The soldier was walking through the parade ground south of Hamburg in Munster, Lower Saxony, when the animals began following him.
Whenever he stopped and turned around, the wolves did too, and then when he set off again, they duly followed.
As he became increasingly anxious, the soldier headed for a tower on the parade ground and scrambled up it, local police reported later. But the wolves waited patiently below, circling his refuge.
Eventually the soldier, who was armed but did not have live ammunition with him, climbed down and kicked at them, at which point they kept their distance. But they did not give up, and followed him again when he headed for the barracks.
Before he got there though, the wolves disappeared into the darkness, having apparently lost interest.
Helge John, wolf expert at the Federal Forestry Commission, said the trio of wolves must have been young, probably around six months old, since fully grown animals usually run away when they smell humans. But young wolves can be very curious, he said.
Advising walkers who encounter wolves, John said, “Stay calm, stop, and keep your distance.” He also said that one should address wolves in a decisive tone.
The German army now says it will draw up guidelines on what soldiers should do when they meet a wolf in the wild.
Wolves have only recently been sighted again in the Munster region of Lower Saxony – for the first time in a hundred years. The wolves that followed the soldier could have been the three cubs spotted recently by a naturalist in the region.