This paper analyses the gendered representation of military service in the German YouTube series Die Rekruten (DR) – a popular web series produced by the German Armed Forces for recruiting purposes, which accompanies twelve navy recruits during their basic training. It is situated within research on masculinity, the military, and military recruiting. The article supplements current scholarship by studying a previously neglected case that is of particular interest due to Germany’s anti-militarist culture, which should make military recruiting and military public relations more difficult. The paper asks, how is military service represented in DR, what are its discursive effects, and what role does masculinity play in this process? We find support for recent feminist research on military masculinity/ies (including in military recruiting) that emphasizes ambiguity and contradiction. What distinguishes the construction of military masculinity in DR from, for example, US or British recruiting ads is its markedly civil character. This not only increases the military’s appeal for a more diverse audience but it also increases the legitimacy of the military and its activities by concealing the violence that has for the past two decades been a very real part of what the German Armed Forces (also) do.