Courtesy Reuters

The German Army Today

Numbers, Disposition, Morale

THE German Army has several tasks which it must fulfill simultaneously. It must resist the Anglo-American invasion. It must oppose the Russians in the east. It must keep the satellite states in line and control the captive peoples of occupied Europe. What are its capacities for dealing with these tasks? An attempt will be made here to estimate the strength and quality of the forces at the disposition of the German High Command and to indicate their distribution as the invasion begins.


The best estimate is in terms of divisions. The division is the basic fighting team in all armies, and its size and fire power are roughly comparable so far as nominal establishments are concerned. True, there are various types of divisions -- infantry divisions, armored divisions, mountain divisions, etc. But in estimating the fighting power of a large army, we may assume for purposes of comparison that the proportion of the various types is properly adjusted to the needs of the army. If we say that such-and-such an army has 100 divisions of all types, and that another army has 200 divisions, we have a basis for comparison which suggests that the second army is twice as strong in actual combat power as the first, other factors being equal. Some of the "other factors" will be further analyzed after we have examined the divisional strength of the German Army.

As of May 15, 1944, the German Army possessed about 320 divisions of all types. Of these, about 50 were "panzer" or "panzer grenadier" divisions; about 200 were "offensive" infantry divisions; and about 70 were "defensive" infantry divisions. The panzer division is an armored division, in which the basic element is the tank, though it includes infantry in armored troop-carriers, armored artillery, engineers and services. Each panzer division at full strength now has about 15,000 officers and men, with about 200 tanks (as compared with 400 at the beginning of the war). A panzer grenadier division is a motorized infantry division, plus a detachment of about 20 tanks. By

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