Let's Build: The Heer/Waffen-SS 1943-44

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Freikorps, Reichswehr, Austrian Bundesheer, Heer, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Fallschirmjäger and the other Luftwaffe ground forces. Hosted by Christoph Awender.
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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 15 Jul 2007 22:18

Several conflicting IstSt figures for the Ostheer can be found for 1 July. 3,005,000 is given in Handakten OrgAbt., though this is not date-specific and may refer to an average during the month or strength at some point later than 1 July (IWM AL1574-55 Handakten OrgAbt. ) Elsewhere, a figure of 3,138,000 is given for 1 July. This last figure includes W.SS and LW formations, without which the strength is 2,939,000 (NARA, T78, R411, F6379644. AMO SSR, Fonds 6598, Liste 12450, Akte 305, Bl. 12, Bl. 14, Bl. 19, Bl. 23, IWM MI14/442-27) „Entwicklung der Iststärke des Ostheeres“, OrgAbt 18941/44, 7.9.44. 3.3 million is also a frequently cited figure. I have yet to uncover what exactly is behind the contrast, but my working hypothesis would be that the latter figure includes some element not contained in the former, such as soldiers in WB Ostland and other far rear commands.

IWM= Imperial War Museum
BA-MA= Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv
AMO= Well, you know what that is. :)

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Michate
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Post by Michate » 16 Jul 2007 07:18

You can show your data for July, 1, 1943 for actual strength for OKH (the general, for the East and for Finland), for the airfield divisions Lüftwaffe and for the Waffen-SS divisions?
As for this date it is possible to see a basis from documents available already here.
I do have a few data points:

1. - As Qvist already told, 3,138,000 men Iststaerke on 1 July, including Waffe-SS and Luftwaffe field formations, but not soldiers in Finland and WB Ostland and WB Ukraine.

2. - 3,064,000 men Iststaerke, referring to the date of 20 July. This number is provided in a FHO strength comparison report.

3. - 3,115,000 men. This figure is provided by Mueller-Hillebrand, "Das Heer" and is without W-SS, but including soldiers in WB Ostland and WB Ukraine. So far I have not seen this figure in primary sources

Your figure for 1 July seems to be the result of adding your number 357,000 men in WB in Finland, WB Ostland and WB Ukraine to this figure (3,138,000 + 357,000 = 3,495,000), am I correct?
This figure should be roughly correct, but your figure for November 1942 should be too high.

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Yuri
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Post by Yuri » 16 Jul 2007 11:45

Michate wrote: 3. - 3,115,000 men. This figure is provided by Mueller-Hillebrand, "Das Heer" and is without W-SS, but including soldiers in WB Ostland and WB Ukraine. So far I have not seen this figure in primary sources
It is the most probable, that source the Mueller-Hillebrand's figure contains in this document.

The title page of the document has such inscription in German.
Der Chef des Heeresstabes........................................................... F. H. Qu., den 15.8.1943
beim Chef OKW
____________________________
(I) Nr. 52/43 gKdos. Chefsache...................................................... 3. Ausfertigungen
................................................................................................... 2. Ausfertigung

Chef-Sache!
Nur durch Offizieren!


....................................... Vortragnotiz........................
............................... über die personale Lage...........
The semi-annual requirement is specified in the basic text of the document for:

- OKH: 614,000 men;
- OKL: 199,000 men (including 40,000 for LW-FDs)
- OKM: 121,000 men
- Waffen-SS: 40,000 men

It is especially emphasized, that these figures are the most minimal requirements of a troops.
Then the review of contingents of the militarians who yet have been not called up for military service is given.

In appendices 1, 2 and 3 to «Vortragnotiz über die personale Lage» are specified strength and requirements for three the Wehrmacht's parts (OKH, OKL and OKM) for the period from July, 1, 1941 till July, 1, 1943.

Situation for the field troops OKH - the appendix 1:
- on July, 1, 1941 for 202 divisions of a the field troops - 4,025,000 men;
- on July, 1, 1942 for 220 divisions of a the field troops 3,950,000 men;
- on July, 1, 1943 for 245 divisions of a the field troops - 4,480,000 men.

A. On July, 1, 1943 a situation for the field troops OKH in general:
- Divisions - 245;
- Actual force of a the field troops: 4,480,000 men;
- The theoretical strength of the field troops for full OoB a wartime: 5,100,000 men;
- Shortage of a the field troops for full OoB a wartime: 620,000 men
- For decrease of shortage is made reduction OoB (including, in infantry divisions it is reduced the figure of battalions from nine up to six and other similar actions);
- After reorganization shortage has made (for the reduced OoB): 257,000 men;

B. In the East for the field troops OKH
- Shortage of a the field troops in the East (the reduced OoB): 194,000 men;
- Thus it is separately specified, that for the period from July, 1, 1943 till August, 1, 1943 shortage has increased on 130,000 men *;
=====================================
* - in the other document (this the German document) which translation I can read now, is specified, that losses FeldHeer in the East from July, 1, 1943 till August, 1, 1943 have made 230,766 men, updating for the same period 117,316 men.
==========================================

From here on July, 1, 1943 for OKH:
- Actual strength the field troops in general: 4,480,000 men;
- Theoretical strength the field troops in general (for reduced OoB): 4,480,000 + 257,000 = 4,737,000 men;
- Theoretical strength of a the field troops for 168 divisions in the East (reduced OoB): 3,248,000 men;
- Actual strength the field troops in the East: 3,248,000 - 194,000 = 3,054,000 men;

Except for divisions of a field troops in the East there were 4 educational - field divisions.

If Mueller-Hillebrand considered strength of these 4 educational-field divisions then his figure 3,115,000 men on July, 1, will be true provided that in this figure are not taken into account strength: LW-FDs, W-SS and 20-th mountain army (6 divisions OKH + 1 division W-SS), and as strength of districts "Ukraine" and "Baltic"

Calculation for LW general (including LW-FDs) is given in the appendix 2 where it is specified, that the minimal semi-annual requirement for LW-FDs makes 40,000 men;
Unfortunately, in the appendix 2, there is a blank - theoretical force and actual force for LW-FDs here are not specified.

Similarly actual strength W-SS is not specified, however, as already was their requirement is told above, specified: 40,000 men;

Strength of military districts "Ukraine" and "Baltic" in this document are not examined.

Therefore, precisely to specify actual the Wehrmacht's strength on East (OKH+LW-FDs +W-SS + Allgemain-SS + Police) is necessary has addressed to other document (which as I have already specified, here it is not given).
It is known, that in the East was on July, 1, 943:
- LW-FDs: 12 divisions;
- W-SS: 6 divisions and 1 brigade;
- reserve divisions: 4
Michate wrote: Your figure for 1 July seems to be the result of adding your number 357,000 men in WB in Finland, WB Ostland and WB Ukraine to this figure (3,138,000 + 357,000 = 3,495,000), am I correct?
I cannot answer confidently now it, however, I see, that the figure 357,063 is determined for 1.12.1943. Probably, you are right, but it is possible, that here casual concurrence of figures.
Michate wrote: 2. - 3,064,000 men Iststaerke, referring to the date of 20 July. This number is provided in a FHO strength comparison report.
Day on July, 20, 1943 very inconvenient date for calculation of actual strength of a troops.

As is known, from the beginning of April till July, 4, 1943 at the front it was silent - losses during this period were minimal.
However, from July, 5 till July, 23, 1943 it is the period of the strongest battles which were accompanied by the big losses.
Then from July, 23 till August, 3 it was rather silent. And heavy battles have again begun from August, 3
From 230,766 losses which OKH had in July, 1943 in East it is probable about 90-95 % took place till July, 20.
Therefore on July, 20, 1943 as a starting point very inconvenient date. Here huge opportunities for various variations - everyone will be on the correct and at the same time wrong.

And on the contrary, on July, 1, 1943 very convenient date - losses till this day were minimal, and the sides have prepared for the forces for fight.

However, a figure in 3,064,000 men on July, 20 and a figure 3,054,000 men on July, 1 from very close. Probably, here the question is about same?

P.S.
One more not a unimportant detail.
From the document it is visible, that Germans are taken into account only.
Forces of Spaniards and Slovaks are not taken into account. Russian (Soviet) sources from its part take into account separately forces of Finns, the Romanian, Italians and Hungarians. However forces of Slovakia, Spain and Croatia separately do not take into account, them add to forces of Germans.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 17 Nov 2007 17:42

There are many documents stating strengths for 1 July in the East, and they broadly give either a little more than 3 million, or around 3.3 million. There are several possibilities for the discrepancy; LW-Fd and W-SS is one, another is the deep rear commands (WB Ostland etc), and also the F.E.D. and Geb.AOK 20 - sometimes it is specified if they are included ornot, sometimes not. The document you refer to is not one that I can immediately see that I have and it is difficult to analyse it without seeing it, but generally at least, it is most common for Field Army figures to include both the LW-FD and W-SS formations, so I would at least not take it for granted that they are unincluded just because the figures refer to the Field Army. Non-inclusion of Geb.AOK 20 and the WBs would be my odds-on favorites to explain the difference, but this i slittle more than a guess.

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Michate
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Post by Michate » 19 Nov 2007 17:37

The appendix 1 of the document that Yuri used is available in BA-MA RH 2/936-122.

The document has also been used in the German literature (M.-H., DRZW Vol. 5.2 p. 948, several GDR works).

Further comments on the 20 July 1943 FHO strength comparison from the side of the Org.abt. can be found in BA-MA RH 2/936-108. It is explicitly mentioned the figures I gave do contain SS and Lw-Felddiv. personnel.

EDITET:

The document presented here itself is available in BA-MA RH2/936-118 to -121.
Last edited by Michate on 24 Nov 2007 08:16, edited 2 times in total.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 19 Nov 2007 20:28

Oh, right - then I do have the document, thanks for the heads-up (as well as the informative post)! I'll have a look at it then.

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FarKenal
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Re: Let's Build: The Heer/Waffen-SS 1943-44

Post by FarKenal » 28 Oct 2008 04:14

I’ve always been interested to imagine how the Germans would have fared in ww2 if the Allied landings in Normandy never happened, though I cant seem to intrepret those order of battles into anything useful.

I was wondering if anyone knows during 1943 how many divisions could have been transferred to the Eastern Front/Italy, if Germany knew operation Overlord would never eventuate?

As I can see it there are 6 panzer divisions of which all of them were forming. Does this mean that they would not be deployed on the Eastern Front regardless of the situation happening in the West?

As far as knew, Hitler had learned from his intelligence in the Allies Yalta conference that as early as Feb 1943 that there would be no second front created in 1943 and that he was free to move his divisions to the Eastern Front, which is what partially enabled Von Manstein to launch his famous counter attack and retake Kharkov Feb 1943. So why is it then that there would be still be so many divisions in France Oct 1943 as per the following from the 1st page of this topic

OB WEST OCTOBER 1943

5 Armies: WB Niederlande, 15., 7., 1., 19.
16 Corps: LXVII Reserve, LXVI, LXIV, LVIII Res. PZ., LXXXVIII, LXXXIX, LXXXII, LXXXI, LXXXIV, LXXIV, XXV, LXXX, LXXXVI, IV LW, Gruppe Faulenbach, Gruppe Kniess.

6 Pz (forming): 25., 9.SS, 10.SS, 12.SS, 14., 21. (all forming)
1 Pz.Gren. (forming): "Feldherrnhalle"
8 Inf: 13.SS (forming), 376., 384., 371., 334. (forming), 356., 715., 20.Brig., 30.Brig.
20 Bs Inf: 244. (forming), 245. (forming), 347., 719., 712., 264. (forming), 348., 711., 716., 709., 319., 346., 266., 343., 265., 243., 708., 344., 326., 338.
4 Bs LW: 16., 19., 18., 17.
1 1/2 Sicherung: 325., 5.Rgt., 195.Rgt.
10 Reserve: 182., 158., 189., 159., 157., 165., 171., 156. 191., 158.

In all 15 divisions, 10 reserve divisions and 24 Bs’s (I think this means static divisions)

So why is it that with intelligence and weather meaning the likelyhood of an invasion is so very remote, why would they have 50 odd divisions just sitting in France? Surely these units must make only a slight percentage of a standard ww2 division. I have read in other places that static divisions were severely lacking in men, artillery, ammunition and especially transport of any kind, but would anyone know roughly how many standard divisions could be created for combat on the Eastern Front/Italy? Especially before Operation Citadel, July 1943?

In addition of the garrisoning divisions in Norway and France, how many of these would be there regardless of the threat of invasion, and hence perfoming occupational duties anyway? For instance I have read that Germany had 24 divisions in the Balkans during 1944, and that Yugoslavia has a population half the size of Frances, let alone Belgium, Holland and Norway. So it would make sense that Germany needs 60+ divisions along the Atlantic wall if that’s how many they had in the Balkans. But when you think that that actually equals what they historically had, and were able to put up such a tough fight against the Allies, it really seems absurd that they would need so many divisions for garrisoning in the Balkans, would the combat strength of the units in the Balkans be grossly under strength for what one would expect from 24 divisions? Or were units both along the Atlantic wall and in the Balkans wholly inadequate, and their listing as a complete division is vastly overrated when compared to the accomplishments/expectations/performances of some single divisions on the Eastern Front?

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