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German Luftlandebrigade 1 ~ 60th Anniversary

During the air assault operation demonstration paratroopers of Fallschirmjäger regiment 26 are inserted by a NH90 transport helicopter [© Carl Schulze]

Today the Luftlandebrigade 1 ‘Saarland’ is Germany’s only remaining airborne brigade and falls under command of the Division Schnelle Kräfte, or Rapid Forces Division, writes Carl Schulze.

 

Luftlandebrigade 1 was officially formed under the Heer 2011 army restructuring on 1st of April, 2015. As part of this reorganisation the Saarlouis-based Luftlandebrigade 26 and Seedorf-based Luftlandebrigade 31 airborne brigades existing at that time were transformed into airborne regiments. These regiments then were placed under command of the headquarters of the newly established Luftlandebrigade 1, with the headquarters of this new brigade being formed out of the headquarters of the former Luftlandebrigade 26 and remaining based in Saarlouis.

 

Fallschirmjäger regiment 26 recruits swear their oath to the German nation, declaring they will courageously defend its people’s rights and freedom [© Carl Schulze]

Capability Demo and Equipment Display

 

Standing in the lineage of its two predecessors Luftlandebrigade 1 can trace its history back to 1958 when Luftlandebrigade 26 was formed as first airborne brigade of the young Bundeswehr. On 18th of August 2018 the Luftlandebrigade 1 celebrated this 60th Anniversary with a public parade held in Saarlouis, including a group of new recruits swearing their oath.

 

Different versions of the Wiesel 1 were used during the demonstrations – here an Aufklärungs fahrzeug Wiesel 1 recce vehicle and Wiesel 1A2 TOW armament carrier [© Carl Schulze]

Also part of the celebrations were capability demonstrations, stands with weapons, vehicles and equipment displays and parachuting displays. In one of the demonstrations Fallschirmjäger mit Erweiterter Grundbefähigung (EGB) Special Operations Capable trained paratroopers showed their close combat skills embedded into a raid against an irregular forces weapon storage site. In another demonstration Fallschirmjäger, supported by helicopters of the Germany Army and the German Air Force, assaulted an airfield in order to neutralise an enemy communication centre.

 

The celebrations were honoured by high ranking military personnel and politicians, including the Chief of Defence General Eberhard Zorn, the Chief of the German Army Generalleutnant Jörg Vollmer, the Prime Minister of the Saarland Tobias Hans and the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier.

 

Today’s Luftlandebrigade 1

After a free-fall parachute jump this paratrooper descends to the drop zone with a German flag showing the insignia of Luftlandebrigade 1 [© Carl Schulze]

Numbering some 4,500 troops and led by Brigadegeneral Dirk Faust Luftlandebrigade 1 today consists of the following units:

  • Stabs- und Fernmelde kompanie Luftlandebrigade 1 ~ the Headquarters and Signals Company based at the Graf-Werder-Kaserne in Saarlouis
  • Fallschirmjäger regiment 26 ~ an airborne regiment based at the Niederauerbach Kaserne in Zweibrücken with elements based at the Kaserne ‘Auf der Ell’ in Merzig
  • Fallschirmjäger regiment 31 ~ an airborne regiment based at the Fallschirmjäger Kaserne in Seedorf with elements based at the Henning von Tresckow Kaserne in Oldenburg
  • Luftlandepionier kompanie 260 ~ an airborne engineer company based at the Graf-Werder-Kaserne in Saarlouis
  • Luftlandepionier kompanie 270 ~ an airborne engineer company based at the Fallschirmjäger Kaserne in Seedorf
  • Luftlande aufklärungs kompanie 260 ~ an airborne reconnaissance company based at the Graf-Haeseler-Kaserne in Lebach
  • Luftlande aufklärungs kompanie 310 ~ an airborne reconnaissance company based at the, Fallschirmjäger Kaserne in Seedorf

 

Missions

Fallschirmjäger EGB are inserted on the roof of their objective from an H145M LUH SOF Light Utility Helicopter Special Operations Forces of the Luftwaffe [© Carl Schulze]

Luftlandebrigade 1 is a key asset in the national crisis response strategy of Germany. As such, the brigade maintains elements at high readiness that can deploy at short notice. In fact the brigade can be deployed much faster than all other brigades of the German Army.

 

The main mission of the brigade is to plan, prepare and execute specialised operations, including Non-combatant Evacuation Operations, Forcible Early Entry Operations or Operations Against Irregular Forces. As part of its mission, the brigade is capable to conduct two operations simultaneously at different locations far apart.

 

During a capability demonstration Fallschirmjäger mit erweiterter Grundbefähigung (EGB) breach a window in order to arrest a High Value Target [© Carl Schulze]

In addition, the sub-units of the brigade that consist of Fallschirmjäger mit Erweiterter Grundbefähigung (EGB) Special Operations Capable trained paratroopers are tasked to provide support to a Special Operations Task Force spearheaded by the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) Special Force of the German Army.

 

In addition the brigade serves as operational reserve of the German Army and can be employed to conduct operations within the full military mission spectrum, ranging from Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operations to high intensity warfighting as part of the defence of Germany or an NATO Article 5 Collective Defence scenario

 

Current Deployments

New equipment including the 7.62 mm MG5 machine gun was showcased during the demonstrations forming part of the celebrations [© Carl Schulze]

As of 2018 the Division Schnelle Kräfte serves as lead formation for the international deployments of the German Army. Therefore well over 500 paratroopers of the Luftlandebrigade 1 are currently deployed with the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), European Union Training Mission Mali (EUTM Mali), the Operation Counter Daesh/Capacity Building Iraq and the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan.

{ images © Carl Schulze }

The headquarters and support companies include an airborne military service dog platoon – here a dog handler team of Fallschirmjäger regiment 26 can be seen performing room clearance [© Carl Schulze]

A hand-to-hand combat demonstration was only one of the highlights of the 60th anniversary celebrations of Luftlandebrigade 1 [© Carl Schulze]

As part of a capability demonstration Fallschirmjäger conducted a heliborne air assault operation – as part of the demo the enemy launched a counter-attack which was beaten off [© Carl Schulze]

 

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