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German Landser with his fiancée, c. 1935

The German term "Landser" (English: simple or common soldier, especially infantryman) originated at the end of the 19th century among Saxon soldiers (as Lanzer) in the sense of 'countryman' (Landsmann). In 1907, Lanzer is listed alongside comrade (Kamerad) for soldier (Soldat) in general.


It originally derived from "Landsknecht" (Lanzknecht), the Germanic mercenaries used in pike (Lanze) and shot formations during the early modern period, who formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empires Imperial Army (Reichsarmee) from the late 1400s to the early 1600s, fighting in the Habsburg-Valois wars, the Habsburg-Ottoman wars, and the European wars of religion. The colloquial term was used for the German army soldiers of the First (Imperial German Army) and Second World Wars (Wehrmacht). It is also used by patriotic soldiers of the Bundeswehr and the Austrian Bundesheer (de).

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External links (in German)