The military aircraft, weapons, tanks and fortifications

The various army reforms (Army 61, Army 95, Army XXI) implemented against the background of a changing security situation always went hand in hand with a fundamental reorganisation of the Swiss Army and its equipment. Texts and photos held by the Swiss Federal Archives document these developments.

Military aircraft

The files on military aircraft and their procurement, military airfields, aviation accidents and military anti-aircraft defence held by the Swiss Federal Archives are a comprehensive source of information. Important documents can be found in the fonds of the Department of Aviation and Anti-Aircraft Defence (1939-1979) and the Federal Office for Military Aviation and Anti-Aircraft Defence (1979-1995). Other documents on military aircraft and anti-aircraft guns are held by the fonds of the armament services group and the Defense Technology Division. Photo negatives and glass plates are also available. Some photos of military aircraft of the Second World War are also available in the photo collection of the Armed Forces Staff. The National Defence fonds contain, among others, information on emergency landings and crashes involving foreign military aircraft, especially during the two World Wars, and documents on procurement transactions concluded by the former Military Department.

Weapons and tanks

The arms-related documents held by the Swiss Federal Archives focus on the evaluation of weapons and ammunition as well as their procurement, potential uses and administration. Technical details or spectacular photos, on the other hand, are rarely to be found. In the interest of successful research, it is recommendable to use the names of the official departments and manufacturing companies. Tanks, for instance, are among the products manufactured by the Swiss Federal Constructions Works in Thun.

Photos relating to tanks and various other weapons dating from the pre-1950s can be found in the National Defence fonds, the photo collection of the Armed Forces Staff on the Second World War and the fonds of the Defence Technology Division of the Federal Department of Defence (1875-1967). Photos of weapons dating from the 1960s onwards can be found in the fonds of the Artillery Division and Field Division 5. Additional documents are held by the private archives of the Association of Swiss Artillery Units (1880-2000) and the fonds of the Gruppe für Rüstungsdienste (1923-1995), Gruppe Rüstung (1994-2003), Kriegstechnische Abteilung (1875-1968), Eidgenössische Konstruktionswerkstätte, Thun (1843-1992), Eidgenössische Munitionsfabrik, Thun (1842-1980), Eidgenössische Munitionsfabrik, Altdorf (1921-1995), Eidgenössische Pulverfabrik, Wimmis (1891-1994), Eidgenössische Waffenfabrik, Bern (1871-1985), Eidgenössisches Flugzeugwerk, Emmen (1938-1978), Labor Spiez (1935-2006), Laboratorium Wimmis (1941-1966), Schweizerische Unternehmung für Flugzeuge und Systeme (1943-2000), Schweizerische Unternehmung für Waffensysteme (1978-1989) and Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft: DUAL USE - militärisch und zivil verwendbare Güter (1993-2010).

Fortifications

Fortifications symbolised Switzerland's determination to defend its neutrality during the Second World War. Using the name of the office in question will help with research activities – for instance Division for Combat Engineering and Fortifications (1881-1991). Photos relating to fortifications dating from the pre-1950s can be found in the National Defence fonds, the photo collection of the Armed Forces Staff on the Second World War and the fonds of the Defence Technology Division of the Federal Department of Defence (1875-1967).

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Last modification 31.05.2016

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