1⁄1German for Modelers
German for modelersBelow is a list of terms that are not standard to English and therefore should be italicized in reviews. Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe are familiar even to non-modelers, but some of the terms below get thrown around, sometimes in misspelled form.
Additionally, German capitalizes all nouns. So if it’s a term for a thing, group, effect, etc., you’re better off capitalizing it. When it doubt, capitialize.
1. Abteilung (pronounced “opp-tile-ung”): Battalion.
2. Bergepanther ("bear-guh pant-her" and by extension, -tiger, -leopard): Berge are mountains, but this is from the verb bergen ("to rescue"), so a rescue or recovery tank.
3. Beute (pronounced “Boy tuh”): Literally, “war booty.” Applied to captured vehicles (e.g., Beutepanzer, captured tank).
4. Das Reich (pronounced “dos Rye-kh”): Literally, Greater Germany, the "thousand year Reich" that Hitler envisioned. Most commonly used as the name of the 2nd SS Panzer Division.
5. Dunkelgelb (pronounced “doon-kell gelb”): “Dark yellow,” and capitalized because it’s a noun (remember, all German nouns are capitalized).
6. Fahrgestelle (pronounced "Far-guh-shtell-uh"): Chassis.
7. Fall: “Case” or "operation," as in Fall weiß (“Case White,” the invasion of Poland in 1939).
8. Fallschirmjäger (pronounced “Fall Sheerm Yayger”): Paratroops.
9. FlaK (pronounced like “flock”): A combination of Flug-Abwehr-Kanone (anti-aircraft cannon, usually written as a single word, Flugabwehrkanone) and is usually capitalized.
10. Flammenwerfer (“flah-men vair-ferr”): Flame thrower.
11. Freiwillige (“Fry vill-ee-guh”): Volunteers (as in Freiwillige Division, pr “volunteer division”).
12. Funk (“Foonk”): Literally “spark.” Applied to any radio or radar device.
13. Halbkettenfahrzeug (“halb ketten far tsoyg”): Half tracked vehicle.
14. Jagdpanzer (“Yah-gd Ponz her”): Literally, “Hunter Tank”; any tank destroyer. Jagd (“the hunt”) is sometimes replaced by Jäger (“hunter”) as in Panzer jäger Abteilungen (“tank destroyer battalions”). Other variants include specific vehicles like the Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger.
15. Kampfgruppe (“compf groop-uh”): "Fighting group"; a loose term for any ad-hoc combat formation with a specific task, often comprising troops and vehicles from various unrelated units. The plural is Kampfgruppen with an "n" at the end (the most-common way of making a noun plural).
16. Kraftfahrzeug (“Croft far tsoyg”): Any powered vehicle, abbreviated Kfz.
17. Krankenkraftwagen (pronounced "Kronk-un-Croft-vah-guhn"): Ambulance.
18. Kriegsmarine (“creegs marine-uh”): The German Navy in WW II (the military branch, not including the merchant marine).
19. KWK: short for Kampfwagenkanone (“Croft vah-gon kah-no-ne”): Literally “fighting vehicle gun,” aka tank gun.
20. Lafette (pronounced “lah-fet-uh”): Gun platform (actually a French noun taken over whole into German but with a German pronunciation).
21. Leibstandarte (pronounced “lie-b shton dart-uh” like “to lie down” and not like “leeward”). Hitler’s personal bodyguard, which eventually grew into the 1st SS Panzer Division. 22. Luftwaffe: Accepted in English without italics, but pronounced with a “V” instead of the W sound, and similar to “Wehrmacht” (VERR macht).
23. Olivgrün (pronounced “o-leave groon”): “Olive green” See Dunkelgelb above.
24. Ostketten (the “ost” is pronounced like “Austen, Texas”): “East tracks” Various track width extensions designed to provide greater traction in the ice and snow of the Eastern front for Germany's narrow-width tracked vehicles like the Pz. III and IV.
25. PAK (pronounced “pock”): Panzer Abwehr Kanone (anti-tank gun). Should be all caps.
26. Panther (pronounced “Pant-er” in German). The famous Panther tank and variants (see Jagdpanther above). NOTE: the "h" is silent when it follows "t" in German.
27. Panzer (pronounced “Ponz her” not “Pans ur”).
28. Porsche (“Porsh-uh,” NOT “Porsch”): Ferdinand Porsche designed numerous tanks for the Wehrmacht, and his company became famous after the car for building sports cars.
29. Pz.Kpfw. abbreviation of Panzerkampfwagen (“Ponz uh compf vah gun”): Tank (literally “armored fighting vehicle”)
30. Rundumfeurer (pronounced “roond-oom foy rer): Literally “firing all around.” An automatic rotating external MG mounted on several different German vehicles.
31. Saukopf (pronounced “zow-kop-f”): “Pig’s head” An informal name applied to mantlets on several German assault guns and tank destroyers. The term was not official, but widely-used by the troops (the correct term is Topfblende.(literally “pot lid”).
32. Schürzen (pronounced “shoor-tsen”): Literally, “aprons.” The protective side plates attached to German armor to defend against anti-tank projectiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
33. Schützenpanzer (pronounced "shoo-tsen Ponz-uh"): Literally "rifleman's armored vehicle. An armored personnel carrier, whether tracked or wheeled (usually abreviated SPz.
34. Sd.Kfz. abbreviation of Sonderkraftfahrzeug (pronounced “Zawn der croft far tsoyg”): Any “special powered vehicle,” but usually applied to halftracks.
35. Selbstfahrlafette (pronounced “zelb-stuh-far lah-fet-uh”): Self-propelled gun platform (see "Lafette" above).
36. sPA: schwere Panzerabteilung (pronounced “sh-verr-uh pahn-tser ob-tile-oong”): “Heavy tank battalion. The initial “s” is NOT capitalized because it’s not a noun.
37. Stab (“Shtawb”): Staff (as in Generalsstab, “general staff”).
38. Sturmartillerie (pronounced “shtoorm artillery”): The collective term for the Sturmgeschütz and other non-tank motorized guns and gun platforms.
39. Sturmgeschütz (pronounced “shtoorm guh-shoots”): “Assault gun.” A turretless armored gun platform designed to support infantry.
40. Tarnjacke (pronounced "Tarn Yah-kuh"): A camoflaged jacket.
41. Tiger (pronounced “tee ger”). The feared Tiger tank and variants (see Jagdtiger above). The Tiger II is the Königstiger (pronounced "Cur-neegs-tee-ger"), which is incorrectly translated as "king tiger" when it actually means "Bengal tiger."
42. Unternehmen (pronounced “oonter name en”): “Operation,” as in Unternehmen Barbarossa (“Operation Barbarossa,” the invasion of the Soviet Union).
43. Waffenamt (pronounced “Vaw-fen Ahmt”): The procurement organization of the Wehrmacht. The full name is Heereswaffenamt.
44. Wehrmacht (pronounced “vair mah-cht”): Well-established in English, but frequently mistranslated as the “army” when in actuality it designated ALL of the Nazi branches of the military. The German army under National Socialism was comprised primarily of the Heer (pronounced like the hair on your head). The Waffen SS were not under the command of the Army, but under the direction of the Wehrmacht, which was headed by Hitler himself after 1938.
45. Wikinger (“vee king er”): Literally, “Viking.” The 5th SS Panzer Division, made up originally of volunteers from Scandinavian countries. The German is never spelled “Wiking,” an error that has crept into modeling and historical references, too.
46. Zimmerit (pronounced “tsim-err-eat”): The anti-magnetic paste applied to some tanks during the mid-war; should be capitalized and in italics, as it’s a foreign word, even if familiar to modelers.
Update: a small file on you tube for those who would actually like to hear the words spoken: My thanks to Marco Sari for doing this.
Copyright ©2019 by Bill Cross. Images and/or videos also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of ModelGeek, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2009-12-29 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 21318