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Overview

This page is devoted to terms used by the German military.

Terms

Below is a table of terms and their meanings. Note that the periods (.) in the Short section of table are regularly omitted from documents.

Full Short English
Equivalent
Meaning
Abteilung Abt. Battalion Battalion with less than 5 companies or a unit.
Abwehr Defense
Aktiengesellschaft A.G. Public Limited Company
Allgemeines Heeresamt A.H.A. General Army Department
alter Art a.A. Old model
A.H.M. General Army Bulletin
Anhänger Ah. Trailer
Artillerie Artillery
Artillerie-Kommandeur Arko. Artillery Command
Aufbau Superstructure Superstructure, or superstructure and turret (what sits on the chassis).
Aufklärer Aufkl. Recon
Aufkärungspanzer Aufkl.Pz. Recon Tank
Ausbildung Training
Ausführung Ausf. Model / Variant Used to denote different versions of series production vehicles, generally Ausf. A through H, then J through N. I is missed because it could be confused with a roman numeral.
Ausland Export / Foreign Used to denote equipment intended for export, or for interior departments that focus on foreign affairs.
Befehl Bf. Command
Befehlspanzer Bf.Pz. Command Tank
Begleitwagen B.W. Support Vehicle Code-name for the Panzerkampfwagen IV.
Behälter B. Container
Belastungsgewicht 'Aufbau' Test Weight Test weight for the 'Aufbau' (superstructure or superstructure with turret).
Beobachtungspanzer Beob.Pz. Observation Tank
Beobachtungswagen Beob.W. Observation Vehicle
Betongranate Heavy concrete-penetrating shell.
Betriebstoff Fuel
Brand Br. Fire / Incendiary Used to describe cartridges. A Br.Spgr. is an HEI shell.
Brücken Bridges
Bugpanzer Superstructure Superstructure of a vehicle.
Buntfarbenanstrich ? Three tone colourful camouflage paint scheme used during late interwar period.
Eisstollen Ice Cleats
Entwicklung Development
Entwicklungfahrzeug Development Vehicle
Erkundung Erk. Scouting
Erprobungs Experimental / Test
Ersatz Replacement
Fahrer Driver
Fahrersehklappe Driver's Visor
Fahrgestell Fgst. Chassis
Fahrgestell Nummer Fgst.Nr. Chassis Number
Fahrschule Driving School
Fahrschulepanzer Driving School Tank
Fahrzeug / Fahrzeuge Fz. Vehicle
Fallschirmjäger Paratrooper
Feld Field
Feldhaubitze F.H. Field Howitzer
Feldkochherd Field Kitchen
Fernsprech Telephone
Flamme Fl. Flame
Flammenwerfer Fl.W. Flamethrower
Flammpanzer Flamethrowing Tank
Flammvernichter Flame suppressing
Fliegervisier Fl.V.
Flugabwehr Fl.a. Anti-Air
Flugabwehrkanone Fla.K. Anti-Aircraft Cannon
Früh / Frühem Early
Funk Fu. Radio
Funksprechgerät Fu.Spr.Ger Radio set
Gebirgsjäger Mountaineer
Gefangene Prisoners
Gefect / Gefects Combat
Gefectsaufklärer Combat Recon
Gehäuse Armour Body The armour body of a tank.
Gepanzerte or
Gepanzerter
Gp. or
Gep.
Armoured
Gerät Ger. Device / Equipment
Geschütz G. Gun
Geschützwagen G.W. Gun Vehicle Unarmoured weapons carrier.
Geschwader G. Air Wing
Geschwaderkommodore Wing Commodore Title of the officer that commands an air wing during World War II.
Gewehr G. or Gew. Rifle Used to designate service rifles.
Gitterplatte Gi. Grid plate
Gleitschutzpickeln Chevrons on track face to reduce slipping.
Granate Gr. Grenade / Explosive
Groß / Gross gr. Great / Grand
Großtraktor gr.Tr. Great Tractor Code name for the Großtraktor tanks.
Gruppe Group
Heckpanzer Armour Cover Over Engine Compartment
Heer H. Army
Heeres Gruppe Army Group Command of several armies.
Heereswaffenamt H.Wa.A. Army Weapons Department
Heereszügamt H.Z.A. Army Vehicles Department
Holzmodell Wooden Model
Infanterie Infantry
Inspektorat 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 In. Inspectorate
Instandsetzungs Repair
Jagdgeshwader J.G. Fighter Wing
Jagdpanzer Tank Destroyer
Jäger Jgr. Hunter
Kampfpanzer K.Pz. Battle Tank Used to designate all general purpose combat vehicles post-WWII.
Kampfwagenfahrerfernrohr K.F.F. Tank Driver's Optics
Kampfwagenkanone Kw.K. Tank Cannon
Kanone K. Cannon
Kanoniere K. Gunner
Karabiner K. or Kar. Carbine
Kavallerie Cavalry
Klein / Kleiner Kl. Small / Tiny
Kleintraktor Kl.Tr. Small Tractor Code name for the two Kleintraktor.
Kompanie Company
Kompanie-Trupp Company Headquarters Section
Kopfanlage Head rest
Kraft K. Power / Force
Kraftfahrlehrkommando Powered Vehicle Regiment Code name for the first Panzer-Regiments.
Kraftfahrzeug Kfz. Motor Vehicle
Kraftwagen K.w. Motor Vehicle
Kran Crane
Kriegsmarine K.M. Battlefleet The name of the German Navy during World War II.
Kugelzielfernrohr K.Z.F. Telescopic Optic in Ball Mount
Kurz k. Short
K.St.N. Organization table.
Ladeschütze Loader
Landwirtschaftlicher Schlepper La.S. Agricultural Tractor Code name for the Panzerkampfwagen II series.
Laufwerk Suspension
Leicht / Leichte / Leichter le. Light
Lenkgetriebe Steering Unit
Luftwaffe Air Force
LVS ?
Maschinengewehr M.G. Machine Gun
Maschinenkarabiner M.Kb. Machine Karbine Used to designate automatic rifles like the MKb 42(H) which evolved into the StG 44.
Maschinenpistole M.P. Submachine Gun
Maschinensatz Electrical Generator
Mehrzweckfahrzeug Multi-Purpose Vehicle
Mitter Middle
Mittlere / Mittlerer m. Medium
Modell Model
Mörser Mrs. Mortar
Munition Ammunition
Munitions-Schlepper Ammunition Carrier
Munitionsträger Ammunition Carrier
Nahrichten Nachr. Signals Communication via signals instead of radio. Used before radio became wide-spread enough for all purposes.
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei NSDAP National Socialist German Workers' Party
Nebel Nb. Smoke Although this means smoke, nebel was used as a protective name for various weapons to lessen the Allied interest in the weapon.
Nebelkerze Nb.Kz. Smoke Candle
Nebelkerzenabwurfvorrichtung Smoke Launcher Rack
Nebelwerfer Nb.W. Smoke Thrower Used to lessen Allied interest of the weapon, Nebelwerfers were generally rocket artillery.
Nebelwurfgerät Smoke Discharger
Neubau Nb. New Design
Neubaufahrzeug Nb.Fz. New Design Vehicle Secretive name for an interwar heavy tank series (V and VI)
Neuer Artikel / Neuer Art n.A. New Model
Nord North
Nummer Nr. Number
Oberkommando O.K. High Command ..during World War II.
Oberkommando des Heeres O.K.H. German Army High Command ..during World War II.
Oberkommando des Wehrmacht O.K.W. German Armed Forces High Command ..during World War II.
Öst East
Panzer Armour Literally armour, but is used in place of tank.
Panzerabwehr P.a. Anti-Tank
Panzerabwehrkanone Pa.K. Anti-Tank Cannon
Panzerabwehrwerfer P.A.W. Anti-Tank Launcher
Panzerbefehlswagen Pz.Bfw. Armoured Command Vehicle
Panzerbeobachtungswagen Pz.Beobw. Armoured Observation vehicle
Panzergranate / Panzergranaten Pz.Gr. Armour-Piercing Shells
Panzerjäger Pz.Jgr. Tank Hunter Generally lightly armoured tank destroyers.
Panzerkampfwagen Pz.Kpfw. Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Panzermeßkraftwagen Armoured Culinary Vehicle
Panzerselbstfahrlafette Pz.Sfl Armoured Self-Propelled Gun
Panzerspähwagen Pz.Sp.Wg. Armoured Car
Panzerwagen Pz.W. Armoured Vehicle
Panzerwerfer Pz.W. Launcher on Tank
Personenkraftwagen Pkw. Automobile
Pionier Pi. Engineer
Pionierkampfwagen Pi.Kpfw. Engineering Vehicle
Pistole P. Pistol
Polizei Police
Raketenwerfer R.W. Rocket Launcher
Reflexvisier R.V. Reflex Sight
Richtschütze Gunner
Rohr R. Gun
Scheinwerfer Headlight
Schießlehrgang Gunnery Training Unit
Schulfahrzeuge Driver Training Vehicles
Schürzen Protective Skirts
Schutzstaffel S.S. Protective Echelon Major paramilitary organization under the NSDAP during the second half of the interwar period and during WWII.
Schutzenpanzerwagen S.P.W. Armoured Personnel Carrier
Schwere / Schwerer s. Heavy
Sehklappe Visor
Seimens-Martenite S.M. Electric furnace.
Selbstfahrlafettezielfernrohr Sfl.Z.F. Periscopic Gun Sight
Selbstladegewehr Self-loading Rifle
Selbstlader Self-loader
Serie / Serien Serial
S.m.K. 7.92x57mm Mauser AP bullets with steel core.
S.m.K.H. 7.92x57mm Mauser AP bullets with tungsten carbide core.
Sonder Sd. Special
Sonderausschuß Special Committee
Sonderkraftfahrzeug Sd.Kfz. Special Purpose Vehicle Special designation given to most production tanks during WWII.
Spät / Spätem Late
Sprenggranate / Sprenggranaten Spr.Gr. High Explosive Fragmentation Shells
Stab Staff
Standardpanzer Standard Tank Early concept of a main battle tank.
Steckmasten Extension rods for raising an antenna.
Sternanntenna Six-pronged aerial for long range radio.
Sturmgeschütz Stu.G. Assault Gun Self-propelled gun in armoured superstructure, generally for taking out soft targets and fortifications.
Sturmgewehr St.G. Assault Rifle
Sturmpanzer Stu.Pz. or Stu.Pa. Assault Tank Designation only used by the Sturmpanzer.
Süd South
Tankabwehrkanone T.a.K Anti-Tank Cannon Old term for an anti-tank gun used in World War I and the early interwar period. Replaced with Panzerabwehrkanone (P.a.K.).
Tarnkappe Fake Periscopic Sight Cap
Tarnlampe Blackout lamp
Tauchpanzer Diving Tank
Träger Tr. Carrier
Traktor Tractor
Tropen Tp. Tropical / Hot Climate Generally used to denote equipment that is designed for hot environments.
Turm Tower / Turret
Turmzielfernrohr T.Z.F. Turret gunsight
Umsetz Conversion
Verflegung Rations
Verstandigungsöffnung Communications port
Verstärkte Reinforced
Versuchs Vers. Experimental
Versuchsgerät Experimental Device / Weapon
Versuchskraftfahrzeug Vs.Kfz. Experimental Vehicle
Volk V. People
Volksgewehr V.G. People's Rifle Cheap weapons made for the masses as a last ditch attempt at defending Germany during WWII.
Vollketten V.K. Fully Tracked List of German VK Designations.
Waffen Weapon
Waffenamt W.A. Weapons Department
Waffen Prüfen / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / Festung Wa. Prüf. / Wa. Prw. Weapons Development Departments for developing and testing weapons. See Wa Prüf for more information.
Waffenträger W.T. Weapon Carrier
Wahlweise Optional
Werfer Thrower
Zerstörer Destroyer
Zielfernrohr Z.F. Scope
Zimmerit Anti-magnetic coating.
Zug Platoon
Zugang Z. Issued, being delivered
Zugführer Platoon Leader
Zugmaschine Towing Vehicle
Zur besonderen Verwendung z.b.V. For special assignment.
Zwischenlösung Interim solution

See Also