[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — 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.]
CHAPTER II. ORGANIZATION OF THE FIELD FORCES
Section IV. PRINCIPLES AND TRENDS IN UNIT ORGANIZATION AND EQUIPMENT
The German Army, like the U.S. Army, believes in uniform organization for standard units up to and including companies, troops, and batteries. These either are combined as components of battalions, regiments, and divisions, or temporarily grouped in varying combinations as components of task forces or combat groups. Each standard unit of company size has a table of organization and table of equipment number designating its particular type, and each smaller unit adds a letter to that number designating its place within that standard unit. The following figures showing the organization, strength, and equipment of various German units are based on these tables of organization and equipment, but in the field the strength of any unit will vary in accordance with its specific mission and local conditions. However, even in the greatest deviation from the tables of organization and equipment, the basic pattern still will be clearly recognizable. _
As shown in Figure 2 in Section I, the German Army in the field is organized into army groups, armies, corps, and divisions. Divisions are the largest units in the German Army known to have a prescribed organization, and those divisions which function as tactical units are normally the smallest formations which include units of various arms and services resulting in operational self-sufficiency.
General Headquarters, army, and corps troops are being allotted temporarily to lower echelons in a flexible manner, in accordance with operational plans or local tactical necessities.
From the outbreak of the War until the summer of 1943, comparatively only minor changes occurred in the tables of organization of most types of German divisions. The average divisional table of organization strength for that period was about 15,000 to 17,000 and with the normally attached troops it usually reached about 20,000. From the summer of 1943 until now, however, several series of new tables of organization and equipment have been issued for almost all types of divisions showing revolutionary changes in their strength and equipment. In all these reorganizations the trend is clearly towards an economizing of manpower and a simultaneous increase in firepower. This is being accomplished by a careful distribution of large numbers of automatic small arms, by lowering the number of mortars, antitank guns, and tanks, but at the same time increasing potentially their calibers and weights. These changes resulted in the lowering of the table of organization strength of the average German division to approximately 11,000 to 13,000 in January 1945 and further drastic action in that direction may be expected. The various types of German Army, SS, and Air Force divisions are shown in the following Section V, while their components and the general headquarters troops are listed in Sections VI and VII.
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