Operations Vehicle (ELW) - Command Vehicle (KdoW)

In Germany, a command vehicle (short: ELW) is an emergency vehicle that is used to guide and coordinate tactical units of the fire brigade, the THW, the police or other auxiliary forces. Accordingly, most authorities and organizations with security tasks have command vehicles.

According to the standard and the corresponding service regulations, a command vehicle is manned by a so-called platoon, which helps the commander in handling an operation. This troop consists of a driver, a radio operator, a group leader at special disposal and the platoon leader or operations manager himself. In many places, however, at least in the case of normal deployments, there has been a move to staffing a command vehicle only with a driver and operations manager. In the case of smaller voluntary fire brigades in particular, crew transport or multi-purpose vehicles with special additional equipment are often used instead of standardized command vehicles to exercise command.

For use in Germany, the current types have been standardized since 1999 (DIN 14507-2 to DIN 14507-5). Previously, the layout and tasks of these vehicles were very different.

The command vehicle (KdoW) standardized in DIN 14 507 Part 5 is a command vehicle for smaller operations. It is primarily used to transport executives or as their company vehicle. This vehicle should only be used as an independent and individual command vehicle for the coordination of small operations. De facto, however, it is used empirically mainly by managers of larger fire brigades or units.

Since this is usually a car or station wagon, a command vehicle can reach significantly higher speeds than conventional truck-based emergency vehicles. This allows a commander to arrive at the scene and explore it before other forces arrive and have to be instructed. Due to the federalist structure of the state, there is no uniform radio call name for this vehicle. His special load usually consists of breathing apparatus, radio equipment, handheld searchlights, guide materials and signaling horns. According to the standard, the maximum permissible total weight is 3.5 tons (but at least 1.7 tons).

The command vehicle 1 (ELW 1) standardized in DIN 14507 Part 2 is the standard command vehicle for many fire departments. For operations up to a medium scale, it can accommodate and support an operations commander. Many professional fire brigades and numerous volunteer fire brigades have designated the command vehicle 1 in their alarm and deployment regulations as the lead vehicle for a fire engine.

As a rule, minibuses or vans serve as the chassis for these vehicles, as they allow significantly more work and seating space than cars. Inside there are usually benches with a table and several radios. The special loading of this vehicle varies greatly with local conditions. According to the standard, the maximum permissible total weight is 4 tons. These are usually also referred to as MTW-EL.

The command vehicle 2 (ELW 2) standardized in DIN 14507 Part 3 is designed to coordinate medium-sized and larger operations by the fire brigade and civil protection. He can support an entire command group in their work, which is necessary, for example, when a formation or several tactical units are deployed in a larger operational area or when coordinating various aid organizations in a single operation. Depending on the equipment, some command vehicles 2 can temporarily replace a control center in the event of a breakdown.

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