Rapid Forces Division

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Rapid Forces Division
Division Schnelle Kräfte
Division Schnelle Kräfte (Bundeswehr).svg
Division Schnelle Kräfte Shoulder Insignia
  • 1956–1994, 1994–2001
  • 2001–present (DSK since 1 January 2014)
TypeAir assault, Special Operations
RoleAirborne warfare
  • 9,100 German
  • 4,500 Dutch
Part ofGerman Army
Motto(s)Ready for action, at any time, worldwide!
Einsatzbereit, jederzeit, weltweit!
AnniversariesApril 1, 2001
EngagementsSomalian Civil War
Bosnian Civil War
Albanian Civil War
Kosovo War
Afghanistan War
Congolese Civil War
Major General Andreas Marlow
Lieutenant General Hans-Otto Budde
Lieutenant General Jörg Vollmer

The Division Schnelle Kräfte (Rapid Forces Division) formerly Division Spezielle Operationen (Special Operations Division) is an airborne division of the German Army. Its headquarters staff is based at Stadtallendorf, it was created as 1st Airborne Division (1. Luftlandedivision) in 1956 and reflagged twice in 1994 and 2001 as Airmobile Forces Command/4th Division (Kommando Luftbewegliche Kräfte/4. Division), Special Operations Division and eventually Rapid Forces Division. The division leads three combat brigades and special forces troops, all of which are fully air-mobile. In June 2014, the Dutch 11 Airmobile Brigade was fully integrated into the division as part of the binational military cooperation between Germany and the Netherlands and in 2017 the Romanian 81st Mechanized Brigade followed suit.[1]

Troops of this division or its respective predecessors have taken part in all overseas deployments of the German Army and were largely involved in their preparation, it is the most combat-proven unit of the German military.[citation needed]


Created in 1956, 1st Airborne Division's main tasks were to act as the backbone of counterattacks behind the enemy lines of the Warsaw Pact and to respond to hostile breaks through allied front lines; the very first commanders of this unit were illustrious paratrooper generals such as Bern von Baer and Hans Kroh, both recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The 1st Airborne Division existed throughout the Cold War and was disbanded in 1994; the capability for air-transportable forces was eventually replaced by Airmobile Forces Command/4th Division, a division-sized formation the duties of which shifted to more complex scenarios of current days.

This happened mainly because of two incidents in 1994 and 1997 where German citizens had to be rescued from Rwanda and Albania, once even by foreign troops as the German military lacked of adequate forces to carry out evacuation operations on their own. One of the three existing brigades (Airborne Brigade 25 "Black Forest") was drawn on to provide the headquarters for the German Army's new special forces unit, the Kommando Spezialkräfte.

The first overseas deployment of this division took place in 1961 when its troops rendered humanitarian assistance to Morocco after a devastating earthquake. From there on 1st Airborne Division or its successors deployed troops to Somalia, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Congo; the paratroopers saw extensive action in Afghanistan. With four of the nation's highest awards for gallantry—among others—having been awarded to its members, the division's Paratrooper Battalion 263 is the most decorated unit of the German Army.

Following the restructuring of the German armed forces, the Special Operations Division was transferred into the new Rapid Forces Division (German: Division Schnelle Kräfte).

In June 2014 the 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade (11th Airmobile Brigade) of the Royal Netherlands Army joined the division; the Dutch forces will remain stationed in the Netherlands but will cooperate in training and exercises of their German counterparts.[2][3][4]


Rapid Forces Division is located in Germany
Division Schnelle Kräfte
Division Schnelle Kräfte
1 Airborne Bde
1 Airborne Bde
11 Airborne Bde
11 Airborne Bde
10 Transport Helicopter Rgt
10 Transport Helicopter Rgt
30 Transport Helicopter Rgt
30 Transport Helicopter Rgt
36 Attack Helicopter Rgt
36 Attack Helicopter Rgt
26 Parachute Infantry Rgt
26 Parachute Infantry Rgt
31 Parachute Infantry Rgt
31 Parachute Infantry Rgt
13 Air Assault Bn
13 Air Assault Bn
Locations of the division's units
(including the two regiments of the 1st Airborne Brigade)
  • Division Schnelle Kräfte (Bundeswehr).svg Division Schnelle Kräfte in Stadtallendorf
    • StKp DSO.png Staff and Signal Company Division Schnelle Kräfte in Stadtallendorf
    • THRgt 10.jpg 10th Transport Helicopter Regiment (Transporthubschrauberregiment 10) in Faßberg with 40x NH90 transport helicopters
    • THRgt 30.jpg 30th Transport Helicopter Regiment (Transporthubschrauberregiment 30) in Niederstetten with 40x NH90 transport helicopters
    • KHRgt 36.jpg 36h Attack Helicopter Regiment Kampfhubschrauberregiment 36) in Fritzlar with 40x Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters
    • COA KSK.svg Special Forces Command (Kommando Spezialkräfte) (KSK) in Calw
    • miniatur 1st Airborne Brigade (Luftlandebrigade 1) in Saarlouis
      • COA StKp LLBrig 26.svg Staff and Signal Company 26th Airborne Brigade in Saarlouis
      • FschJgRgt 26.jpg 26th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Fallschirmjägerregiment 26) in Zweibrücken
      • FschJgRgt 31.jpg 31st Parachute Infantry Regiment (Fallschirmjägerregiment 31) in Seedorf
      • COA LLAufklKp 310.svg 310th Airborne Reconnaissance Company (Luftlandeaufklärungskompanie 310) in Seedorf
      • LLAufklKp 260.jpg 260th Airborne Reconnaissance Company (Luftlandeaufklärungskompanie 260) in Lebach
      • COA LLPiKp 270.svg 270th Airborne Engineer Company (Luftlandepionierkompanie 270) in Seedorf
      • COA LLPiKp 260.svg 260th Airborne Engineer Company (Luftlandepionierkompanie 260) in Saarlouis
    • Embleem 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade.svg 11th Airmobile Brigade (11 Luchtmobiele Brigade) in Schaarsbergen, Netherlands


  1. ^ "Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic deepen defence ties". NATO. NATO. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Division Schnelle Kräfte" (in German). German Army. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  3. ^ "11 Luchtmobiele Brigade" (in Dutch). Dutch Army. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Starkes Zeichen für gemeinsame Verantwortung in Europa" [A strong Sign for joint Responsibility in Europe] (in German). Federal Ministry of Defence. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°00′24.66″N 12°07′22.07″E / 49.0068500°N 12.1227972°E / 49.0068500; 12.1227972