Main | About Us | Membership | Articles | Events | Photos | Links | Books | Contact Us

Landser Lingo
Translation by Bradley R. Hubbard

This is an excellent list of original Wehrmacht slang terms that are not often found in publications.  They are organized as follows: -German Phrase:  “literal translation”; actual meaning .  The original text can be found at:

As in every army there were slang expressions used in the colloquial language of the Soldiers of the Wehrmacht.  These expressions are and were difficult for outsiders to understand.

Aal:  “eel”; torpedo
Alter:  “elder”; superiors, usually the company commander
Alter Mann
:  “old man”; with the Afrikakorps used for Italian meat-products (Fleischkonserven)
Anschiß:  “shit on”; criticism from superiors
aussteigen:  “to step out”; euphamism for leaving a destroyed ship, plane, or tank
a.v.:  proper abbreviation for Arbeitsverwendungsfähig which means “one who is able to be used for work” but disqualified from combat duty (k.v.).  Used here as a pun for ausgezeichnete Verbindungen which means “excellent connections”

Bauchbinde:  “gut bind”; belt
Beutegermane:  “Booty-Teuton” foreign volunteer, also used for the Volksdeutsche (perhaps inferring that they were collaborating exclusively for the benefits)
Blechhut“sheet metal hat”; helmet
Blechkrawatte:  “sheet metal necktie”; the Knight’s Cross

Donnerbalken:  “thunderbeam”; latrine 

Eiserne Kuh:  “iron cow”; canned milk
Emil:  the German name “Emil”; a pilot

Fahrkarte:  “a ticket”; a miss, a shot that “travelled” into the distance
Feldküchensturmabzeichen:  “field kitchen assault badge”; the War Merit Cross

Fernkampfmedaille:  “long distance fighting medal”; the War Merit Cross (suggesting the holders were far from the actual fighting when they earned it)
Feuerpause:  official command/term for “cease fire”; a cigarette break
Fliegerbier:  “pilot beer “; lemonade
Franz: the German name “Franz”; an observer in a plane
Fußlappenindianer:  “Footwrap Indian”; Infantryman

Gebetsbuch:  “prayer book”; a Hauptfeldwebel’s notebook
Gefrierfleischorden:  “order of the frozen meat”; the East Front Medal
Gulaschkanone:  “goulash cannon”; field kitchen

Halseisen:  “neck iron” the Knight’s Cross
erzen:  “neck ache”;  had by someone who wants to earn the Knight’s Cross
Heimatschuß:  “homeland shot”; a light wound that would send a Soldier home
Heldenkeller:  “Hero cellar”; an air raid bunker
Heldenklau:  “Hero thief”; an officer who collects stragglers for redeployment
Himmelfahrtskommando:  roughly, a “Ride to heaven command”; a deployment with little chance of survival
Himmelsabwehrkanone:  roughly, an “Anti-heaven cannon”; an onboard physician in the Kreigsmarine
hinrotzen:  literally, “to sniff back one’s snot”; get into hasty cover
Hitlersäge:  “Hitler saw”; an MG42
HJ-Spätlese:  “a late/vintage Hitler Jugend”; the Volkssturm
Hoffnungsbalken:  “Hope bars”; the tress on an officer candidate’s shoulder boards
Horst Wessel Suppe:  “Horst Wessel Soup”; Meat and other good things that “marschieren im Geiste mit”/ “march along with in spirit” (in other words, good things that should be in the soup and aren’t. but are there in spirit.  A huge pun on the famous Horst Wessel Lied)
Hühneralarm “Hen alarm”; a late alarm (coming from the expression "erst das Ei, dann das Gackern"/ “first the egg, then the cackle”)
Hundemarke:  “dog tag”; the German identity disc
Hurratüte:  “a Hurrah! bag”; helmet

Intelligenzstreifen:  “intelligence stripes”; stripes on the trousers of the general staff
Itaka:  short for “Italienischer Kamerad”; Italian Comerade

Kantinenorden:  “Order of the Cafeteria”; the War Merit Cross
Karo einfach:  “Easy Diamonds”, a card-game reference; stale bread
Karussell:  “Carousel”, “Roundabout”; air combat where the opponents circle around each other
Kattun:  “cotton” or “denim”; to receive heavy fire
Kettenhund: “chain dog”; a Feldgendarm
Kiste:  “crate”; a plane
Knarre:  “Rattle”; rifle
Koffer:  “suitcase”; a heavy grenade
Kolbenringe-  “piston rings”; the double litzen on the arm of a Hauptfeldwebel
Kriegverlägerungskreuz:  “War Displacement Cross”; War Merit Cross (in other words, one who was displaced  or removed from the war)
Krüppelgarde:  “crippled gard”; Volkssturm
Küchenbulle:  “kitchen cop”; a cook
Kurbelei:  Luftkampf
k.v.:  proper abbreviation for kriegsverwendungsfähig meaning “fit for use in war”, used here as a pun for keine Verbindungen “no connections”,  kann verrecken “can croak(die)”,  or krepiert vielleicht “to death perhaps”
k.v.H.:  proper abbreviation for kriegsverwendungsfähig Heimat meaning “fit for use in war at home", used here as a pun for kann vorzüglich humpeln “can convincingly hobble”

Lametta:  “tinsel”; medals and tresse
langmachen:  “to make long”; take cover, lay down
Latrinenparole:  “latrine passwords”; gossip
Leithammel:  “bellwether” (some kind of ram);an Unteroffizier
Lysol:  (I think this is the brand of disinfectant); a sharp schnapps drank by occupation troops in France

Makkaroni:  “macaroni”; an Italian
Maskenball:  “masquerade”; popular harassment for instructors who constantly change into different uniforms
Mündungsschoner:  “muzzle cap”; a bad soldier

NS-Röhre:  “National Socialist tube”; a U-Boat

Oberschnäpser:  “Oversnapper”(?); an Obergefreiter

Panzer-Anklopf-Gerät:  “Panzer knocking device” (as in knock at a door); term for the 37mm Pak
Papieroffizier:  “paper officer”; someone in a propaganda company
Papiersoldat:  “paper soldier”; someone in a clerical unit
Pappkamerad:  “cardboard comrade”; a human cutout for target practice
Parteihut:  “party hat”; helmet
Partisanen:  “partisans”; lice
pumpen:  “pumps”; German exercise called Kneibeugen, often used for disclipine

Querschläger:  “ricochet”; an unpopular soldier

Rabatz: “to kick up a fuss” used for many unpleasant situations, great disorder, violent enemy fire
Ratschbumm:  (phonetic sound?); a Soviet direct fire gun where the report is heard as the shot hits
Reichsheini:  "slang nickname for “Reichsführer der SS Heinrich Himmler”
robben:  “crawl”; slang for low crawling
Rückgrat der Armee:  “Backbone of the Army”; and Obergefreiter, also the experienced Landser

Sandlatscher:  “sans traipser”; an infantrymen (Afrika Korps?)
Schleifer:  “grinder”; a brutal training officer, with tankers it also meant a Panzer in need of repair
Schmalspuroffizier:  “narrow gauge officer”; the Sonderführer ranks that wore narrow shoulder boards
Schlumpfschütze:  “smurf soldier”; a bad soldier
Schütze Arsch:  “soldier ass”; the “last” and worst soldier
Spargel:  “asparagus”; the periscope on a U-boat
Spiegelei:  “fried egg”; the German Cross in Gold
Spund:  “bung”; a young soldier or recruit
Stalintorte:  “Stalin cake”; stale bread
stiften gehen:  “to move it”; to flee

Tante Ju:  “Aunt Ju” the outdated but still-used transport plane Ju 52
Taschenflak:  “pocket Flak”; a pistol
Tiefflieger:  "strafer", an idiot

Untergefreiter:  “Under Gefreiter” (a non-existent German military rank); a civilian

V3:  (the last German “miracle weapon” after the V1 and V2 rockets); derogatory for Volkssturm
verheizen:  “to burn”; to senselessly sacrifice soldiers

Wanzenhammer:  “bug hammer”; a pipe (also used to smack bugs with apparently)
Wehrbeitrag:  “war contribution”; to conceive a child during leave
:  “cloud whisk”; a helicopter

Zielwasser:  “prize water”; schnapps
Zigarettenbüchse:  “cigarette tin”; the gas mask canister, which was usually used for other things
Zwölfender:  “Twelver”; a career soldier whose term is 12 years, especially used for a Stabsfeldwebel



Copyright © 2005 der Erste Zug All rights reserved

Web Design by Jon Bocek