Vom 08.-10. Januar fand in Linstow in mecklenburg Vorpommern die 59. Historisch Taktische Tagung der Marine statt.

59th Historical-Tactical-Meeting (HiTaTa) of the German Navy. “Sea. War. Leadership. -Operative-strategic thinking in German Navies.”

From January 9 to 10, 2019, the 59th Historical-Tactical-Meeting of the German Navy took place in Linstow near Rostock with more than 500 participants. In his welcome address, Deputy Chief of the German Navy, Vice Admiral Rainer Brinkmann, outlined the cause and purpose of the topic “Sea. War. Leadership as the basis of operational strategic thinking in German navies “, which were discussed in nine lectures. Admiral Brinkmann assumed that the military flanked power politics of Russia and the tectonic shifts in the security architecture have led to a refocusing on the requirements of the national and alliance defense. However, in the context of Alliance defense, finding a position from the perspective of the navy seems to be much easier than an orientation in the nebula of national defense. Trying to make blueprints and templates of the past, already fails because the framework conditions have changed significantly today.

On the subject of turning attention to Hi-Ta-Ta, he stated:

“The situation requires us to focus more and more on operational-strategic issues, which means that the” high end “of our profession, the ability to conduct naval warfare, should be more in focus again.

“Sea Warfare” is a composite of the terms “sea,” “war,” and “leadership.” Here, “Sea” refers to our very own domain, namely the space. “War” as a second compound can hardly be taken into the mouth today. But in the end, war is also an essential feature of our profession and stands for the sharp end of our mission, when every other effort to reconcile interests and preserve peace has failed. As little as we all wish for war, so much must we be prepared for battle. “Leadership” as the last compound of naval warfare integrates the understanding of space, time and forces, the understanding of the situation, the risks and the prevailing conditions, with its own mission to a purposeful, concentrated action. It is the art of changing the present in terms of a desired future.

From the perspective of naval warfare, this HiTaTa looks at operational-strategic thinking in the German Navies. With the lecture “Delusion. Foresight. Reality. – German navies in the light of naval strategic schools of thought “offered the commander of the Center for Military History and Social Sciences, Captain (Navy) Jörg Hillmann an introduction. He described it as to say the set, before then from 1848 to 1945 the different scenes of German naval history were performed. The strategic orientation of the fleet was followed by a foreign policy admonishing modesty, sometimes by the imperial will that sought world power, or by the great goal of a post-war fleet that protected the European peninsula.

The following lectures were under the prefix “Sea – Learning” reflected different approaches to understand the sea and to deduce:

In the lecture “Sea – Learning: Learning from the Defeat – The Imperial Navy and the Admiralstabswerk” analyzed First Lieutenant Paul-Patrick Schröder M.A. the systematic evaluation and analysis of own war experiences in the admiral headquarters. He showed the different influences that became effective.

The lecture “Sea-Learning: Wars as catalysts – Tsushima and Falkland” by Lieutenant Commander Christian Greger M.Sc. dealt with the possibilities of these sea battles, which were conducted in 1905 and 1914 away from the home bases of the ships involved. Poor force integration and inferior technology made the difference in both battles.

Lieutenant Commander Martin Möde M.Sc spoke on the subject of “Crosshots – Lateral thinking – Change of course: The memoranda of Wolfgang Wegener”. He pointed out the influence of lateral thinkers who had not submitted to interpretational sovereignty, but had their own analyzes and conclusions. Thus, he was able to demonstrate how the Lieutenant Commander Wolfgang Wegener had already in 1915 in his memoranda far-reaching naval implications derived and thus had set the misconceptions of Tirpitz’s doctrine a very own rating as a bold alternative design.

In the history of the Federal Navy led then the lecture of Lieutenant Commander Christian Ostermann M.A. “Crosshots – Lateral thinking – Change of course: The Sylter Fleet of Jimmy Mann”. Vice Admiral Hans Joachim Mann, made in 1991 at the beginning of his use as the eighth Chief of the German Navy before a decisive course change, which became known as the “Sylter fleet”. This was at a time when there was a lack of defense policy and Admiral Mann was often accused of “you are too fast”. The speaker asked himself the question: Was Jimmy Mann, the nickname of the then chief, visionary, lateral thinker or course changer?

This led to lively discussions of conference participants from the front row, who then participated as witnesses in these events or they had witnessed.

The last three articles illustrate what it means to understand, organize and discover spaces.

“Organizing rooms: naval strategic considerations in the construction of the German navy” was the topic of the presentation of First Lieutenant Ronny Kaatzke. He occupied himself with the time of the construction of the Federal Navy and showed in which rooms the still young Federal Navy thought to advance. In doing so, he considered the inland Baltic Sea from a strategic point of view and presented options for action in the development phase of the German navy.

First Lieutenant Lisa Braun M.Sc. presented on the theme: “Understanding Spaces: The Renaissance of the Con MarOps”, the operationally strategic principles of the ConMarOps of NATO borrowed from the Cold War. She then explored the question of whether and how these principles can be rebirthed today.

The lecture cycle was ended with the contribution of First Lieutenant Nicolas von Kevelaer M.Sc. “Discover Spaces: Sea Strategy and the Digital Age”. To a certain extent, we are on the eve of a technological break. The digital age is transforming our world and our society in ever faster steps. We have to understand this change and adapt to changes in the short or long term. This also applies to the maritime environment. The step to digital naval warfare must not be missed. It takes proactive action to keep us from lagging behind our partner nations and other nations of the world. With that, the speaker addressed questions about the implications of the digital age for naval warfare, about changes in the maritime space and what challenges and what challenges we face.

The official part of HiTaTa ended with the closing remarks of Deputy Chief of the Navy and Commander of the Fleet and Assistance Forces, thanks to the organizers, and the traditional address of the Chief of the German Navy

The lectures (in german language) to be found in the german part of this website.


Text: Dr. Heinrich Walle

Photos: Bundeswehr/PIZ Marine/ Steve Back