Heeres mapping system

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MilHist BT
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Heeres mapping system

Post by MilHist BT » 25 Nov 2007 17:37

Does anyone know of a good reference, preferably in english, which describes the map grid systems used by the Heer between 1936 and May 1945?

Have been able to find some good information on the Luftwaffemeldenetz, Jägermeldenetz, and Marinequadratkarte systems but practically nothing on the Heeres systems other than a simple manual on using a marschkompass.

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Post by Andreas » 25 Nov 2007 18:23

That's because there wasn't one, at least not in the same way as the theatre grid used by the Allies. The Heer used a system based on a line drawn at random on a map, with numbers chosen at random. This was called 'Stosslinie', and was ordered by higher command levels.

The order below (which is from the Panzergruppe Afrika order of the day of 21 Dec. 41) should explain how it worked:

Preliminary new push line: road division Berca (southern Benghazi) – road knee Agedabia (Map 1:400,000). Start at road division Berca with Number 126.


So you would start at Berca with number 126, and then go by centimetres along the line. Any point on the map is indicated by its relation to the line. A point could e.g. be 130 Right 2 (4cm in direction Agedabia, then 2cm right of the line). Because the system was changed regularly, and the numbers chosen at random, it was practically unbreakable code.

All the best

Andreas

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Gertjan
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Post by Gertjan » 26 Nov 2007 18:57

The abovementioned systenm is the system of bezügspunkten, and is in a similar way still in use withe many nations. It is used as a way to encrypt coordinates from a normal grid.

Normal grids should be stated on contemporary maps, which system the Germans used is not known to me.

my two Eurocents,

Gertjan

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Post by Andreas » 26 Nov 2007 20:25

Gertjan wrote: It is used as a way to encrypt coordinates from a normal grid.


Gertjan

I don't think that is correct - the Stosslinien system can be used without any grid on a map. All you need is a pencil, a ruler, and a map (with or without grid, it should not matter).

All the best

Andreas

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Heeres mapping system

Post by MilHist BT » 27 Nov 2007 04:29

Hi All

Interesting.

From what I've been able to find, the Luftwaffemeldenetz and Jägdmeldenetz systems were unique to the Luftwaffe and the Marinequadratkarte was unique to the Kriegsmarine. All three systems were based on large scale maps being divided into squares (or in some instances irregular squares in the case of the Marinequadratkarte). Each was then subdivided into progressively smaller squares down to a scale of around 5 - 10km per side.

There had to have been some type of grids used at some level in the Heer since it is difficult to imagine how the Gemans could have navigated mechanized units or how spähtruppen conducted reconn while operating on something as featureless as the Russian steppes without a rational map grid system.

I had the impression that the stosslinie was a general line of advance for a specific unit as designated by a regimental or divisional staff in an operational order prior to an advance.

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Post by Christoph Awender » 27 Nov 2007 07:50

Hello

As said above there was really no standard greed system used by the Heer. It was simply not possible because a high percentage of maps used were captured, locally bought, civilian origin etc...
Maps were always rare within the german army. Grade systems were used where available at the systenm available on the maps. If for example the Stab of a unit had the same captured map like the advancing unit it was possible to use this grade system in reports and messages. If not they orientated with landmarks (depression, hill, town, road bend, cliff etc...) in messages and reports. And this was by far the most common used system judged by the messages, reports I know.
Thinking about it I just ever saw one message using sectors of an captured US map in Normandy 1944.

\Christoph

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Re: Heeres mapping system

Post by Andreas » 27 Nov 2007 10:04

MilHist BT wrote:I had the impression that the stosslinie was a general line of advance for a specific unit as designated by a regimental or divisional staff in an operational order prior to an advance.


The Stosslinie order I have seen (admittedly only in Africa) came from the highest command (Panzergruppe) and applied to everyone.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by Andreas » 27 Nov 2007 10:08

Hehe - my memory must be going... Have a look for the gridded map here:

viewtopic.php?t=121245

Maybe that helps?

This was used for artillery firing (Als Schiesskarte geeignet). This was an overprinted pre-war Soviet map.

In this thread you see a gridded map that was probably produced by the Kartenstelle of a German counter-battery battalion:

viewtopic.php?t=121208

All the best

Andreas

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Gertjan
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Post by Gertjan » 27 Nov 2007 16:07

Hello all,

According to the links Andreas provided, I still assume that grids like the UTM-grid were used by Heer. It must have been quite hard to coördinate between different maps, for each country had it's own datum and projection. Especially in border regions this might have caused tricky situations.

Nowadays, the most used grid within NATO is MGRS (Military Grid Reference System) with datum WGS-84. even different datums cause slight variations in a gridsystem.

Even to order a stosslinie or bezügspunkten you need a pinpoint line or location from where to refer from which can only be determined with an already existing grid.

regards,

Gertjan

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Post by Andreas » 27 Nov 2007 16:27

Gertjan wrote:Even to order a stosslinie or bezügspunkten you need a pinpoint line or location from where to refer from which can only be determined with an already existing grid.


The Stosslinie is that line.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by RichTO90 » 27 Nov 2007 19:23

Andreas wrote:Andreas


Hi Andreas,

The German maps I have seen are of a wide variety and the methods used appeared ro vary a bit from theater to theater as did the source of the maps. Most of the maps I have seen for the Eastern Front appear to be based upon captured Soviet military maps, which were grided. The National Archives has collections which include both Soviet and German versions of the same map, with the same grid overlay (oddly, it seems the Soviets and Germans regularly used a two-kilometer grid square as opposed to the British (and Italian) one-kilometer grid).

Italy is interesting in that the initial maps used by 10. Armee were simple topo maps, without grids, and the Stosslinie system was used, often with the line determined by being drawn through two towns, which were referred to by either a cover name or by an assigned number. But circa November-December 1943 10. Armee replaced the topo maps with standard gridded contour maps, which appear to be based on Italian military maps.

The Allies of course used a single map source, the British GSGS UTM/Cassini/Lambert-gridded system. The NW Europe series in those maps were based on surveys that extended as far back as the Great War, that had been hastily updated in 1939-1940 and then were further corrected during the war through aerial photographic mapping. But the maps used for the Italian Campaign were mostly derived from captured Italian military maps and reproduced in early 1943 (so I suspect that they were captured in Cyrenaica). The British also captured a large selection of Italian military maps for North Africa during COMPASS, which were also apparently reprinted for areas where they had limited coverage of their own.

BTW, there is an excellent site that explains the British GSGS mapping system that also will translate standard UTM grids from those maps into lat-lon and that will also pinpoint a current location from such a reference in Mapquest or Google Maps. It is at:

http://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-translator.php

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Heeres mapping system

Post by MilHist BT » 01 Dec 2007 17:24

Hi All

Thanks for the replies, it has helped immensely.

Does anyone have a Kurskreisel (Course plotting device) or know what the training manual designation was?

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Re:

Post by Andreas » 17 Apr 2008 14:08

Andreas wrote:
Gertjan wrote:Even to order a stosslinie or bezügspunkten you need a pinpoint line or location from where to refer from which can only be determined with an already existing grid.


The Stosslinie is that line.

All the best

Andreas


I have now come across a Stosslinie order in my files.

All the best

Andreas
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Urmel
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Re: Heeres mapping system

Post by Urmel » 19 Mar 2009 20:33

David Irving claims Rommel invented this system. Is that true?

http://www.scribd.com/doc/9801063/Rommel-Bio (enter "stosslinie" in the search box)
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Heeres mapping system

Post by Urmel » 29 Mar 2009 16:48

Bump. Anyone know the answer?
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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