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The High Command Of The Wehrmacht 1935 to 1945

Commander in Chief of the Wehrmacht

The High Command.

1. Introduction

The basic principle under the German military system is unity of command. This principle is exemplified in the highest as well as the lower echelons. Under this system the Army, Navy, and Air Force are regarded as branches of a single service (Die Wehrmacht), headed by the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or OKW)(1).[See Section 4 for an explanation of the use of these numbers.] The OKW controls all matters of inter-service policy in both peace and war. It is responsible for all preparation for national defence in time of peace, and for the conduct of operations in time of war. The head of the OKW is a cabinet member and represents the joint interest of the three branches with respect to other departments of the Government.

In effect, therefore, the German High Command is divided into four parts, as follows: Armed Forces High Command Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW)(2), Army High Command Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH)(3), Navy High Command Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine (OKM)(3), Air Force High Command Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL)(4).

Under this system it is not unusual in a task force for units of one branch of the Armed Forces to come under the immediate command of another branch. All personnel may be transferred from one branch to another in the same or equivalent rank. This, in fact, has been done on a very considerable scale in 1943 and 1944, with a transfer of thousands of members of the Air Force and Navy to the Army.

The OKW is supreme and responsible for the coordination of the active war effort by the three subordinate branches, while the OKH is responsible for all purely Army matters, just as each of the other two High Commands is responsible for the application of general policies within its own sphere.

In wartime, each High Command has a forward echelon (1. Staffel)(5) and a rear echelon (2. Staffel). The forward echelon moves to a location appropriate to the theater of main operations, while the rear echelon remains in Berlin. (Almost all elements of the rear echelon were evacuated from Berlin beginning in October 1943.) The object of this division is to insure that all purely routine and administrative matters will be handled in the rear and not obtrude themselves into the actual conduct of operations by the forward headquarters.

There is a fairly standardised method of indicating the relative size and importance of the various subdivisions within a high command. In descending order, these units with the accepted translations used in this book are:

Amt Office (6)
Amtsgruppe Group (7)
Abteilung Branch (8)
Gruppe Section (9)
Referat Desk (10)

In general (with some exceptions) an Amt or Amtsgruppe is headed by a general officer and an Abteilung by a field officer.

However, these subdivisions are not necessarily subordinate to one another schematically, i.e., the channel downward from an Amt may skip Amtsgruppe and go direct to Abteilung or even to Referat.

The following description gives the nomenclature and function of only the more important subdivisions of the Armed Forces High Command (OKW) and the Army High Command (OKH). All the German abbreviations used are explained in a glossary at the end of the section. It should be noted that this is the organisation existing at the beginning of 1945, and that under present circumstances the High Command, like all other aspects of the German Armed Forces, is subject to rapid and unforeseen changes.

2. The OKW (11)

Adolf Hitler himself is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht)(12). Under him, Wilhelm Keitel is the Chief of the Armed Forces High Command (Chef des OKW)(13) and as such serves as Adolf Hitler's chief executive officer in the administration of the Armed Forces and the application of his policies and plans.

The operational part of the OKW is the Armed Forces Operations Staff (Wehrmachtführungsstab), which constitutes the main advisory body to Adolf Hitle on strategy and planning. It is located at the field headquarters of the OKW, which is known as the Führerhauptquartier(14). The other subdivisions of the OKW are mostly with the rear echelon and deal with numerous administrative matters of joint interest to the three branches of the Armed Forces.

The accompanying chart (Figure 4) shows the principal branches of the OKW and their subordination. Their functions are discussed in the following paragraphs.

a. Armed Forces Central Office. (Wehrmachtzentralamt WZA)(15). The officer in charge of this agency is responsible for central organisational matters, such as increasing or reducing the personnel of branches of the High Command. The office also includes the Armed Forces Central Group (Ag WZ)(16).

b. Chief Of Armed Forces Motor Transportation. (Chef des Wehrmachtkraftfahrwesens Chef WKW)(17). This officer is administrative head of all matters concerning motor transportation. At the same time he holds the position of Chief Motor Transport Officer in the Army General Staff (Gen St d H/Gen Qu/Gen d Kfw) and controls the Inspectorate of Motor Transport in the General Army Office (AHA/Gen d Kfw/Jn 12). His activities are subject to the close supervision of Adolf Hitler's personal appointee, the Inspector General of Motor Transport (Gen Insp Kfw).

c. Chief Of Armed Forces Motor Transportation. (Rail And Water) (Chef des Transportwesens der Wehrmacht Chef Trspw d W)(18). This officer is administrative head of all rail and water transportation and also is believed to be the Chief Army Transportation Officer in the Army General Staff (Gen St d H/Chef d Trspw). Subordinate to him are the Field Transportation Branch (F Abt) (19), the Central Armed Forces Transportation Command (W Trsp Ltg Mitte)(20), and the Traffic Branch (Verk Abt)(21).

d. Chief Of The Armed Forces Patrol Service. (Chef des Wehrmachtstreifendienstes Chef W Str D)(22). This officer, appointed in March 1944, is head of all Armed Forces patrols and all welfare matters concerning troops away from their field units. The welfare function concerning troops in transit was formerly the responsibility of the General for Special Employment IV (Gen.z.b.V. IV)(23) in the OKH, an office which apparently was superseded by that of the Chief of the Armed Forces Patrol Service.

e. Armed Forces Surgeon General. (Chef des Wehrmachtsanitätswesens Chef W San)(24). Subordinate to the Chief of the OKW and, in medical matters, to the Commissioner General of Medicine and Sanitation (General-Kommissar des Führers für das Sanitäts- und Gesundheitswesen). The Armed Forces Surgeon General formerly also held the positions of Chief Army Medical Inspector (H San Insp) and Army Surgeon (H Arzt). In August 1944, the personal union was dissolved, but the latter two positions, as well as the equivalent positions in the Navy and Air Force, are all subject to the supervision and control of the Armed Forces Surgeon General in medical matters.

f. Chief Of Army Staff With Chief OKW. (Chef des Heeresstabes beim Chef OKW Chef H St b Chef OKW)(25). Chief Liaison Officer of the Army at Wilhelm Keitel's field headquarters.

g. Bureau Of Economic Welfare. (Sonderstab für Handelskrieg und wirtschaftliche Kampfmassnahmen Sd St HWK)(26). This is a small agency to represent the interests of the Armed Forces with other government agencies concerned with economic warfare and to coordinate global economic policies with Japan.

h. Inspector General For Prisoner Of War Affairs. (Generalinspekteur für das Kriegsgefangenenwesen der Wehrmacht Gen Insp Kriegsgef)(27). This personal appointee of Adolf Hitler is responsible for insuring the security of prisoner of war installations in Germany and the most effective employment of prisoner-of-war labor. He may issue orders to other OKW and OKH agencies concerned with prisoners of war.

i. Armed Forces Budget Branch. (Wehrmachthaushaltsabteilung WH)(28). This is concerned only with the budget of the OKW and not with those of the other high commands.

j. Armed Forces Judge Advocate General. (Wehrmachtrechtsabteilung WR)(29).

k. Armed Forces Operations Staff. (Wehrmachtführungsstab WFSt)(30). This is a joint general staff containing officers from 'all three branches. It is responsible for over-all planning and strategy and advises and assists Adolf Hitler in the planning and execution of military operations. It includes:

(1) Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff (Stellvertretender Chef des Wehrmachtführungsstabes Stellv Chef WFSt)(31). This officer controls the staff proper, which consists of sections concerned with operations, organisation, intelligence, and supply. Each of these sections includes officers representing all three branches of the Armed Forces. (The intelligence section now embodies elements of the former counterintelligence branch and other operational portions of the old Foreign and Counterintelligence Office of the OKW, the bulk of which was taken over by the SS in the middle of 1944.)

(2) Foreign Group (Amtsgruppe Ausland Ag Ausl)(32). This includes the Branch for Military Attaches of the OKH (Att Abt d OKH)(33). It also is concerned with acquisition of foreign newspapers, rules on travel to foreign countries, and relations of German military personnel with foreigners.

(3) Armed Forces Signal Communications Group (Amtsgruppe Wehrmachtnachrichtenverbindungen Ag WNV)(34). This group maintains the trunk communications between the high commands and is the nerve centre of the top command echelons. It has at least two signal regiments of the Army at its disposal to maintain a special network of land cables and radio channels linking the OKW, OKH, OKL, and OKM and the principal subordinate headquarters. It contains a radio communications branch (Ag WNV/Fu)(35) and a wire communications branch (Ag WNV/KF)(36).

(4) Cryptographic Branch (Chiffrier-Abteilung Chi)(37).

(5) Armed Forces Historical Branch (Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung der Wehrmacht W Kr Gesch)(38). Headed by the Fuhrer's Official Military Historian (Der Beauftr d Führers für die mil Geschichtsschr.) This officer also heads the Army Historical Branch (Kr Gesch Heer) and other historical agencies in the OKH. This branch records all military history which concerns the three branches of the Armed Forces as a whole.

(6) Armed Forces Propaganda Branch (Abteilung für Wehrmachtpropaganda W Pr)(39). Headed by the Chief of the Propaganda Troops (Chef Pr Tr)(40), this branch is responsible for all types of military propaganda except that which is fed to the troops by the National-Socialist Guidance Staffs (NSFSt) of the various high commands. It includes sections for the administration of the propaganda troops, propaganda to the home front, military censorship, propaganda to foreign countries, and counter propaganda.

l. General Armed Forces Office. (Allgemeines Wehrmachtamt AWA)(41). This office is composed of independent branches in the OKW, grouped together for administrative purposes. It contains:

(1) General Armed Forces Branch (Allgemeine Abteilung W Allg)(42).

(2) Armed Forces Administration Group (Amtsgruppe Wehrmachtverwaltung Ag WV)(43). Responsible for the administration of all OKW agencies and OKW personnel and for certain fiscal matters.

(3) Chief of Prisoners of War (Chef des Kriegsgefangenenwesens Chef Kriegsgef)(44). The administrative head of all matters relating both to German and to Allied prisoners of war, he also performs the function of inspector of prisoner-of-war installations. In this latter capacity he acts under the directives of the Inspector General for Prisoner-of-War Affairs (Gen Insp Kriegsgef), who comes directly under the Chief of the OKW. The agency is divided into a General Branch (Kriegsgef Allg.)(45) which deals with treatment, exchange, and release of prisoners, administrative and punitive matters, and relations with the protective powers and with the International Red Cross, and an organisation Branch (Kriegsgef. Org.)(46), which deals with the employment and living conditions of prisoners of war in German hands.

(4) Inspectorate for Welfare and Pensions Agencies (Inspektion der Fürsorge und Versorgungsdienststellen im OKW Jn FV)(47). Welfare and pension matters for all branches of the Armed Forces are controlled by this agency. Subordinate to it are the Armed Forces Welfare and Pensions Branch (W Vers)(48), the Civilian Pensions Branch (Abt. Reichsvers.)(49), and the Armed Forces Education Branch (WU)(50). Until 1944 the Armed Forces Education Branch was a separate branch of the AWA.

(5) Armed Forces Casualty Branch (Abteilung Wehrmachtverlustwesen WVW)(51).

(6) Armed Forces Plenipotentiary For Settlement (Bevollmächtigter des OKW für Siedlungsfragen BW Sied) (52). Arranges for resettlement of Germans in annexed territory.

(7) Hitler Youth Liaison (Vertreter der Wehrmacht beim Jugendführer des Deutschen Reichs AWA/HJ)(53). Represents the interests of the Armed Forces in the Hitler Youth organisation

(8) Military Science Branch (Abteilung Wissenschaft W Wiss)(54). Studies developments of the physical sciences which affect the military.

m. Armed Forces Economic Office. (Wehrwirtschaftsamt Wi A)(55). This office is responsible for long-range military-economic planning, the economic exploitation of occupied areas, and representing the interests of the Armed Forces with other government departments concerned with production, raw materials, labor, agriculture, and foreign trade. It contains:

(1) Armed Forces Economic Branch (Wehrwirtschaftliche Abteilung Wi)(56). Concerned with general planning matters and control of the subordinate regional agencies of the office.

(2) Raw Materials Branch (Rohstoffabteilung Ro)(57). This agency has been transferred to the control of the Ministry of Armament and War Production for the duration of the war. It included or cooperated with the Central Raw Materials Branch (Ro St A)(58), the Armed Forces Tire Centre (W R St)(59) (still under the Armed Forces Economic Office), the Central Petroleum Branch (Min St A)(60), and the Economic Experts Personnel Section (Stab W Fach)(61) (still under the Armed Forces Economic Office).

(3) Contracts and Price Control Branch (Vertrags- und Preisprüfwesen Preispr)(62). The fixing of prices for Armed Forces Contracts is supervised by this branch. It is now under the Ministry of Armament and War Production.

n. Conscription And Recruiting Office. (Wehrersatzamt WEA)(63). This office was created in the summer of 1943, when the function of controlling recruiting and conscription for the three branches of the Armed Forces was transferred from the Army High Command to the OKW. It controls the Replacement Branch (Abt. E)(64), which was formerly part of the Group for Replacement and General Troop Matters (Ag E Tr) in the OKH.

o. National Socialist Guidance Staff Of The OKW. (Nationalsozialistischer Führungsstab des OKW NSF/OKW)(65). Established in December 1943, this agency is to ensure uniform political indoctrination in the Armed Forces, in cooperation with the Party chancellery. It includes:

(1) Interior Group (Amtsgruppe Inland Ag J)(66). Formerly a branch (Abt.) of the General Armed Forces Office (AWA), this was upgraded to a group (Ag.) and transferred to the National-Socialist Guidance Staff of the OKW during February 1944. It maintains liaison between the OKW and civilian agencies in Germany. It contains a domestic security branch (Ag J/1)(67), and an ideological guidance branch (Ag J/2)(68).

(2) Party Liaison (Gruppe z.b.V. Gr.z.b.V.)(69). Formerly part of the General Armed Forces Office (AWA), this section was transferred to the control of the National-Socialist Guidance Staff of the OKW in 1944. It is believed to maintain the liaison with the National-Socialist Party and to control such matters as collections for charitable or Party purposes within the Armed Forces.

p. Inspector General Of Motor Transport. (Generalinspekteur für das Kraftfahrwesen Gen Insp Kfw)(70). He is immediately subordinate to Adolf Hitler and coordinates all matters regarding motor transport. He may issue orders to other OKW and OKH offices concerned with motor transport.

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler, 4th February 1938




Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz, 30th April 1945




The high command of the army

High Command In The Field.

Under the German military system the basic principle is unity of command at all levels. Thus the Army, Navy, and Air Force are considered branches of a single service, the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht). This joint High Command is responsible for the whole preparation of defence in time of peace and for the general conduct of war, it appoints commands for the joint task forces in the field and sees to it that the efforts of the three branches of the armed forces are thoroughly coordinated.

In time of war the Armed Forces High Command, as well as the High Command of each of the three branches establishes a field headquarters away from Berlin for the conduct of operations. Its location at any given time depends on the theater to which the main attention is being directed. In the case of the Navy, it is usually at one of the naval bases while the headquarters of the Army, the Air Force and the Armed Forces have been in close proximity to each other at various points since the spring of 1941. The Commander-in-Chief and the bulk of the General Staff of each High Command are stationed at field headquarters, while the non-operational branches back in the Zone of the Interior continue to handle all basic administrative matters, procurement, mobilisation, training and replacement of personnel, and equipment.

Adolf Hitler is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht). His Deputy as such is General Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, Chief of the Armed Forces High Command (Chef des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht).

Under the Armed Forces High Command the functions of the joint general staff are performed by what is known as the Armed Forces Operations Staff (Wehrmachtführungsstaf W.F.St).

The field headquarters of the Armed Forces High Command which includes the principal sections of the Armed Forces Operations Staff is known as the Führerhauptquartier. During the Polish campaign it was stationed between Berlin and the Polish Frontier, moving to the Rhineland for the Western campaign in 1940, back to the East in 1941, and again to the West in 1944. Adolf Hitler's headquarters (Führerhauptquartier) is believed to have moved recently to southern Germany where it is probably located in the vicinity of Berchtesgaden.

The personnel of the Armed Forces High Command is drawn from all three branches, but the Army naturally has the largest representation.

The name of a command, organisation, or unit deriving from the Armed Forces High Command is often prefixed by Wehrmacht or Führungs in order to distinguish it from a similar command, organisation, or unit in one of the three branches.

Since December 1941, when Walther von Brauchitsch was dismissed as Commander-in-Chief of the Army (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres), and Adolf Hitler took direct control of the Army, the field headquarters of the Army High Command virtually has been merged with that of the Armed Forces High Command. The functions of the two, however, have remained distinct, and there has been no personal union except at the top. Wilhelm Keitel acts as Adolf Hitler's deputy in the latter's capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Army as well as in his capacity as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

For the organisation of the Armed Forces High Command see Figure 4, Chapter 1.

For the organisation of the Army High Command see Figure 5, Chapter 1.

The Führerhauptquartier is frequently located in special trains. It is at all times well protected against air or land attacks by crack SS units. In addition to those the following two units of the elite army motorised division, the Grossdeutschland Panzer Grenadier Division, have been temporarily charged with that protection and were therefore awarded the honour of including "The Führer" in their unit designation. These units are:

The Führer Escort Brigade, which consists of three infantry battalions, one artillery battalion, one tank regiment (including one battalion of Pz. Kpfw. IV and one battalion of assault guns), and one engineer company,

The Führer Grenadier Brigade which consists of:

Two infantry battalions (one motorised and one armoured), one battalion of self-propelled artillery, one assault gun company, one Panther tank battalion.

Section III.

The High Command
.

3. The Army High Command (OKH)

a. General. Since the Army is by far the largest and most important of the three branches of the German Armed Forces, it was, from the outbreak of the war, the branch which Adolf Hitler was most anxious to control directly. Its headquarters in the field always has been located in the immediate vicinity of the Führerhauptquartier. In December 1941, after the failure of the Moscow offensive, Adolf Hitler removed Walther von Brauchitsch as Commander-in-Chief of the Army (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres (70a)) and took over personal command himself. He has exercised this command ever since, and the result has been a partial merging or overlapping of the functions of the OKW and of the OKH. Wilhelm Keitel, while still Chief of the OKW, nevertheless also acts as Adolf Hitler's executive officer in matters pertaining to the Army alone. Similarly, it is often difficult to draw the line between the de facto authority and functions of the Army General Staff and those of the Armed Forces Operations Staff.

The accompanying chart (Figure 5) shows the principal branches of the OKH and their subordination. Their functions are discussed in the following paragraphs.

b. Army General Staff. (Generalstab des Heeres Gen St d H)(71). This organisation, which is a functional part of the Army High Command, must not be confused with the General Staff Corps. The latter, called in German simply Generalstab, is a category of specially selected and carefully trained officers who fill almost all the important command as well as staff positions throughout the Army. The Army General Staff, on the other hand, occupies a position analogous to that of the War Department General Staff; it is the main advisory body to the Commander-in-Chief on operations, intelligence, organisation, supply, and general matters of Army policy.

Both the Army General Staff and the General Staff Corps are headed by the Chief of the Army General Staff (Chef des Generalstabs des Heeres(72), also referred to simply as Chef des Generalstabs).

In time of war the Army General Staff is stationed at field headquarters, leaving only a small rear echelon in Berlin.

The Army General Staff basically consists of 12 branches which cover all the proper staff and planning functions and which are grouped under five senior officers known as Oberquartiermeister I V(73). In wartime, a number of additional high-ranking officers are appointed as chief advisers on the employment of the various arms and services in the field and on certain other technical matters; some of these officers and the sections which they control are absorbed organically into the Army General Staff for the duration of the war, while others are regarded as attached to it. By far the most important of them is the Chief Supply and Administration Officer (Generalquartiermeister)(74), who is responsible for the whole supply and administrative structure of the Field Army. Since he and the other wartime appointees perform the functions of some of the regular branches of the General Staff, it is believed that the separate functioning of these particular branches is largely suspended in wartime. Moreover, with the partial merging of the field headquarters of the OKW and the OKH under Adolf Hitler's personal command at the end of 1941, some of the other normal functions of branches of the Army General Staff have been wholly or partly taken over by the Armed Forces Operations Staff (WFSt). Thus the grouping under Oberquartiermeister seems to have become largely meaningless, and it is even doubtful whether these positions are actually filled at the present time. Since, however, they are a part of the permanent organisation of the Army General Staff, they are given here and on the accompanying chart with their appropriate functions and subordinate branches. It is indicated in each case below wherever the functions of a particular branch are believed to have been largely or wholly suspended or transferred to some other agency:

Central Branch. (Zentralabteilung GZ)(75). This branch is concerned principally with central administrative matters pertaining to the General Staff Corps rather than with the functions of the Army General Staff. Until 1943 it made all appointments and promotions of General Staff Corps officers at all echelons; this responsibility then was transferred to Branch 3 of the Army Personnel Office (PA/P 3).

First Senior General Staff Officer. (Oberquartiermeister I O Qu I)(76). This office which deals with operations and related matters is reported to have been vacant for some time, its function being performed largely by the operations sections of the Armed Forces Operations Staff (WFSt). The grouping O Qu I includes:

Branch 1 (1. Abteilung or Op Abt)(77). This branch, concerned with operations, develops and disseminates basic tactical rules and methods of conducting warfare. Its function of advising the Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief on actual operations and strategy has largely lapsed.

Branch 5 (5. Abteilung)(78). The function of this branch which deals with transport, has been handled since the beginning of the war by the Chief Transportation Officer attached to the General Staff (Gen St d H/Chef Trspw).

Branch 6 (6. Abteilung)(79). Functions of this branch which is concerned with rear echelons have been handled since the beginning of the war by the Chief Supply and Administration Officer (Gen St d H/Gen Qu).

Branch 9 (9. Abteilung)(80). Topography, specific responsibility of this branch, has been handled since 1941 by the Chief of Mapping and Survey in the General Staff (Gen St d H/Kr Kart Verm Chef).

Branch 10 (10. Abteilung)(81). Manoeuvers and operational planning, now for the most part are divided among a number of other agencies of the OKW and OKH, both at field headquarters and at the rear echelon.

Second Senior General Staff Officer. (Oberquartiermeister II O Qu II)(82). The training functions of this grouping largely are taken over in wartime by the Home Command; it includes:

Branch 4 (4. Abteilung or Ausb. Abt.)(83). This branch is responsible in wartime only for training within the Theater of Operations; all training in the Zone of the Interior is under the Chief of Training in the Replacement Army (Chef Ausb).

Branch 11 (11. Abteilung)(84). Military schools and officer training which are the functions of this branch are now entirely under the Home Command, especially the Inspector General for Potential Officers NCOs (GJF).

Third Senior General Staff Officer. (Oberquartiermeister III O Qu III)(85). This grouping, responsible for organisation includes:

Branch 2 (2. Abteilung or Org. Abt.)(86). This branch is responsible for laying down rules relating to various aspects of organisation in the field and, in conjunction with the chiefs of arms and services attached to the General Staff, recommending to the General Army Office (AHA) the issuance of changes in the existing Tables of Organisation

Branch 8 (8. Abteilung)(87). The function of this branch which was concerned with technical services is now probably handled by other agencies such as the Chief of Technical Troops under the Chief Supply and Administration Officer (Gen Qu/Gen d Techn Tr).

Fourth Senior General Staff Officer. (Oberquartiermeister IV O Qu IV)(88). The intelligence branch is probably the only one of the five major groupings in the Army General Staff which is still fully operative. Its two geographical branches are subdivided into various geographical sections which collect and evaluate information and disseminate intelligence regarding the armies of the various countries in the form of printed manuals and periodic reports. The grouping includes:

Branch 3, Eastern Armies (3. Abteilung, Frd Heere Ost)(89). Deals with the armies of the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, the lower Balkans, Africa, and the Far East.

Branch 12, Western Armies (12. Abteilung, Frd Heere West)(90). Deals with the armies of Western Europe (Section II), Great Britain (Section III), the upper Balkans (Section IV), and the Western Hemisphere (Section V). The Western Hemisphere section was transferred from the Eastern Armies Branch to Western Armies Branch after Pearl Harbour

Fifth Senior General Staff Officer. (Oberquartiermeister V O Qu V)(91). Deals with military history. This group formerly included special sections for historical research, Army libraries, and Army archives, all of which were transferred in 1942 to the Führer's Official Military Historian (D. Beauftr d Führers für die mil Geschichtsschr)(92). It still nominally includes Branch 7, Military Science Branch (7. Abteilung or Kr Wiss Abt)(93), but the functions of this branch are also believed to have been largely taken over by the new Army Historical Branch (Kr Gesch Heer) under the Führer's Official Military Historian.

Chief Supply And Administration Officer. (Generalquartiermeister Gen Qu)(94). This officer does not belong to the basic organisation of the Army General Staff in peacetime but was appointed at the beginning of the war, in accordance with previous plans, to take charge of the whole supply and administrative structure of the Field Army. He was given an elaborate organisation, described below, including a number of attached officers as chiefs of the various services for the Field Army; these officers bear the same relationship to the General Staff as the chiefs of arms except that they come under the Chief Supply and Administrative Officer instead of being attached directly to the Chief of General Staff.

The organisation given below is basically that which applied in the early stages of the war and takes into account only the more important of the temporary modifications which have occurred since. It should be noted that the first three sections, called supply sections (Quartiermeister-Gruppen 1, 2, 3)(95) are concerned with the planning, organisation, and general operation of the services in the field; they are each headed by a General Staff Corps officer and may be regarded as constituting the G-4 division of the Army General Staff. All the other sections, which are numbered according to the standard German staff organisation, deal with the actual functioning of the various services and are headed by the chiefs of these services for the Field Army.

Section Qu 1 (Gruppe Qu 1)(96). General planning and organisation of supply in the field, establishment of communication lines and rear boundaries of the Theater of Operations, transport questions in conjunction with the Chief Army Transportation Officer (Chef Trspw), and control of those service troops not sub-allotted to army groups and armies.

Section Qu 2 (Gruppe Qu 2)(97). Civil affairs policies in the communications zone, especially the exploitation of the country for military purposes; evacuation, booty, and prisoners of war.

Section Qu 3 (Gruppe Qu 3)(98). Action on supply requisitions from army groups and armies for ordnance, fuel, and engineer equipment. These requisitions are adjusted in accordance with over-all plans and policies and are then forwarded to the authorities in the Zone of the Interior.

Section II a (Gruppe II a, Adjutantur)(99). Personnel and security matters within the staff of the Chief Supply and Administration Officer.

Section III, Field Legal Administration (Gruppe III, Feldjustizverwaltung)(100). Headed by the chief of the Judge Advocate General's Department in the field, responsible for questions of military law and jurisprudence. This section was upgraded to a branch and transferred to the control of the General for Special Employment (Gen z b V) sometime after the beginning of the Russian campaign.

Section IV a, Chief Army Administrative Officer (Gruppe IVa, Heeresintendant)(101). Responsible for the general control of administrative matters and the personnel who deal with them throughout the Field Army. These matters include pay, clothing, personal equipment, rations, billeting, and fiscal matters.

Section IV b, Army Surgeon (Gruppe IV b, Heeresarzt H Arzt)(102). Controls all medical matters and medical personnel throughout the Field Army, subject to the direction of the Chief Army Medical Inspector (H San Insp). (At present these two positions are believed to be united in one person.)

Section IV c, Army Veterinarian (Gruppe IV c, Heeresveterinär H Vet)(103). Controls all veterinary matters and veterinary personnel in the Field Army, subject to the direction of the Chief Veterinary Inspector (Vet Insp).

Section V, Chief Motor Transport Officer (Gruppe V, General des Kraftfahrwesens Gen d Kfw)(104). Controls the motor maintenance troops in the Field Army and is responsible for general questions of availability and utilisation of motor transport. He is simultaneously in charge of a group in the General Army Office (AHA) responsible for the same matters in the Zone of the Interior, and holds concurrently the office of Chief of Armed Forces Motor Transportation (Chef WKW) under the OKW.

Section Z, Civil Commissioner (Gruppe Z, Zivilbeauftragter)(105). Responsible for non-military matters in the civil administration of occupied areas in the Theater of Operations, including relations with the civil authorities and the discipline of the population; cooperates with Sections Qu 2 and III above. This section is believed to have been renamed Qu 5.

Chief of Supply Troops (General der Nachschubtruppen)(106). Controls all General Headquarters supply troops, working in cooperation with Section Qu 3 on questions of their employment. Known as Heeresnachschubführer until October 1942.

Section F. P., Army Postmaster (Gruppe F. P., Heeresfeldpostmeister)(107). Responsible for all questions relating to the Army Postal Service in the Field Army.

Chief of Technical Troops (General der Technischen Truppen Gen d Techn Tr)(108). Chief adviser on the organisation and employment of the technical troops. These troops, while classified as a combat arm, perform a number of highly technical services requiring specialised equipment for the armies in the field.

Senior Military Police Officer (Höherer Feldgendarmerie-Offizier Höh Feldgen Offz)(109). Responsible for all matters concerning the organisation and employment of the military police in the Field Army.

c. Chiefs Of Branches Attached To The General Staff. The Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Chief of the Army General Staff have at their disposal in wartime a group of general officers representing the various combat arms who serve as the principal advisers on the organisation, training, equipment, and tactical employment of their respective arms in the field. They usually have no actual command authority but may issue instructions and suggestions to the troops based on the evaluation of experience in the field. For the publication of technical manuals and the like they collaborate with the inspectorates of their branches in the General Army Office. They may also recommend changes in the organisation or equipment of the troops to the Organisation Branch of the General Staff (Gen St d H/Org Abt) for forwarding to the inspectorates.

Three officers in this category, whose titles begin with Chef instead of General, are regarded as organically absorbed into the General Staff for the duration of the war instead of being attached to it like the others.

The chiefs of those branches of the German Army which are classified as service troops are likewise attached to the General Staff in wartime but, as has been shown above, are placed under the Chief Supply and Administration Officer. (The Chief of Technical Troops, which are officially classified as a combat arm, is nevertheless under the Chief Supply and Administration Officer since these troops actually have the function of service troops.)

The absence of a representative of the Panzer troops from this group of senior officers is explained by the creation in 1943 of the Inspector General of Panzer Troops (Gen Insp d Pz Tr) to supersede the previous Chief of Mobile Troops, who had been attached to the General Staff like the other chiefs of branches. The Inspector General of Panzer Troops is represented in the General Staff by his Chief Antitank Officer for All Arms (Gen d Pz Abw aller Waffen).

(1) Chief Infantry Officer (General der Infanterie Gen d Inf)(110). Responsible for regular infantry, light infantry, mountain infantry, cavalry, and reconnaissance matters.

(2) Chief of Armoured Trains (Kommandeur der Eisenbahn-Panzerzüge Kdr d Eish Pz Züge)(111).

(3) Chief Artillery Officer (General der Artillerie Gen d Art)(112). Controls the Chief Coast and Fortress Artillery Officer (Gen d H Küst u Fest Art)(113), the Chief Army Antiaircraft Artillery Officer (Gen d H Flak Tr)(114), and the Chief Armoured Artillery Officer (Höh Offz Pz Art)(115).

(4) Chief of Mapping and Survey (Chef des Kriegskarten- and Vermessungswesens Kr Kart Verm Chef)(116). This officer is a part of the rear echelon of the General Staff (Gen Std H/2 Staffel) and is represented at field headquarters by the Commander of Mapping and Survey Troops (Kdr d Kart u Verm Tr)(117), who is his direct subordinate.

(5) Chief Signal Officer (Chef des Heeresnachrichtenwesens Chef HNW)(118). Part of the General Staff in wartime, with offices at the rear echelon as well as at field headquarters.

(6) Chief Engineer and Fortifications Officer (General der Pioniere und Festungen Gen d Pi u Fest)(119). Controls the Inspector of Fortifications (Insp Fest)(120) and shares with the General Army Office control of the Chief of Amphibious Engineers (Höh Ldgs Pi Fü)(121).

(7) Chief Chemical Warfare Officer (General der Nebeltruppen Gen d Nbl Tr)(122).

(8) Chief of Volunteer Units (General der Freiwilligenverbande Gen d Freiw Verb)(123). This post was created in January 1944 to replace that of the former General of Eastern Troops (Gen d Ost Tr)(124). It deals with the organisation, equipment, training, and employment of units formed from impressed Soviet prisoners of war. The Chief of Volunteer Units is subordinate to the Chief of the Army General Staff in matters concerning the Field Army and to the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Chef H Rüst u. BdE) in matters affecting the Zone of the Interior. His permanent representative in the Replacement Army is the Commander of Volunteer Units (Kdr d Freiw Verb)(125).

(9) Chief Army Transportation Officer (Chef des Transportwesens Chef Trspw)(126). Also believed to hold the post of Chief of Armed Forces Transportation (Chef Trspw d W). Part of the Army General Staff, responsible for rail and water transportation. He controls the Chief of Railway Troops (Gen d Eisb Tr)(127).

(10) General for Special Employment (Discipline) (General zu besonderer Verwendung Gen z b V)(128). Responsible for the maintenance of discipline, counter-espionage, and legal matters in the Field Army. Controls the Branch for Army Matters (Heer Wes Abt), which is concerned with the maintenance of discipline; the Penal Section (Gr Str); and the Army Field Legal Branch (H Feld Just Abt), which was formerly the Field Legal Administration Section under the Chief Supply and Administration Officer.

d. Medical And Veterinary Inspectors. The following chief inspectors are in charge of all medical and veterinary matters throughout the German Army and are directly under the Commander-in-Chief:

(1) Chief Army Medical Inspector (Heeres-Sanitätsinspekteur H San Insp)(129). Instructs the Army Surgeon (H Arzt) on medical matters in the Field Army and controls medical matters in the Replacement Army, in the same manner as the inspectors of branches, through the Medical Inspectorate (S Jn) in the General Army Office. His activities are subject to the supervision and control of the Armed Forces Surgeon General (Chef W San). (At present the Chief Army Medical Inspector is believed to hold concurrently the office of Army Surgeon.)

(2) Chief Veterinary Inspector (Veterinärinspekteur Vet Insp)(130). Instructs the Army Veterinary (H Vet) on veterinary matters in the Field Army and controls veterinary matters in the Replacement Army, in the same manner as the inspectors of branches, through the Veterinary Inspectorate (V Jn) in the General Army Office.

e. Army Personnel Office. (Heerespersonalamt PA)(131). This office is independent of both the General Staff and the Home Command and comes under the direct control of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. It is responsible for all appointments, transfers, promotions, and other matters concerning all types of officers in the German Army. It therefore has been a powerful instrument in exercising control over the officer corps.

The order for the promotion of an officer to the rank of colonel or above is issued by Adolf Hitler himself on the recommendation of the Personnel Office. In lower ranks it makes the promotions on its own responsibility.

The authority to transfer various types of specialist officers (medical, veterinary, ordnance, motor maintenance, and Special Troop Service) is delegated by the Personnel Office, so far as the lower ranks are concerned, to the technical branches which deal with these services; for the upper ranks, the Personnel Office orders the transfers on the recommendation of the technical branches.

The Personnel Office does not concern itself with Armed Forces officials, who are dealt with exclusively by the Army Administration Office (VA); it should be noted, however, that two important former categories of these officials are now classified as officers in the new Special Troop Service and are therefore handled by the Personnel Office.

The Personnel Office includes seven main subdivisions designated as P 1, P 2, etc. Three of these are now groups (Amtsgruppen) with several subordinate branches each, while the others are independent branches (Abteilungen). Group P 6 is a recent offshoot of the basic Group P 1, and for this reason its subordinate branches are numbered consecutively with those of P 1.

While the bulk of the Personnel Office is normally stationed in wartime with the rear echelon of the High Command, each of its branches also has a forward echelon at field headquarters, where the major decisions in personnel matters are made.

(1) Group P 1 (Amtsgruppe P 1 Ag P 1)(132). Responsible for all officers' records, appointments, transfers, and promotions as well as for basic directives regarding the handling of officer personnel matters. Its various branches deal with officers according to categories or branches of service. It includes:

(a) Branch 1, Central Branch (1. Zentral-Abteilung)(133). Handles basic policies and directives, including such general matters as the transfer of large groups of officers from other branches of the Armed Forces to the Army.

(b) Branch 2 (2. Abteilung)(134). Infantry and cavalry officers.

(c) Branch 3 (3. Abteilung)(135). Officers of the Panzer troops and of the supply troops.

(d) Branch 4 (4. Abteilung)(136). Artillery and chemical warfare officers.

(e) Branch 5 (5. Abteilung)(137). Engineer and signal officers.

(f) Branch 6 (6. Abteilung)(138). Reserve officers and officers in recalled status (Offiziere z. V.).

Branch 7, which deals with specialist officers (medical, veterinary, ordnance, motor maintenance), is believed to have formed the nucleus for the new Group P 6 formed in May 1944 (see below).

(2) Group P 2 (Amtsgruppe P 2 Ag P 2)(139). Responsible for officer education and welfare. It was expanded from a branch in August 1942 when "ideological training" for the officer corps was added to its functions. It includes:

(a) Policy Section, formerly Branch 1 (Chefgruppe, formerly 1. Abteilung)(140). Education, questions of honour among officers, political matters, special cases involving general officers and high staff officers.

(b) Branch 2 (2. Abteilung)(141). Final decisions in all individual cases involving honour, court-martial, and officer behaviour

(c) Branch 3 (3. Abteilung)(142). Complaints, questions of Aryan ancestry, marriage, welfare measures, and personal assistance for officers and their dependants

(3) Branch P 3 (Heeres-Personalabteilung 3 P 3)(143). Responsible for all General Staff Corps officers, including their selection and training as well as their transfer and promotion. It took over full responsibility for these functions from the Central Branch of the Army General Staff (Gen St d H/GZ) in March 1943.

(4) Branch P 4 (Heeres-Personalabteilung 4 P 4)(144). Responsible for officer replacements. Lays down general directives for the Inspector General for Potential Officers and Non-Commissioned officers (GJF).

(5) Branch P 5 (Heeres-Personalabteilung 5 P 5)(145). Responsible for decorations and awards. Divided into several sections, each dealing with a different type of decoration or award.

(6) Group P 6 (Amtsgruppe P 6 Ag P 6)(146). Responsible for personnel matters of officers in the specialist careers (Sonderlaufbahnen) and of specialist leaders (Sonderführer). It was formed in May 1944 as an offshoot of Group P 1 as a result of the creation of the Special Troop Service (TSD), comprising the administrative officers (Intendanten) and the judge advocates (Wehrmachtrichter), who were formerly classified as Armed Forces officials and dealt with by the Army Administration Office. The numbers of the branches in this group follow those of Group P 1. It includes:

(a) Branch 7 (7. Abteilung)(147). Medical, veterinary, ordnance, and motor maintenance officers. In the lower ranks the authority to transfer these officers is delegated to the Chief Army Medical Inspector (H San Insp), the Chief Veterinary Inspector (Vet Insp), the Ordnance Inspectorate (Fz Jn), and the Chief Motor Transport Officer (Gen d Kfw); in the upper ranks, transfers are made on the recommendation of these agencies.

(b) Branch 8, General Branch (8. Allg. Abteilung)(148). Handles basic policies and issues general directives regarding officers controlled by the group.

(c) Branch 9 (9. Abteilung)(149). Probably handles the officers in the Special Troop Service (TSD).

(d) Branch 10 (10. Abteilung (Sdf.))(150). Responsible for personnel matters of specialist leaders (Sdf) (such as interpreters). They were formerly taken care of by Branch 7 when it was still part of Group 1.

(7) Branch P 7 (Heeres-Personalabteilung 7 P 7)(151). Responsible for personnel matters of all officers belonging to Field Army units under the control of Himmler, primarily Volks Grenadier divisions (VD). This branch was formed in October 1944.

(8) Special Section (Gruppe z b V)(152). This section contains the officers who are charged with the handling out of decorations and medals and the performance of other ceremonial functions. It was formerly called Section for Representation and Honours (Gruppe Rep/E).

(9) Courses for Senior Personnel Officers (Lehrgänge für höhere Adjutanten Lehrg f höhere Adj)(153). This section deals with the administration of special six to eight-week courses given by the Army Personnel Office for Senior Personnel Officers. These consist mainly of lectures on the functioning and policies of the Army Personnel Office and affiliated agencies.

f. Chief Of Army Equipment And Commander Of The Replacement Army. (Chef der Heeresrüstung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres Chef H Rüst a BdE)(154). This officer is the wartime deputy of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army charged with all the functions of the Zone of the Interior. These are primarily the conscription, training, and replacement of personnel; the procurement, storage, and issue of equipment; and territorial administration. He controls all the principal offices of the High Command which are left behind as the rear echelon on mobilisation, with the exception of the Personnel Office. These are discussed in the following six lettered paragraphs.

g. General Army Office. (Allgemeines Heeresamt AHA)(155). Similar in function to the General Armed Forces Office in the OKW (AWA), this office is composed of a number of important, but partly unrelated, branches in the OKH, grouped together for administrative purposes. Its chief is believed to act as the deputy to the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army. It is used by various agencies both in the Home Command and in the Field Army and does most of the paper work for the OKH. It contains:

(1) Staff (Stab AHA)(156). The staff of the General Army Office is a central agency which approves the publications written by subordinate units and issues tables of organisation, tables of equipment, manuals, and other publications. It includes the Army Regulations Administration (Heeres-Druckvorschriftenverwaltung HDvV)(157), a section which issues all directives on clothing and uniforms (Stab/Bkl)(158), and a section concerned with technical developments in weapons and equipment (Sonderstab A)(159).

(2) Inspectorates of Arms and Services. There are approximately 15 of these inspectorates, grouped under the General Army Office, which are the principal agencies for handling the paper work for their respective arms and services. They have no command functions themselves but keep records and publish orders, directives, training manuals, and other material on behalf of the two types of chiefs of arms and services: the inspectors (Waffeninspekteure) in the Replacement Army and the chiefs of branches (Waffengenerale) attached to the General Staff in the Field Army. They are referred to either as inspectorates (Inspektionen Jn) or as branches (Waffenabteilungen). Most of them have numbers, ranging between 2 and 13, but several have been upgraded to the status of a group (Amtsgruppe) and control two numbered branches. Jn 1, the Inspectorate of Cadet Schools (Inspektion der Kriegsschulen), was in peacetime directly subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army; its function has now been taken over by the Inspector General for Potential Officers and Non-Commissioned officers (GJF). The present inspectorates of arms and services are as follows:

(a) Infantry Branch Inspectorate 2 (Infanterieabteilung Jn 2)(160). Attached to the Infantry Branch is the Senior Infantry Officer for Land Fortifications (Höh Inf Offz für die Landesbef)(161), who is directly subordinate to the Chief of the General Army Office. He assists the Chief Engineer and Fortifications Officer (Inspector of Fortifications) (Insp Fest) at the Army General Staff in fortification matters concerning the infantry. He is also responsible for the uniform training of officers charged with the defence of fortifications.

(b) Riding- and Driving Branch Inspectorate 3 (Abteilung Reit- und Fahrwesen Jn 3)(162). Concerned with the training of men who handle horses as riders or drivers.

(c) Artillery Group (Amtsgruppe Artillerie Ag Art)(163). Formed in July 1944 to control the following two inspectorates:

Artillery Branch Inspectorate 4 (Artillerieabteilung Jn 4)(164).

Army Antiaircraft Artillery Branch Inspectorate 13 (Heeres-Flakartillerieabtetilung Jn 13)(165).

(d) Engineer Branch Inspectorate 5 (Pionierabteilung Jn 5)(166).

(e) Inspectorate of Fortifications (Inspektion der Festungen Jn Fest)(167). Concerned with the training of fortress engineers.

(f) Panzer Troop Branch Inspectorate 6 (Abteilung Panzertruppe Jn 6)(168). Believed transferred to the control of the Inspector General of Panzer Troops (Gen Insp d Pz Tr) when that office was created in 1943.

(g) Signal Group (Amtsgruppe Nachrichtenwesen)(169). Formed in December 1943 with the expansion of Inspectorate 7. May be controlled by the Chief of Training (Chef Ausb) as well as the General Army Office. It includes:

Signal Branch Inspectorate 7 (Nachrichtentruppen-Abteilung Jn 7)(170).

Signal Equipment Branch (Nachrichtengerät-Abteilung N. Ger. Abt)(171).

Army Communications Branch (Heeresnachrichtenverbindungs-Abteilung HNV). Similar in function to the Armed Forces Communications Group in the OKW (Ag WNV)(172).

(h) Supply Branch Inspectorate 8 (Abteilung Nachschubtruppen Jn 8)(173). Attached to this branch is the Senior Officer of Administrative Troops (Höh Off d Verw Tr)(174), responsible for the uniform training of the administrative troops in the Replacement Army under the directives of the Chief of Training.

(i) Chemical Warfare and Air Raid Protection Branch Inspectorate 9 (Abteilung Nebeltruppe, Gasabwehr und Luftschutz Jn 9)(175).

(j) Railway Engineer Branch Inspectorate 10 (Eisenbahnpionier-Abteilung Jn 10)(176).

(k) Branch for Technical Troops Inspectorate 11 (Abteilung Technische Truppen Jn 11)(177).

(l) Group of the Chief Motor Transport Officer (General des Kraftfahrwesens Gen d Kfw)(178). Formerly called Chief of Motorisation (Gen d Mot)(179). The Chief Motor Transport Officer, in addition to being responsible for all motor transport in the field, also controls the following agencies in the General Army Office:

Motor Transport Branch Inspectorate 12 (Abteilung Kraftfahrwesen Jn 12)(180).

Chief of Motor Repair (Chef des Instandsetzungswesen Chef Inst)(181).

Senior Motor Maintenance Troop Officer (Höherer Offizier der Kraftfahrparktruppe Höh Off z d Kf Pk Tr)(182). He supervises the training of motor maintenance troops in the Replacement Army and his position is equivalent to that of an inspector.

(m) Medical Inspectorate (Heeres-Sanitätsinspektion S Jn)(183). This inspectorate also contains the staff of the Chief Army Medical Inspector (HSan Insp) and is equivalent to a group. It includes:

Personnel Branch (Personalabteilung S Jn/ Pers)(184).

Organisation Branch (Organisationsabteilung S Jn/Org)(185).

Branch for Medical Science and Hygiene (Abteilung für Wissenschaft und Gesundheitsführung S Jn/Wi G)(186).

(n) Veterinary Inspectorate (Veterinärinspektion V Jn)(187). This inspectorate also contains the staff of the Chief Veterinary Inspector (Vet Insp).

(o) Ordnance Inspectorate (Feldzeuginspektion Fz Jn)(188). The head of the inspectorate also holds the position of Chief Army Ordnance Officer (Heeresfeldzeugmeister)(189). As such he controls the entire system of ordnance depots in Germany.

(3) Group for Replacement and General Troop Matters (Amtsgruppe Ersatzwesen und Allgemeine Truppenangelegenheiten Ag E Tr)(190). This group has generally the same responsibilities toward enlisted personnel as the Army Personnel Office (PA) has toward officers, except that it does not concern itself with individuals. It establishes policies and issues directives on all types of personnel matters. Until the summer of 1943 it included the Replacement Branch (Abt E), which has since been incorporated into the Conscription and Recruiting Office (WEA) in the OKW. It is believed that nevertheless the name of the group has thus far remained unchanged. It contains:

(a) Branch for General Troop Matters (Abteilung für Allgemeine Truppenangelegenheiten Tr Abt)(191). This is the most important branch in the group, and probably of larger size than its name implies. It issues all types of orders to the troops, such as transfer regulations, promotion policies, and regulations regarding welfare and personal affairs. It includes a penal section, a section for non-commissioned officer affairs, and a section for German prisoners of war in Allied hands.

(b) Chaplains Section (Gruppe Seelsorge Gr S)(192).

(c) Branch for Billets and Manoeuvre Areas (Abteilung Unterkunft und Truppenübungsplätze Abt U)(193). Arranges for the requisition of premises needed for military purposes.

(4) Army Judge Advocate General's Group (Amtsgruppe Heeresrechtswesen Ag HR Wes)(194). Contains a Judge Advocate's branch (HR)(195) and a legal section (Just).

(5) Unit Inactivation Staff (Abwicklungsstab Abw St)(196). After Stalingrad an inactivation staff was set up to liquidate the affairs of units which were destroyed in the Sixth Army. It later was expanded to deal with those destroyed in Army Group Africa. In the summer of 1944 this staff was made a permanent part of the High Command structure, with the mission of inactivating all units destroyed on any front. It takes charge of any remaining funds which were the property of such units.

(6) Demobilisation Branch (Abteilung Demobilmachung Abt Demob)(197). Issues rules and directives for future demobilisation.

(7) Chief of Army Museums (Chef der Heeresmuseen Chef Heer Mus)(198).

h. Chief Of Training In The Replacement Army. (Chef des Ausbildungswesens im Ersatzheer Chef Ausb)(199). Appointed in October 1942, this officer is immediately subordinate to the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army. He controls all training conducted within the Replacement Army, using as his representatives the inspectors of arms and services (Waffeninspekteure)(200) listed below. Through these inspectors he utilises the facilities of the inspectorates of the corresponding arms and services in the General Army Office for working out the details of training programs and methods, the issuance of directives and manuals, and other paper work. The Chief of Training is not responsible for the specialised training of the medical, veterinary, ordnance, and motor maintenance troops, as this is handled by the inspectorates of these branches in the General Army Office operating under the direct control of their own independent inspectors.

The following are subordinate to the Chief of Training :

(1) Inspector of Infantry (Inspekteur der Infanterie Insp d Inf)(201).

(2) Inspector of Riding and Driving (Inspekteur des Reit- und Fahrwesens)(202).

(3) Inspector of Artillery (Inspekteur der Artillerie Insp d Art)(203).

(4) Inspector of Army Antiaircraft Troops (Inspekteur der Heeresflaktruppen Insp H Flak)(204).

(5) Inspector of Engineers and Railway Engineers (Inspekteur der Pioniere und Eisenbahnpioniere Insp d Pi u Eisb Pi)(205).

(6) Inspector of Construction Troops (Inspekteur der Bautruppen Insp d Bau Tr)(206).

(7) Inspector of Signal Troops (Inspekteur der Nachrichtentruppen Insp d Nachr Tr)(207).

(8) Inspector of Supply Troops (Inspekteur der Nachschubtruppen Insp d Nachsch Tr)(208).

(9) Inspector of Chemical Troops (Inspekteur der Nebeltruppen Insp d Nbl Tr)(209).

(10) Training Film Branch (Abteilung Lehrfilm)(210). Controls the archives of the Army, the production and proper distribution of training films, and the training of film operators.

i. Army Ordinance Office. (Heereswaffenamt Wa A)(211). This office is responsible for the design, testing, development, and acceptance of all ordnance equipment. It works in very close collaboration with the Ministry of Armament and War Production (Reichsministerium für Bewaffnung und Kriegsproduktion) some of whose branches are even located at the Army Ordnance Office. It is organised as follows:

(1) Central Group (Zentral-Amtsgruppe des Heereswaffenamts Wa Z)(212). This group has no special ordnance functions but is only an administrative agency. It includes:

(a) Organisation Branch (Organisationsabteilung Wa Z 1)(213). Issues general directives on organisation to subordinate ordnance agencies.

(b) Administrative Section (Gruppe für Allgemeine Verwaltungsangelegenheiten Wa Z 2)(214). Responsible for general administrative matters.

(c) Branch for Plant Efficiency (Betriebswirtschaftliche Abteilung Wa Z 3)(215).

(d) Regulations Branch (Vorschriftenabteilung Wa Z 4)(216). Publishes all orders, manuals and directives originating in the Army Ordnance Office.

(e) Branch for Housing, Construction, and Guard Matters (Allgemeine Unterbringungs-, Bau- und Uberwachungsangelegenheiten Wa Z 6)(217). Responsible for the acquisition of premises and the construction and patrolling of Army Ordnance Office buildings.

(2) Development and Testing Group (Amtsgruppe für Entwicklung und Prüfung Wa Pruf)(218). This group is responsible for the development and testing of ordnance equipment for all arms and services. Besides certain subdivisions which have special fields, there are those dealing with ordnance equipment of each combat arm; the numbers assigned to these branches correspond mostly to those of the inspectorates of the same arm in the General Army Office. This group is composed of:

(a) Ballistic and Ammunition Branch (Ballistische und Munitionsabteilung Wa Prüf 1)(219). Responsible for the development and testing of all types of ammunition. Divided into various sections dealing with ammunition of the different arms, special types of ammunition, firing tables, explosives, and other special technical matters connected with projectiles.

(b) Infantry Branch (Infanterieabteilung Wa Prüf 2)(220).

(c) Artillery Branch (Artillerieabteilung Wa Prüf 4)(221).

(d) Engineer and Railway Engineer Branch (Pionier- und Eisenbahnpionier-Abteilung Wa Prüf 5)(222). Composed of sections dealing with engineer combat equipment, bridging and other river-crossing materials, engineering machines, water supply equipment, work tools, engineer transport vehicles, special construction equipment, and equipment for railway and waterway operation.

(e) Fortress Engineer Branch (Festungspionierabteilung Prüf Fest)(223).

(f) Panzer and Motorised Equipment Branch (Panzer- und Motorisiernngsabteilung Wa Prüf 6)(224). Divided into a separate section for the development and testing of tanks and motorised equipment.

(g) Signal Branch (Nachrichtenabteilung Wa Prüf 7)(225).

(h) Branch for Optical, Survey, Meteorological, Artillery Fire Control, and Map-Printing Equipment (Abteilung für Optik, Messwesen, Heereswetterdienst, Feuerleitung und Kartendruck Wa Prüf 8)(226).

(i) Gas Protection Branch (Gasschutzabteitung Wa Prüf 9). Controls the Army Gas Protection laboratories at Spandau (Heeres-Gasschutzlaboratorien Spandau)(227).

(j) Special Equipment Branch (Abteilung für Sondergerät Wa Prüf 11)(228). Possibly the branch responsible for the development of some of the V weapons.

(k) Branch for Proving Grounds (Abteilung für Versuchsplätze Wa Prüf 12)(229). Controls the experimental stations which are located at most manoeuvre areas (Truppenubungsplätze).

(3) Group for Weapons and Equipment Manufacture (Amtsgruppe für Industrielle Rüstung Waffen und Gerät Wa J Rü W u G)(230). This group is responsible for the procurement of all ordnance materiel except ammunition. Its main function is the placing of orders with industry. Here too the numbers of the branches mostly correspond to those of inspectorates of the same branch of service in the General Army Office. It includes:

(a) Branch for General Army Equipment (Allgemeines Heeresgerät Wa J Rü W u G 1)(231). Handles all types of equipment, including medical and veterinary.

(b) Weapons Branch (Waffenabteilung Wa J Rü W u G 2)(232). Divided into sections responsible for weapons of the various arms.

(c) Engineer, Railway Engineer, and Fortress Equipment Branch (Pionier-, Eisenbahnpionier-, und Festungs-Geräteabteilung Wa J Rü W u G 5)(233).

(d) Tanks and Tractors Branch (Panzerkampfwagen- und Zugkraftwagen-Abteilung Wa J Rü W u G 6)(234).

(e) Signal Equipment Branch (Nachrichtengerätabteilung Wa J Rü W u G 7)(235).

(f) Optical and Precision Instruments Branch (Abteilung fur optisches und feinmechanisches Gerät Wa J Rü W u G 8/ZO)(236). Composed of various sections responsible for general optical instruments for all three services, special army optical instruments, precision antiaircraft artillery parts, artillery fire control parts, and the like.

(g) Motor Vehicle Equipment Branch (Kraftwagengerätabteilung Wa J Rü W u G 12)(237).

(4) Group for Ammunition Manufacture (Amtsgruppe für Industrielle Rüstung (Munition) Wa J Rü Mun)(238). This group is responsible for all ordnance equipment. It includes:

(a) Ammunition Branch 1 (Munitionsabteilung 1 Wa J Rü Mun 1)(239).

(b) Ammunition Branch 2 (Munitionsabteilung 2 Wa J Rü Mun 2) (240).

(c) Ammunition Branch 3 (Munitionsabteilung 3 Wa J Rü Mun 3 uzbV)(241). Probably manufactures special types of munitions.

(d) Ammunition Branch 4 (Munitionsabteilung 4 Wa J Rü Mun 4)(242).

(e) Ammunition Branch 5 (Munitionsabteilung 5 Wa J Rü Mun 5)(243).

(5) Acceptance Group (Amstgruppe für Abnahme Wa Abn)(244). This group is responsible for seeing that all ordnance materiel is manufactured according to specifications and for accepting it on behalf of the Army. It controls the Acceptance Inspectors (Abnahmeinspizienten)(245) located in each Wehrkreis. It is composed of a Central Branch and Branches 1 and 2.

(6) Chief Ordnance Engineer Group (Amtsgruppe Chefingenieur Wa Chef Ing)(246). This group contains various technical branches which design and supervise the manufacture of certain ordnance parts. It includes:

(a) The Chief Designer's Branch (Chefkonstrukteur Wa Chef Ing 1)(247) contains a section which maintains liaison with the Reich Patent Office (Reichspatentamt).

(b) Pig Iron Branch (Halbzeugstelle Wa Chef Ing 3/Hz)(248).

(c) The Manufacture Branch (Fabrikationsabteilung Wa Chef Ing 4)(249) contains various sections for studying methods of manufacture of weapons, vehicles, and other equipment.

(d) The Machine Recording Branch (Maschinelles Berichtwesen Wa Chef Ing 5 M B)(250) is responsible for punch-card machines and other mechanical office aids.

(e) Section for the Manufacture of Machine Tools, Gauges, and Tools (Fabrikationsgruppe Werkzeugmaschinen, Lehren und Werkzeuge Wa Chef Ing 6)(251).

(f) Section for the Manufacture of Ammunition (Fabrikationsgruppe Munition Wa Chef Ing 7)(252).

(7) Group for Anti-aircraft Artillery Development (Amtsgruppe für Flakentwicklung GL/Flak-E)(253). Includes:

(a) Branch for Ballistics and Development of Antiaircraft Ammunition (Abteilung für Ballistik und Entwicklung der Flakmunition GL/Flake/1)(254).

(b) Branch for the Development of Antiaircraft Equipment (Abteilung für Gerätentwicklung GL/Flake/2)(255).

(c) Branch for Technical and General Matters (Abteilung für technische und allgemeine Angelegenheiten GL/Flake/3)(256).

(d) Branch for Weapons Development (Abteilung für Waffenentwicklung GL/Flake/4)(257).

(e) Anti-aircraft Armament Branch (Abteilung Flakrüstung GL/Flak-Rü)(258).

(8) Ordnance Research Branch (Forschungsabteilung Wa F).

j. Army Administration Office. (Heeresverwaltungsamt VA)(259). This office is responsible for what is defined by the Germans as Army Administration (Heeresverwaltung). Its responsibilities include mainly the procurement of rations, billets, pay, and clothing for the Army. Until May 1944 the personnel connected with Army Administration normally were Armed Forces officials (Wehrmachtbeamte), divided into a large number of technical and non-technical "careers" (Laufbahnen). At that time those in the important careers of the Administrative Service (Verwaltungsdienst) and of the Judge Advocates (Wehrmachtrichter) were made into a new category of officers in the Special Troop Service (Truppensonderdienst TSD)(260). Their activities still are controlled by the Army Administration Office, but their promotions and transfers are now the responsibility of the Army Personnel Office (PA).

The Administration Office includes:

(1) Group for Officials and Civilian Workers (Amtsgruppe Allgemeine Heeresbeamten-, Angestellten-, Arbeiter- und Kassenangelegenheiten Ag V 1)(261). Responsible for personnel administration and pay for Armed Forces officials, salaried workers (Angestellte), and wage earners (Arbeiter). Consists of:

(a) Branch for Army Officials (Heeresbeamtenabteilung V 1)(262).

(b) Branch for Civilian Workers (Abteilung für Gefolgschaftsangelegenheiten des Heeres V 8)(263).

(c) Branch for Army Accounts and Pay of Officials (Heereskassen- und Beamtenbesoldungsabteilung V 9)(264).

(d) Cashier of the OKH (Amtskasse des Oberkommandos des Heeres AK (OKH))(265) is responsible for paying personnel of the OKH.

(e) Pay and Allowance Department of the OKH (Gebührnisstelle des Oberkommandos des Heeres G St OKH)(266) handles pay and allowances of military personnel and Armed Forces officials in the OKH.

(f) Wage and Salary Office (Lohnstelle des Oberkommandos des Heeres Lohnst OKH)(267) has sections concerned with salaried employees, wage earners, and various types of pay deductions.

(g) Accounting Offices of the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Zahlmeistereien des Ch H Rüst u. B d E)(268) have four accounting offices carrying the Roman numerals I to IV.

(2) Group for Real Estate, Agriculture, and Forests (Amtsgruppe Liegenschaften, Land- und Forstwirtschaft Ag V II)(269). Includes:

(a) Branch for Real Estate of Garrisons and Procurement of Quarters (Abteilung für Liegenschaften der Standorte und Wohnungsfürsorge V 2)(270).

(b) Branch for the Administration of Manoeuvre Areas (Abteilung für Verwaltung von Übungsplatzen V 6)(271).

(c) Army Forestry Branch (Heeresforstabteilung V 10)(272).

(3) Rations and Procurement Group (Amtsgruppe Heeresverpftegungs- und Beschaffungswesen Ag V III)(273). Responsible for the procurement and administration of rations. Includes:

(a) Army Rations Branch (Heeresverpflegungsabteilung V 3)(274).

(b) Army Procurements Branch (Heeresbeschaffungsabteilung V 5)(275).

(c) Rations Inspector in the OKH (Verpflegungsinspekteur IM OKH Verpfl Insp OKH)(276) is responsible for over-all planning of rations supplies in the whole Theater of War.

(4) Construction Group (Amtsgruppe Bau Ag V IV)(277). Responsible for all army construction. Includes:

(a) Branch for Administration of Army Construction (Heeresbauverwaltungsabteilung V 4)(278).

(b) Branch for Army Construction Activities (Heeresbauwirtschaftsabteilung V 7)(279).

(5) Budget Group (Amstgruppe Haushalts- und Besoldungszwesen Ag Haushalt)(280). This group was formed in February 1944 by an amalgamation of four independent branches connected with budget and finance matters. Up to August 1944 it was immediately under the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army; it was placed under the control of the Chief of the Army Administration Office. It includes:

(a) Army Budget Branch (Heeres-Haushaltsabteilung H Haush)(281).

(b) Central Branch in the OKH (Zentralabteilung IM OKH (Chef H Rüst u. BdE) Z)(282).

(c) Army Pay Branch (Heeresbesoldungsabteilung H Bes Abt)(283).

(d) Army Finance Branch (Heeres-Finanzierungsabteilung)(284).

k. Inspector General For Potential Officers And Non-commissioned Officers. (Generalinspekteur für den Führernachwuchs des Heeres GJF)(285). Formerly the Inspector of Army Training and Education (In EB)(286); re-named and broadened in scope and authority in March 1944. Subordinate to the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Chef H Rüst u BdE). He is responsible for the uniform recruiting, National-Socialist instruction and guidance, and uniform training of all potential officers and non-commissioned officers (Führernachwuchs). He is in charge of all officer candidate and non-commissioned officer schools and determines the subject-matter and methods of instruction, particularly the political aspects. He controls:

(1) Branch for the Procurement of Leaders (Abteilung Heeresnachwuchs Abt. HN)(287). This branch was independent up to 1944 but became subordinate to the Inspector General for Potential Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers when he was appointed. This branch represents the Army in dealing with other services and agencies in all questions concerning the procurement of leaders.

(2) Cadet School Branch (Abteilung Kriegschulen KS)(288). Previously called Inspectorate 1 (In 1) and directly under the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army. Administers all officer candidate schools.

(3) Non-Commissioned Officer School Branch (Abteilung Unteroffzier-Vorschulen u. -Schulen US)(289).

(4) Inspector of Army Officer Procurement Offices (Inspekteur der Annahmestellen für Offizierbewerber des Heeres Insp d Annst)(290). Set up in 1943 as an independent agency in the Army Personnel Office; transferred to the control of the Inspector General for Potential Officer and non-commissioned officers in 1944. Controls the officer candidate acceptance centres located in each Wehrkreis.

l. Miscellaneous Agencies. The following are independent agencies, all immediately subordinate to the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Chef H Rüst u. BdE):

(1) Signal Communications Branch of the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Nachrichten-Betriebs-Abteilung des Ch H Rüst u. BdE)(291). Contains a telephone operating company, a telegraph company, a signal exploitation company, and a radio transmission centre.

(2) Army Raw Materials Branch (Heeres-Rohstoffabteilung H Ro)(292). Charged with the procurement of raw materials for the OKH. Formerly a subordinate unit of the Army Ordnance Office (Rohstoffstelle OKH Wa Chef Ing 2/Wa Ro)(293), it was made an independent branch in 1942.

(3) Army Map Service (Heeresplankammer HPK)(294). Contains a foreign maps branch, and a map production branch.

(4) Army Technical Bureau (Heerestechnisches Büro HTB)(295). Believed to be a staff of engineers at the disposal of the OKH.

(5) Women's Auxiliary Corps (Nachrichtenhelferinnen-Einsatzabteilung NH-Einsatzabteilung)(296). The women's auxiliary corps is believed to he subordinate to the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army. It is formed into special battalions (Einsatzabteilungen) and used throughout the Field and Replacement Armies for signal communications and office work at higher headquarters.

m. National Socialist Guidance Staff Of The Army. (Nationalsozialistischer Führungsstab des Heeres NSF St d H)(297). Established in March 1944 to control the uniform National-Socialist indoctrination and guidance in the Army. Directly subordinate to Adolf Hitler but attached to the Army High Command. Issues directives to the National-Socialist Guidance Officers (NSFO) in the field.

n. The Fuhrer's Official Military Historian. (Der Beauftragte des Führers für die militärische Geschichtsschreibung D Beauftr d Führers für die mil Geschichtsschr)(298). Appointed in 1942 to take charge of the writing of military history of World War II. Directly subordinate to Adolf Hitler but attached to the Army High Command. Upon his appointment, the agencies connected with military history in the Army were transferred from the jurisdiction of the Fifth Senior General Staff Officer (O Qu V) to his control but remained subordinate to the OKH. In addition, historical branches were set up at both the OKW and the OKH to record the war for the Armed Forces and for the Army respectively. This obviated the need for the Military Science Branch still under the O Qu V, and it is believed that its existence is only nominal. The Führer's Official Military Historian controls within the OKH:

(1) Army Historical Branch (Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung des Heeres Kr Gesch Heer)(299). Established in 1942. Probably took over all the functions of the Military Science Branch (Kr Wiss Abt.) in the Army General Staff. It includes the editorial staff of the magazine "Military Science Review" (Militärwissenschaftliche Rundschau).

(2) Military History Research Institute (Kriegswissenschaftliche Forschungs-Anstalt)(300). Originally under the control of the Army General Staff but believed to have been transferred to the control of the Führer's Official Military Historian, sometime after 1942.

(3) Chief of Army Archives (Chef der Heeresarchive Chef H Arch)(301). Transferred from the Army General Staff in 1942. Army archives have been kept in Potsdam, with a branch office at Liegnitz.

(4) Chief of Army Libraries (Chef der Heeresbüchereien-Chef H Büch)(302). This position was created in 1942, first under the control of the Army General Staff and then transferred to Führer's Official Military Historian. Responsible for the administration of all military literature.

(5) Captured Documents Exploitation Centre (Wehrmacht-Sichtungsstelle We Sist)(303). Exploits captured documents (Beuteakten) for the whole of the Armed Forces.

o. Inspector General Of Panzer Troops. (Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen Gen Insp d Pz Tr)(304). Appointed in 1943 as a successor to the Chief of Mobile Troops (General der Schnellen Truppen)(305) who had been attached to the Army General Staff. Directly subordinate to Adolf Hitler but attached to the Army High Command. Controls the whole Panzer arm; responsible for its organisation, training, and replacement system. His prerogative extend to the Air Force and Waffen-SS Panzer units. He controls:

(1) Chief Antitank Officer for All Arms (General der Panzerabwehr aller Waffen)(306). Appointed in November 1944 to coordinate anti-tank tactics throughout the Armed Forces. He also acts as liaison officer for the Panzer troops at the Army General Staff replacing the former Panzer Officer at the Army General Staff (Pz Offz b Gen St d H)(307).

(2) Inspector of Panzer Troops (Inspekteur der Panzertruppen Insp d Pz Tr)(308). Has a function similar to that of the other inspectors in the OKH except that he is not controlled by the Chief of Training in the Replacement Army (Chef Ausb). He controls the Panzer Troop Branch, Inspectorate 6 (Jn 6)(309), although the latter may still be administratively under the General Army Office.

(3) Field Army Branch (Abteilung Feldheer)(310). This branch maintains liaison between the Inspector General of Panzer Troops and the Field Army. It is responsible for the proper evaluation and use of all combat experience and makes suggestions on the organisation, training, and development of the Panzer arm.

(4) Training Branch (Ausbildungs-Abteilung Ausb Abt)(311). Formed in 1944, this branch took over the administration of the training of Panzer troops from Inspectorate 6. It issues a regular monthly periodical dealing with the experience of Panzer troops in the field.

Werner von Fritsch
Werner von Fritsch, November 1936




Walther von Brauchitsch
Walther von Brauchitsch, 4th February 1938




Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler, 19th December 1941





Supreme Command of the Air Force

Air Force High Command

I. General

The German Air Force (Luftwaffe), one of the three branches of the German Armed Forces, is organised and administered independently of either the Army or the Navy. Its three main branches are the flying troops, antiaircraft artillery, and air signal troops. It also includes parachute and airborne troops, air engineers, air medical corps, and air police, and a number of special divisions formed of Air Force personnel for service as regular fighting troops. It is organised on a territorial rather than a functional basis, with separate operational and administrative commands. This division of responsibilities has made for a high degree of mobility among the flying units and thus has been responsible for much of the success of the German Air Force.

2. Commander-in-Chief

Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring serves in the dual capacity of Minister of Aviation (Reichsminister der Luftfahrt) and Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe). As Commander-in-Chief he is charged with the administration and operations of the Air Force. As Minister of Aviation he is a member of the Cabinet and is responsible for the coordination and supervision of civil aviation. Since Hermann Göring has many other duties in the German Government, however, the supreme command usually is exercised by the State Secretary in the Ministry of Aviation and Inspector General of the Air Force.

3. Air Ministry (Reichsluftfahrministerium or R.L.M.)

At the Air Ministry the highest administrative and operational authority of the Air Force are found the departments which control all Air Force activity. These departments fall into two groups: those of the General Staff and those concerned with administration and supply.

Section II.

Chain Of Command


1. General

The role of the Air Force in the conduct of the war, and to a certain extent in particular operations, is determined by the High Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht). The chain of command is from the Supreme Commander (Adolf Hitler), through the OKW to the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force (Hermann Göring). The latter directs the actual employment of the Air Force through the Air Ministry and through his subordinate commanders of air combat units. However, when Air Force units are used in conjunction with Army or Navy units, all the forces involved come under a single operational control, in accordance with the German doctrine of unity of command. In such circumstances, a commanding officer is chosen from whichever of the three branches predominates in the operation, and he becomes directly responsible to the OKW.

2. Luftflotte. All Air Force units are organised into tactical and territorial air commands known as Luftflotten. Each Luftflotte is assigned a particular command area, although this assignment is not necessarily permanent, for an entire Luftflotte at any time may be moved from one area to another at the direction of the Air Ministry. Within its area, however, each Luftflotte not only controls all operations of the flying units, but also supervises the activities of all ground service units. Thus, in addition to a large operations department, each Luftflotte has its own adjutant, legal, administration, signal, and supply departments. All commands and formations subordinate to the Luftflotte are either essentially operational (Fliegerkorps, Jagdkorps, Geschwader, Gruppen, and Staffeln) or administrative (Luftgaue). Thus the administrative and operational commands meet at the Luftflotte headquarters, where their respective activities are coordinated.

3. Fliegerkorps. Operational units within the Luftflotte command area are organised into subordinate operational commands known as Fliegerkorps. Through these Fliegerkorps, the Luftflotten execute the operational directives received from the Air Ministry. Each Fliegerkorps is a composite, mobile command with its own geographical area of control and operations. A Luftflotte may command one or several Fliegerkorps, depending upon the size of the command area and the nature of operations. A Fliegerkorps may be detached at any time for operations in another Luftflotte area. The make-up of a Fliegerkorps is very elastic, both as to number and type of aircraft. It may consist of several bomber Geschwader, several fighter Geschwader, in addition to a varying number of short- and long-range reconnaissance Gruppen. On occasion it may be limited to one function such as that of a bomber command. The most important department of the Fliegerkorps command is that of operations. Although the Fliegerkorps also has adjutant, legal, administration, signal, and supply departments, it depends almost entirely upon the Luftgau for administrative and supply services. The Fliegerkorps are numbered nonconsecutively in Roman numerals.

4. Jagdkorps. A Jagdkorps is an operational command, similar to a Fliegerkorps but whose function is limited to that of a fighter command.

5. Fliegerdivision. A Fliegerdivision is an operational command similar to but of less importance than a Fliegerkorps. Most of the Fliegerdivisionen which existed prior to the war were replaced by Fliegerkorps. Several Fliegerdivisionen still exist on the Eastern Front.

6. Jagddivision. A Jagddivision is a command subordinate to a Jagdkorps.

7. Lehrdivision. This division is unnumbered and is known simply as the Lehrdivision. Its primary function was to test the latest types of aircraft, antiaircraft defences, and air signals equipment from a tactical and operational point of view. Lehr units are incorporated directly into the combat commands and function as a part of the command's operational strength. Lehr personnel are supposed to have had previous combat experience. This system, by giving the Lehr units an operational status, enables them to experiment in actual combat operations, rather than under simulated conditions. The Lehrdivision was organised into a variety of formations and commands. There were two Lehrgeschwader composed of bomber, fighter, and reconnaissance Lehrgruppen. Recently, however, only a few bomber Lehr units have been operational and they no longer appear concerned with experimentation. There are also two Lehrregimenter, one concerned with antiaircraft defences and the other with signal developments. Lehr units are not to be confused with experimental units whose duties are of a technical nature, such as the testing of prototype aircraft.

8. Geschwader.

a. General. The Geschwader is the largest mobile, homogeneous formation in the Air Force, and is used for long-range bombers, ground attack units, and both single- and twin-engine fighters. It normally consists of about 100 aircraft, organised into three Gruppen. A fourth and, in a few instances, a fifth Gruppe have been added to several single-engine fighter Geschwader. [These fourth and fifth Gruppen are not to be confused with the Erganzungsgruppen, which are devoted to operational training as discussed in Section VII.] Apparently the original intention was to have each Geschwader operate as a unit by stationing all three Gruppen at adjacent airdromes. However, although all Gruppen are now usually found on the same battlefront, all three of them are unlikely to operate from neigbouring fields. In fact, it is not uncommon at present for the Air Force to withdraw one or two Gruppen for rest or re-equipment and subsequently return them to operations in another theater.

b. Command. A Geschwader is generally commanded by an Oberst or Oberstleutnant known as the Geschwaderkommodore. He has a small staff of officers for the adjutant, operations, organisation, technical, signal, navigation, meteorological, and intelligence branches. Some staffs also have a photographic officer. The staff has its own headquarters flight (Stabs-Schwärm) of three to six aircraft of the same type as those which make up the Geschwader. This Geschwader staff is always maintained, even when the subordinate Gruppen are separated for operations on different fronts.

c. Types. There are several types of Geschwader, known according to aircraft complement and/or operational employment as follows:

German title Aircraft type Abbreviation

Kampfgeschwader Bomber K.G.
Schlachtgeschwader [Sturzkampfgeschwader (Dive bomber) and Schnellkampfgeschwader (Ground attack) have been incorporated into, or superseded by the Schlachtgeschwadern.] Ground attack and antitank S.G.
Jagdgeschwader Single-engine fighter J.G.
Zerstörergeschwader Twin-engine fighter Z.G.
Nachtjagdgeschwader Night fighter N.J.G.
Lehrgeschwader Tactical experimental L.G.

Each Geschwader is designated by its abbreviation followed by an Arabic numeral: for example, K.G.77, N.J.G.26, Z.G.111, etc. The numerals are not necessarily in consecutive order.

d. Equipment. Although all Gruppen in a Geschwader specialise in similar air tactics and are equipped with the same type of plane, the make and model may differ among the Gruppen. This variation is most prevalent in fighter Geschwader, but also occurs in a few of the bomber Geschwader. Thus a Kampfgeschwader may have one Gruppe equipped with the Dornier 217 and the other two Gruppen with the Heinkel 111, Junkers 88, or the Focke-Wulf 200. Or the entire Geschwader may be equipped with the same make of plane, such as the Messerschmitt 109, although one Gruppe may have a newer model while the other Gruppen have earlier ones.

9. Gruppe

a. General. The Gruppe is the basic combat unit of the Air Force for both administrative and operational purposes. It is a mobile homogeneous unit which is largely self-contained and which may be detached from its parent Geschwader for operations in any command area. In fact, directives for the movement of flying units are almost always issued in terms of Gruppen. Usually the entire Gruppe is based at the same airdrome.

b. Command. The Gruppe normally is commanded by a major or captain known as the Gruppenkommandeur. He has a small staff, consisting of the adjutant, operations officer, technical officer, and medical officer. There apparently is no special intelligence officer, since prisoners are sent directly to interrogation centres Each Gruppe also has its own air signal platoon (Luftnachrichtenzug), known as a Technical Ground Station, and a staff flight (Stabs-Kette) of three aircraft generally of the same type with which the Gruppe is equipped.

c. Equipment. The Gruppen are organised into three Staffeln, with the exception of single-engine fighter Geschwadern which recently have been organised into four Staffeln. Thus, most Gruppen are considered to have a table of organisation of 27 aircraft each (exclusive of the three aircraft of the Gruppen-Stab) and Jagdgruppen a table of organisation of 36 aircraft (also exclusive of the Gruppen-Stab). Actual strength, however, is likely to differ substantially from authorised strength, on many occasions it has been found well below or above such figures. Gruppen attached to a Geschwader are numbered in Roman numerals in consecutive order. Thus I/K.G.77, II/K.G.77, and III/K.G.77 are the first, second, and third Gruppen, respectively, of long-range bomber Geschwader 77.

10. Staffel

a. General. The Staffel is the smallest Air Force operational unit, and is generally commanded by a captain or lieutenant known as the Staffelkapitän. One officer serves as adjutant, the signal, technical, and navigation branches are supervised by the flying personnel in their spare time.

b. Equipment. A Staffel is considered to have a table of organisation of nine aircraft. Its actual strength, however, may be as low as five or six aircraft or as much as 18 or 20 aircraft. For tactical purposes, it may be subdivided into Schwärme of five planes, into Ketten of three planes, or into Rotten of two planes. Each Staffel usually will have its own mobile repair shop for minor repairs in the dispersal areas, other motor vehicles must be drawn from the organisation of the parent Gruppe.

c. Numbering. All Staffeln in the Geschwader are numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals. Thus, in all but Jagdgeschwader, the first, second, and third Staffeln constitute Gruppe I, the fourth, fifth and sixth Staffeln, Gruppe II, and the seventh, eighth, and ninth Staffeln, Gruppe III. Where a fourth or fifth Gruppe exists, the Staffeln will be numbered 10, 11, and 12, or 13, 14, and 15, respectively. In Jagdgeschwadern having four Staffeln, the Gruppe I thus will contain Staffeln 1, 2, 3, and 4, Gruppe II, Staffeln 5, 6, 7, and 8, Gruppe III, Staffeln 9, 10, 11, and 12, etc. In unit designations, the Gruppe numeral is omitted whenever the Staffel number is indicated. Thus the fourth Staffel of K.G.77 is known as 4/K.G.77, and no other reference to its position in Gruppe II of K.G.77 is necessary.

11. Semiautonomous Units

a. General. Reconnaissance and Army cooperation aircraft operate and are organised as semiautonomous units, as Staffeln or Gruppen. These semiautonomous units fall into three general categories, all of which are numbered non-consecutively in Arabic numerals of one, two or three digits.

b. Long Range Reconnaissance. Long-range reconnaissance aircraft are organised into Fernaufklärungsgruppen, which are known as (F) or FAG units. Thus 3(F)123 is the third Staffel of Fernaufklärungsgruppe 123.

c. Short Range Reconnaissance. Short-range reconnaissance and Army cooperation aircraft are organised into Nahaufklärungsgruppen, which are known as NAGr or (H) units (due to former name of Heeresaufklärungsgruppen). Under the old nomenclature still applying to some units, the first Staffel of Nahaufklärungsgruppe 32 is therefore 1(H)32. Under the more recent Gruppen organisation and numbering, the third Staffel of Nahaufklärungsgruppe 1 for instance, is 3/NAGr 1.

d. Coastal Reconnaissance. Coastal reconnaissance and naval cooperation aircraft were originally organised into Küstenfliegergruppen (abbreviated K.F.Gr.). They are now known as Seeaufklärungsgruppen (abbreviated SAGr.). Thus the third Staffel of Seeaufklärungsgruppe 196 is known as 3/SAGr. 196.

e. Miscellaneous Units. Miscellaneous units also are similarly organised and operated.

(1) Nachtschlachtgruppen (Night Harassing) represent the relatively recent grouping of previously loosely organised Staffeln. Most of them are equipped with obsolete aircraft, although coincidentally with their re-organisation in Gruppen, these units have been modernised to some extent. Though some units in the East still have such aircraft as Ar 66, Go 145, He 50, etc., those in the West are equipped with modern Ju 87 and Fw 190. These Nachtschlachtgruppen are numbered in Arabic numbers and thus abbreviated NS1, NS2, NS3, etc.

(2) The Luftbeobachter Staffeln (Air Observers).

(3) A number of specialised units such as mine sweeping Staffeln, etc.

12. Special Commands

a. Jagdführer. Separate fighter commands known as Jagdführer, or more commonly as Jafü, have been established in each Luftflotte since the outbreak of war. At first a Jafü was concerned primarily with matters of policy and controlled operations only on specific occasions. Yet, for a period, the Jafüs in France and Germany appeared to have had an overriding authority in directing all defensive fighter operations. Lately, however, it is believed that their functions have become virtually administrative.

b. Fliegerführer. Highly specialised operations on certain fronts have been put under the control of special commanders known as Fliegerführer. These Fliegerführer control operations in a particular area only and are directly responsible to the Luftflotte commander in whose area they operate. For instance, the three Fliegerführer (3, 4, 5) in Luftflotte V, although primarily concerned with anti shipping operations and weather reconnaissance, controlled all types of combat aircraft in their area of operations.

13. Luftgau

a. General. The Luftgaue are the actual administrative and supply organisations of the Luftwaffe. They are stationary or immobile commands whose authority is limited to certain well defined and permanently fixed geographical areas. A Luftgau commander is usually a General der Flieger or General der Flakartillerie, and theoretically is responsible to the Luftflotte commander within whose command area the Luftgau lies. In actual practice, however, the Luftgau commanders receive most of their instructions direct from the Air Ministry, and the Luftflottenchefs interfere little with Luftgau administration. The Luftgaue permanently established in Germany are numbered non-consecutively by Roman numerals, those in occupied countries are generally designated by their location: for example, Luftgau Norwegen.

b. Functions. Each Luftgau is responsible for the following services within its command area:

(1) Administration, supply, and maintenance of all flying units.

(2) Active and passive defence against air attack.

(3) Operations of signal units.

(4) All training other than that of auxiliary units.

(5) Recruitment, mobilisation, and training of reserve personnel.

c. Sections. Each Luftgau has its own operations, adjutant, legal, administration, signal, and supply sections. It also has a department for prohibited and restricted flying areas which has no known counterpart in the Luftflotte or Fliegerkorps headquarters. All training within the Luftgau area is directed by a Higher Commander of Training. This officer is usually a Generalmajor and is subordinate only to the Luftgau commander. All other Luftgau services are maintained through subordinate section commands which are designated by Arabic numerals preceding the Luftgau unit designation. Thus 4/VIII is the fourth section command in Luftgau VIII.

d. Aerodrome Commands. The main channels through which the flying units draw on the services of the Luftgaue are the airdrome commands. Each Luftgau area is divided into about five airdrome regional commands (Flughafenbereichkommandanturen). The regional commands are in turn subdivided into five or more operational airdrome commands (Einsatzhafenkommandanturen). The regional command is essentially administrative and is not necessarily located at an airfield. The operational airdrome command, however, exists only to serve the flying units at their stations and is thus always found at an airdrome. The manner in which the Luftgau has decentralised its authority through these commands is as follows:

(1) The airdrome regional commands are charged with the Luftgau's responsibility for supply and maintenance of supplies and equipment within their respective areas, meeting the physical needs of the flying units, defence of aircraft, equipment, and motor transport against air attack, airdrome development, and air movements. These duties are discharged by specialised units which the Luftgau allots to the regional command and which the regional command then redistributes among the operational commands. For example, the Field Works Office (Feldbauamt) at the regional command handles airdrome maintenance through its subsidiary Works Superintendent's Offices which are stationed at the airdromes. Similarly, the Air Signal Company at each regional command is divided into platoons which are stationed at the operational commands. A senior technical officer supervises aircraft maintenance in the region through his subordinate technical officers at the operational commands. The airdrome regional command is thus largely self-contained and calls on the Luftgau for assistance only when the units already assigned prove inadequate.

(2) The airdrome regional command also acts as the intermediary between the Luftgau headquarters and the operational airdrome command. All orders, requests, reports, etc., travelling between the two must pass through the regional command staff. This staff numbers from 50 to 150 officers and enlisted men and is headed by a commandant who usually holds the rank of Generalmajor.

(3) The airdrome regional command's primary practical task is that of transporting supplies and equipment from the depots to its subordinate operational commands. For this purpose it is generally assigned a supply company (Nachschubkompanie) composed of a supply column staff (Nachschubkolonnenstab), some four transport columns (Transportkolonnen), and two or three fuel columns (Flugbetriebsstoffkolonnen).

(4) The commander of the operational airdrome command normally holds the rank of major, captain, or first lieutenant. His adjutant handles personnel matters. The personnel complement of an operational command numbers about 350 officers and enlisted men, and the motor transport allotment is between 50 and 100 vehicles.

(5) Airdrome maintenance at each operational command is handled by a Works Superintendent's Office (Bauleitung), subordinate to the Field Works Office at the regional command. The Bauleitung has charge of most of the construction done at the airdrome (buildings, dispersal areas, defence works, camouflage, etc.), as well as the laying of runways, extension of landing grounds, and installation of lighting systems. Reports on serviceability and bomb damage are radioed through the regional command to the Luftgau, and thence to the Air Ministry for broadcast over the Air Force Safety Service network. The Bauleitung personnel is composed of civil servants and technical staffs. Any other specialised construction units which may be attached to the airdromes to repair bomb damage or enlarge facilities are also directed by the Bauleitung.

(6) The operational airdrome command is also responsible for defence against air attack, for which it has both heavy and light Flak units. These guns and other aerial defence units are commanded by the airdrome commander only when there is no flying unit stationed at the field. Otherwise, defence is controlled by the commander of that flying unit which is occupying the airdrome.

(7) The telephone, teleprinter, and radio at each operational airdrome command are operated by an air signal platoon (Fliegerhorst-Luftnachrichtenzug) and commanded by a signal officer who is subordinate to the senior signal officer at the airdrome regional command. The signal platoon also transmits the meteorological and airdrome serviceability reports and operates the Air Movements Control. This control directs only nonoperational flying. Signal communications with aircraft in operations are controlled by the tactical ground station attached to the flying unit.

(8) Aircraft maintenance at the operational airdrome command except for servicing and minor repairs which are performed by the ground staff of the flying unit is the responsibility of a technical officer. This officer not only handles overhauls and major repairs, but also is responsible for maintenance of motor vehicles, for bomb, fuel, and other supply stores, and for equipment stores and the armoury He is subordinate to the senior technical officer at the airdrome regional command.

(9) The requests by the operational airdrome command for equipment and spare parts reach the regional command through the technical officer. Requisitions for bombs, fuel, and ammunition are made by the supply section. The operational command also has an administrative section which handles clothing, food, pay, billeting, and other accommodations, a record office, a photographic section, a medical section, and a welfare section.

(10) Luftgaustäbe z. b. V. During campaigns the Luftgaue provide the advancing air formation with supplies and services through a system of subordinate commands known as Luftgaustäbe zur besonderer Verwendung (Luftgau staffs for special duty) or, simply, Luftgaustäbe z. b. V. units. These units may be designated by an Arabic numeral (Luftgaustäb z. b. V. 3) or by their location (Luftgaustäb Kiev). They are sent into the forward battle areas by their controlling Luftgau and are normally responsible for all services in an area occupied by a Fliegerkorps. After conditions have become relatively stabilised for example, when operational airdrome commands have been established and supply stations and fuel and ammunition field depots have been set up the Luftgaustäb z. b. V. unit is withdrawn and the parent Luftgau assumes direct command.

Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring




Robert Ritter von Greim
Robert Ritter von Greim, April 1945




Supreme Command of the Navy

Navy High Command

Erich Raeder
Erich Raeder, 1st June 1935




Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz, 30th January 1943




Hans-Georg von Friedeburg
Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, 1st May 1945




Walter Warzecha
Walter Warzecha, 23rd May 1945




Sources

For a complete list of sources