The coat of arms shows a golden eagle stooping on a field of light grey.

Rapid Forces Division

The Rapid Forces Division (RFD) is headquartered in Stadtallendorf, Hesse, and unites the German Army’s light rapid-response forces in one major combined-arms unit. Its motto “Ready to deploy – any time – anywhere” highlights the RFD’s mission and self-image.

Several soldiers move in single file towards a helicopter on a meadow in front of a steep rock.

Braving the rough rotor wash, mountain infantrymen approach an NHNATO-Helicopter-90 transport helicopter – an example of Army aviators and mountain infantry forces working hand in hand.

Bundeswehr/Sebastian Krämer


The light rapid-response forces of the German Army

The Rapid Forces Division (RFD) is headquartered in Stadtallendorf, Hesse, and unites the German Army’s light rapid-response forces in one major combined-arms unit. It comprises special operations forces, German and Dutch paratroopers, Army aviators with transport and combat helicopters, and mountain infantry forces. Its motto “Ready to deploy – any time – anywhere” highlights the RFD’s mission and self-image. Thanks to their training and equipment, RFD soldiers are ready to deploy and operate rapidly and flexibly as light and highly mobile infantry forces in combination with helicopters and also German Air Force aircraft. The Division’s two main tasks are national and collective defence throughout the entire NATO territory as well as operational readiness for worldwide deployment within the scope of crisis management for German nationals abroad, particularly as part of noncombatant evacuation or hostage rescue operations. For the RFD, both of these tasks are two sides of the same coin as speed, air manoeuvre capabilities and robustness are required in both cases. Furthermore, the Division can be deployed worldwide within the scope of international crisis management operations.

International cooperation is a day-to-day reality

At present, the RFD consists of about 20,000 German and Dutch service personnel. Under the Division's command are the Special Operations Forces Command (SOFCOM) in Calw, Baden-Württemberg, 1 Airborne Brigade in Saarlouis, Saarland, 23 Mountain Infantry Brigade in Bad Reichenhall, Bavaria, the Army Helicopter Command in Bückeburg, Lower Saxony, and 11 (NLD) Air Assault Brigade in Schaarsbergen, Netherlands. In total, the Division is spread over 26 garrisons in Germany, the Netherlands and France. Moreover, cooperation exists with 81 Brigade in Bistrița, Romania. Multinationality and international cooperation are a day-to-day reality and yet another trademark of the RFD. At the same time, the Division appreciates and maintains its close ties with the garrison town of Stadtallendorf as well as with neighbouring towns and communities.

The RFD’s history at a glance

The Rapid Forces Division (Division Schnelle Kräfte) was established in 2014 when the Specialised Operations Division (Division Spezielle Operationen) in Stadtallendorf and the Airmobile Division (Division Luftbewegliche Operationen) from Veitshöchheim, Bavaria, were combined into one major unit. The Specialised Operations Division had moved from Regensburg, Bavaria, to Stadtallendorf in 2010.

Ready to deploy – any time – anywhere

A dog is running through a wooden yard gate and a commando soldier adjoining the gate.

Working dogs are always in the middle of things – both on operations and during training in urban terrain.

Bundeswehr/Kommando Spezialkräfte

The motto “Ready to deploy – any time – anywhere” reflects the above-average operational readiness of the Rapid Forces Division and is a key characteristic that all of the Division’s members identify with.

Throughout the 20-year commitment in Afghanistan, paratroopers, special operations forces and mountain infantry forces alike were employed in the front line. In 2010, RFD soldiers had to stand their ground against the Taliban in hostilities in northern Afghanistan lasting several hours. Three paratroopers were killed during this battle which became known as the “Battle of Good Friday”.

In 2020 and 2021, the RFD led the EU Battlegroup – a reaction force that is ready to deploy within a radius of 6,000 kilometres around Brussels and within five to ten days after having been alerted.

The latest deployment that drew national attention was the German evacuation operation from Kabul in Afghanistan. In the summer of 2021, the Division provided the personnel to command the German contingent as well as the bulk of the forces in the form of paratroopers and commando soldiers.

At present, the RFD is the lead division for the Bundeswehr operation Counter Daesh/Capacity Building Iraq. In this role, it contributes to providing advice to the Iraqi security and armed forces in order to support them in setting up resilient structures in the fight against the terrorist organisation “Islamic State”. In addition, the Division supports numerous other Bundeswehr operations by providing smaller contingents as well as command personnel and individuals.

Facts and figures

Motto of the Rapid Forces Division
Ready to deploy. Any time. Anywhere.


  • Portrait of Major General Dirk Faust, Commander of the Rapid Forces Division, in uniform

    Major General Dirk Faust

    Major General Dirk Faust has been the commander of the Rapid Forces Division, based in Stadtallendorf, Hesse, since March 2022.


So that the Rapid Forces Division can accomplish its tasks, it exercises direct command and control over the following military elements:

  • 1 Airborne Brigade
  • 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade
  • 23 Mountain Infantry Brigade

  • Special Operations Forces Command

  • Helicopter Command

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