Tank reconnaissance

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Old beret badge of the formerly independent tank reconnaissance force of the Bundeswehr

Armored Reconnaissance are the mechanized and armored reconnaissance troop of a country fighting force . Your main task is the reconnaissance of enemy forces and the exploration of unknown terrain. In the German army , the armored reconnaissance troops formed a separate branch . This was dissolved in 2008 and was part of the Army Reconnaissance Force .

Tasks and tactics

The main task of the tank reconnaissance force is ground-based reconnaissance in the operational area of ​​the higher-level brigade or division. The tank reconnaissance force works together with reconnaissance forces of the artillery , tele scouts and the Eloka ( electronic warfare ).

The ground-based scouting troops occupied reconnaissance points of permanent interest and operated on their own as inconspicuously as possible according to the troop's motto "videre sine videri" (see a lot without being seen). The penetration depth could be 30 to 70 kilometers behind the enemy lines. Light scouting parties were particularly suitable for this. Tank scouts see themselves as a particularly autonomous, independent force. Your own decision therefore determines success or failure far more than with other branches of arms. Electronic reconnaissance systems such as radar and sensors are important in modern armored reconnaissance troops. The use of armored patrols often done to results of reconnaissance systems other service branches to confirm the information network reconnaissance, supplement and monitor the further behavior of the enemy. With their armored vehicles, especially battle tanks, the tank reconnaissance troops are also able to carry out reconnaissance through combat . Furthermore, the troops are able to monitor large areas and flanks, to a limited extent for NBC reconnaissance and to set up and maintain long-range telecommunication connections to and between other forces.

The troops cooperate with combat and combat support troops in the Combat of Allied Arms , but are not used in the types of combat or to secure rooms and objects. Avoid scraping the troops in order not to lose the ability to reconnaissance, without which a further fight seems hopeless anyway.



The tradition of the German tank reconnaissance troops goes back to the year 1743, when King Frederick the Great stipulated in the regulations for the Prussian hussar regiments that they also had to take on reconnaissance tasks. Originally, however, the hussars remained a fighting force. In the Franco-Prussian War (1870/71) there were squadrons for the first time as pure reconnaissance units in the infantry divisions. For this, mainly hussar and dragoon regiments were selected, because these had carbines and could therefore also be used by infantry.

First to the beginning of World War II

In the First World War it was again cavalry regiments that did the main reconnaissance work in the infantry divisions. The scouting party on horseback (officer patrol) showed the way to small mobile reconnaissance units. The introduction of technical aids such as balloons , airplanes and, in some cases, even motor vehicles improved reconnaissance capabilities. However, and that was initially to remain the case in the Reichswehr , the cavalry was still mainly used as "mounted infantry". Around 1930, their own reconnaissance departments were set up, which in addition to riders also included cyclists, motorized vehicles, heavy weapons and communications equipment. These departments were to form the predecessors of the later motorized reconnaissance departments in World War II . An all-terrain vehicle squadron was introduced to the 4th Cavalry Regiment in Potsdam . For this purpose, the standard Dixi car was used as an "off-road vehicle" . In a sense, this was the nucleus of the motorized reconnaissance troops in the German army. 1934-1936 16 of the 18 cavalry regiments of the Reichswehr, which had battalion strength, were added to tank or motorbike rifle units (motorized rifle battalions) or a cycling department, a heavy squadron and an anti-tank squadron , to eleven new cavalry regiments. These eleven regiments also received a message squadron. By 1938 the number of cavalry regiments was increased by two and these were set up as corps troops. For the newly created armored force, eleven reconnaissance units (motorized) - consisting of a staff with an intelligence platoon, motorcyclist company and heavy company as well as three reconnaissance regiments - were re-established.

Second World War

During the war, these reconnaissance troops reinforced the armored divisions, the light (motorized) divisions and the infantry (motorized) divisions (later armored infantry divisions). Due to the above-average equipment with reconnaissance tanks and armored personnel carriers or swimming vehicles and motorcycles, the scouts had to carry out combat missions in addition to classic reconnaissance tasks. In the infantry divisions, this was particularly true of the bicycle-moving fusilier battalions .

Tank reconnaissance aircraft in the Bundeswehr

Former troop category
badge of the tank reconnaissance troops

The tank reconnaissance force was a branch of the army in the German Armed Forces. The main task was the predominantly ground-based reconnaissance of enemy forces and the exploration of unknown terrain. These ordered the armored reconnaissance troops on reconnaissance and battle tanks of the types Luchs and Leopard 2 and light armored vehicles of the type Fuchs and fennek . The armored reconnaissance force was one of the army's armored forces and was thus part of the combat troops .

The airborne scouts were the airborne part of the armored reconnaissance force. They were equipped with light vehicles and weapon systems like the lynx, combined as platoons and, if necessary, should be placed under the airborne brigades as reconnaissance platoons.

The tank reconnaissance force was disbanded in 2008. Together with the long-distance scouts , field intelligence forces and the drones of the reconnaissance artillery , it forms the newly established army reconnaissance force .

See also