This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations and related topics hosted by Marcus Wendel's Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Michael Miller's Axis Biographical Research, Christoph Awender's WW2 day by dayand Christian Ankerstjerne’s Panzerworld.
joe cleere wrote:The Wehrmacht and Waffen SS in the west were of mixed quality. In Normandy, the 243rd, 709th, 716th, and 711th Infantry Divisions were classified as static formations whose average age was in the mid-30's. These static formations had a large percentage of category III personnel, who were only nominally German and actually Polish. These divisions also had Ost Battalions consisting of Russians, Georgians, etc. These divisions were expected to fight from fixed positions in a defensive role and were not considered Ostfaehig or capable of being employed on the eastern front.
The field infantry divisions such as the 91st and 352nd Infantry Divisions were considered good formations capable of being employed on the eastern front. They consisted of a mix of combat veterans and newly trained teenage recruits. These divisions were classified as able to perform all defensive missions and limited offensive operations. Other field divisions stationed in the west were the 77th, 84th, 85th, 89th, 271st, 272nd, 275th, 276th, 277th, 331st, 353rd, and 363rd Infantry Divisions. The 3rd Fallschirmjaeger Division and the 6th Fallschirmjaeger Regiment consisted of highly trained and motived personnel and were the best infantry formations in the western theater.
The most powerful formations were the Panzer and Panzer Grenadier Divisions consisting of the 1st SS, 2nd SS, 9th SS, 10th SS, 12th SS, 17th SS PzGr, Panzer Lehr, 2nd, 9th, 11th, and 116th.
Supporting formations such as the III Flak Sturm Korps, and the 7th, 8th, and 9th Nebelwerfer Brigades added a good bit of firepower and helped to make up for the lack of GHQ artillery. The 89th and 363rd Infantry Divisions were initially stationed in Scandinavia and were sent to Normandy after D-Day, while the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions were on the Eastern Front near Kovel on D-Day, and were transferred to Normandy on June 12th.
So the German ground forces in the west were still quite formidable, especially if they were used to the best advantage. The Allies had overwhelming aerial supremacy, a large superiority in artillery and numbers of tanks, a deception plan (Fortitude) that confounded the German response to the invasion, and the ability to decipher German signals traffic through Ultra. These factors worked against the Germans using what they had to best advantage.
canambridge wrote:Nearly half the German AFVs were located in the west (are you also including Italy in that total? 2 Pz & 4 PG divs & 2 FJ Divs) although a greater number of Panzer & Panzer Grenadier "divisions" (18 of 32 Pz, and 10 of 15 PG) were located in the east. But many the Ost front divisions were much reduced in strength (if not quality).
The Germans knew that an invasion of France was coming in the spring of 1944 and had been giving the West a priority in terms of replacements, men and material, as a result in the months before. I would also argue that the LW forces engaged in the defense of the Reich (including all that AAA) were indeed facing the Western Allies.
There can be no denying that the majority of the German troops were located in the east, but arguments about quality are highly subjective and a matter of opinion. I think it is a very broad (and incorrect) over generalization to say that the Werhmacht in the West was second class compared to the forces in the East.
ljadw wrote:About its Tiger II tanks :these were only prototypes with technical deficiencies,and never were committed;
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