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List of German divisions in WWII: Wikis

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This article lists divisions of the Wehrmacht (German armed forces), including the Heer, Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine, active during World War II.

Upgrades and reorganizations are shown only to identify the variant names for what is notionally a single unit; other upgrades and reorganizations are deferred to the individual articles. Due to the scope of this list pre-war changes are not shown, nor are upgrades from units smaller than a division.

Contents

Name elements not usually translated

Grenadier
A traditional term for heavy infantry. (Translated "Infantryman")
Jäger
A traditional term for light infantry (Translated "Hunter").
Gebirgsjäger
Traditional term for mountain and ski troops.
Lehr
A demonstration/training unit (Translated "Teach").
Nummer
"Number" (See description in Infantry Series Divisions, below).
Panzer
Armored (Translated "Tank").
Sturm
"Storm" or "Assault" (Translated "Storm").
Volks
"of the People" (Translated "People's").
zbV
Abbreviation for "zur besonderen Verwendung" Meaning "Special Purpose" (Translated "For Special Employment").

Volks, Sturm, and Grenadier were sometimes used simply as morale-building adjectives, often without any significance to a unit's organization or capabilities.

Army "Heer"

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Panzer divisions

see also Panzer Division

Numbered panzer divisions

Named panzer divisions

Light divisions

The designation "Light" (leichte) had various meanings in the German Army of World War II. There was a series of 5 Light divisions; the first four were pre-war mechanized formations organized for use as mechanized cavalry, and the fifth was an ad hoc collection of mechanized elements rushed to Africa to bail the Italians out and organized into a division once there. All five were eventually converted to ordinary Panzer divisions.

Various other divisions were dubbed "Light" for other reasons, and are listed among the Infantry Series Divisions.

Infantry series divisions

Types of division in the series

The backbone of the Wehrmacht Heer (Germany's Army) was the infantry division. Of the 154 divisions deployed against Soviet Union in 1941, including reserves, there were 100 infantry, 19 panzer (tank), 11 motorised, 9 security, 5 Waffen-SS, 4 "light", 4 mountain, 1 SS police, and 1 cavalry. A typical infantry division in June 1941 had 17,734 men organized into the following sub-units[1]:

  • three infantry regiments with staff, communications units
    • three battalions with:
      • three light MG companies
      • one heavy MG company
    • one PAK company (mot.)
    • one artillery company
    • one reconnaissance unit
  • one Panzerjager battalion with:
    • three companies (each with twelve 3.7 cm guns)
  • one artillery regiment
    • three battalions
      • three batteries
  • one pioneer battalion
  • one communications unit
  • one field replacement battalion
  • Supply, medical, veterinary, mail, and police

German infantry divisions had a variety of designations and specializations, though numbered in a single series. The major variations are as follows:

Fortress (Festung)
Divisions of non-standard organization used to garrison critical sites. The smaller ones might consist of only two or three battalions.
Grenadier
A morale-building honorific usually indicative of reduced strength when used alone.
Light, Jäger
Provided with partial horse or motor transport and usually lighter artillery, and reduced in size compared to an ordinary infantry division. Some of these were essentially identical to mountain divisions, and these were referred to as Gebirgsjäger ("Mountain Light Infantry") divisions.
  • This description does not apply to the Light divisions in Africa (5th, 90th, 164th, 999th), nor to the five Light mechanized divisions listed in their own subsection.
Motorized
Provided with full motor transport for all infantry and weapons systems. Usually reduced in size compared to an ordinary infantry division. Motorized infantry divisions were renamed Panzergrenadier (armored infantry) divisions in 1943.
Division Nummer
A sort of placeholder division, with a number (Nummer) and staff but few if any combat assets. These divisions started out without any type in their name (e.g., Division Nr. 179), though some acquired a type later on (e.g, Panzer Division Nr. 179).
Panzergrenadier
As motorized, but with more self-propelled weapons and an added battalion of tanks or fully armored assault guns. What motorized divisions were referred to from 1943 forward.
Static (bodenständige)
Deficient in transport, even enough to move its own artillery. Many of these were divisions that had been mauled on the Russian Front and were sent west to serve as coastal defense garrisons until sufficient resources were available to rehabilitate them.
Volksgrenadier
A late-war reorganization with reduced size and increased short-range firepower. Many previously destroyed or badly mauled infantry divisions were reconstituted as Volksgrenadier divisions, and new ones were raised as well. Their fighting worth varied widely depending on unit experience and equipment. Not to be confused with Volkssturm a national militia in which units were supposed to be organized by local Nazi party leaders; trained by the SS; and come under Wehrmacht command in combat.
zbV
("zbV" is an abbreviation meaning "for special employment") An ad hoc division created to meet a special requirement. (E.g., Division zbV Afrika)

Most of the size reductions listed above were by about a third, either by the removal of an infantry regiment or the removal of one infantry battalion from each of the three regiments.

Infantry divisions were raised in waves, sets of divisions with a standardized table of organization and equipment. In general the later waves (i.e., the higher-numbered divisions) were of lower quality than the earlier ones.

Numbered divisions

1st to 99th
100th to 199th
  • 100th Light Infantry Division (later 100th Jäger Division)
  • 101st Light Infantry Division (later 101st Jäger Division)
  • 102nd Infantry Division
  • 104th Jäger Division
  • 106th Infantry Division
  • 110th Infantry Division
  • 114th Jäger Division
  • 117th Jäger Division
  • 118th Jäger Division
  • 121st Infantry Division
  • 122nd Infantry Division
  • 126nd Infantry Division
  • 133rd Fortress Division
  • Division zbV 140 (also 9th Mountain Division)
  • 141st Reserve Division
  • 143rd Reserve Division
  • 147th Reserve Division
  • 148th Reserve Division
  • 149th Field Training Division
  • 150th Field Training Division
  • Division Nr. 151 (later 151st Reserve Division)
  • Division Nr. 152
  • Division Nr. 153 (later 153rd Reserve Division, 153rd Field Training Division, 153rd Grenadier Division)
  • Division Nr. 154 (later 154th Reserve Division, 154th Field Training Division, 154th Infantry Division)
  • Division Nr. 155 (later Division Nr. 155 (mot.), Panzer Division Nr. 155, 155th Reserve Panzer Division)
  • 155th Field Training Division (later 155th Infantry Division)
    • Not related to Division Nr. 155.
  • Division Nr. 156 (later 156th Reserve Division, 47th Infantry Division, 47th Volksgrenadier Division)
  • 156th Field Replacement Division (later 156th Infantry Division)
  • Division Nr. 157 (later 157th Reserve Division, 157th Mountain Division, 8th Mountain Division)
  • Division Nr. 158 (later 158th Reserve Division)
  • Division Nr. 159 (later 159th Reserve Division, 159th Infantry Division)
  • Division Nr. 160 (later 160th Reserve Division, 160th Infantry Division)
  • 162nd Infantry Division (later 162nd Turkoman Division, with foreign troops)
  • 163rd Infantry Division
  • 164th Infantry Division (later Fortress Division Kreta, which split into – )
    • Fortress Brigade Kreta
    • 164th Light Afrika Division
  • 165th Reserve Division
  • 166th Reserve Division
  • 167th Volksgrenadier Division
  • 169th Infantry Division
  • 170th Infantry Division
  • 171st Reserve Division
  • 172nd Reserve Division
  • 173rd Reserve Division
  • 174th Reserve Division
  • 181st Infantry Division
  • 182nd Reserve Division
  • 183rd Volksgrenadier Division
  • 187th Reserve Division (later 42nd Jäger Division)
  • Division Nr. 188 (later 188th Reserve Mountain Division, 188th Mountain Division)
  • 189th Reserve Division (later 189th Infantry Division)
  • 191st Reserve Division
  • 196th Infantry Division
  • 197th Infantry Division
  • 198th Infantry Division
  • 199th Infantry Division
201st to 999th

Named divisions

Mountain divisions

Ski division

Cavalry divisions

According to Davies, the Cavalry divisions were mounted infantry and the Cossack divisions were "true cavalry", modelled on the Russian cavalry divisions.

  • 1st Cavalry Division (later 24th Panzer Division)
  • 3rd Cavalry Division
  • 4th Cavalry Division
  • Cossack Cavalry Division (This unit was transferred to the Waffen-SS, where it was split to form the 1st & 2nd Cossack Cavalry Divisions as part of the XV SS Cossack Cavalry Corps.)

Landwehr divisions

  • 14th Landwehr Division (later 205th Infantry Division)
  • 97th Landwehr Division

Artillery divisions

  • 18th Artillery Division (formerly 18th Panzer Division)
  • 309th Artillery Division
  • 310th Artillery Division
  • 311th Artillery Division
  • 312th Artillery Division

Named fortress divisions

  • Fortress Division Danzig
  • Fortress Division Frankfurt/Oder
  • Fortress Division Gotenhafen
  • Fortress Division Kreta (previously 164th Infantry Division; later 164th Light Afrika Division)
  • Fortress Division Stettin
  • Fortress Division Swinemünde
  • Fortress Division Warschau

Named training divisions

  • Training Division Bayern
  • Training Division Kurland
  • Training Division Nord

Field replacement divisions

  • Field Replacement Division A
  • Field Replacement Division B
  • Field Replacement Division C
  • Field Replacement Division D
  • Field Replacement Division E
  • Field Replacement Division F

Navy "Kriegsmarine"

Naval infantry divisions

  • Naval Infantry Division Gotenhafen

Air Force "Luftwaffe"

Hermann Göring divisions

The Hermann Göring formations grew from a single police detachment to an entire armored corps over the course of the war. The later epithet Fallschirm ("parachute") was purely honorific.

Airborne divisions

In order to keep its existence secret, the first German airborne division was named as if a Flieger ("flier") division in the series of Luftwaffe divisions that controlled air assets rather than ground troops-named 7th Flieger Division (often translated 7th Air Division-see 1st Parachute Division (Germany)) The division was later reorganized to start a series of nominally airborne divisions. Though named Fallschirmjäger ("paratrooper") divisions, most were not actually trained for airdrops, and in practice most operated as ordinary infantry throughout their existence. The lower-numbered ones earned and maintained an élite status, but quality generally declined among the higher-numbered divisions.

Field divisions

Luftwaffe Field Divisions were ordinary infantry divisions organized from Luftwaffe personnel made available after mid-war due to the manpower crunch. They were originally Luftwaffe units but were later handed over to the Heer, retaining their numbering but with Luftwaffe attached to distinguish them from similarly numbered divisions already existing in the Heer.

  • 1st Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 2nd Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 3rd Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 4th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 5th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 6th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 7th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 8th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 9th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 10th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 11th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 12th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 13th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 14th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 15th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 16th Luftwaffe Field Division
    • Eventually transferred to the Heer as 16th Luftwaffe Infantry Division (later 16th Volksgrenadier Division)
  • 17th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 18th Luftwaffe Field Division
  • 19th Luftwaffe Field Division (later 19th Luftwaffe Sturm Division)
    • Eventually transferred to the Heer as 19th Grenadier Division (later 19th Volksgrenadier Division)
  • 20th Luftwaffe Field Division (later 20th Luftwaffe Sturm Division)
  • 21st Luftwaffe Field Division (previously the Meindl Division, an ad hoc collection of Luftwaffe resources)
  • 22nd Luftwaffe Field Division Not actually formed, its sub-units were attached to other divisions as needed.

Training divisions

Anti-Aircraft divisions

These were headquarters for controlling aggregates of flak ("anti-aircraft artillery") assets rather than ordinary combined arms divisions organized for ground combat.

  • 1st Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 2nd Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 3rd Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 4th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 5th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 6th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 7th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 8th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 9th Anti-Aircraft Division (lost entirely at the Battle of Stalingrad)
  • 10th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 11th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 12th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 13th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 14th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 15th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 16th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 17th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 18th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 19th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 20th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 21st Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 22nd Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 23rd Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 24th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 25th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 26th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 27th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 28th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 29th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 30th Anti-Aircraft Division
  • 31st Anti-Aircraft Division

Waffen-SS divisions

All divisions in the Waffen-SS were ordered in a single series up to 38th, regardless of type. Those tagged with nationalities were at least nominally recruited from those nationalities. Many of the higher-numbered units were small battlegroups (Kampfgruppen), i.e. divisions in name only.

Also Panzer Division Kempf, a temporary unit of mixed Heer and Waffen-SS components.

See also

References

  1. ^ Mueller-Hillebrand B., Das Heer, 1933-1945. vol. II, E.S. Mittler & Sohn, 1969, pp. 161-162.
  • Astel, John; Goodwin, A. E.; Long, Jason, Bengtsson, Sven Ake; & Parmenter, James D. (1998). "Orders of Battle". Data booklet from the Europa game Storm Over Scandinavia. Grinnel, Iowa: Game Research/Design. ISBN 1-86010-091-0.
  • Davies, W.J.K. (1981). German Army Handbook 1939-1945. Second U.S. Edition. New York: Arco Publishing. ISBN 0-668-04291-5. 
  • Parada, George (2004). "Panzer Divisions 1940-1945". Retrieved April 1, 2005.

Further reading


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