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"Artillery Command in the German Army" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following article about artillery command in the German Army was originally printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 29, July 15, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


In the German Army all artillery apart from the relatively small divisional allotment belongs to the GHQ pool (Heerestruppen). Units are allotted from this pool to army groups or armies according to the estimated needs. They may be sub-allotted to corps or divisions. The commander of the divisional artillery regiment, Artillerieführer or Arfü, commands the divisional artillery when it is not reinforced from the GHQ pool.

When GHQ artillery units are attached to the division, the Arfü is usually subordinated to an Artillery Commander, Artilleriekommandeur, abbreviated Arko, who with his staff is likewise from GHQ. An Arko may also be assigned to command an allotment of GHQ artillery to a corps. When no GHQ artillery has been assigned to an army group or army, an Artillery General Stabsoffizier der Artillerie, abbreviated Stoart, advises the army group or army commander on artillery matters. When GHQ artillery units have been attached to an army, a Higher Artillery Commander, Höherer Artilleriekommandeur, abbreviated Höh Arko, is assigned to the army. A recent report from British sources gives some interesting details as to the powers and duties of a Higher Artillery Commander of an army, and of an Artillery Commander.

a. Powers and Duties of a Higher Artillery Commander of an Army

The Higher Artillery Commander of an army is directly responsible to the army commander. He is at the disposal of the army commander for the supervision of the employment of artillery, for ground reconnaissance, and for any special tasks. He supervises artillery training within the army command and keeps an eye on the state of repair of artillery equipment. He is the commander of all army artillery directly under command of the army; as well as any of the army artillery units placed at the disposal of the Army High Command or the Army Group.

He has the right to attach himself to any unit within the army area, in which case he informs the appropriate headquarters. If he is not at army headquarters or in the immediate vicinity, an officer on his staff must be detached as liaison officer to the army headquarters. In any case, there is always close cooperation between the operational section of army headquarters and the staff of the Higher Artillery Commander.

The duties of the Higher Artillery Commander may be summarized as falling into 2 categories, namely, duties within the army area and duties within the army command. As regards all artillery within the army area his individual duties include:

(1) Organization of the employment of all methods for artillery reconnaissance, meteorological services, etc., in cooperation with neighboring armies;

(2) Control of artillery cooperation with the Air Force and with mapping and plotting units;

(3) The supervision of artillery training;

(4) Constant watch on the state of repair of artillery equipment;

(5) Participation in the delivery and return of guns;

(6) Submitting reports to the army high command as to experiences with artillery equipment;

As to army artillery within the army command his duties include:

(1) Assignment of officer personnel;

(2) Requests for, and distribution of, reinforcements;

(3) The control of supplies of weapons and equipment, clothing, motor transport, and tires.

b. Powers and Duties of an Artillery Commander

The Artillery Commander belongs to GHQ troops. He is assigned to a division or directly to a corps. He retains the right to attach himself to any artillery unit in agreement with the appropriate division headquarters. He maintains close cooperation with the higher artillery command of the army, and as regards signal matters has the cooperation of both divisions and corps signal battalions.

When under command of a division, he assumes the role of the Artillery Commander of the division. The division artillery is tactically under his command, but this need not alter its allocation to units.

As commander of corps artillery, or artillery group, he commands all artillery placed under command of the corps in accordance with the corps commander's orders. His duties include:

(1) Preparation for the employment of support artillery;

(2) Organization and use of support artillery;

(3) Fire-control of individual artillery groups;

(4) Cooperation of corps artillery with ground and air reconnaissance;

(5) Formation of an artillery signal net;

(6) Ammunition supplies.

In the corps area he is responsible for giving advice on all artillery matters, and for supervising artillery methods and training in the corps area. His duties include suggestions as to:

(1) Distribution of support artillery to divisions;

(2) Battle orders outside the division battle sectors;

(3) Tasks of artillery immediately under command of corps;

(4) Limits for counterbattery and harassing fire;

(5) Division artillery reconnaissance tasks outside the battle sectors;

(6) Regulation of artillery air services and reconnaissance;

(7) Regulation of artillery signal communications with the divisions;

(8) Provision of uniform plotting boards and range tables;

(9) Use of AA for protection of artillery;

(10) Ammunition supply.


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