Maneuvers (military)

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Bundeswehr combat exercise (1983)
A US tank of the type M60A3 during the NATO maneuver REFORGER 1985 in Hesse

A maneuver is a realistic military exercise . It is carried out with two (less often with several) parties of different sizes. There are maneuvers that are held within the framework of the armed forces , as well as maneuvers from several branches of service . The purpose of today's military maneuvers is to prepare for operational situations, i.e. for armed conflicts or the deployment of the military to prevent terrorist attacks. In contrast, the maneuvers of the 18th century were more like parades . In order to simulate an emergency as realistically as possible, there are blank cartridges , training grenades and smoke grenades (to simulate the use of chemical weapons) and the like.

Overarching maneuvers

Maneuvers can also have the function of demonstrating a state's determination and operational capability. For example, the United States and South Korea held joint military exercises with a total of 30,000 soldiers in the summer of 2010. In the course of previous events, these were sent as a signal to North Korea.

Large, regularly held maneuvers by the United States Armed Forces include the naval maneuvers RIMPAC and UNITAS and the air force exercise Red Flag . In West Germany, the major maneuvers of the NATO allies under the leadership of the USA called REFORGER were particularly well known until 1993 , as they were held annually. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has held three major anti-terrorist maneuvers since 2005.

Land forces maneuvers

Imperial parade during the imperial maneuver in Baden 1909

The maneuvers of the ground forces are usually held on a military training area or in its vicinity, but in times of the Cold War often also in open terrain, preferably in the areas assumed for emergencies. It is important to achieve a predetermined goal. The parties are identified by party colors (often blue, red, orange, gold) and are monitored and assessed by a neutral third party ( arbitrator ) for compliance with given guidelines. Large-scale maneuvers take place very rarely today, the exercises are mostly limited to staff level as a staff framework exercise.

Important military maneuvers in Germany

Military maneuvers of the land forces in the Federal Republic of Germany are listed (selection).

Exercise period designation scope description
22-28 September 1954 Battle Royal 137,000 soldiers Maneuvers in northern Germany, Lower Saxony, northern North Rhine-Westphalia with 137,000 soldiers from the British Army of the Rhine , Royal Air Force as well as Belgian , Dutch and US soldiers . Use of approx. 800 tanks and US nuclear guns . First major NATO maneuver.
20th - 24th September 1960 Hold Fast 45,000 soldiers Maneuvers in the Schleswig-Holstein area with 45,000 soldiers from Denmark , Great Britain , Canada , Belgium and the Bundeswehr with more than 12,000 tracked and wheeled vehicles.
2nd-8th February 1961 Winter Shield II 60,000 soldiers Maneuvers in Eastern Bavaria / Upper Palatinate with 60,000 soldiers from the US and French armies and the German armed forces . Use of 15,000 vehicles.
October 24 - November 20, 1963 Big lift 40,000 soldiers, 12,000 vehicles Air transport of the personnel of the 2nd US Armored Division from Texas, which took over the prepared large equipment. Maneuvers with two other US divisions and a cavalry regiment in the Hesse / Lower Franconia area. Then the 2nd PD returns to the USA
15-21 September 1968 Black Lion 42,000 soldiers Maneuvers in the area of ​​Ingolstadt, Rothenburg / Tauber, Sigmaringen, Heilbronn with 42,000 soldiers of the 2nd Corps of the Bundeswehr and French units with 15,000 tracked and wheeled vehicles.
January 9-22, 1973 Certain Shield 46,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Bad Mergentheim, Walldürn, Crailsheim, Würzburg, Kitzingen, Rothenburg od Tauber, Neustadt adAisch area with 46,000 soldiers from the USA, Canada and the Bundeswehr with a total of 2,700 tanks and 8,000 wheeled vehicles. 10,000 US soldiers were flown in from the USA for this large-scale exercise. From January 9th to 14th, 1973 they arrived with large-capacity vans at the Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt am Main, the Stuttgart Army Airfield and at the Ramstein Air Base . The US soldiers flown in took over weapons and military equipment from depots in Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Germersheim.
9-16 October 1973 Certain Charge 51,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Nuremberg, Ansbach, Schwäbisch Hall, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Dinkelsbühl, Ingolstadt, Crailsheim area with 51,000 soldiers from the USA, Canada and the Bundeswehr. On October 13, 1973, a US F-4 Phantom II fighter aircraft hit an M113 armored transport vehicle in low flight near Weißenburg in Bavaria and crashed between Trommetsheim and Kattenhochstatt . The two pilots and two soldiers of the tank are killed.
September 30th - October 9th 1974 Certain pledge 44,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Stuttgart, Ulm, Donauwörth, Eichstätt, Weissenburg, Crailsheim, Heidenheim, Göppingen, Schwäbisch Hall, Dinkelsbühl area with 38,000 US, 6,000 Bundeswehr and Canadian soldiers.
15-19 September 1975 Great castling 67,400 soldiers Maneuvers in Bavaria in the Marktredwitz, Passau, Munich, Augsburg, Nuremberg area with 53,000 army soldiers, 5,000 soldiers from territorial defense and 9,400 soldiers from the USA, France and Canada. 15,000 vehicles were used, including 3,000 tracked vehicles. At the same time, the NATO air force exercise " Cold Fire " took place.
14.-23. October 1975 Certain Trek 57,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Ansbach, Fürth, Erlangen, Bamberg, Fulda, Hanau, Darmstadt, Heidelberg, Steigerwald, Haßberge, Heilbronn area. Use of 2170 tracked vehicles, including 604 battle tanks, 4474 wheeled vehicles and 261 helicopters. It included soldiers of the Bundeswehr, from the US, UK, Canada and France. Two US soldiers died trying to cross the Tauber near Werbach with their tanks . A tank soldier died when it fell into a quarry near Bernsfelden . When eggs home on 17 October 1975, a crashed F-4 Phantom II from; both Canadian pilots died.
6-10 September 1976 Big Bear 62,000 soldiers Maneuvers of the Bundeswehr in conjunction with US, Dutch and British armed forces in the area of Bremen , Uelzen , Hanover , Detmold , Münster , Coesfeld and Nordhorn . Use of 20,000 combat vehicles. Supported by the simultaneous air force exercise "Cold Fire 76".
7-11 September 1976 Gordan Shield 34,000–40,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Alsfeld, Feldatal, Lauterbach, Marburg, Zeilbach area with soldiers from the USA, Belgium, France and the Bundeswehr. Use of 348 helicopters.
13-17 September 1976 Lares team 43,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Nuremberg, Weissenburg, Feuchtwangen, Donauwörth, Wassertrüdingen, Nördlingen, Eichstätt, Harburg, Dinkelsbühl, Amberg, Regensburg, Ingolstadt, Heidenheim, Gaildorf, Ansbach area with soldiers from the USA and Canada and the Bundeswehr. Use of 3500 tracked vehicles, 8000 wheeled vehicles, 600 helicopters and 90 combat aircraft. At the same time the air force exercise "Crested Cap 76" was held.
12-15 September 1977 Steadfast chatting 38,000 soldiers Bundeswehr maneuvers in North Hesse and South Westphalia with 3,200 US soldiers. Use of 3200 tracked vehicles and 9000 wheeled vehicles. A soldier died in a military vehicle falling over.
12-23 September 1977 Blue fox 25,000 soldiers Maneuvers of the 1st Belgian Corps in the Rheine, Osnabrück, Lübbecke, Minden, Hanover, Hildesheim, Eschershausen, Hornburg, Bad Sachsa, Duderstadt, Göttingen, Bovenden, Adelebsen, Borgentreich, Warburg, Meschede area with 2000 tracked and 6000 wheeled vehicles.
19. – 22. September 1977 Carbon Edge 51,850–65,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Münsingen, Weilheim, Kempten, Wangen, Tuttlingen, Tübingen, Böblingen, Donaueschingen, Sonthofen, Munich, Augsburg, Ulm area with 43,000 soldiers from the USA, 3,300 from Canada, 500 from Belgium, 500 from the Netherlands, 350 from Great Britain and 4200 of the German Armed Forces. 4000 tracked vehicles, 7500 wheeled vehicles, 500 helicopters and 90 combat aircraft were used. At the same time, the air force exercise "Crested Cap 79" was held. Two American F-4D Phantom II collided in the thick fog near Schönberg.
26.-30. September 1977 Inter Action 77 12,700 soldiers Maneuvers in the area of ​​Bremen, Rotenburg, Walsrode, Nienburg, Vechta, Cloppenburg, Friesoythe, Oldenburg with soldiers from the Netherlands, the USA and the Bundeswehr. Use of 325 tracked and 2550 wheeled vehicles. Supported by the simultaneous air force exercise "Cold Fire 77".
17.-21. September 1978 Blue Danube 46,000 soldiers
18.-28. September 1978 Certain Shield 55,780 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Frankfurt am Main, Wetzlar, Alsfeld, Bad Hersfeld, Fulda, Wildflecken, Karlstadt, Aschaffenburg, Hanau, Schweinfurt, Darmstadt, Limburg, Marburg area with soldiers from the USA, Belgium, Great Britain, Luxembourg and the Bundeswehr. Use of 10,000 tracked and wheeled vehicles and 500 helicopters. At the same time, the air force exercise "Crested Cap 78" was running.
18.-29. September 1978 Saxon Drive 32,500–35,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Bremen, Diepholz, Minden, Hanover, Wolfsburg, Lüneburg area with 27,000 soldiers from the Netherlands, 7,500 from the USA and 1,500 from the Bundeswehr. 2,300 tracked vehicles, 7,000 wheeled vehicles and 100 helicopters were used.
January 29 - February 7, 1979 Certain Sentinel 66,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Bamberg area, Hammelburg, Würzburg, Ansbach, Crailsheim, Forchheim, Bayreuth, Fürth, Bopfingen, Heilsbronn, Waldmühlbach, Mellrichstadt, Nuremberg, Tauberbischofsheim, Bad Mergentheim, Schwanberg, Kitzingen with 53,000 soldiers from the USA, 3,000 from Canada, 3,100 of the Bundeswehr and soldiers from Great Britain, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Use of 4,300 tracked vehicles, 8,000 wheeled vehicles, 335 helicopters and 95 combat aircraft.
10-21 September 1979 Constant Enforcer 79 29,000 soldiers
17.-21. September 1979 Hard fist 65,000 soldiers Area Emden, Wilhelmshaven, Lippstadt, Rheine with soldiers of the Bundeswehr, from the USA, the Netherlands, Denmark, use of 2700 tracked and 16,000 wheeled vehicles
15-19 September 1980 St. George 44,000 soldiers
15-25 September 1980 Spearpoint 80 102,000 soldiers Maneuvers in the area of ​​Braunschweig, Wolfenbüttel, Goslar, Northeim, Salzgitter, Sarstedt, Hildesheim, Hannover, Alfeld, Hameln, Einbeck, Holzminden, Rinteln, Minden with 76,300 British soldiers, 22,000 US soldiers and 3,700 Bundeswehr soldiers. Use of 18,000 wheeled vehicles and 3,643 tracked vehicles, including 855 battle tanks. In addition, 350 helicopters.
15.-24. September 1980 Certain Rampart 80 40,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Nuremberg-Regensburg-Augsburg-Ulm-Schwäbisch Hall area with 40,000 soldiers from the USA (16,000 of them flown in), Canada and the Bundeswehr
14.-18. September 1981 Sharp blade 48,000 soldiers Maneuvers in the Heilbronn, Stuttgart, Nagold, Oberndorf, Rottweil, Singen, Neckar-Bischofsheim, Sulz, Sigmaringen, Rottweil and Horb area with 40,000 Bundeswehr soldiers, 3,600 US soldiers and 3,500 Canadian soldiers
14.-23. September 1981 Certain Encounter 81 71,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Alsfeld, Homberg, Schwalmstadt, Neukirchen, Oberaula, Gerterode, Mühlbach, Sterkelshausen area. 17,000 US soldiers were flown in for this.
13-17 September 1982 Strong weir 45,000 soldiers
13.-23. September 1982 Carbine Fortress / REFORGER 82 73,000 soldiers
20th - 24th September 1982 Bold Guard 47,200 soldiers
19.-23. September 1983 Defensive Lions 83 50,000 soldiers
20.-29. September 1983 Atlantic Lion 41,000 soldiers
20.-29. September 1983 Confident Enterprise 62,000 soldiers
2nd-11th November 1983 Able Archer 83 not specified Command post exercise
16.-22. March 1984 Avalanche Express 25,000 soldiers
3rd - 29th September 1984 Lion Heart 84 132,000 soldiers
13-20 September 1984 Nimble hedgehog 84 55,000 soldiers
17.-28. September 1984 Certain Fury 50,000 soldiers
23-25 January 1985 Central Guardian 85 65,000 soldiers
2nd - 13th September 1985 Brave Defender 65,000 soldiers
12-20 September 1985 Defiant Saxons 60,000 soldiers NATO maneuvers in northern Germany (Lüneburg, Soltau, Hanover, Mittelland Canal, Minden, Wildeshausen, Bremen, Bremervörde, Hamburg) with 60,000 soldiers, including 12,000 reservists and 9,000 allies (USA, NL, UK). 18,000 wheeled and 3,300 tracked vehicles were used.
20.-30. January 1986 Certain Sentinel 73,000 soldiers REFORGER maneuvers in the Schweinfurt, Hof, Dinkelsbühl, Regensburg, Cham, Kulmbach, Weiden, Schwandorf, Ansbach, Kitzingen, Bad Windsheim area with 48,000 US soldiers, 4,800 Bundeswehr soldiers and 4,100 Canadian soldiers.
8-19 September 1986 Crossed Swords 86 24,500 soldiers Maneuvers in the area of ​​North Hesse, South Lower Saxony and East Westphalia, Warburg, Höxter, Holzminden, Uslar with 15,000 Belgian soldiers, 3,500 Bundeswehr soldiers and 3,000 soldiers from the USA and Great Britain. 2000 tracked vehicles and 7000 wheeled vehicles were used.
18.-26. September 1986 Franconian Shield 86 60,000 soldiers
Officer in front of the maneuver card
Maneuvers in the Schweinfurt, Karlstadt, Gramschatz, Arnstein, Walldürn, Hardheim, Waldstetten, Bad Wimpfen, Heilbronn, Würzburg area with 50,000 Bundeswehr soldiers, 8,000 US soldiers and 3,000 French soldiers. Use of 3500 tracked vehicles and 14,000 wheeled vehicles.
15-25 September 1987 Cheeky sparrow 75,000 soldiers The II. Corps of the Bundeswehr completed the Franco-German maneuver in the Nuremberg, Regensburg, Ingolstadt, Landshut, Munich, Augsburg, Ulm and Stuttgart area. No troops from NATO structures were involved in this. 55,000 German and 20,000 French soldiers u. a. the force d'action rapide (FAR) with parts of the Foreign Legion . 17,000 wheeled vehicles, 2,200 tracked vehicles (including Leopard 2, AMX-10) and 480 helicopters took part in the maneuver.
19.-23. September 1988 Free Lion 44,000 soldiers Corps combat exercise of the 1st Dutch Corps in southeast Lower Saxony (Hildesheim / Hanover area).

German, American and British soldiers also took part. A total of 12,500 motor vehicles, 1,700 tracked vehicles (including 420 battle tanks) and 145 helicopters.

1. – 31. October 2012 Saber Junction 8,000 soldiers DATE training of the 2nd US Cavalry Regiment from Vilseck.

Room: Grafenwöhr Training Area and JMRC Hohenfels , Amberg-Sulzbach district and parts of the Schwandorf and Neumarkt districts. Maneuvers Combat of allied forces against an armored enemy as well as counterinsurgency and peacekeeping.

March 31 - April 24, 2016 Saber Junction 16 5000 soldiers DATE training by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team out of Vicenza .

Room: JMRC Hohenfels and surroundings. Airborne exercise with 1200 soldiers over Schmidmühlen and Burglengenfeld on April 12, 2016

Air Force maneuvers

Independent maneuvers by the air force take place relatively rarely; mostly air forces take part in maneuvers of other branches of service. The permanent training is carried out during operation and with special courses. A maneuver carried out by NATO tactical air forces in Europe in 1955 was "Operation Carte Blanche". 12,347 sorties were flown with over 3000 aircraft. The preparation time for this maneuver was more than a year. The result of this maneuver was summarized as: "Nobody can win".

Maneuvers of the naval forces

Larger fleet maneuvers are carried out by the US Navy , formerly the Soviet Navy and today's Russian Navy . The fleet maneuver in the Barents Sea in 2000, during which the Russian nuclear submarine  K-141 Kursk sank, is well known. A series of naval maneuvers has been documented by the US Navy, most of which had a political background.


Relations between Russia and Western states have been tense since the war in Ukraine in 2014 . Russia has held significantly more military exercises since 2015 than NATO and NATO member states in Europe.

See also


Web links

Commons : Military maneuvers  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. of July 24, 2010: North Korea threatens war
  2. Der Spiegel, article: South Korea's military threatens the north with a thousandfold retaliation, " November 27, 2010.
  3. Heer, No. 10, Bonn, October 1976
  4. Major airborne exercise of the Army: Dropzone Oberpfalz , FAZ report of April 12, 2016, accessed on April 12, 2016.
  5. Der Spiegel, article: Safety cannot be achieved Air warning system did not work “Nobody can win” , issue 29/1955.
  6. Der Spiegel 44/1983: Article: Grenada Invasion: Ronald Reagan's Greatest Hour " .
  7. August 23, 2017 .