Commander in Chief of the
The High Command.
The basic principle under the German military system is unity
of command. This principle is exemplified in the highest as
well as the lower echelons. Under this system the Army, Navy,
and Air Force are regarded as branches of a single service
(Die Wehrmacht), headed by the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando
der Wehrmacht or OKW)(1).[See Section 4 for an explanation
of the use of these numbers.] The OKW controls all matters
of inter-service policy in both peace and war. It is responsible
for all preparation for national defence in time of peace,
and for the conduct of operations in time of war. The head
of the OKW is a cabinet member and represents the joint interest
of the three branches with respect to other departments of
In effect, therefore, the German High Command is divided into
four parts, as follows: Armed Forces High Command Oberkommando
der Wehrmacht (OKW)(2), Army High Command Oberkommando des
Heeres (OKH)(3), Navy High Command Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
(OKM)(3), Air Force High Command Oberkommando der Luftwaffe
Under this system it is not unusual in a task force for units
of one branch of the Armed Forces to come under the immediate
command of another branch. All personnel may be transferred
from one branch to another in the same or equivalent rank.
This, in fact, has been done on a very considerable scale
in 1943 and 1944, with a transfer of thousands of members
of the Air Force and Navy to the Army.
The OKW is supreme and responsible for the coordination of
the active war effort by the three subordinate branches, while
the OKH is responsible for all purely Army matters, just as
each of the other two High Commands is responsible for the
application of general policies within its own sphere.
In wartime, each High Command has a forward echelon (1. Staffel)(5)
and a rear echelon (2. Staffel). The forward echelon moves
to a location appropriate to the theater of main operations,
while the rear echelon remains in Berlin. (Almost all elements
of the rear echelon were evacuated from Berlin beginning in
October 1943.) The object of this division is to insure that
all purely routine and administrative matters will be handled
in the rear and not obtrude themselves into the actual conduct
of operations by the forward headquarters.
There is a fairly standardised method of indicating the relative
size and importance of the various subdivisions within a high
command. In descending order, these units with the accepted
translations used in this book are:
In general (with some exceptions) an Amt or Amtsgruppe is
headed by a general officer and an Abteilung by a field officer.
However, these subdivisions are not necessarily subordinate
to one another schematically, i.e., the channel downward from
an Amt may skip Amtsgruppe and go direct to Abteilung or even
The following description gives the nomenclature and function
of only the more important subdivisions of the Armed Forces
High Command (OKW) and the Army High Command (OKH). All the
German abbreviations used are explained in a glossary at the
end of the section. It should be noted that this is the organisation
existing at the beginning of 1945, and that under present
circumstances the High Command, like all other aspects of
the German Armed Forces, is subject to rapid and unforeseen
2. The OKW (11)
himself is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (Oberster
Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht)(12). Under him, Wilhelm
is the Chief of the Armed Forces High Command (Chef
des OKW)(13) and as such serves as Adolf
chief executive officer in the administration
of the Armed Forces and the application of his policies and
The operational part of the OKW is the Armed Forces Operations
Staff (Wehrmachtführungsstab), which constitutes the
main advisory body to Adolf
on strategy and planning. It is located at the field
headquarters of the OKW, which is known as the Führerhauptquartier(14).
The other subdivisions of the OKW are mostly with the rear
echelon and deal with numerous administrative matters of joint
interest to the three branches of the Armed Forces.
The accompanying chart (Figure 4) shows the principal branches
of the OKW and their subordination. Their functions are discussed
in the following paragraphs.
a. Armed Forces Central Office
WZA)(15). The officer in charge of this agency is responsible
for central organisational matters, such as increasing or
reducing the personnel of branches of the High Command. The
office also includes the Armed Forces Central Group (Ag WZ)(16).
b. Chief Of Armed Forces Motor Transportation
des Wehrmachtkraftfahrwesens Chef WKW)(17). This officer is
administrative head of all matters concerning motor transportation.
At the same time he holds the position of Chief Motor Transport
Officer in the Army General Staff (Gen St d H/Gen Qu/Gen d
Kfw) and controls the Inspectorate of Motor Transport in the
General Army Office (AHA/Gen d Kfw/Jn 12). His activities
are subject to the close supervision of Adolf
personal appointee, the Inspector General of
Motor Transport (Gen Insp Kfw).
c. Chief Of Armed Forces Motor Transportation. (Rail And
(Chef des Transportwesens der Wehrmacht Chef Trspw
d W)(18). This officer is administrative head of all rail
and water transportation and also is believed to be the Chief
Army Transportation Officer in the Army General Staff (Gen
St d H/Chef d Trspw). Subordinate to him are the Field Transportation
Branch (F Abt) (19), the Central Armed Forces Transportation
Command (W Trsp Ltg Mitte)(20), and the Traffic Branch (Verk
d. Chief Of The Armed Forces Patrol Service
des Wehrmachtstreifendienstes Chef W Str D)(22). This officer,
appointed in March 1944, is head of all Armed Forces patrols
and all welfare matters concerning troops away from their
field units. The welfare function concerning troops in transit
was formerly the responsibility of the General for Special
Employment IV (Gen.z.b.V. IV)(23) in the OKH, an office which
apparently was superseded by that of the Chief of the Armed
Forces Patrol Service.
e. Armed Forces Surgeon General
. (Chef des Wehrmachtsanitätswesens
Chef W San)(24). Subordinate to the Chief of the OKW and,
in medical matters, to the Commissioner General of Medicine
and Sanitation (General-Kommissar des Führers für
das Sanitäts- und Gesundheitswesen). The Armed Forces
Surgeon General formerly also held the positions of Chief
Army Medical Inspector (H San Insp) and Army Surgeon (H Arzt).
In August 1944, the personal union was dissolved, but the
latter two positions, as well as the equivalent positions
in the Navy and Air Force, are all subject to the supervision
and control of the Armed Forces Surgeon General in medical
f. Chief Of Army Staff With Chief OKW
. (Chef des Heeresstabes
beim Chef OKW Chef H St b Chef OKW)(25). Chief Liaison Officer
of the Army at Wilhelm
g. Bureau Of Economic Welfare
. (Sonderstab für
Handelskrieg und wirtschaftliche Kampfmassnahmen Sd St HWK)(26).
This is a small agency to represent the interests of the Armed
Forces with other government agencies concerned with economic
warfare and to coordinate global economic policies with Japan.
h. Inspector General For Prisoner Of War Affairs
für das Kriegsgefangenenwesen der Wehrmacht Gen Insp
Kriegsgef)(27). This personal appointee of Adolf
is responsible for insuring the security of prisoner
of war installations in Germany and the most effective employment
of prisoner-of-war labor. He may issue orders to other OKW
and OKH agencies concerned with prisoners of war.
i. Armed Forces Budget Branch
WH)(28). This is concerned only with the budget of the OKW
and not with those of the other high commands.
j. Armed Forces Judge Advocate General
k. Armed Forces Operations Staff
WFSt)(30). This is a joint general staff containing officers
from 'all three branches. It is responsible for over-all planning
and strategy and advises and assists Adolf
in the planning and execution of military operations.
(1) Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff
(Stellvertretender Chef des Wehrmachtführungsstabes Stellv
Chef WFSt)(31). This officer controls the staff proper, which
consists of sections concerned with operations, organisation,
intelligence, and supply. Each of these sections includes
officers representing all three branches of the Armed Forces.
(The intelligence section now embodies elements of the former
counterintelligence branch and other operational portions
of the old Foreign and Counterintelligence Office of the OKW,
the bulk of which was taken over by the SS in the middle of
(2) Foreign Group
(Amtsgruppe Ausland Ag Ausl)(32).
This includes the Branch for Military Attaches of the OKH
(Att Abt d OKH)(33). It also is concerned with acquisition
of foreign newspapers, rules on travel to foreign countries,
and relations of German military personnel with foreigners.
(3) Armed Forces Signal Communications Group
Wehrmachtnachrichtenverbindungen Ag WNV)(34). This group maintains
the trunk communications between the high commands and is
the nerve centre of the top command echelons. It has at least
two signal regiments of the Army at its disposal to maintain
a special network of land cables and radio channels linking
the OKW, OKH, OKL, and OKM and the principal subordinate headquarters.
It contains a radio communications branch (Ag WNV/Fu)(35)
and a wire communications branch (Ag WNV/KF)(36).
(4) Cryptographic Branch
(5) Armed Forces Historical Branch
Abteilung der Wehrmacht W Kr Gesch)(38). Headed by the Fuhrer's
Official Military Historian (Der Beauftr d Führers für
die mil Geschichtsschr.) This officer also heads the Army
Historical Branch (Kr Gesch Heer) and other historical agencies
in the OKH. This branch records all military history which
concerns the three branches of the Armed Forces as a whole.
(6) Armed Forces Propaganda Branch
Wehrmachtpropaganda W Pr)(39). Headed by the Chief of the
Propaganda Troops (Chef Pr Tr)(40), this branch is responsible
for all types of military propaganda except that which is
fed to the troops by the National-Socialist Guidance Staffs
(NSFSt) of the various high commands. It includes sections
for the administration of the propaganda troops, propaganda
to the home front, military censorship, propaganda to foreign
countries, and counter propaganda.
l. General Armed Forces Office
. (Allgemeines Wehrmachtamt
AWA)(41). This office is composed of independent branches
in the OKW, grouped together for administrative purposes.
(1) General Armed Forces Branc
h (Allgemeine Abteilung
(2) Armed Forces Administration Group
Ag WV)(43). Responsible for the administration of all OKW
agencies and OKW personnel and for certain fiscal matters.
(3) Chief of Prisoners of War
(Chef des Kriegsgefangenenwesens
Chef Kriegsgef)(44). The administrative head of all matters
relating both to German and to Allied prisoners of war, he
also performs the function of inspector of prisoner-of-war
installations. In this latter capacity he acts under the directives
of the Inspector General for Prisoner-of-War Affairs (Gen
Insp Kriegsgef), who comes directly under the Chief of the
OKW. The agency is divided into a General Branch (Kriegsgef
Allg.)(45) which deals with treatment, exchange, and release
of prisoners, administrative and punitive matters, and relations
with the protective powers and with the International Red
Cross, and an organisation Branch (Kriegsgef. Org.)(46), which
deals with the employment and living conditions of prisoners
of war in German hands.
(4) Inspectorate for Welfare and Pensions Agencies
(Inspektion der Fürsorge und Versorgungsdienststellen
im OKW Jn FV)(47). Welfare and pension matters for all branches
of the Armed Forces are controlled by this agency. Subordinate
to it are the Armed Forces Welfare and Pensions Branch (W
Vers)(48), the Civilian Pensions Branch (Abt. Reichsvers.)(49),
and the Armed Forces Education Branch (WU)(50). Until 1944
the Armed Forces Education Branch was a separate branch of
(5) Armed Forces Casualty Branch
(6) Armed Forces Plenipotentiary For Settlement
des OKW für Siedlungsfragen BW Sied) (52). Arranges for
resettlement of Germans in annexed territory.
(7) Hitler Youth Liaison
(Vertreter der Wehrmacht beim
Jugendführer des Deutschen Reichs AWA/HJ)(53). Represents
the interests of the Armed Forces in the Hitler Youth organisation
(8) Military Science Branch
W Wiss)(54). Studies developments of the physical sciences
which affect the military.
m. Armed Forces Economic Office
Wi A)(55). This office is responsible for long-range military-economic
planning, the economic exploitation of occupied areas, and
representing the interests of the Armed Forces with other
government departments concerned with production, raw materials,
labor, agriculture, and foreign trade. It contains:
(1) Armed Forces Economic Branch
Abteilung Wi)(56). Concerned with general planning matters
and control of the subordinate regional agencies of the office.
(2) Raw Materials Branch
This agency has been transferred to the control of the Ministry
of Armament and War Production for the duration of the war.
It included or cooperated with the Central Raw Materials Branch
(Ro St A)(58), the Armed Forces Tire Centre (W R St)(59) (still
under the Armed Forces Economic Office), the Central Petroleum
Branch (Min St A)(60), and the Economic Experts Personnel
Section (Stab W Fach)(61) (still under the Armed Forces Economic
(3) Contracts and Price Control Branch
Preisprüfwesen Preispr)(62). The fixing of prices for
Armed Forces Contracts is supervised by this branch. It is
now under the Ministry of Armament and War Production.
n. Conscription And Recruiting Office
WEA)(63). This office was created in the summer of 1943, when
the function of controlling recruiting and conscription for
the three branches of the Armed Forces was transferred from
the Army High Command to the OKW. It controls the Replacement
Branch (Abt. E)(64), which was formerly part of the Group
for Replacement and General Troop Matters (Ag E Tr) in the
o. National Socialist Guidance Staff Of The OKW
Führungsstab des OKW NSF/OKW)(65). Established in December
1943, this agency is to ensure uniform political indoctrination
in the Armed Forces, in cooperation with the Party chancellery.
(1) Interior Group
(Amtsgruppe Inland Ag J)(66). Formerly
a branch (Abt.) of the General Armed Forces Office (AWA),
this was upgraded to a group (Ag.) and transferred to the
National-Socialist Guidance Staff of the OKW during February
1944. It maintains liaison between the OKW and civilian agencies
in Germany. It contains a domestic security branch (Ag J/1)(67),
and an ideological guidance branch (Ag J/2)(68).
(2) Party Liaison
(Gruppe z.b.V. Gr.z.b.V.)(69). Formerly
part of the General Armed Forces Office (AWA), this section
was transferred to the control of the National-Socialist Guidance
Staff of the OKW in 1944. It is believed to maintain the liaison
with the National-Socialist Party and to control such matters
as collections for charitable or Party purposes within the
p. Inspector General Of Motor Transport
für das Kraftfahrwesen Gen Insp Kfw)(70). He is immediately
subordinate to Adolf
and coordinates all matters regarding motor transport.
He may issue orders to other OKW and OKH offices concerned
with motor transport.
4th February 1938
30th April 1945
The high command of the army
High Command In The Field.
Under the German military system the basic principle is unity
of command at all levels. Thus the Army, Navy, and Air Force
are considered branches of a single service, the Armed Forces
(Wehrmacht). This joint High Command is responsible for the
whole preparation of defence in time of peace and for the
general conduct of war, it appoints commands for the joint
task forces in the field and sees to it that the efforts of
the three branches of the armed forces are thoroughly coordinated.
In time of war the Armed Forces High Command, as well as the
High Command of each of the three branches establishes a field
headquarters away from Berlin for the conduct of operations.
Its location at any given time depends on the theater to which
the main attention is being directed. In the case of the Navy,
it is usually at one of the naval bases while the headquarters
of the Army, the Air Force and the Armed Forces have been
in close proximity to each other at various points since the
spring of 1941. The Commander-in-Chief and the bulk of the
General Staff of each High Command are stationed at field
headquarters, while the non-operational branches back in the
Zone of the Interior continue to handle all basic administrative
matters, procurement, mobilisation, training and replacement
of personnel, and equipment.
is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (Oberster Befehlshaber
der Wehrmacht). His Deputy as such is General Field Marshall
, Chief of the Armed Forces High Command (Chef des
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht).
Under the Armed Forces High Command the functions of the joint
general staff are performed by what is known as the Armed
Forces Operations Staff (Wehrmachtführungsstaf W.F.St).
The field headquarters of the Armed Forces High Command which
includes the principal sections of the Armed Forces Operations
Staff is known as the Führerhauptquartier. During the
Polish campaign it was stationed between Berlin and the Polish
Frontier, moving to the Rhineland for the Western campaign
in 1940, back to the East in 1941, and again to the West in
1944. Adolf Hitler's
headquarters (Führerhauptquartier) is believed to have
moved recently to southern Germany where it is probably located
in the vicinity of Berchtesgaden.
The personnel of the Armed Forces High Command is drawn from
all three branches, but the Army naturally has the largest
The name of a command, organisation, or unit deriving from
the Armed Forces High Command is often prefixed by Wehrmacht
or Führungs in order to distinguish it from a similar
command, organisation, or unit in one of the three branches.
Since December 1941, when Walther
was dismissed as Commander-in-Chief of
the Army (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres), and Adolf
took direct control of the Army, the field headquarters
of the Army High Command virtually has been merged with that
of the Armed Forces High Command. The functions of the two,
however, have remained distinct, and there has been no personal
union except at the top. Wilhelm
acts as Adolf
deputy in the latter's capacity as Commander-in-Chief
of the Army as well as in his capacity as Supreme Commander
of the Armed Forces.
For the organisation of the Armed Forces High Command see
Figure 4, Chapter 1.
For the organisation of the Army High Command see Figure 5,
The Führerhauptquartier is frequently located in special
trains. It is at all times well protected against air or land
attacks by crack SS units. In addition to those the following
two units of the elite army motorised division, the Grossdeutschland
Panzer Grenadier Division, have been temporarily charged with
that protection and were therefore awarded the honour of including
"The Führer" in their unit designation. These
The Führer Escort Brigade, which consists of three infantry
battalions, one artillery battalion, one tank regiment (including
one battalion of Pz. Kpfw.
and one battalion of assault guns), and one engineer
The Führer Grenadier Brigade which consists of:
Two infantry battalions (one motorised and one armoured),
one battalion of self-propelled artillery, one assault gun
company, one Panther tank battalion.
The High Command
3. The Army High Command (OKH)
. Since the Army is by far the largest and
most important of the three branches of the German Armed Forces,
it was, from the outbreak of the war, the branch which Adolf
was most anxious to control directly. Its headquarters
in the field always has been located in the immediate vicinity
of the Führerhauptquartier. In December 1941, after the
failure of the Moscow offensive, Adolf
as Commander-in-Chief of the Army (Oberbefehlshaber
des Heeres (70a)) and took over personal command himself.
He has exercised this command ever since, and the result has
been a partial merging or overlapping of the functions of
the OKW and of the OKH. Wilhelm
, while still Chief of the OKW, nevertheless also
acts as Adolf
executive officer in matters pertaining to the
Army alone. Similarly, it is often difficult to draw the line
between the de facto authority and functions of the Army General
Staff and those of the Armed Forces Operations Staff.
The accompanying chart (Figure 5) shows the principal branches
of the OKH and their subordination. Their functions are discussed
in the following paragraphs.
b. Army General Staff
. (Generalstab des Heeres Gen
St d H)(71). This organisation, which is a functional part
of the Army High Command, must not be confused with the General
Staff Corps. The latter, called in German simply Generalstab,
is a category of specially selected and carefully trained
officers who fill almost all the important command as well
as staff positions throughout the Army. The Army General Staff,
on the other hand, occupies a position analogous to that of
the War Department General Staff; it is the main advisory
body to the Commander-in-Chief on operations, intelligence,
organisation, supply, and general matters of Army policy.
Both the Army General Staff and the General Staff Corps are
headed by the Chief of the Army General Staff (Chef des Generalstabs
des Heeres(72), also referred to simply as Chef des Generalstabs).
In time of war the Army General Staff is stationed at field
headquarters, leaving only a small rear echelon in Berlin.
The Army General Staff basically consists of 12 branches which
cover all the proper staff and planning functions and which
are grouped under five senior officers known as Oberquartiermeister
I V(73). In wartime, a number of additional high-ranking officers
are appointed as chief advisers on the employment of the various
arms and services in the field and on certain other technical
matters; some of these officers and the sections which they
control are absorbed organically into the Army General Staff
for the duration of the war, while others are regarded as
attached to it. By far the most important of them is the Chief
Supply and Administration Officer (Generalquartiermeister)(74),
who is responsible for the whole supply and administrative
structure of the Field Army. Since he and the other wartime
appointees perform the functions of some of the regular branches
of the General Staff, it is believed that the separate functioning
of these particular branches is largely suspended in wartime.
Moreover, with the partial merging of the field headquarters
of the OKW and the OKH under Adolf
personal command at the end of 1941, some of
the other normal functions of branches of the Army General
Staff have been wholly or partly taken over by the Armed Forces
Operations Staff (WFSt). Thus the grouping under Oberquartiermeister
seems to have become largely meaningless, and it is even doubtful
whether these positions are actually filled at the present
time. Since, however, they are a part of the permanent organisation
of the Army General Staff, they are given here and on the
accompanying chart with their appropriate functions and subordinate
branches. It is indicated in each case below wherever the
functions of a particular branch are believed to have been
largely or wholly suspended or transferred to some other agency:
. (Zentralabteilung GZ)(75). This branch
is concerned principally with central administrative matters
pertaining to the General Staff Corps rather than with the
functions of the Army General Staff. Until 1943 it made all
appointments and promotions of General Staff Corps officers
at all echelons; this responsibility then was transferred
to Branch 3 of the Army Personnel Office (PA/P 3).
First Senior General Staff Officer
I O Qu I)(76). This office which deals with operations and
related matters is reported to have been vacant for some time,
its function being performed largely by the operations sections
of the Armed Forces Operations Staff (WFSt). The grouping
O Qu I includes:
(1. Abteilung or Op Abt)(77). This branch,
concerned with operations, develops and disseminates basic
tactical rules and methods of conducting warfare. Its function
of advising the Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief on actual
operations and strategy has largely lapsed.
(5. Abteilung)(78). The function of this branch
which deals with transport, has been handled since the beginning
of the war by the Chief Transportation Officer attached to
the General Staff (Gen St d H/Chef Trspw).
(6. Abteilung)(79). Functions of this branch
which is concerned with rear echelons have been handled since
the beginning of the war by the Chief Supply and Administration
Officer (Gen St d H/Gen Qu).
(9. Abteilung)(80). Topography, specific responsibility
of this branch, has been handled since 1941 by the Chief of
Mapping and Survey in the General Staff (Gen St d H/Kr Kart
(10. Abteilung)(81). Manoeuvers and operational
planning, now for the most part are divided among a number
of other agencies of the OKW and OKH, both at field headquarters
and at the rear echelon.
Second Senior General Staff Officer
II O Qu II)(82). The training functions of this grouping largely
are taken over in wartime by the Home Command; it includes:
(4. Abteilung or Ausb. Abt.)(83). This branch
is responsible in wartime only for training within the Theater
of Operations; all training in the Zone of the Interior is
under the Chief of Training in the Replacement Army (Chef
(11. Abteilung)(84). Military schools and
officer training which are the functions of this branch are
now entirely under the Home Command, especially the Inspector
General for Potential Officers NCOs (GJF).
Third Senior General Staff Officer
III O Qu III)(85). This grouping, responsible for organisation
(2. Abteilung or Org. Abt.)(86). This branch
is responsible for laying down rules relating to various aspects
of organisation in the field and, in conjunction with the
chiefs of arms and services attached to the General Staff,
recommending to the General Army Office (AHA) the issuance
of changes in the existing Tables of Organisation
(8. Abteilung)(87). The function of this branch
which was concerned with technical services is now probably
handled by other agencies such as the Chief of Technical Troops
under the Chief Supply and Administration Officer (Gen Qu/Gen
d Techn Tr).
Fourth Senior General Staff Officer
IV O Qu IV)(88). The intelligence branch is probably the only
one of the five major groupings in the Army General Staff
which is still fully operative. Its two geographical branches
are subdivided into various geographical sections which collect
and evaluate information and disseminate intelligence regarding
the armies of the various countries in the form of printed
manuals and periodic reports. The grouping includes:
, Eastern Armies (3. Abteilung, Frd Heere Ost)(89).
Deals with the armies of the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, the
lower Balkans, Africa, and the Far East.
, Western Armies (12. Abteilung, Frd Heere
West)(90). Deals with the armies of Western Europe (Section
II), Great Britain (Section III), the upper Balkans (Section
IV), and the Western Hemisphere (Section V). The Western Hemisphere
section was transferred from the Eastern Armies Branch to
Western Armies Branch after Pearl Harbour
Fifth Senior General Staff Officer
V O Qu V)(91). Deals with military history. This group formerly
included special sections for historical research, Army libraries,
and Army archives, all of which were transferred in 1942 to
the Führer's Official Military Historian (D. Beauftr
d Führers für die mil Geschichtsschr)(92). It still
nominally includes Branch 7, Military Science Branch (7. Abteilung
or Kr Wiss Abt)(93), but the functions of this branch are
also believed to have been largely taken over by the new Army
Historical Branch (Kr Gesch Heer) under the Führer's
Official Military Historian.
Chief Supply And Administration Officer
Gen Qu)(94). This officer does not belong to the basic organisation
of the Army General Staff in peacetime but was appointed at
the beginning of the war, in accordance with previous plans,
to take charge of the whole supply and administrative structure
of the Field Army. He was given an elaborate organisation,
described below, including a number of attached officers as
chiefs of the various services for the Field Army; these officers
bear the same relationship to the General Staff as the chiefs
of arms except that they come under the Chief Supply and Administrative
Officer instead of being attached directly to the Chief of
The organisation given below is basically that which applied
in the early stages of the war and takes into account only
the more important of the temporary modifications which have
occurred since. It should be noted that the first three sections,
called supply sections (Quartiermeister-Gruppen 1, 2, 3)(95)
are concerned with the planning, organisation, and general
operation of the services in the field; they are each headed
by a General Staff Corps officer and may be regarded as constituting
the G-4 division of the Army General Staff. All the other
sections, which are numbered according to the standard German
staff organisation, deal with the actual functioning of the
various services and are headed by the chiefs of these services
for the Field Army.
Section Qu 1
(Gruppe Qu 1)(96). General planning and
organisation of supply in the field, establishment of communication
lines and rear boundaries of the Theater of Operations, transport
questions in conjunction with the Chief Army Transportation
Officer (Chef Trspw), and control of those service troops
not sub-allotted to army groups and armies.
Section Qu 2
(Gruppe Qu 2)(97). Civil affairs policies
in the communications zone, especially the exploitation of
the country for military purposes; evacuation, booty, and
prisoners of war.
Section Qu 3
(Gruppe Qu 3)(98). Action on supply requisitions
from army groups and armies for ordnance, fuel, and engineer
equipment. These requisitions are adjusted in accordance with
over-all plans and policies and are then forwarded to the
authorities in the Zone of the Interior.
Section II a
(Gruppe II a, Adjutantur)(99). Personnel
and security matters within the staff of the Chief Supply
and Administration Officer.
Section III, Field Legal Administration
Feldjustizverwaltung)(100). Headed by the chief of the Judge
Advocate General's Department in the field, responsible for
questions of military law and jurisprudence. This section
was upgraded to a branch and transferred to the control of
the General for Special Employment (Gen z b V) sometime after
the beginning of the Russian campaign.
Section IV a, Chief Army Administrative Officer
IVa, Heeresintendant)(101). Responsible for the general control
of administrative matters and the personnel who deal with
them throughout the Field Army. These matters include pay,
clothing, personal equipment, rations, billeting, and fiscal
Section IV b, Army Surgeon
(Gruppe IV b, Heeresarzt
H Arzt)(102). Controls all medical matters and medical personnel
throughout the Field Army, subject to the direction of the
Chief Army Medical Inspector (H San Insp). (At present these
two positions are believed to be united in one person.)
Section IV c, Army Veterinarian
(Gruppe IV c, Heeresveterinär
H Vet)(103). Controls all veterinary matters and veterinary
personnel in the Field Army, subject to the direction of the
Chief Veterinary Inspector (Vet Insp).
Section V, Chief Motor Transport Officer
General des Kraftfahrwesens Gen d Kfw)(104). Controls the
motor maintenance troops in the Field Army and is responsible
for general questions of availability and utilisation of motor
transport. He is simultaneously in charge of a group in the
General Army Office (AHA) responsible for the same matters
in the Zone of the Interior, and holds concurrently the office
of Chief of Armed Forces Motor Transportation (Chef WKW) under
Section Z, Civil Commissioner
(Gruppe Z, Zivilbeauftragter)(105).
Responsible for non-military matters in the civil administration
of occupied areas in the Theater of Operations, including
relations with the civil authorities and the discipline of
the population; cooperates with Sections Qu 2 and III above.
This section is believed to have been renamed Qu 5.
Chief of Supply Troops
(General der Nachschubtruppen)(106).
Controls all General Headquarters supply troops, working in
cooperation with Section Qu 3 on questions of their employment.
Known as Heeresnachschubführer until October 1942.
Section F. P., Army Postmaster
(Gruppe F. P., Heeresfeldpostmeister)(107).
Responsible for all questions relating to the Army Postal
Service in the Field Army.
Chief of Technical Troops
(General der Technischen
Truppen Gen d Techn Tr)(108). Chief adviser on the organisation
and employment of the technical troops. These troops, while
classified as a combat arm, perform a number of highly technical
services requiring specialised equipment for the armies in
Senior Military Police Officer
Höh Feldgen Offz)(109). Responsible for all matters concerning
the organisation and employment of the military police in
the Field Army.
c. Chiefs Of Branches Attached To The General Staff
The Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Chief of the Army
General Staff have at their disposal in wartime a group of
general officers representing the various combat arms who
serve as the principal advisers on the organisation, training,
equipment, and tactical employment of their respective arms
in the field. They usually have no actual command authority
but may issue instructions and suggestions to the troops based
on the evaluation of experience in the field. For the publication
of technical manuals and the like they collaborate with the
inspectorates of their branches in the General Army Office.
They may also recommend changes in the organisation or equipment
of the troops to the Organisation Branch of the General Staff
(Gen St d H/Org Abt) for forwarding to the inspectorates.
Three officers in this category, whose titles begin with Chef
instead of General, are regarded as organically absorbed into
the General Staff for the duration of the war instead of being
attached to it like the others.
The chiefs of those branches of the German Army which are
classified as service troops are likewise attached to the
General Staff in wartime but, as has been shown above, are
placed under the Chief Supply and Administration Officer.
(The Chief of Technical Troops, which are officially classified
as a combat arm, is nevertheless under the Chief Supply and
Administration Officer since these troops actually have the
function of service troops.)
The absence of a representative of the Panzer troops from
this group of senior officers is explained by the creation
in 1943 of the Inspector General of Panzer Troops (Gen Insp
d Pz Tr) to supersede the previous Chief of Mobile Troops,
who had been attached to the General Staff like the other
chiefs of branches. The Inspector General of Panzer Troops
is represented in the General Staff by his Chief Antitank
Officer for All Arms (Gen d Pz Abw aller Waffen).
(1) Chief Infantry Officer
(General der Infanterie
Gen d Inf)(110). Responsible for regular infantry, light infantry,
mountain infantry, cavalry, and reconnaissance matters.
(2) Chief of Armoured Trains
(Kommandeur der Eisenbahn-Panzerzüge
Kdr d Eish Pz Züge)(111).
(3) Chief Artillery Officer
(General der Artillerie
Gen d Art)(112). Controls the Chief Coast and Fortress Artillery
Officer (Gen d H Küst u Fest Art)(113), the Chief Army
Antiaircraft Artillery Officer (Gen d H Flak Tr)(114), and
the Chief Armoured Artillery Officer (Höh Offz Pz Art)(115).
(4) Chief of Mapping and Survey
(Chef des Kriegskarten-
and Vermessungswesens Kr Kart Verm Chef)(116). This officer
is a part of the rear echelon of the General Staff (Gen Std
H/2 Staffel) and is represented at field headquarters by the
Commander of Mapping and Survey Troops (Kdr d Kart u Verm
Tr)(117), who is his direct subordinate.
(5) Chief Signal Officer
(Chef des Heeresnachrichtenwesens
Chef HNW)(118). Part of the General Staff in wartime, with
offices at the rear echelon as well as at field headquarters.
(6) Chief Engineer and Fortifications Officer
der Pioniere und Festungen Gen d Pi u Fest)(119). Controls
the Inspector of Fortifications (Insp Fest)(120) and shares
with the General Army Office control of the Chief of Amphibious
Engineers (Höh Ldgs Pi Fü)(121).
(7) Chief Chemical Warfare Officer
(General der Nebeltruppen
Gen d Nbl Tr)(122).
(8) Chief of Volunteer Units
(General der Freiwilligenverbande
Gen d Freiw Verb)(123). This post was created in January 1944
to replace that of the former General of Eastern Troops (Gen
d Ost Tr)(124). It deals with the organisation, equipment,
training, and employment of units formed from impressed Soviet
prisoners of war. The Chief of Volunteer Units is subordinate
to the Chief of the Army General Staff in matters concerning
the Field Army and to the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander
of the Replacement Army (Chef H Rüst u. BdE) in matters
affecting the Zone of the Interior. His permanent representative
in the Replacement Army is the Commander of Volunteer Units
(Kdr d Freiw Verb)(125).
(9) Chief Army Transportation Officer
(Chef des Transportwesens
Chef Trspw)(126). Also believed to hold the post of Chief
of Armed Forces Transportation (Chef Trspw d W). Part of the
Army General Staff, responsible for rail and water transportation.
He controls the Chief of Railway Troops (Gen d Eisb Tr)(127).
(10) General for Special Employment
zu besonderer Verwendung Gen z b V)(128). Responsible for
the maintenance of discipline, counter-espionage, and legal
matters in the Field Army. Controls the Branch for Army Matters
(Heer Wes Abt), which is concerned with the maintenance of
discipline; the Penal Section (Gr Str); and the Army Field
Legal Branch (H Feld Just Abt), which was formerly the Field
Legal Administration Section under the Chief Supply and Administration
d. Medical And Veterinary Inspectors
. The following
chief inspectors are in charge of all medical and veterinary
matters throughout the German Army and are directly under
(1) Chief Army Medical Inspector
H San Insp)(129). Instructs the Army Surgeon (H Arzt) on medical
matters in the Field Army and controls medical matters in
the Replacement Army, in the same manner as the inspectors
of branches, through the Medical Inspectorate (S Jn) in the
General Army Office. His activities are subject to the supervision
and control of the Armed Forces Surgeon General (Chef W San).
(At present the Chief Army Medical Inspector is believed to
hold concurrently the office of Army Surgeon.)
(2) Chief Veterinary Inspector
Vet Insp)(130). Instructs the Army Veterinary (H Vet) on veterinary
matters in the Field Army and controls veterinary matters
in the Replacement Army, in the same manner as the inspectors
of branches, through the Veterinary Inspectorate (V Jn) in
the General Army Office.
e. Army Personnel Office
. (Heerespersonalamt PA)(131).
This office is independent of both the General Staff and the
Home Command and comes under the direct control of the Commander-in-Chief
of the Army. It is responsible for all appointments, transfers,
promotions, and other matters concerning all types of officers
in the German Army. It therefore has been a powerful instrument
in exercising control over the officer corps.
The order for the promotion of an officer to the rank of colonel
or above is issued by Adolf
himself on the recommendation of the Personnel
Office. In lower ranks it makes the promotions on its own
The authority to transfer various types of specialist officers
(medical, veterinary, ordnance, motor maintenance, and Special
Troop Service) is delegated by the Personnel Office, so far
as the lower ranks are concerned, to the technical branches
which deal with these services; for the upper ranks, the Personnel
Office orders the transfers on the recommendation of the technical
The Personnel Office does not concern itself with Armed Forces
officials, who are dealt with exclusively by the Army Administration
Office (VA); it should be noted, however, that two important
former categories of these officials are now classified as
officers in the new Special Troop Service and are therefore
handled by the Personnel Office.
The Personnel Office includes seven main subdivisions designated
as P 1, P 2, etc. Three of these are now groups (Amtsgruppen)
with several subordinate branches each, while the others are
independent branches (Abteilungen). Group P 6 is a recent
offshoot of the basic Group P 1, and for this reason its subordinate
branches are numbered consecutively with those of P 1.
While the bulk of the Personnel Office is normally stationed
in wartime with the rear echelon of the High Command, each
of its branches also has a forward echelon at field headquarters,
where the major decisions in personnel matters are made.
(1) Group P 1
(Amtsgruppe P 1 Ag P 1)(132). Responsible
for all officers' records, appointments, transfers, and promotions
as well as for basic directives regarding the handling of
officer personnel matters. Its various branches deal with
officers according to categories or branches of service. It
(a) Branch 1, Central Branch
Handles basic policies and directives, including such general
matters as the transfer of large groups of officers from other
branches of the Armed Forces to the Army.
(b) Branch 2
(2. Abteilung)(134). Infantry and cavalry
(c) Branch 3
(3. Abteilung)(135). Officers of the Panzer
troops and of the supply troops.
(d) Branch 4
(4. Abteilung)(136). Artillery and chemical
(e) Branch 5
(5. Abteilung)(137). Engineer and signal
(f) Branch 6
(6. Abteilung)(138). Reserve officers
and officers in recalled status (Offiziere z. V.).
Branch 7, which deals with specialist officers
veterinary, ordnance, motor maintenance), is believed to have
formed the nucleus for the new Group P 6 formed in May 1944
(2) Group P 2
(Amtsgruppe P 2 Ag P 2)(139). Responsible
for officer education and welfare. It was expanded from a
branch in August 1942 when "ideological training"
for the officer corps was added to its functions. It includes:
(a) Policy Section, formerly Branch 1
formerly 1. Abteilung)(140). Education, questions of honour
among officers, political matters, special cases involving
general officers and high staff officers.
(b) Branch 2
(2. Abteilung)(141). Final decisions in
all individual cases involving honour, court-martial, and
(c) Branch 3
(3. Abteilung)(142). Complaints, questions
of Aryan ancestry, marriage, welfare measures, and personal
assistance for officers and their dependants
(3) Branch P 3
(Heeres-Personalabteilung 3 P 3)(143).
Responsible for all General Staff Corps officers, including
their selection and training as well as their transfer and
promotion. It took over full responsibility for these functions
from the Central Branch of the Army General Staff (Gen St
d H/GZ) in March 1943.
(4) Branch P 4
(Heeres-Personalabteilung 4 P 4)(144).
Responsible for officer replacements. Lays down general directives
for the Inspector General for Potential Officers and Non-Commissioned
(5) Branch P 5
(Heeres-Personalabteilung 5 P 5)(145).
Responsible for decorations and awards. Divided into several
sections, each dealing with a different type of decoration
(6) Group P 6
(Amtsgruppe P 6 Ag P 6)(146). Responsible
for personnel matters of officers in the specialist careers
(Sonderlaufbahnen) and of specialist leaders (Sonderführer).
It was formed in May 1944 as an offshoot of Group P 1 as a
result of the creation of the Special Troop Service (TSD),
comprising the administrative officers (Intendanten) and the
judge advocates (Wehrmachtrichter), who were formerly classified
as Armed Forces officials and dealt with by the Army Administration
Office. The numbers of the branches in this group follow those
of Group P 1. It includes:
(a) Branch 7
(7. Abteilung)(147). Medical, veterinary,
ordnance, and motor maintenance officers. In the lower ranks
the authority to transfer these officers is delegated to the
Chief Army Medical Inspector (H San Insp), the Chief Veterinary
Inspector (Vet Insp), the Ordnance Inspectorate (Fz Jn), and
the Chief Motor Transport Officer (Gen d Kfw); in the upper
ranks, transfers are made on the recommendation of these agencies.
(b) Branch 8, General Branch
(8. Allg. Abteilung)(148).
Handles basic policies and issues general directives regarding
officers controlled by the group.
(c) Branch 9
(9. Abteilung)(149). Probably handles
the officers in the Special Troop Service (TSD).
(d) Branch 10
(10. Abteilung (Sdf.))(150). Responsible
for personnel matters of specialist leaders (Sdf) (such as
interpreters). They were formerly taken care of by Branch
7 when it was still part of Group 1.
(7) Branch P 7
(Heeres-Personalabteilung 7 P 7)(151).
Responsible for personnel matters of all officers belonging
to Field Army units under the control of Himmler, primarily
Volks Grenadier divisions (VD). This branch was formed in
(8) Special Section
(Gruppe z b V)(152). This section
contains the officers who are charged with the handling out
of decorations and medals and the performance of other ceremonial
functions. It was formerly called Section for Representation
and Honours (Gruppe Rep/E).
(9) Courses for Senior Personnel Officers
für höhere Adjutanten Lehrg f höhere Adj)(153).
This section deals with the administration of special six
to eight-week courses given by the Army Personnel Office for
Senior Personnel Officers. These consist mainly of lectures
on the functioning and policies of the Army Personnel Office
and affiliated agencies.
f. Chief Of Army Equipment And Commander Of The Replacement
. (Chef der Heeresrüstung und Befehlshaber des
Ersatzheeres Chef H Rüst a BdE)(154). This officer is
the wartime deputy of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army charged
with all the functions of the Zone of the Interior. These
are primarily the conscription, training, and replacement
of personnel; the procurement, storage, and issue of equipment;
and territorial administration. He controls all the principal
offices of the High Command which are left behind as the rear
echelon on mobilisation, with the exception of the Personnel
Office. These are discussed in the following six lettered
g. General Army Office
. (Allgemeines Heeresamt AHA)(155).
Similar in function to the General Armed Forces Office in
the OKW (AWA), this office is composed of a number of important,
but partly unrelated, branches in the OKH, grouped together
for administrative purposes. Its chief is believed to act
as the deputy to the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander
of the Replacement Army. It is used by various agencies both
in the Home Command and in the Field Army and does most of
the paper work for the OKH. It contains:
(Stab AHA)(156). The staff of the General
Army Office is a central agency which approves the publications
written by subordinate units and issues tables of organisation,
tables of equipment, manuals, and other publications. It includes
the Army Regulations Administration (Heeres-Druckvorschriftenverwaltung
HDvV)(157), a section which issues all directives on clothing
and uniforms (Stab/Bkl)(158), and a section concerned with
technical developments in weapons and equipment (Sonderstab
(2) Inspectorates of Arms and Services. There are approximately
15 of these inspectorates, grouped under the General Army
Office, which are the principal agencies for handling the
paper work for their respective arms and services. They have
no command functions themselves but keep records and publish
orders, directives, training manuals, and other material on
behalf of the two types of chiefs of arms and services: the
inspectors (Waffeninspekteure) in the Replacement Army and
the chiefs of branches (Waffengenerale) attached to the General
Staff in the Field Army. They are referred to either as inspectorates
(Inspektionen Jn) or as branches (Waffenabteilungen). Most
of them have numbers, ranging between 2 and 13, but several
have been upgraded to the status of a group (Amtsgruppe) and
control two numbered branches. Jn 1, the Inspectorate of Cadet
Schools (Inspektion der Kriegsschulen), was in peacetime directly
subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army; its function
has now been taken over by the Inspector General for Potential
Officers and Non-Commissioned officers (GJF). The present
inspectorates of arms and services are as follows:
(a) Infantry Branch Inspectorate 2
Jn 2)(160). Attached to the Infantry Branch is the Senior
Infantry Officer for Land Fortifications (Höh Inf Offz
für die Landesbef)(161), who is directly subordinate
to the Chief of the General Army Office. He assists the Chief
Engineer and Fortifications Officer (Inspector of Fortifications)
(Insp Fest) at the Army General Staff in fortification matters
concerning the infantry. He is also responsible for the uniform
training of officers charged with the defence of fortifications.
(b) Riding- and Driving Branch Inspectorate 3
Reit- und Fahrwesen Jn 3)(162). Concerned with the training
of men who handle horses as riders or drivers.
(c) Artillery Group
(Amtsgruppe Artillerie Ag Art)(163).
Formed in July 1944 to control the following two inspectorates:
Artillery Branch Inspectorate 4
Army Antiaircraft Artillery Branch Inspectorate 13
(Heeres-Flakartillerieabtetilung Jn 13)(165).
(d) Engineer Branch Inspectorate 5
(e) Inspectorate of Fortifications
Festungen Jn Fest)(167). Concerned with the training of fortress
(f) Panzer Troop Branch Inspectorate 6
Jn 6)(168). Believed transferred to the control of the Inspector
General of Panzer Troops (Gen Insp d Pz Tr) when that office
was created in 1943.
(g) Signal Group
Formed in December 1943 with the expansion of Inspectorate
7. May be controlled by the Chief of Training (Chef Ausb)
as well as the General Army Office. It includes:
Signal Branch Inspectorate 7
Signal Equipment Branch
N. Ger. Abt)(171).
Army Communications Branch
HNV). Similar in function to the Armed Forces Communications
Group in the OKW (Ag WNV)(172).
(h) Supply Branch Inspectorate 8
Jn 8)(173). Attached to this branch is the Senior Officer
of Administrative Troops (Höh Off d Verw Tr)(174), responsible
for the uniform training of the administrative troops in the
Replacement Army under the directives of the Chief of Training.
(i) Chemical Warfare and Air Raid Protection Branch Inspectorate
(Abteilung Nebeltruppe, Gasabwehr und Luftschutz Jn
(j) Railway Engineer Branch Inspectorate 10
(k) Branch for Technical Troops Inspectorate 11
Technische Truppen Jn 11)(177).
(l) Group of the Chief Motor Transport Officer
des Kraftfahrwesens Gen d Kfw)(178). Formerly called Chief
of Motorisation (Gen d Mot)(179). The Chief Motor Transport
Officer, in addition to being responsible for all motor transport
in the field, also controls the following agencies in the
General Army Office:
Motor Transport Branch Inspectorate 12
Chief of Motor Repair
(Chef des Instandsetzungswesen
Senior Motor Maintenance Troop Officer
Offizier der Kraftfahrparktruppe Höh Off z d Kf Pk Tr)(182).
He supervises the training of motor maintenance troops in
the Replacement Army and his position is equivalent to that
of an inspector.
(m) Medical Inspectorate
S Jn)(183). This inspectorate also contains the staff of the
Chief Army Medical Inspector (HSan Insp) and is equivalent
to a group. It includes:
(Personalabteilung S Jn/ Pers)(184).
(Organisationsabteilung S Jn/Org)(185).
Branch for Medical Science and Hygiene
Wissenschaft und Gesundheitsführung S Jn/Wi G)(186).
(n) Veterinary Inspectorate
V Jn)(187). This inspectorate also contains the staff of the
Chief Veterinary Inspector (Vet Insp).
(o) Ordnance Inspectorate
(Feldzeuginspektion Fz Jn)(188).
The head of the inspectorate also holds the position of Chief
Army Ordnance Officer (Heeresfeldzeugmeister)(189). As such
he controls the entire system of ordnance depots in Germany.
(3) Group for Replacement and General Troop Matters
(Amtsgruppe Ersatzwesen und Allgemeine Truppenangelegenheiten
Ag E Tr)(190). This group has generally the same responsibilities
toward enlisted personnel as the Army Personnel Office (PA)
has toward officers, except that it does not concern itself
with individuals. It establishes policies and issues directives
on all types of personnel matters. Until the summer of 1943
it included the Replacement Branch (Abt E), which has since
been incorporated into the Conscription and Recruiting Office
(WEA) in the OKW. It is believed that nevertheless the name
of the group has thus far remained unchanged. It contains:
(a) Branch for General Troop Matters
Allgemeine Truppenangelegenheiten Tr Abt)(191). This is the
most important branch in the group, and probably of larger
size than its name implies. It issues all types of orders
to the troops, such as transfer regulations, promotion policies,
and regulations regarding welfare and personal affairs. It
includes a penal section, a section for non-commissioned officer
affairs, and a section for German prisoners of war in Allied
(b) Chaplains Section
(Gruppe Seelsorge Gr S)(192).
(c) Branch for Billets and Manoeuvre Areas
Unterkunft und Truppenübungsplätze Abt U)(193).
Arranges for the requisition of premises needed for military
(4) Army Judge Advocate General's Group
Heeresrechtswesen Ag HR Wes)(194). Contains a Judge Advocate's
branch (HR)(195) and a legal section (Just).
(5) Unit Inactivation Staff
(Abwicklungsstab Abw St)(196).
After Stalingrad an inactivation staff was set up to liquidate
the affairs of units which were destroyed in the Sixth Army.
It later was expanded to deal with those destroyed in Army
Group Africa. In the summer of 1944 this staff was made a
permanent part of the High Command structure, with the mission
of inactivating all units destroyed on any front. It takes
charge of any remaining funds which were the property of such
(6) Demobilisation Branch
Abt Demob)(197). Issues rules and directives for future demobilisation.
(7) Chief of Army Museums
(Chef der Heeresmuseen Chef
h. Chief Of Training In The Replacement Army
des Ausbildungswesens im Ersatzheer Chef Ausb)(199). Appointed
in October 1942, this officer is immediately subordinate to
the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement
Army. He controls all training conducted within the Replacement
Army, using as his representatives the inspectors of arms
and services (Waffeninspekteure)(200) listed below. Through
these inspectors he utilises the facilities of the inspectorates
of the corresponding arms and services in the General Army
Office for working out the details of training programs and
methods, the issuance of directives and manuals, and other
paper work. The Chief of Training is not responsible for the
specialised training of the medical, veterinary, ordnance,
and motor maintenance troops, as this is handled by the inspectorates
of these branches in the General Army Office operating under
the direct control of their own independent inspectors.
The following are subordinate to the Chief of Training :
(1) Inspector of Infantry
(Inspekteur der Infanterie
Insp d Inf)(201).
(2) Inspector of Riding and Driving
Reit- und Fahrwesens)(202).
(3) Inspector of Artillery
(Inspekteur der Artillerie
Insp d Art)(203).
(4) Inspector of Army Antiaircraft Troops
der Heeresflaktruppen Insp H Flak)(204).
(5) Inspector of Engineers and Railway Engineers
der Pioniere und Eisenbahnpioniere Insp d Pi u Eisb Pi)(205).
(6) Inspector of Construction Troops
Bautruppen Insp d Bau Tr)(206).
(7) Inspector of Signal Troops
(Inspekteur der Nachrichtentruppen
Insp d Nachr Tr)(207).
(8) Inspector of Supply Troops
(Inspekteur der Nachschubtruppen
Insp d Nachsch Tr)(208).
(9) Inspector of Chemical Troops
(Inspekteur der Nebeltruppen
Insp d Nbl Tr)(209).
(10) Training Film Branch
Controls the archives of the Army, the production and proper
distribution of training films, and the training of film operators.
i. Army Ordinance Office
. (Heereswaffenamt Wa A)(211).
This office is responsible for the design, testing, development,
and acceptance of all ordnance equipment. It works in very
close collaboration with the Ministry of Armament and War
Production (Reichsministerium für Bewaffnung und Kriegsproduktion)
some of whose branches are even located at the Army Ordnance
Office. It is organised as follows:
(1) Central Group
(Zentral-Amtsgruppe des Heereswaffenamts
Wa Z)(212). This group has no special ordnance functions but
is only an administrative agency. It includes:
(a) Organisation Branch
Z 1)(213). Issues general directives on organisation to subordinate
(b) Administrative Section
(Gruppe für Allgemeine
Verwaltungsangelegenheiten Wa Z 2)(214). Responsible for general
(c) Branch for Plant Efficiency
Abteilung Wa Z 3)(215).
(d) Regulations Branch
(Vorschriftenabteilung Wa Z
4)(216). Publishes all orders, manuals and directives originating
in the Army Ordnance Office.
(e) Branch for Housing, Construction, and Guard Matters
(Allgemeine Unterbringungs-, Bau- und Uberwachungsangelegenheiten
Wa Z 6)(217). Responsible for the acquisition of premises
and the construction and patrolling of Army Ordnance Office
(2) Development and Testing Group
Entwicklung und Prüfung Wa Pruf)(218). This group is
responsible for the development and testing of ordnance equipment
for all arms and services. Besides certain subdivisions which
have special fields, there are those dealing with ordnance
equipment of each combat arm; the numbers assigned to these
branches correspond mostly to those of the inspectorates of
the same arm in the General Army Office. This group is composed
(a) Ballistic and Ammunition Branch
Munitionsabteilung Wa Prüf 1)(219). Responsible for the
development and testing of all types of ammunition. Divided
into various sections dealing with ammunition of the different
arms, special types of ammunition, firing tables, explosives,
and other special technical matters connected with projectiles.
(b) Infantry Branch
(Infanterieabteilung Wa Prüf
(c) Artillery Branch
(Artillerieabteilung Wa Prüf
(d) Engineer and Railway Engineer Branch
und Eisenbahnpionier-Abteilung Wa Prüf 5)(222). Composed
of sections dealing with engineer combat equipment, bridging
and other river-crossing materials, engineering machines,
water supply equipment, work tools, engineer transport vehicles,
special construction equipment, and equipment for railway
and waterway operation.
(e) Fortress Engineer Branch
(f) Panzer and Motorised Equipment Branch
und Motorisiernngsabteilung Wa Prüf 6)(224). Divided
into a separate section for the development and testing of
tanks and motorised equipment.
(g) Signal Branch
(Nachrichtenabteilung Wa Prüf
(h) Branch for Optical, Survey, Meteorological, Artillery
Fire Control, and Map-Printing Equipment
Optik, Messwesen, Heereswetterdienst, Feuerleitung und Kartendruck
Wa Prüf 8)(226).
(i) Gas Protection Branch
(Gasschutzabteitung Wa Prüf
9). Controls the Army Gas Protection laboratories at Spandau
(j) Special Equipment Branch
(Abteilung für Sondergerät
Wa Prüf 11)(228). Possibly the branch responsible for
the development of some of the V weapons.
(k) Branch for Proving Grounds
Versuchsplätze Wa Prüf 12)(229). Controls the experimental
stations which are located at most manoeuvre areas (Truppenubungsplätze).
(3) Group for Weapons and Equipment Manufacture
für Industrielle Rüstung Waffen und Gerät Wa
J Rü W u G)(230). This group is responsible for the procurement
of all ordnance materiel except ammunition. Its main function
is the placing of orders with industry. Here too the numbers
of the branches mostly correspond to those of inspectorates
of the same branch of service in the General Army Office.
(a) Branch for General Army Equipment
Heeresgerät Wa J Rü W u G 1)(231). Handles all types
of equipment, including medical and veterinary.
(b) Weapons Branch
(Waffenabteilung Wa J Rü W
u G 2)(232). Divided into sections responsible for weapons
of the various arms.
(c) Engineer, Railway Engineer, and Fortress Equipment
(Pionier-, Eisenbahnpionier-, und Festungs-Geräteabteilung
Wa J Rü W u G 5)(233).
(d) Tanks and Tractors Branch
Zugkraftwagen-Abteilung Wa J Rü W u G 6)(234).
(e) Signal Equipment Branch
Wa J Rü W u G 7)(235).
(f) Optical and Precision Instruments Branch
fur optisches und feinmechanisches Gerät Wa J Rü
W u G 8/ZO)(236). Composed of various sections responsible
for general optical instruments for all three services, special
army optical instruments, precision antiaircraft artillery
parts, artillery fire control parts, and the like.
(g) Motor Vehicle Equipment Branch
Wa J Rü W u G 12)(237).
(4) Group for Ammunition Manufacture
Industrielle Rüstung (Munition) Wa J Rü Mun)(238).
This group is responsible for all ordnance equipment. It includes:
(a) Ammunition Branch 1
(Munitionsabteilung 1 Wa J
Rü Mun 1)(239).
(b) Ammunition Branch 2
(Munitionsabteilung 2 Wa J
Rü Mun 2) (240).
(c) Ammunition Branch 3
(Munitionsabteilung 3 Wa J
Rü Mun 3 uzbV)(241). Probably manufactures special types
(d) Ammunition Branch 4
(Munitionsabteilung 4 Wa J
Rü Mun 4)(242).
(e) Ammunition Branch 5
(Munitionsabteilung 5 Wa J
Rü Mun 5)(243).
(5) Acceptance Group
(Amstgruppe für Abnahme Wa
Abn)(244). This group is responsible for seeing that all ordnance
materiel is manufactured according to specifications and for
accepting it on behalf of the Army. It controls the Acceptance
Inspectors (Abnahmeinspizienten)(245) located in each Wehrkreis.
It is composed of a Central Branch and Branches 1 and 2.
(6) Chief Ordnance Engineer Group
Wa Chef Ing)(246). This group contains various technical branches
which design and supervise the manufacture of certain ordnance
parts. It includes:
(a) The Chief Designer's Branch
Chef Ing 1)(247) contains a section which maintains liaison
with the Reich Patent Office (Reichspatentamt).
(b) Pig Iron Branch
(Halbzeugstelle Wa Chef Ing 3/Hz)(248).
(c) The Manufacture Branch
Chef Ing 4)(249) contains various sections for studying methods
of manufacture of weapons, vehicles, and other equipment.
(d) The Machine Recording Branch
Wa Chef Ing 5 M B)(250) is responsible for punch-card machines
and other mechanical office aids.
(e) Section for the Manufacture of Machine Tools, Gauges,
(Fabrikationsgruppe Werkzeugmaschinen, Lehren
und Werkzeuge Wa Chef Ing 6)(251).
(f) Section for the Manufacture of Ammunition
Munition Wa Chef Ing 7)(252).
(7) Group for Anti-aircraft Artillery Development
für Flakentwicklung GL/Flak-E)(253). Includes:
(a) Branch for Ballistics and Development of Antiaircraft
(Abteilung für Ballistik und Entwicklung
der Flakmunition GL/Flake/1)(254).
(b) Branch for the Development of Antiaircraft Equipment
(Abteilung für Gerätentwicklung GL/Flake/2)(255).
(c) Branch for Technical and General Matters
für technische und allgemeine Angelegenheiten GL/Flake/3)(256).
(d) Branch for Weapons Development
(e) Anti-aircraft Armament Branc
h (Abteilung Flakrüstung
(8) Ordnance Research Branch
j. Army Administration Office
VA)(259). This office is responsible for what is defined by
the Germans as Army Administration (Heeresverwaltung). Its
responsibilities include mainly the procurement of rations,
billets, pay, and clothing for the Army. Until May 1944 the
personnel connected with Army Administration normally were
Armed Forces officials (Wehrmachtbeamte), divided into a large
number of technical and non-technical "careers"
(Laufbahnen). At that time those in the important careers
of the Administrative Service (Verwaltungsdienst) and of the
Judge Advocates (Wehrmachtrichter) were made into a new category
of officers in the Special Troop Service (Truppensonderdienst
TSD)(260). Their activities still are controlled by the Army
Administration Office, but their promotions and transfers
are now the responsibility of the Army Personnel Office (PA).
The Administration Office includes:
(1) Group for Officials and Civilian Workers
Allgemeine Heeresbeamten-, Angestellten-, Arbeiter- und Kassenangelegenheiten
Ag V 1)(261). Responsible for personnel administration and
pay for Armed Forces officials, salaried workers (Angestellte),
and wage earners (Arbeiter). Consists of:
(a) Branch for Army Officials
(b) Branch for Civilian Workers
Gefolgschaftsangelegenheiten des Heeres V 8)(263).
(c) Branch for Army Accounts and Pay of Officials
und Beamtenbesoldungsabteilung V 9)(264).
(d) Cashier of the OKH
(Amtskasse des Oberkommandos
des Heeres AK (OKH))(265) is responsible for paying personnel
of the OKH.
(e) Pay and Allowance Department of the OKH
des Oberkommandos des Heeres G St OKH)(266) handles pay and
allowances of military personnel and Armed Forces officials
in the OKH.
(f) Wage and Salary Office
(Lohnstelle des Oberkommandos
des Heeres Lohnst OKH)(267) has sections concerned with salaried
employees, wage earners, and various types of pay deductions.
(g) Accounting Offices of the Chief of Army Equipment and
Commander of the Replacement Army
Ch H Rüst u. B d E)(268) have four accounting offices
carrying the Roman numerals I to IV.
(2) Group for Real Estate, Agriculture, and Forests
(Amtsgruppe Liegenschaften, Land- und Forstwirtschaft Ag V
(a) Branch for Real Estate of Garrisons and Procurement
(Abteilung für Liegenschaften der Standorte
und Wohnungsfürsorge V 2)(270).
(b) Branch for the Administration of Manoeuvre Areas
(Abteilung für Verwaltung von Übungsplatzen V 6)(271).
(c) Army Forestry Branch
(Heeresforstabteilung V 10)(272).
(3) Rations and Procurement Group
und Beschaffungswesen Ag V III)(273). Responsible for the
procurement and administration of rations. Includes:
(a) Army Rations Branch
(b) Army Procurements Branch
(c) Rations Inspector in the OKH
IM OKH Verpfl Insp OKH)(276) is responsible for over-all planning
of rations supplies in the whole Theater of War.
(4) Construction Group
(Amtsgruppe Bau Ag V IV)(277).
Responsible for all army construction. Includes:
(a) Branch for Administration of Army Construction
(Heeresbauverwaltungsabteilung V 4)(278).
(b) Branch for Army Construction Activities
(5) Budget Group
(Amstgruppe Haushalts- und Besoldungszwesen
Ag Haushalt)(280). This group was formed in February 1944
by an amalgamation of four independent branches connected
with budget and finance matters. Up to August 1944 it was
immediately under the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander
of the Replacement Army; it was placed under the control of
the Chief of the Army Administration Office. It includes:
(a) Army Budget Branch
(b) Central Branch in the OKH
OKH (Chef H Rüst u. BdE) Z)(282).
(c) Army Pay Branch
(Heeresbesoldungsabteilung H Bes
(d) Army Finance Branch
k. Inspector General For Potential Officers And Non-commissioned
. (Generalinspekteur für den Führernachwuchs
des Heeres GJF)(285). Formerly the Inspector of Army Training
and Education (In EB)(286); re-named and broadened in scope
and authority in March 1944. Subordinate to the Chief of Army
Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Chef H Rüst
u BdE). He is responsible for the uniform recruiting, National-Socialist
instruction and guidance, and uniform training of all potential
officers and non-commissioned officers (Führernachwuchs).
He is in charge of all officer candidate and non-commissioned
officer schools and determines the subject-matter and methods
of instruction, particularly the political aspects. He controls:
(1) Branch for the Procurement of Leaders
Heeresnachwuchs Abt. HN)(287). This branch was independent
up to 1944 but became subordinate to the Inspector General
for Potential Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers when
he was appointed. This branch represents the Army in dealing
with other services and agencies in all questions concerning
the procurement of leaders.
(2) Cadet School Branch
(Abteilung Kriegschulen KS)(288).
Previously called Inspectorate 1 (In 1) and directly under
the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement
Army. Administers all officer candidate schools.
(3) Non-Commissioned Officer School Branch
Unteroffzier-Vorschulen u. -Schulen US)(289).
(4) Inspector of Army Officer Procurement Offices
der Annahmestellen für Offizierbewerber des Heeres Insp
d Annst)(290). Set up in 1943 as an independent agency in
the Army Personnel Office; transferred to the control of the
Inspector General for Potential Officer and non-commissioned
officers in 1944. Controls the officer candidate acceptance
centres located in each Wehrkreis.
l. Miscellaneous Agencies
. The following are independent
agencies, all immediately subordinate to the Chief of Army
Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Chef H Rüst
(1) Signal Communications Branch of the Chief of Army Equipment
and Commander of the Replacement Army
des Ch H Rüst u. BdE)(291). Contains a telephone operating
company, a telegraph company, a signal exploitation company,
and a radio transmission centre.
(2) Army Raw Materials Branch
H Ro)(292). Charged with the procurement of raw materials
for the OKH. Formerly a subordinate unit of the Army Ordnance
Office (Rohstoffstelle OKH Wa Chef Ing 2/Wa Ro)(293), it was
made an independent branch in 1942.
(3) Army Map Service
(Heeresplankammer HPK)(294). Contains
a foreign maps branch, and a map production branch.
(4) Army Technical Bureau
HTB)(295). Believed to be a staff of engineers at the disposal
of the OKH.
(5) Women's Auxiliary Corps
NH-Einsatzabteilung)(296). The women's auxiliary corps is
believed to he subordinate to the Chief of Army Equipment
and Commander of the Replacement Army. It is formed into special
battalions (Einsatzabteilungen) and used throughout the Field
and Replacement Armies for signal communications and office
work at higher headquarters.
m. National Socialist Guidance Staff Of The Army
Führungsstab des Heeres NSF St d H)(297). Established
in March 1944 to control the uniform National-Socialist indoctrination
and guidance in the Army. Directly subordinate to Adolf
but attached to the Army High Command. Issues directives
to the National-Socialist Guidance Officers (NSFO) in the
n. The Fuhrer's Official Military Historian
. (Der Beauftragte
des Führers für die militärische Geschichtsschreibung
D Beauftr d Führers für die mil Geschichtsschr)(298).
Appointed in 1942 to take charge of the writing of military
history of World War II. Directly subordinate to Adolf
but attached to the Army High Command. Upon his
appointment, the agencies connected with military history
in the Army were transferred from the jurisdiction of the
Fifth Senior General Staff Officer (O Qu V) to his control
but remained subordinate to the OKH. In addition, historical
branches were set up at both the OKW and the OKH to record
the war for the Armed Forces and for the Army respectively.
This obviated the need for the Military Science Branch still
under the O Qu V, and it is believed that its existence is
only nominal. The Führer's Official Military Historian
controls within the OKH:
(1) Army Historical Branch
des Heeres Kr Gesch Heer)(299). Established in 1942. Probably
took over all the functions of the Military Science Branch
(Kr Wiss Abt.) in the Army General Staff. It includes the
editorial staff of the magazine "Military Science Review"
(2) Military History Research Institute
Forschungs-Anstalt)(300). Originally under the control of
the Army General Staff but believed to have been transferred
to the control of the Führer's Official Military Historian,
sometime after 1942.
(3) Chief of Army Archives
(Chef der Heeresarchive
Chef H Arch)(301). Transferred from the Army General Staff
in 1942. Army archives have been kept in Potsdam, with a branch
office at Liegnitz.
(4) Chief of Army Libraries
(Chef der Heeresbüchereien-Chef
H Büch)(302). This position was created in 1942, first
under the control of the Army General Staff and then transferred
to Führer's Official Military Historian. Responsible
for the administration of all military literature.
(5) Captured Documents Exploitation Centre (Wehrmacht-Sichtungsstelle
We Sist)(303). Exploits captured documents (Beuteakten) for
the whole of the Armed Forces.
o. Inspector General Of Panzer Troops
der Panzertruppen Gen Insp d Pz Tr)(304). Appointed in 1943
as a successor to the Chief of Mobile Troops (General der
Schnellen Truppen)(305) who had been attached to the Army
General Staff. Directly subordinate to Adolf
but attached to the Army High Command. Controls
the whole Panzer arm; responsible for its organisation, training,
and replacement system. His prerogative extend to the Air
Force and Waffen-SS Panzer units. He controls:
(1) Chief Antitank Officer for All Arms
Panzerabwehr aller Waffen)(306). Appointed in November 1944
to coordinate anti-tank tactics throughout the Armed Forces.
He also acts as liaison officer for the Panzer troops at the
Army General Staff replacing the former Panzer Officer at
the Army General Staff (Pz Offz b Gen St d H)(307).
(2) Inspector of Panzer Troops
(Inspekteur der Panzertruppen
Insp d Pz Tr)(308). Has a function similar to that of the
other inspectors in the OKH except that he is not controlled
by the Chief of Training in the Replacement Army (Chef Ausb).
He controls the Panzer Troop Branch, Inspectorate 6 (Jn 6)(309),
although the latter may still be administratively under the
General Army Office.
(3) Field Army Branch
(Abteilung Feldheer)(310). This
branch maintains liaison between the Inspector General of
Panzer Troops and the Field Army. It is responsible for the
proper evaluation and use of all combat experience and makes
suggestions on the organisation, training, and development
of the Panzer arm.
(4) Training Branch
(Ausbildungs-Abteilung Ausb Abt)(311).
Formed in 1944, this branch took over the administration of
the training of Panzer troops from Inspectorate 6. It issues
a regular monthly periodical dealing with the experience of
Panzer troops in the field.
4th February 1938
19th December 1941
Supreme Command of the Air
Air Force High Command
The German Air Force (Luftwaffe)
, one of the three
branches of the German Armed Forces, is organised and administered
independently of either the Army or the Navy. Its three main
branches are the flying troops, antiaircraft artillery, and
air signal troops. It also includes parachute and airborne
troops, air engineers, air medical corps, and air police,
and a number of special divisions formed of Air Force personnel
for service as regular fighting troops. It is organised on
a territorial rather than a functional basis, with separate
operational and administrative commands. This division of
responsibilities has made for a high degree of mobility among
the flying units and thus has been responsible for much of
the success of the German Air Force.
serves in the dual capacity of Minister of
Aviation (Reichsminister der Luftfahrt) and Commander-in-Chief
of the Air Force (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe). As Commander-in-Chief
he is charged with the administration and operations of the
Air Force. As Minister of Aviation he is a member of the Cabinet
and is responsible for the coordination and supervision of
civil aviation. Since Hermann
has many other duties in the German Government,
however, the supreme command usually is exercised by the State
Secretary in the Ministry of Aviation and Inspector General
of the Air Force.
3. Air Ministry
(Reichsluftfahrministerium or R.L.M.)
At the Air Ministry the highest administrative and operational
authority of the Air Force are found the departments which
control all Air Force activity. These departments fall into
two groups: those of the General Staff and those concerned
with administration and supply.
Chain Of Command
The role of the Air Force in the conduct of the war, and to
a certain extent in particular operations, is determined by
the High Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht).
The chain of command is from the Supreme Commander (Adolf
), through the OKW to the Commander-in-Chief of
the Air Force (Hermann
). The latter directs the actual employment
of the Air Force through the Air Ministry and through his
subordinate commanders of air combat units. However, when
Air Force units are used in conjunction with Army or Navy
units, all the forces involved come under a single operational
control, in accordance with the German doctrine of unity of
command. In such circumstances, a commanding officer is chosen
from whichever of the three branches predominates in the operation,
and he becomes directly responsible to the OKW.
All Air Force units are organised into
tactical and territorial air commands known as Luftflotten.
Each Luftflotte is assigned a particular command area, although
this assignment is not necessarily permanent, for an entire
Luftflotte at any time may be moved from one area to another
at the direction of the Air Ministry. Within its area, however,
each Luftflotte not only controls all operations of the flying
units, but also supervises the activities of all ground service
units. Thus, in addition to a large operations department,
each Luftflotte has its own adjutant, legal, administration,
signal, and supply departments. All commands and formations
subordinate to the Luftflotte are either essentially operational
(Fliegerkorps, Jagdkorps, Geschwader, Gruppen, and Staffeln)
or administrative (Luftgaue). Thus the administrative and
operational commands meet at the Luftflotte headquarters,
where their respective activities are coordinated.
Operational units within the Luftflotte
command area are organised into subordinate operational commands
known as Fliegerkorps. Through these Fliegerkorps, the Luftflotten
execute the operational directives received from the Air Ministry.
Each Fliegerkorps is a composite, mobile command with its
own geographical area of control and operations. A Luftflotte
may command one or several Fliegerkorps, depending upon the
size of the command area and the nature of operations. A Fliegerkorps
may be detached at any time for operations in another Luftflotte
area. The make-up of a Fliegerkorps is very elastic, both
as to number and type of aircraft. It may consist of several
bomber Geschwader, several fighter Geschwader, in addition
to a varying number of short- and long-range reconnaissance
Gruppen. On occasion it may be limited to one function such
as that of a bomber command. The most important department
of the Fliegerkorps command is that of operations. Although
the Fliegerkorps also has adjutant, legal, administration,
signal, and supply departments, it depends almost entirely
upon the Luftgau for administrative and supply services. The
Fliegerkorps are numbered nonconsecutively in Roman numerals.
A Jagdkorps is an operational command,
similar to a Fliegerkorps but whose function is limited to
that of a fighter command.
A Fliegerdivision is an operational
command similar to but of less importance than a Fliegerkorps.
Most of the Fliegerdivisionen which existed prior to the war
were replaced by Fliegerkorps. Several Fliegerdivisionen still
exist on the Eastern Front.
A Jagddivision is a command subordinate
to a Jagdkorps.
This division is unnumbered and is
known simply as the Lehrdivision. Its primary function was
to test the latest types of aircraft, antiaircraft defences,
and air signals equipment from a tactical and operational
point of view. Lehr units are incorporated directly into the
combat commands and function as a part of the command's operational
strength. Lehr personnel are supposed to have had previous
combat experience. This system, by giving the Lehr units an
operational status, enables them to experiment in actual combat
operations, rather than under simulated conditions. The Lehrdivision
was organised into a variety of formations and commands. There
were two Lehrgeschwader composed of bomber, fighter, and reconnaissance
Lehrgruppen. Recently, however, only a few bomber Lehr units
have been operational and they no longer appear concerned
with experimentation. There are also two Lehrregimenter, one
concerned with antiaircraft defences and the other with signal
developments. Lehr units are not to be confused with experimental
units whose duties are of a technical nature, such as the
testing of prototype aircraft.
. The Geschwader is the largest mobile, homogeneous
formation in the Air Force, and is used for long-range bombers,
ground attack units, and both single- and twin-engine fighters.
It normally consists of about 100 aircraft, organised into
three Gruppen. A fourth and, in a few instances, a fifth Gruppe
have been added to several single-engine fighter Geschwader.
[These fourth and fifth Gruppen are not to be confused with
the Erganzungsgruppen, which are devoted to operational training
as discussed in Section VII.] Apparently the original intention
was to have each Geschwader operate as a unit by stationing
all three Gruppen at adjacent airdromes. However, although
all Gruppen are now usually found on the same battlefront,
all three of them are unlikely to operate from neigbouring
fields. In fact, it is not uncommon at present for the Air
Force to withdraw one or two Gruppen for rest or re-equipment
and subsequently return them to operations in another theater.
. A Geschwader is generally commanded by
an Oberst or Oberstleutnant known as the Geschwaderkommodore.
He has a small staff of officers for the adjutant, operations,
organisation, technical, signal, navigation, meteorological,
and intelligence branches. Some staffs also have a photographic
officer. The staff has its own headquarters flight (Stabs-Schwärm)
of three to six aircraft of the same type as those which make
up the Geschwader. This Geschwader staff is always maintained,
even when the subordinate Gruppen are separated for operations
on different fronts.
. There are several types of Geschwader, known
according to aircraft complement and/or operational employment
German title Aircraft type Abbreviation
|Schlachtgeschwader [Sturzkampfgeschwader (Dive bomber)
and Schnellkampfgeschwader (Ground attack) have been
incorporated into, or superseded by the Schlachtgeschwadern.]
||Ground attack and antitank
Each Geschwader is designated by its abbreviation followed
by an Arabic numeral: for example, K.G.77, N.J.G.26, Z.G.111,
etc. The numerals are not necessarily in consecutive order.
. Although all Gruppen in a Geschwader
specialise in similar air tactics and are equipped with the
same type of plane, the make and model may differ among the
Gruppen. This variation is most prevalent in fighter Geschwader,
but also occurs in a few of the bomber Geschwader. Thus a
Kampfgeschwader may have one Gruppe equipped with the Dornier
and the other two Gruppen with the Heinkel
, or the Focke-Wulf
. Or the entire Geschwader may be equipped with the
same make of plane, such as the Messerschmitt
, although one Gruppe may have a newer model while
the other Gruppen have earlier ones.
. The Gruppe is the basic combat unit of
the Air Force for both administrative and operational purposes.
It is a mobile homogeneous unit which is largely self-contained
and which may be detached from its parent Geschwader for operations
in any command area. In fact, directives for the movement
of flying units are almost always issued in terms of Gruppen.
Usually the entire Gruppe is based at the same airdrome.
. The Gruppe normally is commanded by a major
or captain known as the Gruppenkommandeur. He has a small
staff, consisting of the adjutant, operations officer, technical
officer, and medical officer. There apparently is no special
intelligence officer, since prisoners are sent directly to
interrogation centres Each Gruppe also has its own air signal
platoon (Luftnachrichtenzug), known as a Technical Ground
Station, and a staff flight (Stabs-Kette) of three aircraft
generally of the same type with which the Gruppe is equipped.
. The Gruppen are organised into three
Staffeln, with the exception of single-engine fighter Geschwadern
which recently have been organised into four Staffeln. Thus,
most Gruppen are considered to have a table of organisation
of 27 aircraft each (exclusive of the three aircraft of the
Gruppen-Stab) and Jagdgruppen a table of organisation of 36
aircraft (also exclusive of the Gruppen-Stab). Actual strength,
however, is likely to differ substantially from authorised
strength, on many occasions it has been found well below or
above such figures. Gruppen attached to a Geschwader are numbered
in Roman numerals in consecutive order. Thus I/K.G.77, II/K.G.77,
and III/K.G.77 are the first, second, and third Gruppen, respectively,
of long-range bomber Geschwader 77.
. The Staffel is the smallest Air Force operational
unit, and is generally commanded by a captain or lieutenant
known as the Staffelkapitän. One officer serves as adjutant,
the signal, technical, and navigation branches are supervised
by the flying personnel in their spare time.
. A Staffel is considered to have a table
of organisation of nine aircraft. Its actual strength, however,
may be as low as five or six aircraft or as much as 18 or
20 aircraft. For tactical purposes, it may be subdivided into
Schwärme of five planes, into Ketten of three planes,
or into Rotten of two planes. Each Staffel usually will have
its own mobile repair shop for minor repairs in the dispersal
areas, other motor vehicles must be drawn from the organisation
of the parent Gruppe.
. All Staffeln in the Geschwader are numbered
consecutively in Arabic numerals. Thus, in all but Jagdgeschwader,
the first, second, and third Staffeln constitute Gruppe I,
the fourth, fifth and sixth Staffeln, Gruppe II, and the seventh,
eighth, and ninth Staffeln, Gruppe III. Where a fourth or
fifth Gruppe exists, the Staffeln will be numbered 10, 11,
and 12, or 13, 14, and 15, respectively. In Jagdgeschwadern
having four Staffeln, the Gruppe I thus will contain Staffeln
1, 2, 3, and 4, Gruppe II, Staffeln 5, 6, 7, and 8, Gruppe
III, Staffeln 9, 10, 11, and 12, etc. In unit designations,
the Gruppe numeral is omitted whenever the Staffel number
is indicated. Thus the fourth Staffel of K.G.77 is known as
4/K.G.77, and no other reference to its position in Gruppe
II of K.G.77 is necessary.
11. Semiautonomous Unit
. Reconnaissance and Army cooperation aircraft
operate and are organised as semiautonomous units, as Staffeln
or Gruppen. These semiautonomous units fall into three general
categories, all of which are numbered non-consecutively in
Arabic numerals of one, two or three digits.
b. Long Range Reconnaissance
. Long-range reconnaissance
aircraft are organised into Fernaufklärungsgruppen, which
are known as (F) or FAG units. Thus 3(F)123 is the third Staffel
of Fernaufklärungsgruppe 123.
c. Short Range Reconnaissance
. Short-range reconnaissance
and Army cooperation aircraft are organised into Nahaufklärungsgruppen,
which are known as NAGr or (H) units (due to former name of
Heeresaufklärungsgruppen). Under the old nomenclature
still applying to some units, the first Staffel of Nahaufklärungsgruppe
32 is therefore 1(H)32. Under the more recent Gruppen organisation
and numbering, the third Staffel of Nahaufklärungsgruppe
1 for instance, is 3/NAGr 1.
d. Coastal Reconnaissance
. Coastal reconnaissance and
naval cooperation aircraft were originally organised into
Küstenfliegergruppen (abbreviated K.F.Gr.). They are
now known as Seeaufklärungsgruppen (abbreviated SAGr.).
Thus the third Staffel of Seeaufklärungsgruppe 196 is
known as 3/SAGr. 196.
e. Miscellaneous Units
. Miscellaneous units also are
similarly organised and operated.
(1) Nachtschlachtgruppen (Night Harassing) represent the relatively
recent grouping of previously loosely organised Staffeln.
Most of them are equipped with obsolete aircraft, although
coincidentally with their re-organisation in Gruppen, these
units have been modernised to some extent. Though some units
in the East still have such aircraft as Ar
, etc., those in the West are equipped with modern Ju
. These Nachtschlachtgruppen are numbered in Arabic
numbers and thus abbreviated NS1, NS2, NS3, etc.
(2) The Luftbeobachter Staffeln (Air Observers).
(3) A number of specialised units such as mine sweeping Staffeln,
12. Special Commands
. Separate fighter commands known
as Jagdführer, or more commonly as Jafü, have been
established in each Luftflotte since the outbreak of war.
At first a Jafü was concerned primarily with matters
of policy and controlled operations only on specific occasions.
Yet, for a period, the Jafüs in France and Germany appeared
to have had an overriding authority in directing all defensive
fighter operations. Lately, however, it is believed that their
functions have become virtually administrative.
. Highly specialised operations
on certain fronts have been put under the control of special
commanders known as Fliegerführer. These Fliegerführer
control operations in a particular area only and are directly
responsible to the Luftflotte commander in whose area they
operate. For instance, the three Fliegerführer (3, 4,
5) in Luftflotte V, although primarily concerned with anti
shipping operations and weather reconnaissance, controlled
all types of combat aircraft in their area of operations.
. The Luftgaue are the actual administrative
and supply organisations of the Luftwaffe. They are stationary
or immobile commands whose authority is limited to certain
well defined and permanently fixed geographical areas. A Luftgau
commander is usually a General der Flieger or General der
Flakartillerie, and theoretically is responsible to the Luftflotte
commander within whose command area the Luftgau lies. In actual
practice, however, the Luftgau commanders receive most of
their instructions direct from the Air Ministry, and the Luftflottenchefs
interfere little with Luftgau administration. The Luftgaue
permanently established in Germany are numbered non-consecutively
by Roman numerals, those in occupied countries are generally
designated by their location: for example, Luftgau Norwegen.
. Each Luftgau is responsible for the following
services within its command area:
(1) Administration, supply, and maintenance of all flying
(2) Active and passive defence against air attack.
(3) Operations of signal units.
(4) All training other than that of auxiliary units.
(5) Recruitment, mobilisation, and training of reserve personnel.
. Each Luftgau has its own operations, adjutant,
legal, administration, signal, and supply sections. It also
has a department for prohibited and restricted flying areas
which has no known counterpart in the Luftflotte or Fliegerkorps
headquarters. All training within the Luftgau area is directed
by a Higher Commander of Training. This officer is usually
a Generalmajor and is subordinate only to the Luftgau commander.
All other Luftgau services are maintained through subordinate
section commands which are designated by Arabic numerals preceding
the Luftgau unit designation. Thus 4/VIII is the fourth section
command in Luftgau VIII.
d. Aerodrome Commands
. The main channels through which
the flying units draw on the services of the Luftgaue are
the airdrome commands. Each Luftgau area is divided into about
five airdrome regional commands (Flughafenbereichkommandanturen).
The regional commands are in turn subdivided into five or
more operational airdrome commands (Einsatzhafenkommandanturen).
The regional command is essentially administrative and is
not necessarily located at an airfield. The operational airdrome
command, however, exists only to serve the flying units at
their stations and is thus always found at an airdrome. The
manner in which the Luftgau has decentralised its authority
through these commands is as follows:
(1) The airdrome regional commands are charged with the Luftgau's
responsibility for supply and maintenance of supplies and
equipment within their respective areas, meeting the physical
needs of the flying units, defence of aircraft, equipment,
and motor transport against air attack, airdrome development,
and air movements. These duties are discharged by specialised
units which the Luftgau allots to the regional command and
which the regional command then redistributes among the operational
commands. For example, the Field Works Office (Feldbauamt)
at the regional command handles airdrome maintenance through
its subsidiary Works Superintendent's Offices which are stationed
at the airdromes. Similarly, the Air Signal Company at each
regional command is divided into platoons which are stationed
at the operational commands. A senior technical officer supervises
aircraft maintenance in the region through his subordinate
technical officers at the operational commands. The airdrome
regional command is thus largely self-contained and calls
on the Luftgau for assistance only when the units already
assigned prove inadequate.
(2) The airdrome regional command also acts as the intermediary
between the Luftgau headquarters and the operational airdrome
command. All orders, requests, reports, etc., travelling between
the two must pass through the regional command staff. This
staff numbers from 50 to 150 officers and enlisted men and
is headed by a commandant who usually holds the rank of Generalmajor.
(3) The airdrome regional command's primary practical task
is that of transporting supplies and equipment from the depots
to its subordinate operational commands. For this purpose
it is generally assigned a supply company (Nachschubkompanie)
composed of a supply column staff (Nachschubkolonnenstab),
some four transport columns (Transportkolonnen), and two or
three fuel columns (Flugbetriebsstoffkolonnen).
(4) The commander of the operational airdrome command normally
holds the rank of major, captain, or first lieutenant. His
adjutant handles personnel matters. The personnel complement
of an operational command numbers about 350 officers and enlisted
men, and the motor transport allotment is between 50 and 100
(5) Airdrome maintenance at each operational command is handled
by a Works Superintendent's Office (Bauleitung), subordinate
to the Field Works Office at the regional command. The Bauleitung
has charge of most of the construction done at the airdrome
(buildings, dispersal areas, defence works, camouflage, etc.),
as well as the laying of runways, extension of landing grounds,
and installation of lighting systems. Reports on serviceability
and bomb damage are radioed through the regional command to
the Luftgau, and thence to the Air Ministry for broadcast
over the Air Force Safety Service network. The Bauleitung
personnel is composed of civil servants and technical staffs.
Any other specialised construction units which may be attached
to the airdromes to repair bomb damage or enlarge facilities
are also directed by the Bauleitung.
(6) The operational airdrome command is also responsible for
defence against air attack, for which it has both heavy and
light Flak units. These guns and other aerial defence units
are commanded by the airdrome commander only when there is
no flying unit stationed at the field. Otherwise, defence
is controlled by the commander of that flying unit which is
occupying the airdrome.
(7) The telephone, teleprinter, and radio at each operational
airdrome command are operated by an air signal platoon (Fliegerhorst-Luftnachrichtenzug)
and commanded by a signal officer who is subordinate to the
senior signal officer at the airdrome regional command. The
signal platoon also transmits the meteorological and airdrome
serviceability reports and operates the Air Movements Control.
This control directs only nonoperational flying. Signal communications
with aircraft in operations are controlled by the tactical
ground station attached to the flying unit.
(8) Aircraft maintenance at the operational airdrome command
except for servicing and minor repairs which are performed
by the ground staff of the flying unit is the responsibility
of a technical officer. This officer not only handles overhauls
and major repairs, but also is responsible for maintenance
of motor vehicles, for bomb, fuel, and other supply stores,
and for equipment stores and the armoury He is subordinate
to the senior technical officer at the airdrome regional command.
(9) The requests by the operational airdrome command for equipment
and spare parts reach the regional command through the technical
officer. Requisitions for bombs, fuel, and ammunition are
made by the supply section. The operational command also has
an administrative section which handles clothing, food, pay,
billeting, and other accommodations, a record office, a photographic
section, a medical section, and a welfare section.
(10) Luftgaustäbe z. b. V. During campaigns the Luftgaue
provide the advancing air formation with supplies and services
through a system of subordinate commands known as Luftgaustäbe
zur besonderer Verwendung (Luftgau staffs for special duty)
or, simply, Luftgaustäbe z. b. V. units. These units
may be designated by an Arabic numeral (Luftgaustäb z.
b. V. 3) or by their location (Luftgaustäb Kiev). They
are sent into the forward battle areas by their controlling
Luftgau and are normally responsible for all services in an
area occupied by a Fliegerkorps. After conditions have become
relatively stabilised for example, when operational airdrome
commands have been established and supply stations and fuel
and ammunition field depots have been set up the Luftgaustäb
z. b. V. unit is withdrawn and the parent Luftgau assumes
Ritter von Greim
Supreme Command of the Navy
1st June 1935
30th January 1943
1st May 1945
23rd May 1945