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Glossary of German Terms

 

Abschuss

"shootdown" -- an air victory

Abwurfbehaelter

cluster bomb

Adjutant

aide-de-camp; a position of responsibility rather than one of rank.

Alarmstart

scramble

Ami

slang for American

Aufklaerung

reconnaissance

Auftrag

mission; orders

Bereitschaft

readiness

Blitz

lightning

Blitzkrieg

"lightning war" --the mobile form of warfare practiced by the Wehrmacht between 1939 and 1941; featured close cooperation betwen armored and air forces.

Chef des Generalstabes der Luftwaffe

Chief of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe

dicke Autos

"fat cars" --enemy heavy bombers

Einsatz

operation; mission

Einsatzbereitschaft

operational readiness, state of alert.

Einsatzfreude

love of combat

Einsatz-Jagdgeschwader (EJG)

disbanded units operational

Einstazstaffel

operational Staffel (of a training unit)

Endausbildungsstaffel

operational training squadron

endgueltige Vernichtung

final destruction of an already-culled aircraft

Ergaenzungsgruppe (ErgGr)

advanced training group (ErgSt)

Ergaenzungsstaffel (ErgSt)

advanced training squadron

Erprobung

test

Erprobungsgruppe (EprGr)

operational test group

Erprobungsstaffel (EprSt)

operational test squadron

Erprobungsstelle

test center; the Luftwaffe's primary aircraft test center was at Rechlin.

Experte

a fighter pilot proficient in aerial combat; the Allied "ace"

Flak

Flieger-Abwehr-Kanone; anti-aircraft canon

Fliegerdivision (FD)

air division -- a higher command containing several types of flying units

Fliegerfuehrer (Flifue)

aircraft command/control unit or its commander. In the case of isolated theaters, the theater air commander.

Fliegerkorps (FK)

air corps -- a higher command containing several Fliegerdivisionen

Fliegerei

flying

Flug

flight, n.

Flugkapitaen

title of experience civilian test pilots.

Flugzeug

aircraft

Flugzeugbau

aircraft factory

Flugzeugfuehrer

pilot

freie Jagd

"free hunt" --a fighter sweep without ground control

Freiherr

baron

Fuehrungstafel

leader's squadron

Fuehrungsverband

lead formation

FuG

prefix (abbreviation of "Funk-Geraet") denoting radio or electronic equipment.

Gefecht

battle, combat

Gefechtsbericht

combat report

Gefechtsreihe

battle row line-astern formation

Gefechtsstand

combat post; position; base

General der Jagdflieger (GdJ)

General of the Fighter Arm; a staff position in the RLM. Werner Moelders and Adolf Galland were the most prominent holders of the position.

Generalluftzeugmeister

General in charge of aviation production

Geschwader

wing (pl.Geschwader) --the largest mobile homogeneous Luftwaffe flying unit.

Geschwaderkommodore

wing commodore --usually a Major, Oberstleutnant, or Oberst in rank.

GM 1

nitrous oxide (laughing gas), used to boost engine power at high altitudes.

Gruppe (Gr)

group (pl. Gruppen) --the basic Luftwaffe combat and administrative unit.

Gruppenkommandeur

group commander --usually a Hauptmann, Major, or Oberstleutnant in rank.

Heer

Army

Herausschuss

"shoot-out" (cull) --to damage a bomber sufficiently to seperate it from its formation.

Himmelfahrtskommando

"mission to heaven" --a suicide mission

Holzauge

"wooden eye" --the last airplane in a formation; "tailend charlie"

Horrido

hunters' or pilots' cry of victory. St. Horridus was the patron saint of hunters and fighter pilots.

Indianer

"indians" --enemy fighters

jabo-rei

extended-range fighter bomber (from jagdbomber mit vergroesserter Reichweite)

Jabostaffel

fighter-bomber squadron

Jaeger

originally, a hunter, now also a fighter pilot

Jaegerschreck

"fear of fighters" --a derogatory term coined in Goering's headquarters.

Jagdbomber (Jabo)

fighter-bomber

Jagddivision (JD)

fighter division; could command one or more Jafue or Jagdgeschwader.

Jagdflieger

fighter pilot(s)

Jagdfliegerfuehrer (Jafue)

fighter command/control unit or its commander. The Jafue originated as administrative units but evolved into operational control units during the war.

Jagdgeschwader (JG)

fighter wing, commanding three or four Gruppen.

Jagdgruppe (JGr)

fighter group; containing three or four Staffeln.

Jagdkorps (JK)

fighter corps; commanded one or more Jagddivision.

Jagdschutz

"fighter protection" --generally, a patrol of a section of front, rather than an escort mission.

Jagdstaffel

fighter squadron; originally containing twelve aircraft (three Schwaerme). Its authorized strength was increased to sixteen aircraft in 1943.

Jagdverband (JV)

fighter unit. The term was only used for JV44, the Gruppe of jet fighters commanded by General Adolf Galland in 1945.

Jagdwaffe

fighter arm or fighter force.

Jasta

jagdstaffel; fighter squadron (WWI)

Kampfgeschwader (KG)

bomber wing

Kampfgruppe(KGr)

bomber group

Kampfgruppe-Jaeger (KGj)

bomber group converted to fighters

Kanalfront

the (English) Channel front.

Kanalgeschwader

the Geschwader serving on the English Channel (JG 2 and JG 26).

Kanaljaeger

fighter pilot(s) based near the Channel.

Kapitaen

"capitan" --a Staffel command position rather than a rank.

Katschmarek

a slang term for a wingman--originally a derogatory term for a dim-witted infantry recruit.

Kette

flight of three aircraft.

Kommandeur

"commander" --a Gruppe command position rather than a rank.

Kommandogeraet

control device for BMW 801D engine

Kommodore

"commodore" --a Geschwader command position rather than a rank.

Lehrgeschwader

operational training wing

Luftgau

a Luftwaffe command unit that contained several Fliegerkorps

Luftflotte (LF)

"air fleet" --corresponded to a numbered American Air Force unit.

Luftwaffe

"airforce" --refers to the German Air Force.

Luftwaffenkommando (Lkdo)

air command--a small or downgraded Luftflotte.

Luftzeugenbericht

air witness report; confirms kill by another pilot.

Nachtjagdgeschwader (NJG)

night fighter wing.

Nachtjagdgruppe (NJGr)

night fighter group

Nachtjagdkommando

night fighter detachment.

Nachwuchs

"new growth" --a late-war replacement pilot.

Nahaufklaerungsgeschwader (NAG)

close reconnaissance wing

Nahaufklaerungsgruppe(NAGr)

close reconnaissance group

Nahkampf

close support

Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe

Commander in Chief of the Air Force; Hermann Goering.

Oberkommando des Heer (Ob.d.H.)

High Command of the Army

Oberkommando des Luftwaffe (Ob.d.L.)

High Command of the Air Force

Oberkommando des Marine (Ob.d.M.)

High Command of the Navy

Oberwerkmeister

line chief.

Pak

Panzer-Abwehr-Kanone; anti-tank canon

Panzer

tank (vehicle) or armor

Panzerbeikaempfungsstaffel

Antitank squadron

Panzerblitz

Antitank air-to-ground rocket.

Pulk

combat box--an American heavy bomber formation.

Reich

"empire" --Hitler's Germany was the Third Reich.

Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM)

German Air Ministry; Goering's headquarters, it controlled all aspects of German aviation.

Reichsverteidigung (RVT)

organization responsible for the air defense of Germany; home defense

Reichweite

range

Revi

reflecting gunsight (Reflexvisier)

Ritterkreuz

Knight's Cross (military decoration)

Rotte

tactical element of two aircraft.

Rottenflieger

wingman; the second man in a Rotte.

Rottenfuehrer

leader of an element of two aircraft.

Schlacht

ground attack (literally "slaughter")

Schlachtflieger

ground attack pilot(s)

Schlachtgeschwader (SG)

ground attack wing

Schlageter

JG 26's honor title; commemorated Albert Leo Schlageter a local national hero in the Rheinland. A WWI artillery officer, joined the Freikorps after the war, fought in Lithuania to expell the Bolsheviks, fought against the Poles after that, shot by the French for blowing up a section of railroad track to prevent a trainload of coal from the Rhineland being sent to France as part of the French reparation demands. JG26 took part in the occupation of the Rhineland as JG 132 before it was renumbered and was warmly greeted by the German people there. To repay their hospitality the squadron asked for the name "Schlageter" as their honor title.

Schnelleskampfgeschwader (SKG)

fast bomber wing (contained Bf110, Bf109, and/or Fw190 fighter-bombers).

Schwarm

flight of four aircraft (pl. Schwaerme); all German fighter formations were made up of units of Schwaerme.

Schwarmfuehrer

flight leader.

Schutzstaffel (SS)

"protective squad" --originally Hitler's bodyguard, the SS grew into any army of 600,000 men (the Waffen-SS), totally independent of the Wehrmacht.

Sitzkrieg

"sitting war" --the "phony war" in western Europe between September 1939 and April 1940.

Stab

staff

Stabsschwarm

staff flight.

Staffel (St)

squadron (pl. Staffeln).

Staffelfuehrer

squadron leader (temporary or probationary).

Staffelkapitaen

squadron leader --usually a Leutnant, Oberleutnant, or Hauptmann.

Storch

"Stork" (Fieseler Fi156 observation aircraft)

Stuka

dive bomber; in German often, and in English always, used to denote Junkers Ju87 aircraft (Sturzkampf)

Stukageschwader (StG)

dive-bomber wing pimarily made up of Ju87s

Sturmabteilung (SA)

storm troopers--Hitler's private military force; downgraded (violently) after Hitler became president of Germany in 1934.

Technischer Offizier

technical officer; a position of repsonsibility rather than one of rank.

Transportgeschwader

transport wing; cargo and troops

Tommy

German slang for Englishman.

Valhalla

a large formation of aircraft.

Wehrmacht

armed forces --refers to the German Armed Forces.

Weihe

"Kite" (Focke-Wulf Fw58 liaison aircraft)

Werk-Nummer (W.-Nr.)

serial-number

Zerstoerer

"destroyer" (heavy fighter)--Bf110 or Me410 twin-engined fighter.

Zerstoerergeschwader (ZG)

heavy fighter wing.

Zerstoerergruppe (ZGr)

heavy fighter group

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