Combat support

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Combat support is a functional area of ​​responsibility in armed forces that combines leadership, forces and resources with the aim of increasing one's own mobility on land and in the air and that of the enemy in combat, primarily through fire and barriers as well as protection against threats from the air and to improve one's own survivability in fire and when using NBC weapons .

Combat support troops

Combat support troops are those parts of the armed forces whose primary mission is combat support, in particular the artillery and engineer forces .

The combat support troops are to be distinguished from the command and support troops, in Germany operational and command support troops, which serve to directly ensure leadership (telecommunications, reconnaissance, military police) and the logistics troops with the medical troops .

armed forces

Only in the German army and in the armed forces base (SKB) there are types of troops ; there are series of uses in the navy and the air force. Therefore, only in the army are the troop types assigned to combat troops, combat support troops, operational and command support troops and logistics and medical troops. The combat support troops in the army include the artillery troops , the army aviation troops and the engineer troops .

The use and management support forces include the forces genera signal corps , military reconnaissance troops , military logistics forces (again consisting of the replenishment force and repair force ) and the medical service host .

The tasks of the Army Air Defense Force were given to the Air Force and the NBC Defense Force to the SKB. The military music service in the army was also transferred to the SKB.

The combat support troops are not to be confused with the support forces , which in the German armed forces is a force category that can be defined completely independently of the type of force.

See also: Command support (Bundeswehr)

Special troops NVA

The National People's Army defined, according to military doctrine of the Warsaw Pact , special forces , in the sense of combat support forces - as troops or (military) forces or formations , the combat operations ( combat operations ) of all in the armed forces existing branches of service support or supplied. Special troops were usually present in all branches of the armed forces . They could belong to the inventory of large associations , associations or units of the military branches, but also be organized in large associations , associations or independent units . In the event of an incident, these should be subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army , the Front or the High Command. Examples of special troops were:

See also

Austria's armed forces

The combat and command support troops include the engineers , the artillery , the reconnaissance aircraft , the command support battalions (formerly telecommunications ) and the NBC defense . The paramedics, the military patrol and the military police, the supply and the air surveillance are not counted among the combat and command support troops.

Swiss Army

In the Swiss Armed Forces, command support troops form their own branch of service, but not their own officially defined branch of service. The Swiss Armed Forces do not officially group their branches into different sub-groups. The Swiss command support troops do not include all z. B. in Germany mostly troops belonging to operational and command support troops; for example, transmission troops (telecommunications) are in turn a separate service category.

Description of the branches of service

In the following, based on the German division of troop types (see above), those troop types are presented that, depending on the definition, are operational and command support troops or combat support troops, and only in exceptional cases have combat troops or combat troop portions.


The artillery is the most active support force within an army, as it intervenes directly in the battle. Artillery repels enemy attacks with barrages , prepares the attack of your own troops with concentrated fire and prevents enemy activities during ground combat. Nevertheless, it is usually not counted among the combat troops, as it only fights enemy forces "indirectly" over a great distance and therefore ideally is not exposed to direct fire from enemy combat troops.

Army anti-aircraft troops

The (Army) anti-aircraft troops are the main bearer of defense against the threat from the air in the low and medium altitude range (up to 5,000 meters) and protect forces of the Army or their systems and facilities in the entire range of operations, depending on the threat and situation, as closely as possible integrated into the Air defense. In exceptional cases , the troops also fight enemy ground targets with the flak , but this is the absolute (and undesired) exception. Similar to the artillery, it fights enemy forces directly, but acts over great distances and ideally is not exposed to direct enemy fire.


Another very large group of support forces actively participating in the fighting are the pioneers . Your task is, for example, overcoming obstacles (rivers, etc.), clearing and creating barriers in the form of minefields or anti-tank barriers, or rescuing defective or destroyed equipment from the combat zone.

NBC defense

The NBC defense is particularly capable of protective and defensive measures against the effects of NBC weapons. Own fire is only intended for self-defense.

Army aviators

The army aviators are those forces in the army who primarily do their jobs using airplanes, in particular using military helicopters . In German-speaking countries, the army aviators are counted as combat support troops, although the individual assignment is not always conclusive. Combat helicopters in particular for anti-tank defense could, analogously to tank destroyers, also be regarded as part of the combat troops, however, as with artillery, they are particularly threatened by enemy combat support troops, v. a. by the anti-aircraft troops

Logistics troops

Logistic troops such as supply battalions ensure that the fighting troops are supplied with ammunition, food and supplies. Repair battalions repair vehicles, equipment, weapons and material. In Germany these troops are part of the command support troops.


EloKa is the abbreviation for electronic warfare . This part of the support forces tries to disrupt the enemy radio traffic and eavesdrop, track down radar positions and protect their own radio traffic.


Telecommunication troops are responsible for communication in the army. In Germany these troops are part of the command support troops .

Medical troops

The medical service is responsible for the health care of all soldiers. With the formation of the new organizational area of medical service, only the troop medical service in the army remains in the Bundeswehr . In Germany these troops remaining with the army are part of the command support troops.

Feldgendarmerie, military police

As long as no civilian structure to protect the population can be set up within a combat area, the military police take on this task. At the same time, it serves to prevent criminal activities within the troops and to ensure that discipline is maintained. It is responsible for traffic control in a military context and is used to a limited extent for personal protection. Members of the military police are generally endowed with extensive powers and have a special status. In Germany these troops are part of the armed forces base. When they were still in the army, they were part of the command support forces.


Scouts are responsible for the reconnaissance . Depending on the type, they belong to the combat troops (esp. Tank reconnaissance ) or to the support or command support troops . In Germany, the newly created Army Reconnaissance Force is one of the command support forces. Their predecessors were combat troops ( tank reconnaissance , airborne reconnaissance), support troops (artillery reconnaissance, tele scout ), or command support troops ( field intelligence force , front intelligence force ).


In Germany, the following troops were also included in the command support troops until they were regrouped or dissolved: Operative Information Troops and the Topography Troops .

Individual evidence

  1. Military Lexicon, 2nd ed. 1973, L-No .: 5, ES-No .: 6C1, BstNr: 745.303.1, page 346 Definition: "Special troops"