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Author Topic: A Short History of German Infantry Divisions  (Read 2665 times)

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« on: 6 November 2008, 03:53:33 »

List of German divisions in WWII - Infantry Series Divisions

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, JägerProvided 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 were sometimes 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. 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. 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. VolksgrenadierA 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. Its fighting capability was equivalent to a US-style National Guard formation. zbV 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.


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