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German World War II Tank Glossary

Guide to German WW II Tank Abbreviations & Terminology

Abteilung
Abt.
Battalion. A formation containing a number of companies.
Ausfuhrung
Ausf.
Variant of model of a vehicle. For example, the Tiger 1 tank is officially known as the Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E and the King Tiger that follows it is known as the Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B.
Balkenkreuz
-
The cross painted on German vehicles during World War II. Usually black with white outline.
Bergepanzer
Tank recovery vehicle.
Blitzkrieg
-
Lightning war. The method of mobile warfare used by the German armed forces at the beginning of the second World War.
Brigade
-
Brigade. A formation containing two or more regiments.
Division
-
Division. A formation containing two or more regiments.
Flieger Abwehr Kanone
FLAK
Anti-aircraft gun.
Flakpanzer
-
Anti-aircraft tank.
Grenadier
-
German term for infantry or rifleman.
Gross Deutschland
GD
Greater Germany. The name of an elite German army panzergrenadier division.
Heer
-
The German Army in World War II.
Hitlerjugend
-
Hitler Youth. The SS Panzer Division of this name consisted mainly of Hitler Youth.
Jagd-
-
German meaning hunting. A jgdpanzer was a tank hunter or tank destroyer.
Kampfgruppe
-
Battle group. A task force formed specifically to carry out a mission named after their commander. For example Kampfgruppen Peiper for the Ardennes offensive..
Kompanie
-
Company. A formation containing a number of platoons.
Korps
-
A formation containing a number of divisions.
L/xx
-
The Germans during World War II expressed the length of a gun as a multiple of its Calibre. Calibre is the internal diamension of the gun. For example, 50mm L/60 means the length of the gun was 60 x 50mm=3 metres.
Panzer Abwehr Kanone
PAK
Anti-tank gun.
Panzer Abteilung
Pz.Abt.
Tank battalion.
Panzerbefehlswagen
Pz.Bef.Wg.
Command tank.
Panzerfaust
-
Tank Fist. A German single shot, anti-tank grenade projector weapon.
Panzergrenadiers
-
Mechanised or motorised infantry.
Panzerjager
-
Tank hunter or tank destroyer.
Panzerkampfwagen
PzKpfw
Battle tank.
Panzerkeil
-
The wedge formation in which tank attached.
Panzerkorps
-
A formation containing at least two panzer divisions.
Panzer Lehr
-
A tank training or demonstration division.
Panzerschreck
-
Tank Terror. The German version of the American Bazooka anti-tank weapon. It is larger, more powerful and fired an 88mm hollow charge projectile.
Panzerspahwagen
-
Armoured reconnaissance vehicles.
Panzertruppen
-
Armoured troops.
Regiment
-
A formation containing a number of battalions.
Schurzen
-
Side skirts added to tanks to protect their tracks.
Schwere Panzer Abteilung
s.Pz.Abt.
Heavy tank battalion containing Tiger tanks.
Schutzstaffel
SS
Defence squadron. The Nazi Party's para-military elite led by Himmler.
Sonderkraftfahrzeug
SdKfz
Special motor vehicle. Every German Army vihicle has its own designated number. For example, the Panther was SdKfz 171.
Sturmeschutz
StuG
Assault gun. Self-propelled artillery originally designed for direct fire support for infantry but also used in an anti-tank role.
Totenkopf
-
Death's Head. A division of the Waffen-SS. Waffen mean weapons or armed. Waffen SS is the military arm of the SS.
Wehrmacht
-
The German armed forces in World War II including Heer (Army), Luftwaffe (Air Force) and Kriegsmarine (Navy).


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