Military symbols

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Panzerbataillon 14 ( Austrian Armed Forces )
Corps Ammunition Depot ( United Kingdom )

Military symbols (formerly also: tactical symbols ) are symbols of armed forces on maps, plans, vehicles (affiliation), sketches, situation maps for their simple and unmistakable identification. They are similar internationally and largely uniformly regulated within NATO .

Military symbols in the Bundeswehr

4./PzBtl 331 - 4th Company of Panzer Battalion 331

Military symbols are used to symbolically represent troops, weapons, vehicles, orders or instructions in representations, plans and maps. The symbols are standardized within NATO .
In the Bundeswehr , the Central Service Regulation (ZDv) 1/11 "Tactical Signs" has been in effect since 1976 , but was gradually replaced by NATO's Allied Procedural Publication 6 (APP-6) "Military Symbols for Land Based Systems" . Since January 1, 2015, the ZDv 1/11 was finally out of force and the APP-6, which is based on the Field Manual FM 21-30 "Conventional Signs, Military Symbols and Abbreviations" and the MIL-STD-2525 of the US Army based.

On April 24, 2016, the currently valid central regulation A1-160 / 0-9200 "Military symbols" was introduced in the Bundeswehr . It essentially implements the APP-6 (C) "Joint Military Symbology" in a national, German-language regulation for the Bundeswehr, but also contains an extensive separate character set in Appendix 2, which instead of or in addition to the APP-6 (C ) can be used.

Tactical signs of the Bundeswehr from 1959 to 1967

In the period from 1959 to 1967 the Bundeswehr used a different system of tactical signs that differed fundamentally in terms of their shape and color. There were four frame shapes (diamond, circle, square, triangle), each of which indicated the division in different colors. The symbol and number were in the middle. The upper part, marked as a dash, indicated the brigade. If there was none, the unit was directly subordinate to the division. Here are two examples

colour TZ GF.svg Cercle noir 100% .svg TZ PERS.svg TZ BS.svg
White I. Corps 1st Panzer Grenadier Division 3rd Armored Division WBK I
red II Corps 2nd Panzer Grenadier Division 5th Armored Division WBK II
yellow III. corps 4th Panzer Grenadier Division 7th Panzer Grenadier Division WBK III
blue 1st Mountain Division 10th Panzer Grenadier Division WBK IV
green 1st Airborne Division 11th Panzer Grenadier Division WBK V
brown 6th Panzer Grenadier Division 12th Panzer Division WBK VI
Dash color brigade
no dash Division force
white dash 1st Brigade of the Division
red dash 2nd Brigade of the Division
yellow dash 3rd Brigade of the Division

Current military symbols of the Bundeswehr

According to central regulation A1-160 / 0-9200 "Military symbols" , military symbols for units, people, facilities or activities consist of:

  • Frame - (possibly with filling) to identify identity (e.g. friend, foe), dimension (e.g. land, air) and status (e.g. confirmed, presumed)
  • Base notes - to identify branch of service , troops , equipment, facilities, activities or operations
  • Supplementary sign - within the frame above or below the basic sign to supplement, specify or differentiate the information of the basic sign
  • Extension fields - outside the frame for additional information


The shape and, if applicable, the color of the frame or its filling characterizes the identity of the designated object. The four most common identities with their associated shapes and colors are:

Unknown friend Neutral enemy

Basic characters

The basic character is the innermost part of a military symbol that provides a simplified pictorial ( pictogram ) or alphanumeric representation of units, equipment, facilities, activities or operations.

Examples of basic pictorial symbols for military branches (here with the frame "Freund")

Have basic character no graphics, but may be as well simple alphanumeric representations MP (for Military Police / Military Police ), EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal / explosive ordnance disposal ) or CSS (for Combat Service Support / Application Support. Eg by a supply battalion ).

Supplementary sign

Supplementary characters are additional characters that are displayed together with the basic character as a graphic representation (pictogram) or as a combination of letters or numbers. They supplement, specify or differentiate the information on the basic symbol (e.g. unit, equipment, facility or activity) by showing additional tasks or skills.

Additional characters are placed in the center of the frame above or below the basic character. A small black triangle (as a stylized mountain) below a basic symbol z. B. stands for "mountain". Together with a diagonal cross as the basic symbol "Infantry / Jäger", it symbolizes "Mountain Hunters".

Extension fields

A commonly existing extension field is centered over the base characters attached extension field B that is reserved for marking the management level / magnitude that the troops part follows -Systematik:

character designation
TZ TRP.svg Squad
TZ GRP.svg Group / Rotte
TZ ZUG.svg Train / swarm
TZ STFFL.svg Season
TZ KOMP.svg Company / battery / squadron
TZ BAT.svg Battalion / group
TZ REG.svg Regiment / squadron
TZ BRIG.svg Brigade / LKdo
TZ DIV.svg Division / WBK
TZ KORP.svg Corps / TerrKdo
TZ ARMY.svg army
TZ ARGRP.svg Army Group
TZ CMD.svg High command

The extension field T (unit / identification) at the bottom left and the extension field M (higher-level unit / management level) at the bottom right are also often used:

3rd Battery of the Armored Artillery Battalion 195
TZ PZ.svg
4th Company of Panzer Battalion 331 (see example photo above)
TZ PG.svg
4th Company of the Panzer Grenadier Battalion 62
TZ BAT.svg
TZ MtnINF.svg
Mountain Infantry Battalion 231 of the Mountain Infantry Brigade 23

Military symbols on operational plans

The military symbols for units, staffs and facilities are always drawn parallel to the grid lines. Positions, guidance lines etc. are drawn according to their actual position in the terrain. Planned (own forces) or assumed (enemy forces) positions , barriers and movements are dashed.

See also


Web links

Commons : Tactical signs  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Planning Office of the Bundeswehr: Planning Office puts regulations for military symbols into effect. Planning Office of the Federal Armed Forces, May 31, 2016, accessed on December 7, 2016 .