Tactical unit

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In the German emergency services, tactical units are summarized according to their tactical use of personnel and material, which can carry out mission-relevant tasks independently and independently process an assignment corresponding to their size.


The tactical division of the forces is usually carried out according to the following scheme, whereby the individual task force (helper) forms the basis of all units: The smallest unit is a squad, the next larger units are called squadrons (not available in all organizations; e.g. helicopter squadron or rescue dog squadron ), Group and train. The largest tactical unit is the association. Depending on the organization and state, the units can have different levels of staff and independence.


Specification of the number of staff
Creation of an independent squad ( tactical signs )
Setting up a squadron (tactical signs)
Formation of a group (tactical signs)

The different strengths of the units in Germany are divided into different tactical units and associations. According to fire service regulation 3, depending on the size of the team, this is:

  • an independent squad,
  • a season,
  • a group,
  • a train or
  • an association.

The strength and structure of the fire brigade units are uniformly defined in Germany in fire brigade regulation 3 "Units in fire fighting and rescue operations". The team strength is given in the form of unit leader / subordinate / team / total strength . Other aid organizations have their own legal bases. Via radiotelephone z. For example, the thickness of a train (third / 18/ 22 ) as follows reported: "One - three - Eighteen - Total Zwoundzwanzig".

Leaders of independent fire brigade units must be trained as group leaders .

In accordance with the above-mentioned unit sizes, the standardized fire brigade vehicles are designed for a corresponding group, relay or (independent) crew.


It should be noted that the units of the Austrian fire brigades do not (yet) exist. The group is set up as a "fire fighting group" with a team of nine emergency services (the team of a fire engine) or as a "tank fire fighting group" with seven emergency services. Due to new structural and legal restrictions on fire engines, the relay with six people is also being discussed in Austria. A group of commands in each case a group commander , a train, a platoon leader and the association of Union commander .

fire Department


The squad is the smallest unit and is usually composed of two fire fighters, a squad leader and a troop, also known as (0/0/2/ 2 ) is written. This type of unit is part of the relay or group units and is therefore not an independent operating unit. One person from the emergency services acts as a troop leader (Austria: troop commander). The unit is commonly referred to as the “fire fighting party”.

Independent squad

In contrast, the self-employed squad of is (0/1/2/ 3 ) a unit which can be used as a separate tactical unit. It consists of a troop and a machinist and is powered by a squad leader out, however, the qualification of a group leader must possess. It is mainly used on vehicles that only have space for a troop crew ( turntable ladders , rescue vehicles , various equipment vehicles , SW 2000-Tr , various tank fire engines, etc.); the platoon troop is also to be regarded as an independent troop.

Due to personnel bottlenecks and their special tasks / functions, which i. A. not be alone working on their own, it is now possible, however, that these vehicles only with the crew of a squad 0/1/1/ 2 (often 0/0/2/ 2 are occupied) and then a place of use, Group / squadron leader of a fire engine or directly to the platoon leader.


Due to a lack of staff and improved technology, which makes work easier, the relay is often the tactical base unit actually used in many fire departments. It consists of six persons (0/1/5/ 6 ): a relay recommended which requires the training of a group leader, a machinist , as well as attack team and water troop .


The group is the tactical basic unit for handling fire brigade operations and consists of nine people ( 0/1/8/9 ), the group leader (in Austria: group commander ), a machinist, a detector and the three groups: attack force, water force and hose troop . The group can also be formed from the crew of a squadron and a troop vehicle. The troop crew usually provides the hose troop and the detector. In the case of a fully occupied fire fighting group vehicle , the team strength is already ( 0/1/8/9 ).


The train (third / 18/ 22 ) is the largest regular Tactical unit and consists usually of two groups (each 0/1/8/ 9 ), the train operator (1/0/0/ 1 ) and the Platoon Headquarters ( 0/1/2/ 3 ). The platoon troop consists of a command assistant (deputy platoon leader, formerly also known as group leader zbV), detector and driver. This supports the platoon leader. Depending on the situation, different trains of the fire brigade can be deployed. The best known are fire fighting train , arming train and hazardous goods train .

According to FwDV 3, a platoon can also be expanded to include an independent squad, a squadron or a group for special tasks and therefore has a strength of up to 31 emergency services ( 1/4/26/31 ). The previously used term " extended train " (also called " reinforced train ") was not adopted in the new FwDV 3.

In the professional fire brigades in particular, however, a platoon is no longer as strong as 22 emergency services. Nowadays, a fire brigade usually arrives with 16 fire brigade members. This is the case with professional fire brigades to save money. In the case of voluntary fire brigades, such a reduction is mainly due to a shortage of staff, which occurs especially on weekdays during the day. On the other hand, staff can be at least partially compensated by modern equipment. The fire-fighting train can also be deployed without the train crew described above: ( 1/2/16/19 ). Also, a reduction in the Zugtrupps is common, for example, (0/1/1/ 2 ), the fire company would then be so with (1/3/17/ 21 ) on the road.

In the event of minor damage events, smaller vehicle combinations with fewer personnel can also be deployed. However, this is not a move in the sense of FwDV 3.


The composition of the association (called precise tactical association ) is not uniformly defined. Units with more than 31 men are called units, which is larger than an extended train. The leadership is incumbent on the association leader (in Austria: association commander ). Often the association leader is supported by a management team or a management group in leading the operation. Most of the time, the association leaders are special fire service ranks.

Mostly the district fire brigades or supra-local aid contingents (these do not exist in all federal states) form an association. The size and composition of an association is very different. Particularly in the case of large-scale operations, associations can be formed that consist of several specialist services. Sometimes the term association is only used as a generic term for tactical units above the train. Analogous to military structures, a further subdivision is often made here, whereby there are regional differences again:

  • Association I = standby (up to 2 platoons + leadership team),
  • Association II = department (more than 2 readiness) and
  • Association III = large association (more than 2 departments).

In extended disaster control , for example , when two fire engines interacted , one spoke of fire protection readiness .

2-5 rule

The exact strength of a tactical unit, especially above the platoon, is not precisely defined. As a rule of thumb, the 2-5 rule can be used. The core message of this rule is that a unit leader can lead between two and five tactical units of the lower management level. In the case of more than two tactical units of the lower management level, a division between two tactical units of the higher management level can take place with a management of the next higher level. For example - regardless of legal admissibility - four groups could be led by one platoon leader or as an association of two platoons with two platoon leaders and one unit leader.

Alternative names at the place of use

In addition to the division into platoons and units, the division into deployment sections (according to tactical or spatial requirements) is also carried out at deployment sites. The units used in a section mostly correspond to a train. The operational section leader corresponds to the platoon leader. Instead of the term association leader (association leadership), the term operational leader is used here.

technical aid organization

The basic unit of the Technical Relief Organization (THW) is the technical train , consisting of a platoon , two rescue groups and other specialist groups . The squad is always a sub-unit of the group. The number of personnel in a technical train of the THW is usually between 28 and 43 helpers.

Aid organizations & civil protection

The aid organizations are primarily active in the rescue , medical and care services. There is no uniform specification for their structure; local and internal regulations apply.

Ambulance service

Characteristic for use in rescue service, a plurality of individual vehicles ( ambulances (KTW) , an emergency ambulance (N-KTW) , the rescue trolley (RTW) , ambulance (NAW) , rescue transport helicopter (RTH) , Intensive transport helicopter (ITH) ambulance emergency vehicle (NEF) , etc.) which are usually not summarized as a tactical unit, but are managed in direct access to the individual vehicle (by an emergency service leader or organizational leader of the rescue service (OrgL) in conjunction with the chief emergency doctor (LNA) ). In addition to the daily routine in individual emergencies , this is mainly due to the fact that these rescue equipment do not remain stationary on site until the mission has been completed, but instead transport the patient away after care on site and then return to the site if necessary - in larger missions The number of vehicles and rescue services on site fluctuates constantly.

Major disasters and disaster control

Civil protection units are in terms of strength, structure and management structure defined groups of volunteers in the most disaster participating charities . Your exact personnel and material equipment depends on the respective specialist service of the unit and is based on country-specific legal requirements and guidelines.

Until 1997, disaster control was divided into trains , groups and facilities, the size and equipment of which were listed in the strength and equipment certificates (STAN) for the units and facilities of the disaster control. However, these regulations are no longer valid since the law on the reorganization of civil protection (ZSNeuOG) came into force on March 25, 1997.

All disaster control units established by state law then also take on the task of protecting the population in the event of a defense . For this purpose, units in the areas of fire protection , NBC protection , medical services and support receive additional equipment.

In addition, the following tactical units in the medical and care service are known for mass casualties (MANV) or other major damage situations based on the fire brigade units:

The following table gives an overview of the strength of the various units. The exact strength of a certain unit of the disaster control units in Germany is regulated by the respective service ordinance of the responsible state or the federal government.

Tactical unit Strength

(Leader / subordinate / helper / total strength )

Association More than 31 people. A federation refers to units whose team strength exceeds the size of an extended platoon.
train Common variants:

Third / 18/ 22 (Platoon Headquarters + 2 groups), or

Fourth / 17/ 22

(Platoon + a group, a relay and a squad) or

1/5 / 16/ 22

(Platoon + one group and three squads)

The standard size corresponds to a team of 22 people.

For special tasks, the platoon can be expanded to include a squad, a squadron or a group. H. A train comprises a maximum of 31 people (so-called extended train).

group 1/8/ 9 bis 2/10/ 12 Standard size corresponds to a squad and a squadron.

Maximum size corresponds to two seasons.

Season 1/5/ 6 Standard size equals two squads.
Squad 3/ 3 or 1/2/ 3

A mixture of specialist service tasks in one unit is also common, for example the operational unit is comparable to a train in terms of strength, but consists of units of the medical and care services. For supraregional assistance, it is usually provided that the locally established units are combined as an association under uniform management; depending on the organization and federal state, such units already exist or are put together on an ad hoc basis (see also Medical Task Force ).

Until 2007, the German Red Cross had the only supra-regional civil protection and disaster control unit in Germany with the DRK relief train. This last consisted of nine departments at different locations in Germany. Each department had a target strength of 104 helpers (plus additional helpers at some locations) and thus had the staffing of around three trains. The DRK relief train was, contrary to its name, a large association (Association III) in terms of its size .

Further units are kept available for use, which are usually not structured tactically, for example the district information office or special units with a different structure such as the rescue dog squadron. The local branches of the aid organizations usually have the character of an association and are called "local association" or "readiness", but do not represent tactical units per se in the above sense.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Dictionary for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, Standing Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Civil Protection, 2nd revised edition, January 2006.
  2. ^ H. Schläfer: The tactical scheme. 4th edition, Kohlhammer-Verlag, Stuttgart 1982, ISBN 3-17-012101-4 .
  3. a b c d e f g h i j Fire Brigade Service Regulations 3 units in fire fighting and rescue operations, Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid, 2008
  4. a b c Fire Brigade Regulations 2 Training for Voluntary Fire Brigades, Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, 2003
  5. Firefighters Duden
  6. Fire Department Dortmund, "C-Dienst concept"  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed December 3, 2012@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / dev.feuerwehr.dortmund.de  
  7. LFV Niedersachsen: Explanations for the introduction of the new FwDV 3 ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 60 kB), LFV Niedersachsen 2007
  8. Fire Brigade Service Regulation 5, The Train in Extinguishing Operations, Committee on Fire Brigade Matters, Disaster Management and Civil Defense (AFKzV)
  9. Karlsruhe professional fire brigade: Alarm and release regulations accessed on February 18, 2019.
  10. Strength and equipment certificates (STAN) for the units and facilities of the disaster control (KatS) ( Memento from 7 July 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Law for the Reorganization of Civil Protection (ZSNeuOG) , on gesetze-im-internet.de.
  12. Rescue service training, further education and training / Rescue service management training / Association leader. DRK Landesschule Nordrhein, April 1, 2020, accessed on April 21, 2020 .
  13. Hessian Ministry of the Interior and for Sport: KatSDV 400 HE - The medical train in disaster control in Hesse. In: www.innen.hessen.de. Hessian Ministry of the Interior and for Sport, April 1, 2012, accessed on August 15, 2019 .

Web links

Commons : Tactical signs  - collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Fire brigade regulation 3 units in fire fighting and rescue operations, Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, 2008
  • Fire brigade regulation 2 Training of volunteer fire brigades, Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, 2003