I finally found time to type most parts from the excellent scans that Shrek sent me. The source is Reinhard Frank's
"Trucks of the Wehrmacht."
Sorry for possible typos and the broken lines and paragraphs. I used questionmarks to mark words that I couldn't make out from the scans.
The Tasks of the Back-Line Services
The troop leader of the "supply services" is the supply leader of a division, the corps, or the army. As a specialist in
the quartermaster group, he recommends the utilization of the supply units led by
him to the command offices. The carrying out of smooth supplying of the troops in
the operations area depends essentially on the frictionless cooperation between him
and the other specialists in the division or other command staffs (commissariat
officer, specialist for ammunition, infantry or artillery equipment, etc.). Constant
phone communication between the division supply leader at the division staff and the
masses of his supply units during the movement, rest and quartering is absolutely
necessary for the immediate use of the columns in establishin advanced fuel depots,
ammunition distribution points, and beginning the activity of vehicle repair
The supply sercies can be divided into: a) Supply columns, b) motor vehicle columns
for fuel supply, c) repair shop companies, d) field workshops (Army), e) supply
companies and battalions, f) motor parks (Army).
A) Supply Columns:
They supply ammunition, food, weapons, clothing, equipment, war materials and army
supplies of all kinds, and transport weapons and equipment in need of repair,
captured and empty goods (fired ammunition, packing material, casing, cartridges),
and in special cases also wounded and ill persons and animals.
B) Motor Vehicle (Kw.) Columns:
Are divided into small columns with 30-ton load limit on ten medium or heavy trucks,
and large columns with 60-ton load limit in 20 medium or heavy trucks.
Equipment of a Small Supply Column with 30-ton Load Limit:
1 to 2 cars, 1 to 2 motorcycles
2 groups of trucks, each with a total load limit of 15 tons, and a third group
(Wirtschaftsgruppe) of 3-ton capability.
Equipment of a Large Supply Column with 60-ton Load Limit:
2 cars, 2 motorcycles
4 groups of trucks, each with a total load limit of 15 tons, and a 5th group
(?Wirtschaftsgruppe?) consisting on 2 fuel and equipment trucks, each 3-ton load
litmit, and 1 medium truck to carry food and baggage.
With total load limit of 30 tons on 40 two- or one-horse field wagons or typical
The motor vehicle columns (as long as they have no off-road vehicles) are limited to
good, firm roads. Compared to horse-drawn columns, they have the following
advantages: five times greater speed (25-30 ?km/h?), five to six times greater range
(150 and more km per day), and a much smaller need for personnel.
The possibility of using horse-drawn vehicles across country, away from good, firm
roads and paths, in ?rough? country and unfavorable weather conditions -- that put
limits on the performance capability of motor vehicle columns -- makes the retention
of horse-drawn wagons for part of the supply column, as well as for the
transportation of the combat troops (combat, food and other vehicles) absolutely
necessary at ?first?. If necessary, ?draft oxen? are suitable for use if horses are
lacking or because of the particular nature of the country.
Columns of pack animals are used to carry supplies in the mountains, where the use
of horses and wagons is impossible. A pack animal carries 50-80 kg of load. The
total load limit of a pack animal column, depending on the carrying ability of the
animals and the terrain, can be up to ?five? tons. In favorable terrain, at
distances up to 15 km and altitudes up to 600-800 meters, on good cart tracks with
grades of no more than ?15%?, small field wagons, mountain carts and sleds can also
be used. In trackless mountain areas, columns of carriers instead of pack animals
Small and Large Vehicle Columns for Fuel
with carrying capacity of 25 or 50 cbm, complete the need for ?motor? vehicles by
the staffs and troop units of the fighting troops as well as the back-line services
in delivering gasoline, tires, oil, etc.
The vehicle repair platoons (division) provide short-term repair work for motor
vehicles, the field repair shops (army) and ?armorer? platoons (division) repair
weapons and army equipment.
Motor vehicle repair and ?armorer? platoons form the repair shop company.
Supply Companies (division) or Battalions (army), divided into ammunition, rations,
gathering and technical platoons, ?provide? the work force at undloading ?depots?,
motor parks and distribution points, so that drivers and aides of the columns and
trains are generally not needed for loading purposes. The time of loading and
unloading is used by the drivers for overhauling and testing of vehicle, ?motor?,
horses, equipment, etc.
Parks hold supplies of weapons and army equipment to replace equipment of the troops
that is out of actions because of loss, enemy action, damage, etc. If need be,
?branch? parks can be ?advanded?. The supplying of equipment from the army's
unloading depots, parks and field repair shops to the troops (division equipment
collecting points) is directed by the chief quartermaster (?O.Ob.?) at the staff of
the A.O.K. In special cases, the troops receive replacement equipment at the
aforementioned back-line facilities of the army.
Subordination of the Supply Columns (1939)
According to their use and ?affiliation? with the command staffs, one can
Army Supply Columns: They form a transport reseive of the Army High Command for
army supplying. They are assigned by the Quartermaster General (?Gen.Qu.?) to
armies, corps and divisions according to need, ?or? in special cases placed under
the direct command of the Quartermaster General (to replace railroads in case of
damage, interruption, etc.).
Supply Columns of an Army serve that army to keep a portion of the supplies of
ammunition, ratios, etc., in motion, keep the army's supply dumps and parks filled
regularly, and beyond that, to complete ?or? support the supply services of the
divisions subordinate to the army.
Corps Supply Columns generally supply only their own corps' troops with
ammunition, ratios, etc.
The corps supply columns of cavalry corps command, which are given distant marching
destinations as a rule, carry a certain amount of ammunition and food (particularly
oats) with them and are frequently used to assist the cavalry division's supply
Division Supply Columns form a bridge between the back-line facilities of the army
and the distribution points of the division.
Column Units: When the divisions advance, the division's supply columns are
generally combined with parts of the other back-line services to form a Marching
Unit, and set to follow the motorized units of the combat troops under the command
of an officer from the staff of the division supply leader.
Parts of the division's supply columns carrying artillery ammunition are combined
into a combat unit and moved closer to the battlefield. In this situation they
fill the ammunition needs of the batteries, etc., immediately on orders from the
artillery commander of the division.
Structure of the Back-Line Services in the Division
Supply Services / Supply Troops
Specified strengths, which varied greatly in individual divisions
- Staff Div. Supply Leader
- 6 small vehicle col., 30 t each
- 1 small fuel column, 30 t
- 1 vehicle repair platoon
- 1-2 wagon columns, 30 t each
- 1 supply co. (?t-mot?), 3 platoons
- 1 ammunitioin command at division supply leader
Infantry Division (mot.)
- 10 small veh. col., 30 t each
- 1 supply co. (mot.), 2 platoons
- 10 small veh. col., 30 t each
- 1 supply co. (mot.), 2 platoons
- 4-6 small veh. col., 30 t each
- 2-3 ?mtn.? veh. co., 30 t each
- 1 ?mtn.? supply co. (?t-mot?), 3 pltns.
- 3-4 small veh. col., 30 t each
- 2-3 vehicle columns, 30 t each
- 1 supply co. (?t-mot?), 3 platoons
1942 - 1945
- Staff Cmdr. Div. Supply Troop
- 1-3 vehicle comp. 90 t each
- 1 vehicle repair platoon
- 1-3 wagon squads, 60 t each
- 1 supply co. (?t-mot?), 3 pltns.
- 1 ammunition command at staff
Infantry Division (mot.)
- ?4? vhiecle co., 90 or 120 t each
- 1 supply co. (mot.), 2 platoons
- 2 vehicle co. 90 or 120 t each
- 4 ?mtn.? veh. co., 30 t each
- 1 ?mtn.? supply co (?t-mot?), 3 platoons
- 1 vehicle company, 120 tons
- 3 ?mtn.? vehicle col., 30 t each
- 1 supply co. (?t-mot?), 3 patns.
[Unit] Officers NCO Men Vehicles Horses Wagons
Vehicle Company 2 14-17 74-95 45-88 - -
Wagon Squadron 2 19 190 1 203 82
Supply Co. (mot.) 2 14 105 14 - -
Supply Co. (?t-mot.?) 2 22 151 8 10 5
?Mtn.? Supply Company 2 14 173 - 19 ?8?
Transportation of the Combat Troops (Trains)
To carry out supplying on the advance, during combat or at rest, the infantry,
artillery and other regiments were equipped with horse-drawn and motorized vehicles
according to their organization, so that a part of their supplies of ammunition,
food and materials of all kinds, equipment, baggage, etc., ?will be mobile? and can
be carried along, simultaneously guaranteeing two-way supplying between the front
and the back-line facilities of the division (ammunition, food, fuel distribution
points, equipment collecting places, etc.).
According to their tasks, the following can be differentiated:
- the combat trains
- the commissary train
- the baggage train, and
- the light columns
The Combat Trains is composed of the combat vehicles (ammunition units), the
field kitchen and the horses.
The Combat Vehicles (generally horse-drawn) take everything that the troops need to
the battlefield: ammunition and war materials of all kinds, spare parts and tools
for minor repairs, medical and veterinary equipment. On modern rubber-tired combat
vehicles of the rifle companies, some of the marching packs of the men can also be
On the march, the combat train is gathered in the battalion or other unit under the
leadership of a non-commissioned officer (?Oberfeldwebel? or ?Futtermeister?). When
contact with the enemy is made, the combat wagons move at the end of their company,
in prescribed marching order, under the leadership of the NCO for weapons and
equipment. After the deployment of the rifle company, thy follow their platoons
(every platoon has one combat wagon).
All combat vehicles are drawn by two horses and driven from the seat or the saddle.
The Commissary Train
To carry out regular food supply service, all troop units have commissary vehicles
which form the commissary train. The equipment of the individual troop units differs
in number and type of vehicles, depending on whether or not the untis are motorized.
a) Non-Motorized Troops
As a rule, every unit (company, etc.) has one commissary vehicle (field wagon or
typical native wagon), every horse-drawn or mounted unit (machine-gun company, etc.)
has one truck.
The horse-drawn wagons form the Commissary Train I (V.T. I), the trucks form the
Commissary Train II (V.T. II).
When a unit marches out, the field kitchen carries the food supplies for that day.
V.T. I carries the food for the next day and V.T. II carries the food for the day
after that. In addition to these trhee daily portions of food, two portions of "iron
rations" are carried (one by the field kitchen, one by the men).
b) Motorized Troops
The motorized units have only one truck for food transport -- V.T. (mot.) -- which
can carry food for two days and, for this reason, is received only very other day at
the food distribution point of the division. The V.T. (mot.) generally marches
behind its troop unit if it is not underway to pick up food supplies and is recalled
by special order in this situation. There is no division into Commissary Train I and
The Baggage Train
In the effort to free the combat troops of things that they do not absolutely need
on the march or in battle, trucks have been assigned to all troop units according to
plan. Some 75% of the entire baggage is carried on these trucks. The men have the remaining 25% to
carry as their marching packs. They are urged to leave the greatest part of their marching packs
(coat, blanket, etc.) on the combat wagon.
On the march, the baggage train is organized by regiment and division and follows the division at
The Light Columns
For constant resupplying of ammunition, war materials and equipment of all kinds, the ?regiments?
etc. have, in addition to the combat vehicles (combat wagons, limbers, ammunition units), light
columns as well. They form the link between the troops (combat wagons, ammunition units) and the
means of transport (supply columns) ?of? facilities (ammunition distribution points) of the
division. The light columns bring their troop units supplies of ammunition, close-combat
equipment, hand grenades, explosives and fuses, flare and signalling ammunition, means of
camouflage and equipment according to particular plans.
According to their affiliation, the are divided into: light infantry columns, light cavalry
columns, light artillery columns, light engineer columns, light intelligence columns.
On the march, the light infantry columns generally march at the end of the main body in the order
of their troop units, the motorized light engineer and other columns follow the main body at a
greater distance in a "motorized echelon."
In place of the light artillery columns, the ammunition echelons of a division's artillery form
the link between the batteries and the division's supply columns.
Renaming the Back-Line Services
In June of 1941 the "back-line services" were renamed "supply troops" in recognition of their
(New) Structure of the Troops of the Field Army, 1942
1. Combat Troops
2. The Supply Troops are divided into:
a) the supply troops
b) the administrative troops
c) the medical troops
d) the veterinary troops
e) the ordnance troops
f) the motor park troops
g) the water supply troops
h) the police troops
i) the field postal system
2.1. To the Supply Troops there belong:
- Motor transport troops, high commander of the supply troops (army group supply leader),
commander of the army supply troops, commander of the corps supply troops, commander of the
division supply troops
- Motor transport units (regiments) and independent units for large-scale transport ?atcas? (GTR)
- Supply staffs ?z.b.V.?
- Supply column units, motorized (6 col. each 60 tons) and horse-drawn (renamed ?Kraftfahr-,
Kw-Transport or ?Fahrabetilungen? in 1942).
- Supply battalions, motorized and horse-drawn (0-1 motorized and 2-4 horse-drawn companies each)
- Independent vehicle (supply), horse-drawn and pack-animal columns with 10-60 ton capacity
- Motor vehicle companies with 60, 90, 120 and more tons of carrying capacity
- Company columns (10 buses each, also units with 3 columns, plus front aid columns of the German
- Vehicle squadrons (30-90 tons) (former vehicle columns, 1942-43), plus mountain vehicle columns,
pack-animal columns, etc.
- Ammunition administration companies (??? field troops, 1943)
- Fuel administration companies
- Fuel filling companies and commands
- Supply companies for fuel
- Weapon repair companies and platoons
- Engineer park battalions
The Supply Troops 1944/45
- As of the autumn of 1944, the supply troops of the front divisions were gradually gathered into
Division Supply Regiments (with staff and staff company), whereby the supply troops formed a
supply-troop unit, the administrative troops and administrative-troop unit. The medical unit,
motor park troops, sometimes a veterinary company, and the field post office likewise belonged.
Panzer and motorized divisions were assigned not only two or three vehicle repair companies but
also a spare-parts echelon (?75 t?). The extent and composition of these regiments depended on the
types of the various division units and thus showed many variations; precise data are lacking.
Towards the end of the war, there usually remained only one motor vehicle company (120 tons), two
wagon squadrons (30 tons), one supply column and one administrative company (with commissary,
bakery and butcher components) in the infantry divisions, which had grown smaller for lack of men
and material. The last divisions of the 35th Wave, established in March 1945, each had two weak
regiments and could be given only one vehicle column (30 tons), one wagon squadron (30 tons) and
one administrative company.
Large Transport Area (GTR)
The largest independent transport unit of the field army was the "Grosstransport???m (GTR), which
was directly subordinate to the General of the Supply Troops.
The basis of the GTR was formed by the Motor Vehicle Transport Regiments 602, 605 and 616, the
last two originally designated "Commercial Vehicle Transport Regiments."
The Kw.Tr.Rgt. 602 formed of personnel and materials taken from all peacetime motor vehicle units
and was the active regiment. It was divided into staff, staff company, field police platoon, three
units of five companies each, a repair platoon and an information platoon, a total of sixteen
companies. The regiment's transport vehicles were four-ton trucks with four-ton trailers. Its
total strength, with a tonnage of 4500 tons, was 3000 men and 2200 vehicles, including
Regiments 605 and 616 had the same structure as the active Regiment 602, but except for a small
cadre of active leaders and deputy leaders, were formed completely of men from industry, hence the
name "Commercial Vehicle Transport Regiments." It had vehicles of the most varied types and sizes,
not to mention ages and body types. They had only one thing in common: They were built exclusively
for civilian use and certainly only for use on good roads.
For the most part, they were six-to-ten-ton trucks with trailers, forming road trains with loads
up to 20 tons. The tonnage of Regiment 605 was 6000 tons, that of Regiment 616 was 9000 tons.
The fuel consumption for 100 km of transit on roads was 50 cbm for the regiment, its marching
speed in daylight and in good weather was 30 kph, at night 10 to 15 kph. The regiment had a
marching depth of 40 km when opened up, and up to 120 km on the march. A day's marching including
loading and unloading of goods, stops and tests, averaged 300 km, but at times individual
performances achieved up to twice as much.
Special mention is deserved by the drivers of the GTR. Often called in with their own road trains,
the long-distance drivers formed an elite of capable men. When the formation of new Panzer
divisions was ordered in 1943-44, more than 10,000 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, a
third of their total personnel, had to be provided by the GTR alone. They also proved themselves
in the combat troops, especially as tank drivers. In the GTR there were over 1000 different makes
and models of motor vehicles, which made maintenance tremendously difficult. Only in 1943 could
some simplifications of makes - but not models - be achieved, which necessitated exchanges among
almost all theatres of war.
The GTR reached its highest tonnage, almost 80,000 tons, at the beginning of 1943, and remained at
about 70,000 tons until 1944, with a work forceof 35,000 men. It functioned in all theatres of
war, with emphasis on the east. As a result of losses beginning in 1944, its tonnage that year
sank to 60,000 tons, and amounted to about 45,000 tons by the end of the war.