Original German Bundeswehr LUFTWAFFE fine navy blue wool cufftitle with machine embroidered Gothic script "HEERESUNTEROFFIZIERSCHULE III." (3RD ARMY SUB OFFICER SCHOOL) in silver/grey cotton threads, approximately 30 mm wide and 50 cm long, NICE CONDITION
HISTORY OF THE INSIGNIA:
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956. The forerunner of the Luftwaffe, the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte), was founded in 1910 with the name Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches, and changed to the name "Luftstreitkräfte" by the end of 1916, with the emergence of military aircraft, although they were intended to be used primarily for reconnaissance in support of armies on the ground, just as balloons had been used in the same fashion during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 and even as far back as the Napoleonic Wars. It was not the world's first air force, however, because France's embryonic army air service, which eventually became the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air), had been founded in 1909. Britain's Royal Flying Corps (which merged in 1918 with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the Royal Air Force) was founded in 1912. During World War I, the Imperial Army Air Service utilised a wide variety of aircraft, ranging from fighters (such as those manufactured by Albatros-Flugzeugwerke and Fokker) to reconnaissance aircraft (Aviatik and DFW) and heavy bombers (Gothaer Waggonfabrik, better known simply as Gotha, and the Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI "giant" heavy bomber). Missions were also flown in a wide range of theatres, from the Western Front to the plains of Russia and even as far away as bombing raids on British Suez Canal positions in support of the Ottoman offense in 1915. The air war on the Western Front received the most attention in the annals of military aviation, since it produced aces such as Manfred von Richthofen, popularly known as the Red Baron, Ernst Udet, Hermann Göring, Oswald Boelcke, Werner Voss, and Max Immelmann (the first airman to win the Pour le Mérite, Imperial Germany's highest decoration for gallantry, as a result of which the decoration became popularly known as the Blue Max). Like the German Navy, the German Army used Zeppelins as airships for bombing military and civilian targets in France and Belgium as well as the United Kingdom. All German and Austro-Hungarian military aircraft in service used the Iron Cross insignia until early 1918. Afterwards, the Balkenkreuz, a black Greek cross on white, was introduced. After the German defeat, the service was dissolved completely on 8 May 1920 under the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, which demanded that its airplanes be completely destroyed. Since the Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany from having an air force, German pilots trained in secret, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Initially, civil aviation schools within Germany were used, yet only light training planes could be used in order to maintain the facade that the trainees were going to fly with civil airlines such as Lufthansa. To train its pilots on the latest combat aircraft, Germany solicited the help of its future enemy, the USSR, which was also isolated in Europe. A secret training airfield was established at Lipetsk in 1924 and operated for approximately nine years using mostly Dutch and Russian, but also some German, training aircraft before being closed in 1933. This base was officially known as 4th squadron of the 40th wing of the Red Army. On 26 February 1935, Adolf Hitler ordered Hermann Göring to establish the Luftwaffe, breaking the Treaty of Versailles's ban on German military aviation. Germany violated the treaty without sanction from Britain, France, or the League of Nations, and neither they nor the league did anything to oppose this. Although the new air force was to be run totally separately from the army, it retained the tradition of according army ranks for its officers and airmen, a tradition retained today by united Germany's Luftwaffe and by many air forces throughout the world. It is worth noting, however, that before the official promulgation of Göring's new Luftwaffe in 1935, Germany had a paramilitary air force known as the Deutscher Luftsportverband (DLV: German air sports union). The DLV was headed by Ernst Udet and its insignia were taken over by the new Luftwaffe, although the DLV "ranks" had special names that made them sound more civilian than military. Dr. Fritz Todt, the engineer who founded the forced labor Organisation Todt, was appointed to the rank of Generalmajor in the Luftwaffe. He had served in an observation squadron during World War I and had been awarded the Iron Cross. He died in a plane crash in February 1942. The eagle, an old symbol of the German Empire, was used as an insignia for the Luftwaffe, but in a different posture. Since 1933, when Hitler's National Socialist Party came to power, the eagle held between his claws the symbol of the party—the swastika (an old symbol of sunrise)—which was usually enveloped by an oak wreath. Göring rejected the old heraldic eagle because he felt it was too stylized, too static, and too massive; instead he chose a younger, more natural and lighter eagle with wings spread as if in flight, as he considered this a more suitable symbol for an air force. While the Wehrmacht eagle held the symbol of the National Socialist Party firmly in its claws, the Luftwaffe eagle held the swastika with only one claw while the other was bent in a threatening gesture. The Luftwaffe attempted to incorporate all military units that had anything to do with air warfare. Given the strong Nazi origin and influence in the Luftwaffe, this was seen as a way to increase Nazi influence in the army (alongside the other project in this respect, the formation of SS divisions), as well as boosting the personal prestige of Göring. Thus the anti-aircraft (Flak) and airborne troops (Fallschirmjäger) fell under direct Luftwaffe command, and the navy (Kriegsmarine) never established its own air branch; naval aviation was executed by the Luftwaffe. Even the aircraft flown from the (never finished) aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin were to be operated by the Luftwaffe. By the middle of the war, when personnel assignments for the Luftwaffe were disproportionate to a shrinking amount of planes, the excess personnel was not transferred to the army (Heer), but instead organized into Luftwaffe Field Divisions in 1942. Their performance as ground units was so poor that command was transferred to Heer in 1943, although they retained their name. The Luftwaffe had the ideal opportunity to test its pilots, aircraft and tactics in the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939, when the Condor Legion was sent to Spain in support of the anti-Republican government revolt led by Francisco Franco. Modern machines included names which became world famous: the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bomber, Dornier Do 17 "Schnell" (fast) bomber, and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter. Since the aircraft were seconded to Franco's Nationalist air force, Luftwaffe markings were replaced to avoid giving the impression that Germany was actively supporting the revolt. Instead of the Nazi Party's swastika on the tail, the German planes used the nationalist air force aircraft markings (a Saint Andrew's cross over a white background, painted on the rudder of the aircraft and a black disc on fuselage and wings). All aircraft in the Legion were affiliated to units given a designation ending in the number 88. For example, bombers were in Kampfgruppe 88 (combat group 88, K/88); and fighters, in Jagdgruppe 88 (fighter group 88, J/88. Following the Munich crisis, Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe be expanded by five times. A grim foretaste of the systematic bombing of cities during World War II came in April 1937 when a combined force of German and Italian bombers under Spanish-Nationalist command destroyed most of the Basque city of Guernica in north-east Spain. This bombing received worldwide condemnation, and the collective memory of the horror of the bombing of civilians became more acute via a famous painting, named after the town, by Pablo Picasso. Many feared that this would be the way that future air wars would be conducted; the Italian strategist General Giulio Douhet (who had died in 1930) had formulated theories regarding what would be dubbed "strategic bombing", the idea that wars would be won by striking from the air at the heart of the industrial muscle of a warring nation, thus demoralizing the civilian population to the point where the government of that nation would be driven to sue for peace. The destruction of the town was not the aim of the mission; the targets were the roads and the Rentaria bridge. The devastation was primarily caused by the inaccuracy of bombing techniques of the day and the fact that the mass of refugees moving through the town was mis-identified as "Troop Movements". The Basque Government had previously decided to fortify the town and that there were 2000 of their troops present. The propaganda claims that it was intended a "terror attack" are demonstrably untrue as Wolfram von Richthofen "had no time for this tactic and was at first as bewildered about the town's destruction as everyone else". At the outset of the war, the Luftwaffe was one of the most modern, powerful, and experienced air forces in the world, and dominated the skies over much of continental Europe with aircraft much more advanced than their foreign counterparts. The Luftwaffe was central to the German operational methods, as the close air support provided by various medium two-engine bombers, Stuka dive bombers and an overwhelming force of tactical fighters were key to several early successes. Unlike the British and American Air Forces, the Luftwaffe never developed four-engine bombers in any significant numbers, and was thus unable to conduct an effective long-range strategic bombing campaign against either the Russians or the Western Allies. The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the most versatile and widely-produced fighter aircraft operated by the Luftwaffe and was designed when biplanes were still standard. Many versions of this aircraft were made. The engine, a liquid cooled Mercedes-Benz DB 601, initially generated up to almost 1,000 hp (750 kW). This power increased as direct fuel injection was introduced to the engine, and it was upgraded to the DB 605. This fighter had relatively short wings and was powered originally by a radial BMW 801 engine, and later by an inline Junkers Jumo (Fw 190D), and held its own against new, improved Allied aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang. The Junkers Ju 87 Stuka was a main asset for Blitzkrieg, able to place bombs with deadly accuracy. The leader of the Luftwaffe was Hermann Göring, a World War I fighter ace and former commander of Manfred von Richthofen's famous JG 1 (aka "The Flying Circus") who had joined the Nazi party in its early stages. In the second half of 1940, the Luftwaffe lost the Battle of Britain over the skies of England, the first all-air battle. Following the military failures on the Eastern Front, from 1942 onwards, the Luftwaffe went into a steady, gradual decline that saw it outnumbered and overwhelmed by the sheer number of Allied aircraft being deployed against it. Towards the end of the war, the Luftwaffe was no longer a major factor, and despite fielding advanced aircraft like the Messerschmitt Me 262, Heinkel He 162, Arado Ar 234, and Me 163 it was crippled by fuel shortages and a lack of trained pilots. There was also very little time to develop the new aircraft, and they could not be produced fast enough by the Germans. German aviation in general was severely curtailed, and military aviation was completely forbidden when the Luftwaffe was officially disbanded in August 1946 by the Allied Control Commission. This changed when West Germany joined NATO in 1955, as the Western Allies believed that Germany was needed in view of the increasing military threat posed by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. Throughout the following decades, the West German Luftwaffe (Bundesluftwaffe: federal air force) was equipped mostly with U.S.-designed aircraft manufactured locally under license. All aircraft sported—and continue to sport—the Iron Cross on the fuselage, harking back to the days of World War I, while the national flag of West Germany is displayed on the tail. Many well-known fighter pilots who had fought with the Luftwaffe in World War II joined the new post-war air force and underwent refresher training in the U.S. before returning to West Germany to upgrade on the latest U.S.-supplied hardware. These included Erich Hartmann, the highest-ever scoring ace (352 enemy aircraft destroyed), Gerhard Barkhorn (301), Günther Rall (275) and Johannes Steinhoff (176). Steinhoff, who suffered a crash in a Messerschmitt Me 262 shortly before the end of the war that resulted in lifelong scarring of his face and other parts of his body, would eventually become commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, with Rall as his immediate successor. Hartmann retired as an Oberst (colonel) in 1970 at age 48. Josef Kammhuber, mentioned above, also served in the post-war Luftwaffe, retiring in 1962 as Inspekteur der Bundesluftwaffe (chief inspector of the Federal air force). During the 1960s, the "Starfighter crisis" developed into a political issue, as many Lockheed F-104 Starfighters crashed after being modified to serve for Luftwaffe purposes — specifically for terrain, weather, and ground mechanic support issues. In Luftwaffe service, 292 of 916 Starfighters crashed, claiming the lives of 115 pilots and leading to cries that the Starfighter was fundamentally unsafe from the West German public, which referred to it as the Witwenmacher (widow-maker), fliegender Sarg (flying coffin), and Erdnagel (tent peg, literally "ground nail"). Steinhoff and his deputy Günther Rall noted that the non-German F-104s proved much safer — Spain, for example, lost none in the same period. The Americans blamed the high loss rate of the Luftwaffe F-104s on the extreme low-level and aggressive flying of German pilots rather than any faults in the aircraft. Steinhoff and Rall immediately went to America to learn to fly the Starfighter under Lockheed instruction and noted some specifics in the training (a lack of mountain and foggy-weather training), combined with handling capabilities (sharp start high G turns) of the aircraft that could cause accidents. Steinhoff and Rall changed the training regimen for the F-104 pilots, and the accident rates quickly fell to those comparable or better than other air forces. They also brought about the high level of training and professionalism seen today throughout the Luftwaffe, and the start of a strategic direction for Luftwaffe pilots to engage in tactical and combat training outside of Germany. However, the F-104 never lived down its reputation as a widow-maker and was replaced much earlier by the Luftwaffe than other national air forces. The Starfighter was replaced by the American-built McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter and the Panavia Tornado fighter-bomber; the latter was designed and produced by a cooperative of companies from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. These fighters remain in Luftwaffe service today, with upgrades to their electronics and the addition of the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile for the air defense of Germany. One of 212 Panavia Tornado IDSs delivered to the Luftwaffe. From 1965 through 1970, two surface-to-surface missile wings (Flugkörpergeschwader) fielded 16 of the Pershing I missile systems with nuclear warheads under U.S. Army custody. In 1970, the system was upgraded to Pershing IA with 72 missiles. Although not directly affected by the 1988 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Luftwaffe unilaterally agreed to the removal of the Pershing IA missiles from its inventory in 1991, and the missiles were destroyed. Beginning in June 1979, the Luftwaffe took delivery of 212 Panavia Tornado fighters. After East and West Germany were unified in October 1990, the aircraft of the NVA were taken over by the Federal Republic of Germany, and their GDR markings were replaced by the Iron Cross, the first time Soviet-built aircraft had served in a NATO air force. Most of these were taken out of service, in many cases being sold or given to the new Eastern European members of NATO, such as Poland and the Baltic states. An exception to this was the Jagdgeschwader 73 "Steinhoff" (Fighter Wing 73 "Steinhoff") stationed in Laage. The pilots of the JG 73 flew MiG-29s acquired during the reunification and were some of the most experienced MiG-29 pilots in the world. One of their primary duties was to serve as aggressor pilots, training other pilots in dissimilar combat tactics. The United States sent a group of fighter pilots to Germany during the Red October exercise to practice tactics against the aircraft they were most likely to meet in real combat. The MiG-29s of JG 73 were fully integrated into the Luftwaffe's air defence structure and, from February 1995 became the first Soviet Bloc aircraft to be declared operational within NATO. In 2004, with the introduction of the Eurofighter Typhoon imminent, the decision was taken to withdraw the MiG-29. JG 73's aircraft were withdrawn in August 2004, following which they were sold to the Polish Air Force.
The Bundeswehr (German for "Federal Defence Force") comprises the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The States of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the Basic Law of Germany states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the Federal government.The Bundeswehr is divided into a military part (armed forces or Streitkräfte) and a civil part with the armed forces administration (Wehrverwaltung), the federal bureau of procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung) and the federal bureau for information management and information technology of the Bundeswehr (Bundesamt für Informationsmanagement und Informationstechnik der Bundeswehr, sometimes abbreviated as IT-AmtBw). The military part of the federal defense force consists of Army (Heer), Navy (Marine), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joint Support Service (Streitkräftebasis), and Central Medical Services (Zentraler Sanitätsdienst) branches.The Bundeswehr has 247,100 active troops. Of these 188,112 are professional soldiers, 25,566 18–25-year-old conscripts who serve for at least nine months under current laws, and 33,417 Volunteer conscripts serving a longer military service. In addition the Bundeswehr has approximately 350,000 reserve personnel. Women have served in the medical service since 1975. From 1993 to 2000, they were also allowed to serve as enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers in the medical service and the army bands. In 2000, in a lawsuit brought up by Tanja Kreil, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling allowing women to serve in more roles than previously allowed. Since 2001 they can serve in all functions of service without restriction, but they are not subject to conscription. There are presently around 14,500 women on active duty and a number of female reservists who take part in all duties including peacekeeping missions and other operations. In 1994, Verena von Weymarn became Generalarzt der Luftwaffe ("Surgeon General of the Air Force"), the first woman ever to reach the rank of general in the armed forces of Germany. In 2006 Erika Franke became the second. After World War II the responsibility for the security of Germany as a whole rested with the four Allied Powers: the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union. Germany had been without own armed forces since the Wehrmacht was dissolved following World War II. When the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in 1949, it was without a military. Germany remained completely demilitarized and any plans for a German military were forbidden by Allied regulations. Only some naval mine-sweeping units had continued to exist, but unarmed, under Allied control, and not as a national defence force. Even the Border guards was only established in 1951. There was a discussion between the United States, the United Kingdom and France over the issue of a revived German military. In particular, France was reluctant to allow Germany to rearm in light of recent history (Germany had invaded France three times in the previous 80 years). However, after the project for a European Defence Community failed in the French National Assembly in 1954, France agreed to West German accession to NATO and rearmament. With growing tensions between the Soviet Union and the West especially after the Korean War, this policy was to be revised. While the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was already secretly rearming, the seeds of a new West German force started in 1950 when former high-ranking German officers were tasked by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to discuss the options for West German rearmament. The results of a meeting in the monastery of Himmerod formed the conceptual base to build the new armed forces in West Germany. The Amt Blank (Blank Agency, named after its director Theodor Blank), the predecessor of the later Federal Ministry of Defense, was formed the same year to prepare the establishment of the future forces. Hasso von Manteuffel, a former general of the Wehrmacht and liberal politician, submitted the name Bundeswehr for the new forces. This name was later confirmed by the German Bundestag. The Bundeswehr was officially established on the 200th birthday of Scharnhorst on 12 November 1955. After an amendment of the Basic Law in 1955, West Germany became a member of NATO. The first public military review took place at Andernach, in January 1956. In 1956, conscription for all men between the ages of 18 and 45 was reintroduced, later augmented by a civil alternative with longer duration (see Conscription in Germany). In response, East Germany formed its own military force, the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA), in 1956, with conscription being established only in 1962. The Nationale Volksarmee was eventually dissolved with the reunification of Germany in 1990. During the Cold War the Bundeswehr was the backbone of NATO's conventional defense in Central Europe. It had a strength of 495,000 military and 170,000 civilian personnel. The Army consisted of three corps with 12 divisions, most of them heavily armed with tanks and APCs. The Luftwaffe owned significant numbers of tactical combat aircraft and took part in NATO's integrated air defense (NATINAD). The Navy was tasked and equipped to defend the Baltic Approaches, to provide escort reinforcement and resupply shipping in the North Sea and to contain the Soviet Baltic Fleet. During this time the Bundeswehr did not take part in combat operations. However there were a number of large-scale training and operational casualties. The first such incident was in June 1957, when fifteen paratroop recruits were drowned in the Iller river, Bavaria. After reunification of Germany in 1990, the Bundeswehr was reduced to 370,000 military personnel in accordance with the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany between the two German governments and the Allies (2+4 Treaty). The former East German Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) was disbanded, with a portion of its personnel and material being absorbed into the Bundeswehr. The Bundeswehr was the first NATO-member to use the Soviet-built former NVA-jet (MiG 29). About 50,000 Volksarmee personnel were integrated into the Bundeswehr on 2 October 1990. This figure was rapidly reduced as conscripts and short-term volunteers completed their service. A number of senior officers (but no generals or admirals) received limited contracts for up to two years to continue daily operations. Personnel remaining in the Bundeswehr were awarded new contracts and new ranks, dependent on their individual qualification and experience. Many received and accepted a lower rank than previously held in the Volksarmee. In general, the unification process of the two militaries - under the slogan "Armee der Einheit" (or "Army of Unity") - has been seen publicly as a major success and an example for other parts of the society. With the reduction, a large amount of the military hardware of the Bundeswehr, as well as of the Volksarmee, had to be disposed of. Most of the armored vehicles and fighter jet aircraft were dismantled under international disarmament procedures. Many ships were scrapped or sold, often to the Baltic states or Indonesia (the latter received 39 former Volksmarine vessels of various types). The service uniform is theoretically the standard type of Bundeswehr uniform for general duty and off-post activity, most associated, however, with ceremonial occasions. The army's service uniform consists of a light gray, single-breasted coat and darker gray trousers, worn with a light blue or white shirt, black tie, and black shoes. The peaked, visored cap has been replaced by the beret as the most common form of headgear. Dress uniforms featuring dinner jackets or double-breasted coats are worn by officers for various social occasions. The battle and work uniform consists of Flecktarn camouflage fatigues, which are also worn on field duty. In practice, they are also used for general duty and off-post at least at barracks where there is also field duty even by others, and for the way home or to the post, and generally regarded as the Heer uniform. In all three services, light sand-colored uniforms are available for duty in warmer climates. The traditional arm-of-service colors appear as lapel facings and as piping on shoulder straps. Generals wear an inner piping of gold braid; other officers wear silver piping. Lapel facings and piping are maroon for general staff, green for infantry, red for artillery, pink for armor, black for engineers, yellow for communications, dark yellow for reconnaissance and various other colors for the remaining branches. Combat troops wear green (infantry), black (armor), or burgundy (airborne) berets. Logistics troops wear red berets, and combat support troops, such as artillery or engineers, wear red ones. A gold or silver device on the beret denotes the individual branch of service. The naval forces wear the traditional navy blue, double-breasted coat and trousers; enlisted personnel wear either a white shirt or a navy blue shirt with the traditional navy collar. White uniforms provide an alternative for summer. The officer's dress cap is mounted with a gold anchor surrounded by a wreath. The visor of the admiral's cap bears a double row of oak leaves. The air force service uniform consists of a blue-gray jacket and trousers with a light blue shirt, dark blue tie, and black shoes. Olive battle dress similar to the army fatigue uniform is worn in basic training and during other field duty. Flying personnel wear wings on their right breast. Technical personnel wear a modified wing device with a symbol in its center denoting service specialization. The latter is bronze, silver, or gold, depending on one's length of service in the specialty. Wings, superimposed over a wreath, in gold, silver, or bronze, depending on rank, are also worn on the service or field cap. In general, officer ranks are those used in the Prussian and pre-1945 German armies. Officer rank insignia are worn on shoulder straps or shoulder boards. Army (Heer) and air force (Luftwaffe) junior officers' insignia are four pointed silver stars while field grade officers wear silver (black or white on camouflage uniforms) stars and a laurel wreath around the lowest star. The stars and wreath are gold for general officers. In the case of naval (Marine) officers, rank is indicated by gold stripes on the lower sleeve of the blue service jacket and on shoulder boards of the white uniform. Soldier and NCO ranks are similar to those of the Prussian and pre-1945 German armies. In the army and air force, a Gefreiter corresponds to the NATO rank OR-2 and Hauptgefreiter to OR-3. An Unteroffizier is the lowest-ranking sergeant (OR-5), followed by Stabsunteroffizier (OR-6), Feldwebel and Oberfeldwebel (OR-7), Hauptfeldwebel (OR-8) and Stabsfeldwebel (OR-9). Ranks of army and air force enlisted personnel are designated by stripes, chevrons, and "sword knots" worn on rank slides. Naval enlisted rank designations are worn on the upper (OR 1-5) or lower (OR-6 and above) sleeve along with a symbol based on an anchor for the service specialization (rating). Army and air force officer candidates hold the separate ranks of Fahnenjunker, Fähnrich and Oberfähnrich, and wear the appropriate rank insignia plus a silver cord bound around it. Officers candidates in the navy Seekadett (sea cadet; equivalent to OR-4) and Fähnrich zur See (midshipman second class; OR-5) wear the rank insignia of the respective enlisted ranks but with a gold star instead of the rating symbol, while an Oberfähnrich zur See (midshipman first class; OR-7) wears an officer type thin rank stripe. Medical personnel of all three services wear a version of the traditional caduceus (staff with entwined serpents) on their shoulder straps or sleeve. The officers' ranks have own designations differing from the line officers, the rank insignias however are basically the same. Former German military organisations have been the old German state armies, the Reichswehr (1921–1935) and the Wehrmacht (1935–1945). The Bundeswehr, however, does not consider itself as their successor and does not follow the traditions of any former German military organisation. The official Bundeswehr traditions are based on three major lines: the defense reformers at the beginning of the 19th century such as Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Clausewitz, the members of the military resistance against Hitler such as Claus von Stauffenberg and Henning von Tresckow, its own tradition since 1955. As its symbol the Bundeswehr uses a form of the Iron Cross. The Iron Cross has a long history, having been awarded as a military wartime decoration for all ranks since 1813, and earlier associated with the Teutonic knights. The name Bundeswehr was proposed by the former Wehrmacht general and liberal politician Hasso von Manteuffel. One of the most visible traditions is the Großer Zapfenstreich, a form of military tattoo that goes back to the landsknecht era. Another expression of the traditions in the German armed forces is the ceremonial vow (Gelöbnis) of recruits, during basic training. Annually on July 20, the date of the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler by Wehrmacht officers in 1944, recruits of the Wachbataillon vow at the Bendlerblock, where the officers had their headquarters. The wording of the ceremonial vow of conscripts is: "I pledge to loyally serve the Federal Republic of Germany and to bravely defend the law and the freedom of the German people." "Ich gelobe, der Bundesrepublik Deutschland treu zu dienen und das Recht und die Freiheit des deutschen Volkes tapfer zu verteidigen." Professional soldiers and officers of the Bundeswehr have to swear an oath with the same wording, but beginning with "Ich schwöre, ..." ("I swear...").