader 6 Horst Wessel
and Destroyer Wing 26 (consisting only of Group IV)
Horst Wessel
Combat Squadron 152 from April 20, 1936 Kampfgeschwader 152 Hindenburg ,
from May 1, 1939 Kampfgeschwader 1 Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Combat Squadron 253 from June 6, 1936 Kampfgeschwader 253 General Wever and
from May 1, 1939 Kampfgeschwader 4 General Wever
Walther Wever
Faßberg Air Wing from April 3, 1935 Air Wing Boelcke ,
later Kampfgeschwader 154 Boelcke , Kampfgeschwader 157 Boelcke ,
from 1 May 1939 Kampfgeschwader 27 Boelcke and
from November 13, 1944 Kampfgeschwader (J) 27 Boelcke
Oswald Boelcke
Combat Squadron 53 from 1939/40 Kampfgeschwader 53 Legion Condor Legion Condor
Schwerin Air Wing from April 3, 1935 Fliegergeschwader Immelmann ,
later Sturzkampfgeschwader 162 Immelmann ,
from May 1, 1939 Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 Immelmann and
from October 18, 1943 Schlachtgeschwader 2 Immelmann
Max Immelmann

see sleeve stripes

In the Waffen-SS , the names of honor referred either to dead Nazi leaders. E.g .:

or on personalities of German history:

The honorary names for “ foreign national ” units of the Waffen-SS mostly referred to regional symbols, e.g. B:


In the navy it has always been customary to name ships after important personalities in order to recognize their deeds, e.g. B.

National Peoples Army

The military academy in Dresden was given the honorary name " Friedrich Engels " when it was founded

In the National People's Army of the GDR , honorary and traditional names of historical personalities were commemorated. In the GDR, for example, a Berlin regiment, which was responsible for representative tasks, B. the so-called honor guard at the memorial Unter den Linden and the position of honorary formations was responsible, the name of Friedrich Engels . The following squadrons of the air force and army aviation forces had names of honor:

armed forces

The German Federal Armed Forces assign names of personalities to barracks, air force units and flying units of the navy. In April 1961, Josef Kammhuber , then General Inspector of the Air Force, gave names to individual squadrons of fighter pilots known from World War I for the first time in the Bundeswehr . The following were named:

This was intended to point out to the soldiers models for timeless soldier virtues, who exemplified an inner ethic, a moral striving and a moral feeling for the necessity of the readiness to defend ... in the difficult times of the First World War and who had died for these moral ideals .

Defense Minister Hans Apel enacted guidelines for understanding and maintaining tradition in the Bundeswehr in 1982. With this traditional decree , the values ​​and norms of the Basic Law and the mandate assigned to the Bundeswehr were regulated as binding for their maintenance of tradition, the fulfillment of military duties and military proficiency should not be separated from the political goals they serve . Since then, only names and events that have become known to the military resistance against National Socialism or from the Bundeswehr's own history and tradition have been considered to establish tradition for the Air Force . This is intended to consciously select historical items worthy of tradition for the Bundeswehr and to form the essential basis for the civil and military actions of soldiers . Guidelines and a code of conduct in the mission statement of the Luftwaffe team require the Luftwaffe soldiers to act in the knowledge and awareness of contemporary history , but do not use the term tradition itself.

The decision of the German parliament to no longer recommend members of the Condor Legion as models for German soldiers led to this

to delete the name given in 2005.

In addition to the four traditional associations mentioned, the following associations also have names given to them:

The following other (large) units of the Army and Air Force have a nickname (often with regional reference):

Former (large) units of the Army and Air Force with surnames:

Merchant shipping

Typical traditional names of German merchant ships are the names of many ships of the Hamburg Süd shipping company that begin with Cap , Cap San or Monte .

The merchant ship Munich of the shipping company Hapag-Lloyd , which sank in 1978 , was not given a name successor in order to preserve the memory of the ship and crew.


In the Austrian federal army January 2020 were awarded a total of eight traditional name with status, including:


In the Soviet armed forces, units were often named after battles in which they had proven themselves, e.g. B. Riga-Berlin rifle division . Various associations were labeled with the prefix “Garde-” (see Soviet Guard ) or “Rotbanner-”.

The International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War named themselves after freedom fighters from their countries of origin. B. Abraham Lincoln , Garibaldi or Jarosław Dąbrowski .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Honorary name  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Archives: The Wehrmacht's traditional squadrons ( Memento of the original from February 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bundesarchiv.de
  2. ^ Analogous quote from Kammhuber , used in a speech by Klaus-Peter Stieglitz , Inspector of the Air Force, at the Military History Research Office in Potsdam on December 28, 2007, p. 11, seen on April 11, 2010
  3. ^ Analogous quote by Hans Apel on the occasion of the death of Karl Dönitz , in the speech by Hans Peter Stieglitz, p. 12
  4. Rede Stieglitz, paragraph 5, so-called three-pillar model, p. 13
  5. ^ Quoted from Klaus-Peter Stieglitz, p. 15
  6. Rede Stieglitz, p. 14
  7. a b nickname. In: Bundeswehr location database . www.zmsbw.de, accessed on April 26, 2020 .
  8. a b c d Defense Minister Tanner gave traditional names to Viennese barracks. In: bundesheer.at. January 27, 2020, accessed January 29, 2020 .