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German Armed Forces Research 1918-1945

WW2 German Army / Organization of the Heer

When World War II began, the entire Heer was split into two separate parts. The Feldheer (Field Army) was created for the exclusive control of all military operations, and the Ersatzheer (Replacement Army) was created to control all the training, procurement and administration of the Heimatkriegsgebiet (Zone of the Interior). All the operational parts of the Oberkommando der Heer, including the Oberbefehlshaber (Commander-in-Chief) and most of the Generalstab (General Staff), established a field headquarters away from Berlin, the Capital of Germany and seat of Government, for the operational control of the Feldheer. The remaining parts of the Oberkommando der Heer were placed under the control of a deputy to the Oberbefehlshaber known as the Chef der Heeresrustung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres (Chief of Army Equipement and Commander of the Replacement Army). The Chef der Heeresrustung und Befehlshaber der Ersatzheeres was responsible for maintaining the Feldheer throught the dispatch of replacements, the formation of new units, the supply of material, and for continuing the normal military functions at home.

At the outbreak of World War II, and for the duration of the War, Germany distinguished between a number of different command and control areas for the purpose of organizing and controling their armed forces. The way in which Germany divided up these areas was as follows.

The entire area of possible conflict, including Germany itself, was called the Kriegsgebiet (Theater of War). The Kriegsgebiet was organized into two separate divisions, the Operationsgebiet (Theater of Operations) and the Heimatkriegsgebiet (Zone of the Interior). A secondary area was designed to exist between the Heimatkriegsgebiet and the Operationsgebiet and this was called the Gebiet der Kreigsverwaltung (Zone of Military Administration) and sometimes also called the Besetztes Gebiet (Occupied Zone). Within the Operationsgebiet existed two other areas, the Gefechtsgebiet (Combat Zone) and the Ruckwartiges (Communications Zone). Within the Ruckwartiges were the Ruckwartiges Heeresgebiet (Army Group Rear Area) and the Ruckwartiegs Armeegebiet (Army Rear Area). Each separate area was then administered by different types of military authority, military/civil authority, or civil authority.

Map of German Wehrkies

Map of German Wehrkries
One of the most important and fundamental aspects of WWII German organization was the concept of the Wehrkries, or Corps Area. The concept of the Wehrkries was designed to divide Germany into a number of military regions that would be responsible for the administration, mobilization and general structure of the Korps and Divisionen of the German Heer. Germany was divided into a total of 23 Wehrkries, with an original 19 existing prior to the Invasion of Poland in September of 1939. After the Polish Campaign, another four Wehrkries were added. Of the Original 19 Wehrkries, 15 were actually in Germany proper, and the remaining four were non-territorial, and did not have a specific region they controlled, although they did have Headquarters located in a specific German city. The four Wehrkries added after the Campaign in Poland were located in former Polish territory.

When Germany began its mobilization in 1939, it did so in a series of "waves" in which units would be formed from existing units, or from reserves or drafts of men. There were a total of 35 waves during WWII in which Divisions were raised and/or mobilized. The waves were only concerned with Infantry Divisions, other types of units being formed seperately.

Wehrkries Region
Wehrkreis I Konigsberg
Wehrkreis II Stettin
Wehrkreis III Berlin
Wehrkreis IV Dreseden
Wehrkreis V Stuttgart
Wehrkreis VI Munster
Wehrkreis VII Munchen
Wehrkreis VIII Breslau
Wehrkreis IX Kassel
Wehrkreis X Hamburg
Wehrkreis XI Hannover
Wehrkreis XII Wiesbaden
Wehrkreis XIII Nurnberg
Wehrkreis XVII Wien
Wehrkreis XVIII Salzburg
Wehrkreis XIV (Non-territorial) Magdeburg
Wehrkreis XV (Non-territorial) Jena
Wehrkreis XVI (Non-territorial) Berlin
Wehrkreis XIX (Non-territorial) Wien
Wehrkreis XX Danzig
Wehrkreis XXI Posen
Wehrkreis Bohmen und Mahren Prague
Wehrkreis Generalgouvernement Cracow

Wave Year Infantry Divisions Mobilized
1st Wave 1939 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 39th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th, 44th, 45th, 46th
2nd Wave 1939 52nd, 56th, 57th, 58th, 61st, 62nd, 68th, 69th, 71st, 73rd, 75th, 76th, 78th, 79th, 86th, 87th
3rd Wave 1939 206th, 207th, 208th, 209th, 210th, 211th, 212th, 213th, 214th, 215th, 216th, 217th, 218th, 221st, 223rd, 225th, 227th, 228th, 231st, 239th, 246th
4th Wave 1939 251st, 252nd, 253rd, 254th, 255th, 256th, 257th, 258th, 260th, 262nd, 263rd, 267th, 268th, 269th
5th Wave 1939 93rd, 94th, 95th, 96th, 97th
6th Wave 1939 81st, 82nd, 83rd, 88th
7th Wave 1940 161st, 162nd, 163rd, 164th, 167th, 168th, 169th, 170th, 181st, 183rd, 196th, 197th, 198th
8th Wave 1940 290th, 291st, 292nd, 293rd, 294th, 295th, 296th, 297th, 298th, 299th
9th Wave 1940 351st, 358th, 365th, 372nd, 379th, 386th, 393rd, 395th, 399th, 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th
10th Wave 1940 270th, 271st, 272nd, 273rd, 274th, 276th, 277th, 278th, 279th, 280th
11th Wave 1940 121st, 122nd, 123rd, 124th, 125th, 126th, 129th, 131st, 132nd, 134th, 137th
12th Wave 1940 97th, 98th, 100th, 101st, 102nd, 106th, 110th, 111th, 112th, 113th
13th Wave 1940 302nd, 304th, 305th, 306th, 319th, 320th, 321st, 323rd, 327th
14th Wave 1940 333rd, 335th, 336th, 337th, 339th, 340th, 342nd
15th Wave 1940 702nd, 704th, 707th, 708th, 709th, 710th, 711th, 712th, 713th, 714th, 715th, 716th, 717th, 719th
16th Wave 1941 201st, 202nd, 203rd, 204th
17th Wave 1941 328th, 329th, 330th, 331st
18th Wave 1942 383rd, 384th, 385th, 387th, 389th
19th Wave 1942 370th, 371st, 376th, 377th
20th Wave 1942 38th, 39th, 65th
21st Wave 1943 349th, 352nd, 353rd, 357th, 359th, 361st, 362nd, 363rd, 364th, 367th
22nd Wave 1943 271st, 272nd, 275th, 276thm 278th
23rd Wave 1943 390th, 391st, 394th, 388th
24th Wave 1944 331st, 389th
25th Wave 1944 77th, 84th, 85th, 89th, 91st, 92nd
26th Wave 1944 "Wildflecken", "Ostpreussen", "Schlisen", "Milowitz"
27th Wave 1944 59th, 64th, 226th, 232nd, 237th
28th Wave 1944 "Jutland", "Schkesien", "Grafenwohr", "Munsingen"
29th Wave 1944 543rd, 546th, 550th, 552nd
30th Wave 1944 12th VG, 16th VG, 19th VG, 36th VG, 560th VG, 563rd VG
31st Wave 1944 "Brelsau", "Dollersheim", "Mahren", "Rohn", "Gross-Born"
32nd Wave 1944 18th VG, 26th VG, 47th VG, 183rd VG, 212th VG, 246th VG, 256th VG, 271st VG, 272nd VG, 276th VG, 277th VG, 326th VG, 337th VG, 340th VG, 349th VG, 352nd VG, 361st VG, 363rd VG, 708th VG, 584th VG "Dennewitz", 585th VG "Neider-Gorsdorf", 586th VG "Katzback", 588th VG "Mockern", 583rd VG
33rd Wave 1945 48th, 85th, 189th, 245th, 264th, 275th, 361st, 553rd, 706th, 716th
34th Wave 1945 "Hannover", "Dresden", "Donau", "Doberitz", "Berlin", "Hamburg", "Jutland", "Seeland"
35th Wave 1945 1st RAD "Schlageter", 2nd RAD "Friedrich Ludwig Jahn", 3rd RAD Theodor Korner", 4th RAD, "Potsdam", "Scharnhorst", "Ulrich von Hutten", "Ferdinand von Schill"