Kommandeure, Führer & Vertreter

Discussions on the personalities of the Wehrmacht and of the organizations not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Dieter Zinke, askropp and Frech.
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Kommandeure, Führer & Vertreter

Post by askropp » 21 Sep 2019 14:24

In response to a request voiced by Karlo "KM Großadmiral" Foder, I will try to explain the various terms associated with the temporary or stand-in command of Wehrmacht units and offices. Regarding the respective English terms, all native speakers are invited to offer their comments or suggestions. In any case, I would prefer to use the original german terms whenever and wherever possible.

They are usually abbreviated as follows:
mFb (mit der Führung beauftragt)
mstFb (mit der stellvertretenden Führung beauftragt)
mWdGb (mit der Wahrnehmung der Geschäfte beauftragt)
mstWdGb (mit der stellvertretenden Wahrnehmung der Geschäfte beauftragt)
i.V. (in Vertretung)

The Kommandeur of an unit is an officer officially appointed to this command and holding the appropriate rank, e.g. a Generalmajor serving as a Divisionskommandeur. If the officer is officially appointed, but (still) lacks the appropriate rank, he is only "mFb", e.g. an Oberst serving as a Divisionsführer. If there is still an official commander who is presently off duty because of wounds, illness or leave of absence, his temporary stand-in is only "mstFb". The Vertreter may be of an appropriate or of a lower rank (e.g. another GM serving as an Arko or an Oberst serving as a regimental commander may both be Vertreter of a Divisionskommandeur). Many Stellvertretungen are not mentioned on Karteikarten or in Personalveränderungen. The nominal commander may be away for weeks and even months, but only when he is finally placed in the FR, a new commander or Führer will be officially appointed.

If the command is not an unit or a top staff position, but some other office or staff desk job, the term "mFb" is replaced with "mWdGb". Thus, while the Vertreter of a Divisionskommandeur will be "mFb", the Vertreter of an Artilleriekommandeur will be "mWdGb". Also, while the Vertreter of a KG will be "mFb", the Vertreter of his Chef des Generalstabes will be "mWdGb". The term "i.V." will be found on documents signed by a Vertreter, but also when the Chef signs a document for his OB, or the Ia for his Chef etc.

My translation proposals would be:
mFb: literally "tasked with the leadership"
mstFb: "tasked with the temporary leadership" (standing in for another person)
mWdGb: literally "tasked with the exercise of duties"
mstWdGb: "tasked with the temporary exercise of duties" (standing in for another person)

But for all practical reasons, I would simply call those guys "acting commanders".

Regards,
Albert
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Re: Kommandeure, Führer & Vertreter

Post by Kriegsmarine Großadmiral » 21 Sep 2019 15:40

Thank you Albert for the explanation!

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Re: Kommandeure, Führer & Vertreter

Post by CNE503 » 21 Sep 2019 16:05

Excellent, many thanks, Albert!
Could I ask another question? What is the difference between a Befehlshaber (including an Oberbefehlshaber), a Kommandeur, a Führer and a Chef?

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Re: Kommandeure, Führer & Vertreter

Post by askropp » 21 Sep 2019 17:47

Well, I thought I just explained the difference between a Kommandeur and a Führer? Or are you referring to the different designations of unit leaders? They are traditional and can be found in many languages. If I may list the usual troop commands and the titles of their commanders:

Oberbefehlshaber der Heeresgruppe A [usually a Generalfeldmarschall]
Oberbefehlshaber der 1. Armee [usually a Generaloberst]
Kommandierender General des I. Armeekorps [usually a General der Infanterie etc.]
(Divisions-)Kommandeur der 1. Infanteriedivision [usually a Generalleutnant or Generalmajor]
(Regiments-)Kommandeur des Infanterieregiments 1 [usually an Oberst]
(Bataillons-)Kommandeur des I. / Infanterieregiment 1 [usually an Oberstleutnant or Major]
Kompaniechef der 1. / Infanterieregiment 1 [usually an Hauptmann]
Zugführer des 1. Zuges der 1. / Infanterieregiment 1 [usually a Leutnant or Oberfeldwebel]
Gruppenführer der 1. Gruppe des 1. Zuges der 1. / Infanterieregiment 1 [usually an Unteroffizer]

The term "Chef" (literally "chief" or "boss") can be used in different contexts.
1.) Kompaniechef (company commander)
2.) Chef eines Regiments (honorary colonel of a regiment, not to be confused with its commander)
3.) Chef des Generalstabes (chief of staff of a higher command)
4.) Chef der Luftflotte 1 etc. (commander in chief of certain units or staffs, instead of an OB)
5.) Chef des Hauses Hohenzollern etc. (head of a noble dynasty)

Ignorants of military matters, that is most contemporary people, will be confused by the different usages. In everyday language, "mein Chef" means the boss of an employee. But when the OB of an Army talks of "mein Chef", he means his Chef des Generalstabes, his principal subordinate. Consequently, a document marked "Chefsache" is not intended for the OB, but for his Chef. A similar misapprehension may occur when a RN or USN Captain talks of "my chief", referring to his ship's chief engineer, a subordinate. "Mein Chef" would be a wrong translation in this case (the responding KM term was the LI or Leitender Ingenieur).

For some unknown reason, many Anglo-Saxons seem to believe that a Chef is usually a French or Swedish cook. And for some reason even more unknown, the legendary Swedish chef was changed to "Der dänische Koch" in the German version of the Muppet Show, along with a totally different (and, excuse me, way BETTER) personal jingle: "Smørrebrød, smørrebrød, røm pøm pøm pøm!" :lol:
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Re: Kommandeure, Führer & Vertreter

Post by Halfdan S. » 21 Sep 2019 20:06

Så, så, hvad er der nu i vejen med smørrebrød?

At what levels was the Staff called "Generalstab", as in "Chef des Generalstabes" - all the way down to Korps-level?

Best
Halfdan S.

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Re: Kommandeure, Führer & Vertreter

Post by askropp » 21 Sep 2019 21:52

You know the Swedish (or Danish) Chef, do you?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUK4i0rGmns

High commands constituting an A-Stelle or F-Stelle had a Chef des Generalstabes, divisional staffs had only an Ia.
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Re: Kommandeure, Führer & Vertreter

Post by CNE503 » 22 Sep 2019 09:05

askropp wrote:
21 Sep 2019 17:47
Well, I thought I just explained the difference between a Kommandeur and a Führer? Or are you referring to the different designations of unit leaders? They are traditional and can be found in many languages
Actually, I am well aware of the German designations of the time. But I think it's interesting to know what are the differences between these terms, because they refer to specific duties and rights.
For instance, IIRC, a Kompaniechef is the official company leader, but you can find the term Kompanieführer, who was a "Stellvertretender" to a Kompaniechef.

Anyway, the way you summarized is very clear and interesting, so thank you for that too.
Regards,
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

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