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Research on the German Armed Forces 1918-1945

German Divisional Staff Composition

A German infantry division during WWII had three main groupings within its larger structure, the divisional staff, the combat elements and the back-line services. The divisional staff of the division was a part of the headquarters unit of the division. The divisional commander was the leader of the entire division. As such, the commander was in charge of all operations and employments of the division. But in order to function in this position, a divisional commander also needed the help of a staff that would in turn be responsible for a number of different aspects of the division. This staff would help to run and manage the daily affairs of the unit, being responsible for areas like supplies, transport, air liason, and combat support, as well as many others. The staff of most combat divisions was organized into three operational groupings. These three groupings were known as the following.

Fuhrungsabteiling Tactical detachment
    Ia
    Chief of Operations
    O1
    1st Assistant Adjutant
    Ic
    Chief Intelligence Officer
    O3
    3rd Assistant Adjutant
Quartermeister Supply group
    Ib
    Second General Staff officer
    O2
    2nd Assistant Adjutant
    Ib/WuG
    Weapons and Equipment Replacement Officer
    Ib/Kfz
    Division Engineer
    IVa
    Division Assistant Adjutant
    IVb
    Division Surgeon
    IVc
    Division Veterinarian
    IVd
    Division Chaplains
    IVz
    Staff Paymaster
Adjutantur Personnel group
    IIa
    Division Adjutant (for Commisioned rank)
    IIb
    Division Adjutant (for non-Commisioned rank)
    III
    Division Judge Advocate

Tactical group:

The tactical group, otherwise know as the command post, consisted of the following positions.

The Ia, otherwise known as the Chief of Operations. The Ia was the 1st General Staff officer in the division. He dealt with all areas of the command and tactical control of the units of the division as well as areas of leadership, training, transport, housing, air-raid protection, evaluation, presentation of combat options to the divisional commander, and also stood in as the divisional commander when the commander himself was not available.

The O1, otherwise know as the 1st Assistant Adjutant. The O1 was the assistant to the Ia, and he took care preparing maps and the war diary of the unit, structuring and strenghting all units in the division, and communication with units near the division.

The Ic, otherwise known as the Chief Intelligence Officer. The Ic was the 3rd General Staff officer of the division, and as such, held a very vital and important postion in the staff of the division. The Ic was responsible for all matters that dealt with intelligence. He was in charge of gathering and presenting as much data on the enemey as possible by using as many means as feesible. All intelligence information was then used by the other members of the division staff to plan and execute combat and movement operations. This made the position of Ic very important to the operations of the division as a whole. The Ic also was in charge of the discipline and spiritual guidance of the men of the division.

The O3, otherwise known as the 3rd Assistant Adjutant. The O3, along with 1 or 2 interpreters, were used to assist the Ic in his intelligence activities. A mapping and cartography unit was subordinated to the position of O3, as well as a printing platoon. These units were used in map production and duplication etc.

Also a part of the division staff were the division artillery commander, division engineer commander, division intelligence commander, air liason officer, etc, all for the intergration of the combat support elements of the divison into the larger framework of an effective offensive capable unit.

In combat, portions of this staff grouping would be located as far forward as possible to "command from the front" and would use personnel vehicles, radio trucks, motorcycles and messengers, etc, along with all types of communication and signals equipment to command the division and its elements.

Supply group:

The Ib, otherwise known as the 2nd General Staff officer. The Ib was responsible for the supply of the entire division and all matters of supply, movement of supplies, rations, ammo, etc, and the movement of wounded and prisoners. The Ib also was in charge of the movement of supply trains, deployment of construction facilities, traffic regualtion, and air-raid protection in the areas of the back-line services.

The O2, otherwise known as the 2nd assistant adjutant to the Ib. The O2 was basically in charge of the back-line services, and aided the Ib in his duties.

The Ib/WuG, otherwise known as the weapons and equipment replacement officer. The Ib/WuG (WuG = Waffen und Gerate, weapons and equipment) was responsible for the replacement, supply, and maintenance of all weapons, ammo, and equipment, as well as the moving of weapons and equipment that needed repair or transport and the establishment of distribution centers, testing new weapons and ammo, determining field-readiness of weapons and ammo, etc.

The Ib/Kfz, otherwise known as the division engineer. The Ib/Kkz was responsible for all matters dealing the replacement, supply and maintenance of motor vehicles, tires, parts, fuel, etc.

The IVa, otherwise known as the division assistant adjutant. The IVa was the superior troop officer of all administrative and supply services.

The IVb, otherwise known as the division surgeon. The IVb was the commander of all medical services in the entire division. As such, he was in charge of all aspects of the medical condition of the troops and staff, as well as the movement and placement of wounded and the hospitals and field stations that cared for them.

The IVc, otherwise known as the division veterinarian. The IVc was in charge of all matters dealing with the care, maintenance, supply and movement of the animals of the division, either for food use or for transport use.

The IVd, otherwise known as the division chaplains. The IVd served the troops and staff in all matters regarding spiritual aspects. Two division chaplains served each division, a Catholic and a Protestant. The commander of the division was their direct superior in the unit.

The IVz, otherwise known as the staff paymaster. The IVz was in charge of all aspects of pay for the officers and troops of the division, as well as the accounting and financial matters of the unit.

Personnel group:

The IIa, otherwise known as the division adjutant. The IIa took care of all matters dealing with replacements, personnel matters of officers such as promotions, decorations, punishments, etc, as well as the rosters, war rolls, and lists of losses.

The IIb, otherwise known as the division adjutant for non-commissioned ranks. He took care of the same things as the IIa, but in relation to the non-commissioned ranks.

The III, otherwise known as the division judge advocate. The III was in charge of overseeing things relating to court-martial and legal cases. The III was in charge of legal cases in which normal discipline by commanding officers could not be used, usually because of the issue of the case at hand. All soldiers below the level of captain could be brought up on charges through the judge advocate. All those with a rank higher than captain would be tried by higher level courts. Offenses that could bring one up on charges included refusal to obey orders, theft, rape, robbery, treason, plundering, murder of civilians, sabotage, self-mutilation, disobedience, and unauthorized leaves. Sentances could range from forced service at the front, to service in special penal correctional units, to the death sentance.

The personnel group also contained the registry with notaries for incoming and outgoing commands, secret command matters, record keeping, etc, as well as a commandant of the staff quarters who was responsible for the establishment of the division staff quarters, food, lodging, security, etc for the entire command staff.