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Gunter Severloh

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German Wehrmacht

German Wehrmacht 
Details
SideGermany (BLUEFOR)
FactionsHeer, Luftwaffe, Panzerwaffe, Sturmtrooper

The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe (air-force). In the game you only can find the Heer and Luftwaffe.

History

The modern German Armies was founded in 1871 after the French-German-War for the new German Empire under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck with mainly Prussian traditions. After the World War One was lost the Army have to be unarmored under the Treaty of Versailles. Germany didn't have tanks, heavy weapons and airplanes. The new army name in the Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933) was Reichswehr (Empire Defense) and turned into Wehrmacht (Defence Force) after Hitlers "seizure of power" in 1934. The Wehrmacht existed til the end of World War 2 and was built up to a powerful army who was introduced the new tank tactic (Blitzkrieg), rockets (V2), jetfighters (Me 262) or assault rifles (STG-44) that influenced the weapon technology for the next fifty years. After the war some material of this army were used by other nations like Czechoslovakia, Syria, Lebanon, Israel or France. None heavy material, only some hand weapons or ships, were used by the armies of the both forthcoming German states after 1949.

 

The Waffen-SS

The Waffen-SS, the combat branch of the SS (the Nazi Party's paramilitary organization), became the de facto fourth branch of the Wehrmacht, as it expanded from three regiments to 38 divisions by 1945. Although the SS was autonomous and existed in parallel to the Wehrmacht, the Waffen-SS field units were placed under the operational control of the Supreme High Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) or the Supreme High Command of the Army (Oberkommando des Heeres, OKH).

Competence struggles hampered organization in the German armed forces, as OKW, OKH, OKL (Luftwaffe had its own ground forces, including tank divisions) and Waffen-SS often worked concurrently and not as a joint command.

 

Structure

Heer

The German Army was the land forces component of the German armed forces (Wehrmacht) from 1935 to 1945. During the Second World War, a total of about 15 million soldiers served in the German Army, of whom about seven million became casualties. Separate from the Army, the Waffen-SS (Armed SS) was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. Growing from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, it served alongside the regular army but was never formally part of it.

Only 17 months after Hitler announced publicly the rearmament program, the Army reached its projected goal of 36 divisions. During the autumn of 1937, two more corps were formed. In 1938, four more corps were formed with the addition of the 5 divisions of the Austrian Army after the Anschluss which occurred in March. During the period of its expansion by Adolf Hitler, the German Army continued to develop concepts pioneered during the First World War, combining ground (Heer) and air (Luftwaffe) assets into combined arms teams. Coupled with operational and tactical methods such as encirclements and the "battle of annihilation", the German military managed quick victories in the two initial years of the Second World War, prompting the use of the word Blitzkrieg (lightning war) for the techniques used.

The German Army entered the war with a majority of its infantry formations relying on the horse for transportation while the infantry remained foot soldiers throughout the war, artillery also remaining primarily horse-drawn. The motorized formations received much attention in the world press in the opening years of the war, and were cited as the main reason for the success of the German invasions of Poland (September 1939), Norway and Denmark (April 1940), Belgium, France and Netherlands (May 1940), Yugoslavia (April 1941) and the early campaigns in the Soviet Union (June 1941). However their motorized and tank formations accounted for only 20% of the Heer's capacity at their peak strength.

Luftwaffe

The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the German Wehrmacht during World War II. After the German Empire's World War I-era army air force, the Luftstreitkräfte, and naval air units had been disbanded under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles the Luftwaffe was reformed in 1935 and grew to become one of the strongest, most doctrinally advanced, and most battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II started in Europe in September 1939. After the defeat of the Third Reich the Luftwaffe was disbanded in 1946.

Luftwaffe is also the generic term in German speaking countries for any national military aviation service, and the names of air forces in other countries are usually translated into German as "Luftwaffe" (e.g. Royal Air Force is often translated as britische Luftwaffe). However, Luftstreitkräfte, or "air armed force", is also sometimes used as a translation of "air force". And because Luft means "air" and Waffe may be translated into English as either "weapon" or "arm", "Air Arm" may be considered the most literal English translation of Luftwaffe (cf. Fleet Air Arm).

Panzerwaffe

Panzerwaffe (German for "Armoured Force" or "Tank Force") refers to a command within the Heer of the German Wehrmacht, responsible for the affairs of panzer (tank) and motorized forces shortly before and during the Second World War. It was originally known as Schnelltruppen ("Fast Troops"); a motorized command established in the Reichswehr following the First World War, redesignated as Panzerwaffe in 1936 by Generalleutnant Heinz Guderian.

The men of the Panzerwaffe, are referred to as Panzertruppen ("Armoured Troops" or "Tank Troops"), were distinguishable by their close fitting black uniforms, known as Panzer wraps. After 1943, the Panzerwaffe, like most other German branches of service, had relaxed the uniform rules and many Panzertruppen wore a variety of clothing, including camouflage and winter items.

The mainstay of the Panzerwaffe was the Panzer division. These consisted of a panzer brigade (two tank regiments) and two motorized or mechanized infantry regiments. All forces of a Panzer division were mobile. Support elements included self-propelled artillery, self-propelled anti-tank, and armored reconnaissance cars. After the campaigns in Poland and France, the Panzer divisions were reduced in size, with only one Panzerregiment per Division. This move was taken to allow the creation of several new divisions with the available tanks.

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