A large percentage of German infantry divisions have been reorganized
within the past year with their strength reduced but with
virtually the same, or even increased, firepower. Two new types of
six-battalion divisions have been encountered. One of them has two
three-battalion regiments, and the other, a more common type, has
three two-battalion regiments. Significant differences of both new
types from the normal infantry division of 1943 are summarized
1. Total personnel is reduced from about 17,200, normal 1943
strength, to a maximum of about 12,400.
2. Infantry reduced to six battalions—either two regiments of three
battalions each, or, more commonly, three regiments of two battalions
3. Infantry platoons usually reduced from four to three squads.
4. Reduction in personnel of supply columns and medical units.
5. General economy in use of personnel throughout the division,
either by elimination or by doubling-up of duties.
6. Reconnaissance battalion replaced by a divisional Füsilier battalion,
with an organization identical with that of the usual infantry
battalion, but with more mobility given by extensive use of bicycles.
With the change from offensive to defensive warfare, and the shortage
of manpower, this mobile reserve takes the place of the
7. Bridge column in the engineer battalion withdrawn to GHQ.
8. Firepower maintained, and even increased in some components.
9. Increase in caliber, though decrease in total number, of mortars
and antitank guns, some of the latter being self-propelled.
10. Increase in number of 20-mm dual-purpose guns provides
strengthened organic antiaircraft defense.
Details of strength and weapons in the new-type division with three
two-battalion regiments are shown in tables II and III.
In all types of German units, the trend has been to supplement
German manpower to an increasing extent by the use of a substantial
minority of foreign auxiliaries (Hilfswilligen). These are usually
Italian or Soviet prisoners of war.
There will be considerable differences, of course, in the strength and
equipment of the various divisions. These differences will increase
with shortages of matériel and personnel and with the consequent
need for improvisation.
|TABLE I.—Differences in old and
new German divisions|
|| Old Type
| New Type |
|LMGs||527 ||643 |
|HvMGs||116 ||62 |
|20-mm AA/AT Guns||11 ||40 |
|50-mm, 75-mm, 76.2-mm, or 88-mm AT Guns ||75 ||--- |
|75-mm, 76.2-mm, or 88-mm AT Guns ||--- ||48 |
|75-mm, 76.2-mm, or 88-mm AT Guns (all SP) ||--- ||14 |
|50-mm||84 ||--- |
|81-mm||58 ||48 |
|120-mm||--- ||28 |
|75-mm||20 ||18 |
|150-mm||6 ||6 |
|105-mm Hows||36 ||36 |
|105-mm Guns||4 ||--- |
|150-mm Hows||8 ||12 |
|Flamethrowers||20 ||20 |
|TABLE II.—Organization of a new-type German division (with 2-battalion regiments).|
|TABLE III.—New-type German infantry
division: strength and weapons (with three 2-battalion regiments)|
| Total |
|AT guns, 75, 76.2, or 88-mm
|AA/AT guns, 20-mm
|AT, SP guns, 75, 76.2, or 88-mm
|Inf. How, 75-mm
|Inf. How, 150-mm
|F. Hows, 105-mm
|F. Hows, 150-mm
*Three two-battalion regiment type only.