Divisional Staff Composition
A German infantry division during WWII had three main groupings within its largerstructure, 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 thedivision. The divisional commander was the leader of theentire division. As such, the commander was in charge of all operations andemployments of the division. But in order to function in this position, adivisional commander also needed the help of a staff that would in turn beresponsible for a number of different aspects of the division. This staffwould help to run and manage the daily affairs of the unit, being responsiblefor areas like supplies, transport, air liaison, and combat support, as wellas many others. The staff of most combat divisions was organized into three operationalgroupings. These three groupings were known as the following.
The tactical group, otherwise know as the command post, consisted of thefollowing positions.
The Ia, otherwise known as the Chief of Operations. The Ia was the 1st GeneralStaff officer in the division. He dealt with all areas of the command andtactical control of the units of the division as well as areas of leadership,training, transport, housing, air-raid protection, evaluation, presentationof combat options to the divisional commander, and also stood in as thedivisional commander when the commander himself was not available.
The O1, otherwise known as the 1st Assistant Adjutant. The O1 was the assistant tothe Ia and he took care preparing maps and the war diary of the unit,structuring and strengthening all units in the division, and communicationwith units near the division.
The Ic, otherwise known as the Chief Intelligence Officer. The Ic was the3rd General Staff officer of the division, and as such, held a very vitaland important position in the staff of the division. The Ic was responsiblefor all matters that dealt with intelligence. He was in charge ofgathering and presenting as much data on the enemy as possible byusing as many means as feasible. All intelligence information was then usedby the other members of the division staff to plan and execute combat andmovement operations. This made the position of Ic very important to theoperations of the division as a whole. The Ic also was in charge ofthe discipline and spiritual guidance of the men of the division.
The O3, otherwise known as the 3rd Assistant Adjutant. The O3, along with1 or 2 interpreters, were used to assist the Ic in his intelligenceactivities. A mapping and cartography unit was subordinated to the positionof O3, as well as a printing platoon. These units were used in map productionand duplication etc.
Also, a part of the division staff was the division artillery commander,division engineer commander, division intelligence commander, air liaisonofficer, etc, all for the integration of the combat support elements of thedivision into the larger framework of an effective offensive capable unit.
In combat, portions of this staff grouping would be located as far forward aspossible to “command from the front” and would use personnel vehicles,radio trucks, motorcycles, and messengers, etc, along with all types ofcommunication and signals equipment to command the division and itselements.
The Ib, otherwise known as the 2nd General Staff officer. The Ib was responsiblefor the supply of the entire division and all matters of supply, movementof supplies, rations, ammo, etc, and the movement of wounded and prisoners.The Ib also was in charge of the movement of supply trains, deployment ofconstruction facilities, traffic regulation, and air-raid protection in theareas of the back-line services.
The O2, otherwise known as the 2nd assistant adjutant to the Ib. The O2was basically in charge of the back-line services, and aided the Ib in hisduties.
The Ib/WuG, otherwise known as the weapons and equipment replacement officer.The Ib/WuG (WuG = Waffen und Gerate, weapons and equipment) was responsiblefor the replacement, supply, and maintenance of all weapons, ammo, andequipment, as well as the moving of weapons and equipment that neededrepair or transport and the establishment of distribution centers, testingnew weapons and ammo, determining field-readiness of weapons and ammo, etc.
The Ib/Kfz, otherwise known as the division engineer. The Ib/Kkz was responsiblefor all matters dealing the replacement, supply, and maintenance of motorvehicles, tires, parts, fuel, etc.
The IVa, otherwise known as the division assistant adjutant. The IVa was thesuperior troop officer of all administrative and supply services.
The IVb, otherwise known as the division surgeon. The IVb was the commanderof all medical services in the entire division. As such, he was in chargeof all aspects of the medical condition of the troops and staff, as well asthe movement and placement of wounded and the hospitals and field stationsthat cared for them.
The IVc, otherwise known as the division veterinarian. The IVc was in charge ofall matters dealing with the care, maintenance, supply and movement of theanimals of the division, either for food use or for transport use.
The IVd, otherwise known as the division chaplains. The IVd served the troops andstaff in all matters regarding spiritual aspects. Two division chaplainsserved each division, a Catholic and a Protestant. The commander of thedivision was their direct superior in the unit.
The IVz, otherwise known as the staff paymaster. The IVz was in charge of allaspects of pay for the officers and troops of the division, as well as theaccounting and financial matters of the unit.
The IIa, otherwise known as the division adjutant. The IIa took care ofall matters dealing with replacements, personnel matters of officers suchas promotions, decorations, punishments, etc, as well as the rosters, warrolls, 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 thenon-commissioned ranks.
The III, otherwise known as the division judge advocate. The III was in chargeof overseeing things relating to court-martial and legal cases. The IIIwas in charge of legal cases in which normal discipline by commanding officerscould not be used, usually because of the issue of the case at hand. Allsoldiers below the level of captain could be brought up on charges throughthe judge advocate. All those with a rank higher than captain would betried by higher level courts. Offenses that could bring one up on chargesincluded refusal to obey orders, theft, rape, robbery, treason, plundering,the murder of civilians, sabotage, self-mutilation, disobedience, and unauthorizedleaves. Sentences could range from forced service at the front, to service inspecial penal correctional units, to the death sentence.
The personnel group also contained the registry with notaries for incoming andoutgoing commands, secret command matters, record keeping, etc, as well as acommandant of the staff quarters who was responsible for the establishmentof the division staff quarters, food, lodging, security, etc for the entirecommand staff.