Das Bundesarchiv

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Plans and technical drawings of military origin

The Federal Archives-Military Archives stores approx. 250,000 plans and technical drawings. These - mostly large-format - documents cover all eras of German military history during the past one and a half centuries. As the military was at all times active in technical development and testing, the transferred drawings provide a more concentrated and clear overview of large parts of the history of German technology. At the same time, not only do they facilitate individual studies on the development, operation and efficiency of individual weapons systems, they also allow the technological development of entire weapons classes to be retraced. For example, the development of Panzer construction can be retraced, from the first German "A7V" Panzer of the First World War, via the heavy "Königstiger" [King Tiger] Panzer tank of the Second World War, to the contemporary upgraded "Leopard II" battle tank of the federal armed forces. However, this very detailed archives is not only significant as the basis for the academic study of technical history; the sets of drawings are even more necessary for museums to restore remaining military equipment.

The plans of military buildings and property are further highly valued records. Questions relating to the history of construction and architecture and to individual properties can be answered here in the same way as in comparative studies. However, this type of source is also of particular importance for the subsequent conversion of military properties for civilian use, which was common after the end of the Cold War. Plans and architectural drawings can provide information about the statics of individual buildings or pinpoint environmentally hazardous contaminated sites (e.g. fuel tanks or spent munitions) over larger areas.