TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[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.]



1. Government Direction of Production

Economic production in Germany is highly centralized and under complete governmental control. The Ministry for Armament and War Production (Reichsminsterium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion) under Albert Speer controls production of war material and ammunition; the Ministry for Economic Affairs (Reichswirtschaftsministerium) controls all other industrial production; the Ministry for Food and Agriculture (Reichsministerium für Ernährung and Landwirtschaft) controls food production. Among them these three ministries control production of the supplies for the German Armed Forces and, within the limitations imposed upon Germany by the insufficiency of her natural resources and the effects of the Allied advances and bombings, they are able to gear the production to the needs of the war machine.

2. Estimate of Needs and Placing of Orders.

These are essentially General Staff functions, since they involve present and future operations and capabilities. On the basis of High Command directives, the detailed estimates of the number or quantity of each article of supply are worked out by the technical branches concerned; they must be adjusted to the industrial, labor, and raw material potentialities of the nation.

The three branches of the Armed Forces and the Waffen-SS establish their procurement policies on an interservice basis and coordinate the use of railways, canals, and roads for military traffic. In addition, for a number of particularly critical items, the Armed Forces High Command has created special depots which are at its exclusive disposal (Verfügungsdepots).

Within the Armed Forces the lines of distinction between the Armed Forces High Command and the Army High Command are not always clearly drawn as far as procurement is concerned. The Army being by far the largest branch of service, the Army High Command (OKH) may in certain cases act for the Armed Forces High Command (OKW). In addition, the Army procures a proportion of the materiel used by the Waffen-SS. The bulk of this materiel is transferred to the Waffen-SS through Army channels of supply and not through the system of depots maintained by the SS High Command.

3. The Army

The Army High Command (OKH) has the direct responsibility for a well functioning army supply system. Its wartime supply functions are divided into two distinct phases. The first phase, centering in the Zone of the Interior, is supervised by the Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Chef der Heeresrüstung and Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres) who organizes the procurement of supplies; their storage in suitably placed depots, and their distribution to home and field units. It is his duty to interpret high command directives on an overall nationwide basis. He determines what proportion of supplies is essential for use by garrison and training units, what amount can be sent to the front, and which areas are in the best position to issue supplies. The second phase, the Field Army (Feldheer) supply system, is controlled by the Chief of Field Army Supply and Administration (Generalquartiermeister or Gen. Qu) who administers the sending of requisitions to depots established by the Chief of Army Equipment and the receipt, storage, and distribution of supplies in the field.


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