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. Introduction

In movements of entire bodies of troops with their equipment, the space occupied, rather than the total weight, is the important factor. A very large proportion of the space is taken up by personnel, horses, and organic equipment; daily maintenance requirements that accompany the troops occupy much less space.

2. Rail Transportation

a. MAIN MILITARY ROUTES. German railways generally are used jointly for military and civilian traffic, although military trains are given priority. Perhaps the only instances of railways designated solely for military uses are found in the combat zone, either on already existent railways or on railways constructed by the Army.

Normally double-track standard-gauge (4' 8 1/2") railways have a daily capacity of 30 military trains in each direction, while single-track standard-gauge railways can move 10 trains a day in each direction. Air damage can materially decrease these capacity figures.

b. STANDARD TROOP TRAINS. The Germans have found it desirable to use troop trains of a reasonably constant composition. The standard trains found in the Balkans, Italy, and Norway are composed of fewer cars than the base types in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands which are described below. All types are designed as far as possible to carry a self-contained unit such as a company or a battalion. Nonstandard trains also may be used for troop movements.

K-trains (Kraftfahrzüge or motor vehicle trains) average 51 cars per train and carry approximately 250 soldiers, 20 heavy vehicles (weighing up to 22 short tons per vehicle), and 20 light vehicles, plus other equipment. If lighter equipment is carried, the number of soldiers can be increased.

S-trains (Sonderzüge, or special trains) are made up for the movement of very heavy tanks and self-propelled guns. The number of men carried per train averages 125; the number of cars forming the train is between 30 and 35. An S-train usually carries from four to six Tiger tanks or from six to eight Panther tanks, interspersed with lighter equipment.

Sp-trains (Sonderpanzerzüge, or special tank trains) carry approximately 20 medium tanks together with personnel and other equipment. The standard Sp-train is composed of about 33 cars.

I-trains (Infanteriezüge or infantry trains) of about 55 cars per train hold some 350 officers and men, 10 light vehicles, 10 heavy vehicles of a maximum weight of 22 short tons per vehicle, and 70 horses, together with other equipment. If a minimum of equipment is carried, up to 800 troops can be moved. It is possible that the I-trains seldom are used by the Germans at present.

Replacement troop trains with 50 to 60 cars per train can hold over 2,000 replacements. The use of this type of train probably has been discontinued.

c. ENTRAINMENT AND DETRAINMENT. Troop trains generally are formed at railroad stations. The speed with which entraining can be accomplished varies according to the number of units being loaded, the number of stations used, the facilities available at the stations, and the importance attached to speedy loading. Depending on these conditions, loading of a single train can be accomplished within 2 to 12 hours. If all the unit trains can be loaded simultaneously at the entraining stations, an entire division can be loaded within that time. In practice, however, the time taken to assemble trains and troops and the limited number of entraining stations will materially increase the loading time of divisions.

It is estimated that a troop train can be unloaded in about half the time taken to load. Detrainment of infantry units may occur far forward, while armored units usually are detrained in rear areas.

d. SPEED OF MOVEMENTS. The average German movement appears to average from 150 to 200 miles per day for long movements within Germany, and about 60 miles daily in areas near the combat zone.

e. TRAIN REQUIREMENTS. At present the number of trains required to transport an infantry division is about 35 to 40. An armored division needs about twice that number. If a large number of divisions are being moved, additional trains will be necessary for corps and army units.

3. Road Transportation

a. MAIN MILITARY ROUTES. Certain roads have been selected by the High Command to form a system of through routes (Durchgangstrassen) for military traffic in Germany and occupied areas. For the most part the through routes comprise the national highways and Autobahnen. In Denmark, however, the through routes more frequently consist of secondary roads than main arteries. Through routes generally run either east and west or north and south. When supply or troop movements are to be made over these roads, all civilian traffic is diverted to other roads.

b. MARCH SPEEDS. (1) The average speeds of division marches in miles per hour are as follows:

   By day     By Night
Infantry division    . . . . .    3  3
Motorized division    . . . . .   16 10
Armored division    . . . . .   12  7

(2) The average speeds of march columns in miles per hour are as follows:

Infantry (long marches)   . . . . .    3
Infantry (short marches)   . . . . .    4
Mounted troops   . . . . .    6
Cyclists   . . . . .    8
Motorcycles and cars   . . . . .    22
Trucks   . . . . .    22
Trucks with trailers   . . . . .    16
Half-track vehicles   . . . . .    16
Tanks   . . . . .    12

c. MARCH DISTANCES. The infantry division normally can march about 20 miles in a day; under adverse weather or road conditions the rate of march may fall to 10 miles a day. The motorized division can maintain an average daily march of between 90 and 150 miles; the armored division from 60 to 90 miles a day. In the near vicinity of the combat zone, road movements without motor transport average 10 to 15 miles a day, while movements by motor transport approximate 30 miles a day.

d. ROAD SPACES. While the road spaces occupied by divisions on the march are not constant, the road spaces of individual units may prove of some value. The following examples are from German sources and do not indicate the intervals maintained between elements:

(at 5 kilometers or approximately 3 miles per hour.)
  Yards        Meters   
Inf Regt (each of three)   . . . . .   6,2345,700
Rcn Bn   . . . . .   3,1162,850
AT Bn   . . . . .   2,7342,500
Arty Regt   . . . . .   7,3826,750
Sig Bn   . . . . .   3,1932,920
Engr Bn   . . . . .   2,5702,350
Div Serv   . . . . .   4,1553,800
Div Hq   . . . . .   1,5531,420
Total Inf Div (approx.; without
intervals between elements)
  . . . . .   43,40539,690
Total converted to miles   . . . . .   24.7
(at 20 kilometers or approximately 12 miles per hour.)
  Yards        Meters   
Tank Regt   . . . . .   21,32519,500
Pz Gren Regt (each of two)   . . . . .   13,14512,020
Pz Rcn Bn   . . . . .   9,1548,370
AT Bn   . . . . .   3,8383,510
Pz Arty Regt   . . . . .   14,45813,220
Pz Sig Bn   . . . . .   3,7623,440
Pz Engr Bn   . . . . .   6,3655,820
Div Serv   . . . . .   11,70210,700
Div Hq   . . . . .   1,4441,320
Others   . . . . .   5,4685,000
Total Armd Div (approx.; without
intervals between elements)
  . . . . .   103,80694,920
Total converted to miles   . . . . .   59.0

If distances between the individual units are included, the average length of the infantry division would be about 30 miles (at 3 miles per hour), of the armored division 70 miles (at 12 miles per hour), and of the motorized division 80 miles (at 16 miles per hour).

4. Sea Transportation

a. GENERAL. In the sea movements referred to in the following text, the basic shipping measurement is the gross registered ton (G/T), which is 100 cubic feet of the entire enclosed space of a ship.

The Germans use all types of cargo and passenger vessels for the transportation of troops. Generally the depth of water of the embarkation and debarkation ports determines the size of ship to be used. Thus many of the Baltic ports are limited to cargo ships up to 2,000 G/T. Cargo between Norway and Germany, on the other hand, ordinarily can be carried on much larger vessels.

The average speed of a ship is estimated at 200 nautical miles per day, although fast ships may average much more.

b. LOADING AND UNLOADING TIMES. The time required for the loading of a vessel varies with a number of factors, such as the size of the vessel, the plan of the vessel, the port facilities, and the efficiency with which loading is conducted. The following average loading times are based upon German estimates. They apply for loading during day and night; considerable delays, however, may occur on account of adverse weather conditions.

Classification Loading Time
100 men   . . . . .   8 minutes.
100 horses (led over a ramp)   . . . . .   1 hour.
100 horses (lifted by cranes)   . . . . .   6 hours.
100 light motor vehicles (lifted by cranes)   . . . . .   6 hours.
Supplies sufficient to load a 2,000 G/T vessel   . . . . .   16 hours.

c. TONNAGE REQUIREMENTS. Among other factors, the amount of tonnage required to transport troops depends upon the type of unit being transported, the efficiency of loading, the types of ships used, and the amount of nonmilitary stowage transported. Hence the following figures give only a general indication of the amount of space which is occupied by items when efficiently loaded.

Classification   Estimated G/T
1 man   . . . . .   2       
1 horse   . . . . .   8       
1 light motor vehicle   . . . . .   10       
1 truck   . . . . .   20       
1 heavy field gun   . . . . .   20       
1 medium tank   . . . . .   25       

It is likely that an infantry division requires between 50,000 and 70,000 gross registered tons for its movement, or a mean average of five or six gross registered tons per man. If loading is inefficient or if light loading is used, the G/T requirements per man will rise considerably. Thus in short movements such as ferry crossing, as much as 15 gross registered tons per man and equipment have been employed.


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