Army / Organization of the Heer
|When World War II began, the entire Heer was split into two separate parts. TheFeldheer (Field Army) was created for the exclusive control of all military operations, andthe Ersatzheer (Replacement Army) was created to control all the training, procurement andadministration of the Heimatkriegsgebiet (Zone of the Interior). All the operational parts ofthe Oberkommando der Heer, including the Oberbefehlshaber (Commander-in-Chief) andmost 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 theFeldheer. The remaining parts of the Oberkommando der Heer were placed under thecontrol of a deputy to the Oberbefehlshaber known as the Chef der Heeresrustung undBefehlshaber des Ersatzheeres (Chief of Army Equipement and Commander of theReplacement Army). The Chef der Heeresrustung und Befehlshaber der Ersatzheeres wasresponsible for maintaining the Feldheer throught the dispatch of replacements, theformation of new units, the supply of material, and for continuing the normal militaryfunctions 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 areasfor the purpose of organizing and controling their armed forces. The way inwhich Germany divided up these areas was as follows.
The entire area of possible conflict, including Germany itself, wascalled the Kriegsgebiet (Theater of War). The Kriegsgebietwas organized into two separate divisions, the Operationsgebiet (Theater of Operations)and the Heimatkriegsgebiet (Zone of the Interior). A secondary area wasdesigned to exist between the Heimatkriegsgebiet and theOperationsgebiet and this was called theGebiet der Kreigsverwaltung (Zone of Military Administration) andsometimes also called the Besetztes Gebiet (Occupied Zone).Within the Operationsgebiet existed twoother areas, the Gefechtsgebiet (Combat Zone) and theRuckwartiges (Communications Zone). Within theRuckwartiges were the RuckwartigesHeeresgebiet (Army Group Rear Area) and the RuckwartiegsArmeegebiet (Army Rear Area). Each separate area was thenadministered by different types of military authority, military/civilauthority, or civil authority.
One of the most important and fundamental aspects of WWII German organizationwas the concept of the Wehrkries, or Corps Area. The concept of theWehrkries was designed to divide Germany into a number of military regionsthat would be responsible for the administration, mobilization and generalstructure of the Korps and Divisionen of the German Heer. Germany wasdivided into a total of 23 Wehrkries, with an original 19 existing prior tothe Invasion of Poland in September of 1939. After the Polish Campaign,another four Wehrkries were added. Of the Original 19 Wehrkries, 15 wereactually in Germany proper, and the remaining four were non-territorial,and did not have a specific region they controlled, although they did haveHeadquarters located in a specific German city. The four Wehrkriesadded 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 ordrafts of men. There were a total of 35 waves during WWII in which Divisionswere raised and/or mobilized. The waves were only concerned with InfantryDivisions, other types of units being formed seperately.