Armed forces

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A part of the armed forces (abbreviated TSK; English military branch or armed service ) is intended as part of the armed forces for combat operations in mainly one dimension / sphere:

The species-specific defense material (the weapon systems and equipment) as well as the specific structure, training and supply correspond to the chosen dimension / sphere. The armed forces are usually led by a high command .

Historical development of the armed forces

Originally, the army or army and fleet were sufficient to describe the tools of war. It was only at the beginning of the 19th century that Carl von Clausewitz consistently used the comprehensive (armed forces) term in his main work Vom Kriege . Armed force is used as a synonymous term .

The armed forces were created in the course of the mass introduction and use of modern armament and technical combat equipment, which were continuously developed due to the scientific and technical progress in the military.

The original army has traditionally transformed itself as the oldest - and in most countries - also to the largest sub-armed force, land forces (army). The same applies to the fleet, which was formed into the Naval Forces / (War) Navy.

The air force (Luftwaffe) emerged as a branch of the armed forces only at the beginning of the 20th century with the advent of aviation .

The majority of states follow the classic subdivision from the time after the First World War and list the following three armed forces: the land forces / the army , the air forces / air force, the naval forces / navy . Individual countries do not have the navy due to a lack of sea access, while other countries list other armed forces.

Characteristic features of the armed forces

The armed forces are divided into military branches or branches of arms , aviation branches, special troops and service areas as well as their units.

Both general and armed forces-specific methods of combat use of technical (combat) resources on a tactical, operational and strategic scale are characteristic. You have a genre-specific operational art (English Military art; ) and tactics. You are able to carry out the operations in battles of combined forces independently or together with the troops (forces) of other branches of the armed forces .

Names for branches of the armed forces

The following armed forces can be found in most armed forces:

In other states, for example, paramilitary or military police ( gendarmerie ) or medical ( paramedic ) units as well as the coast guard are organized as separate armed forces; in the case of nuclear powers, often also the nuclear forces . For example:

Armed Forces of the Bundeswehr

The three branches of the armed forces are (in order of their number of personnel) the army , the air force and the navy .

In the course of the Bundeswehr reform , further independent military organizational areas were created in Germany in 2000 : the Armed Forces Base (SKB) and the Central Medical Service (ZSanDst), followed by the Cyber ​​and Information Room (CIR) in 2017 .

These three cross-sectional organizational areas do not have their own uniforms; instead, the uniform of the armed forces from which the respective unit or soldier originally came is worn . Since these soldiers are not Army, Air Force or Marine soldiers, the name Uniform Bearer Army / Air Force / Navy was newly created.

In terms of career law, some of the soldiers will continue to be determined by the armed forces assigned to them. For example, those wearing army uniforms of the SKB receive their non-specialist officer training at the Army Officer School . The Air Force NCO School only calls Air Force soldiers and Air Force uniform wearers from the organizational areas to courses.


  • Dietmar Klos, Heiner Möllers , Dieter Stockfisch : The military services . In: Ina Wiesner (Ed.): German Defense Politics (= publications of the Bundeswehr Academy for Information and Communication . Vol. 30). Nomos, Baden-Baden 2013, ISBN 978-3-8487-0824-6 , pp. 127-162.

Web link

Wiktionary: armed forces  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. See Dimension - Extension, Size. (Borrowed before the 16th century, from the Latin dīmēnsiō ). In: Friedrich Kluge: Etymological dictionary. 23rd, extended edition, Berlin / New York 1999, p. 181.
  2. See Sphere - Space, Area. (Borrowed before the 11th century from Middle Latin sphera , this from Greek sphaĩra ) In: Friedrich Kluge: Etymological dictionary. 23rd, extended edition, Berlin / New York 1999, p. 778.
  3. See sphere - sphere of activity, sphere of influence. In: Duden. The German spelling. 24th, completely revised and expanded edition, Volume 1, Mannheim 2006, ISBN 978-3-411-04014-8 , p. 952.
  4. ^ Carl von Clausewitz: From the war. Left work by General Carl von Clausewitz. Verlag des MfNV, Berlin 1957, pp. 23 to 799.
  5. Army service regulation HDv 100/200 of the Bundeswehr.
  6. See parts of the armed forces. In: Collective of the Military Academy of the National People's Army "Friedrich Engels" (Ed.): German Military Lexicon. Berlin 1961, p. 397.
  7. See armed forces in the Bundeswehr. Manfred G. Schmidt: Dictionary of politics. 3rd, revised and updated edition, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-520-40403-9 , p. 135.
  8. See armed forces. In: Author collective of the military academy "Friedrich Engels" of the National People's Army a. a. (Ed.): Military Lexicon. 2nd edition, Berlin 1973, p. 363.
  9. See military force (Russian Вид Вооружённых сил). In: Military Encyclopedic Dictionary. (Russian Военный Энциклопедический Словарь [Wojenny Enziklopeditscheskij Slowar]). Moscow 1986, p. 129.
  10. See armed forces in the Bundeswehr. In: Manfred G. Schmidt: Dictionary of politics. 3rd, revised and updated edition, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-520-40403-9 , pp. 135 ff.
  11. ^ Government declaration by the Defense Minister The new Bundeswehr - on the right track , 97th session of the Bundestag 15th period on March 11, 2004, Item 3 (PDF; 1.5 MB).