German Army Center Military History
 
 
 

 


La Wehrmacht era el nombre de las fuerzas armadas unificadas de Alemania desde 1935 a 1945, surgida tras la disolución de las fuerzas armadas de la República de Weimar, llamadas Reichswehr.

Estructura y composición
La Wehrmacht (Der Heeres) estaba compuesta por el Heer (ejército), la Kriegsmarine (armada) y la Luftwaffe (fuerza aérea).

La Waffen-SS, el brazo armado de las SS (la organización paramilitar del Partido Nazi), se convirtió de facto en la cuarta rama de la Wehrmacht, ya que se expandió de 3 regimientos a 38 divisiones en los años 1940. Y aunque las SS eran autónomas y existían de forma paralela a la Wehrmacht, las unidades de las Waffen-SS eran puestas bajo el control operacional del Alto Mando de la Wehrmacht (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) o del Alto Mando del Ejército (Oberkommando des Heeres, OKH).

Historia
La Reichswehr era el ejército de la República de Weimar y heredero del derrotado ejército imperial alemán. Ernst Röhm, jefe de la organización paramilitar Sturmabteilung (SA), pretendió que esta organización fuese aceptada en las filas de la Reichswehr, a lo que se oponía contundentemente el alto mando militar. Hitler hizo suyas las exigencias de los militares, ya que aún no los dominaba y temía que provocasen un golpe militar; de modo que intentó dialogar con Röhm, ya que su postura se alejaba del cauce que el caudillo alemán trazaba. Al no obtener resultado, Hitler pasó a considerar a Röhm peligroso para la estabilidad del régimen nazi, y en consecuencia éste fue eliminado junto con sus seguidores más cercanos, en la matanza conocida como la noche de los cuchillos largos.

Durante la masacre también fueron asesinados el general Kurt von Schleicher y su esposa, que nada tenían que ver con la ideología de los asesinados. Al comprobar que la oficialidad de la Reichswehr estaba satisfecha de la eliminación de los jefes de la SA y que no cuestionaban la muerte de su compañero, Hitler comenzó a considerar como factible la criminalización del mando de la Reichswehr. De modo que se abocó a su transformación, disolviendo la antigua estructura y fundando un nuevo ejército, que pasó a llamarse Wehrmacht.

Entre los organizadores del nuevo ejército se encontraban los generales Heinz Guderian, von Reichenau y Jodl. La modernización incluyó el uso del arma blindada como caballo de combate junto a la infantería, nuevas y agresivas tácticas de combate y modernización del mando. La táctica de trincheras quedó obsoleta, y se reemplazó por la innovadora táctica Blitzkrieg o guerra relámpago, promovida por Guderian.

Se integró la artillería mecanizada a la infantería; se incluyeron en sus filas nuevos oficiales con más amplio grado de iniciativa. El armamento tuvo un cambio radical, con el empleo de ametralladoras más ligeras y fáciles de transportar, la organización de escuadrones móviles de asalto, escuadrones de logística, así como una cadena de mando, la cual —aún siendo monolítica— permitía la autonomía de acción a escuadrones sin oficiales al mando, si éstos llegaban a faltar o caer. Muchos ejércitos del mundo han copiado la base de esta organización.

Hacia 1939, el ejército alemán de línea contabilizaba alrededor de 3 200 000 soldados y durante toda la Segunda Guerra Mundial combatieron por Alemania más de 12 millones de soldados de diversas nacionalidades. A pesar de lo que se ve en las películas, en el ejército alemán se usaba el saludo militar regular; solamente a partir del atentado de julio de 1944 se impuso el «saludo romano», fascista, con el brazo en alto.

Segunda Guerra Mundial
1939-1943
Durante los primeros tres años de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, la Wehrmacht logró victorias completas y resonantes, derrotando a los ejércitos europeos con relativa facilidad, debido a su superioridad técnica y de doctrina militar, desarrollada por Alemania en los años posteriores a la derrota en la 1ª guerra mundial. Esta superioridad quedó demostrada con el empleo de la Blitzkrieg (guerra relámpago), consistente en el empleo de movimientos rápidos de tropas, de una mortífera combinación de tanques en extensas formaciones (divisiones Panzer), infantería y artillería motorizada, y aviación de apoyo a las fuerzas terrestres. Esta doctrina dejó obsoleta con sus aplastantes triunfos la doctrina militar imperante en la mayoría de los ejércitos europeos, aferrados aún a las defensas estáticas y a la guerra de trincheras, consideradas como válidas desde el final de la anterior guerra mundial.

La estrategia envolvente fue usada en Francia y la Unión Soviética (URSS) con gran éxito entre 1940 y 1941. Consistía en la embestida profunda en forma de pinzas y localizada contra el frente enemigo con la mayor concentración de fuerzas y armas de apoyo, para posteriormente enviar a través de la brecha conseguida las reservas acorazadas y motorizadas. Fuerzas blindadas atacarían los flancos cerrando el dispositivo y envolviendo al enemigo.

La velocidad de estas fuerzas permitiría en una fase posterior de la batalla, rodear y aniquilar a las fuerzas enemigas desde su propia retaguardia, estrangulando su sistema logístico y de suministro, y aislarlas hasta formar bolsas (en alemán Kessel 'caldero') de resistencia que acabarían rindiéndose.

La moral combativa de la Wehrmacht, una oficialidad muy competente, sus tácticas veloces y masivas, el logro efectivo y rápido de objetivos, con suministros y logística muy eficaces, sumado a la existencia de armamento avanzado, con tanques muy rápidos y una aviación táctica adaptada a las nuevas estrategias, hicieron del ejército alemán el más efectivo y poderoso de la época. Posteriormente su propia fe en esa superioridad inclinó a la Wehrmacht a acometer empresas que demostraron ser demasiado ambiciosas.

En la invasión de la Unión Soviética, que comenzó el 22 de junio de 1941, la Wehrmacht logró contundentes éxitos iniciales y la aniquilación de gran parte de las fuerzas del Ejército Rojo estacionadas en la frontera, permitiendo profundos avances dentro del territorio de la URSS hasta llegar a Leningrado en solo dos semanas.

Sin embargo, el atraso de cuatro semanas en las campañas de Creta y Grecia fueron vitales, ya que el invierno más crudo en 50 años se dejó sentir tempranamente en las latitudes soviéticas frenando el avance alemán cuando los caminos se transformaron en lodazales y además los suministros de equipos de invierno no fueron distribuidos en el frente de manera adecuada, sumado a una red logística cada vez más extensa y frágil. Los soviéticos lograron resistir la embestida y movilizando todas sus reservas humanas y materiales, apoyados por sus crudos inviernos, la ayuda logística norteamericana, y un material bélico muchas veces tan eficaz como el alemán y mejor diseñado para la producción en masa,1 frenaron el empuje de los alemanes, quienes no pudieron hacerse con Moscú, en noviembre-diciembre de 1941, ni Stalingrado, en diciembre de 1942-febrero de 1943, sufriendo la pérdida del VI Ejército alemán en 300 000 bajas entre muertos y heridos, incluyendo unos 90 000 soldados germanos que quedaron como prisioneros de guerra.

No obstante, la maquinaria bélica alemana aún era fuerte, al punto de mantener ocupada prácticamente la totalidad de Europa y poder combatir en África. Por gestión del ministro de armamentos, Albert Speer, se habían incorporado nuevos modelos de tanques como el Tiger, el Panther, el Jadgpanther. En el verano de 1943, sin embargo, la Wehrmacht sufrió otra grave derrota en tierras rusas, cuando en la batalla de Kursk, la fortaleza de las defensas y la posterior contraofensiva soviética destruyó las mejores unidades blindadas de la Wehrmacht y le causó bajas irremplazables en tropas de élite en Korsun-Cherkassy (2. Kursk se considera la última ofensiva estratégica de la Wehrmacht, y representó su última oportunidad de obtener la victoria en la guerra.

Por otra parte, en 1943 la Wehrmacht no logró rechazar la invasión angloestadounidense de Italia pero sí logró establecer sucesivas líneas defensivas en la península italiana, la cual resistió hasta abril de 1945.

1944-1945
En estos dos años la Werhmacht ya estaba exhausta y cansada de luchar en tantos combates, además de tener que combatir en 2 frentes a la vez, y que la situación en Italia era critica, e Italia era vencida con relativa facilidad durante sus combates contra los Aliados occidentales.

En 1944 la Wehrmacht, ya debilitada por las pérdidas en combate contra el violento contraataque de la Unión Soviética no pudo rechazar ni contener el avance de tropas británicas, estadounidenses y canadienses en Francia y Bélgica tras la batalla de Normandía, debiendo efectuar un rápido repliegue. A pesar de todo durante el invierno de 1944-1945, la Wehrmacht realizó sorpresivamente en el frente occidental su última gran ofensiva, llamada batalla de las Ardenas. Esta ofensiva terminó en derrota germana y representó la pérdida de hombres y material que la Wehrmacht ya no podía reemplazar.

A partir de 1944, la Wehrmacht carecía de suficientes soldados veteranos para cubrir sus filas, sus mejores tropas habían sido destruidas en batalla contra las tropas soviéticas en tres años de cruenta lucha, quedando ante ellas en una clara situación de inferioridad numérica, mientras que en el sector occidental, cuyas tropas eran soldados de 40 años y más no podía resistir mucho tiempo la abrumadora superioridad material de los aliados occidentales.

La Alemania nazi intentó paliar ese déficit de tropas instituyendo la Volkssturm (milicia popular) desde octubre de 1944, como leva en masa, donde se enroló forzosamente en la Wehrmacht a prácticamente todos los varones alemanes entre 14 y 65 años de edad que aún quedasen en retaguardia para defender el propio territorio germano; no obstante, estas tropas, carentes de instrucción militar y de un armamento adecuado, y desmoralizadas por el visible curso adverso de la guerra, no podían en modo alguno compararse a la Wehrmacht de 1940 o 1941.

En enero de 1945 la Wehrmacht aún podía contar con más de 7 millones de efectivos (millón y medio en el Oeste, otro millón en Italia y el resto en el Este), aunque una parte apreciable pertenecía al Volkssturm y mostraban escaso afán de lucha en circunstancias tan adversas.

Los bombardeos estadounidenses y británicos empezaron a dañar el suministro normal de combustibles y armas a las unidades de la Wehrmacht desde 1943, consiguiendo progresivamente la superioridad aérea y obteniendo para 1945 el estrangulamiento de la industria de guerra alemana, y la destrucción de su sistema de comunicaciones, además de numerosas ciudades.

La Wehrmacht fue derrotada finalmente por los soviéticos en la batalla de Berlín mientras los Aliados la batían en el oeste de Europa, dejando de existir tras la rendición alemana del 8 de mayo de 1945.

The Reichsheer
On November 9, 1918—with his country in revolt and his battered army on the verge of defeat—German Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated, and the Second Reich passed into history. Early the following morning, he boarded his gold and cream-colored private train at Spa, Belgium, and crossed into neutral Holland, to begin his exile. As a final indignity, the Supreme War Lord of Imperial Germany had to give up his sword to a Dutch customs official. Thus ended the reign of the House of Hohenzollern, after 507 years and 19 generations. The Second Reich was replaced by the democratic Weimar Republic; the Imperial Army was replaced by the Reichsheer. After the armistice, the Reichsheer withdrew into its bases, organized itself, and began preparing for the next war. During the Weimar era (1919–33), the army developed and existed apart from the rest of German society. Its Officers’ Corps deliberately separated it and, to a large degree, isolated it from the rest of Germany.

It had its own ideas, legal code, traditions, culture, and manners.
To a great extent, it also formed its own society. Certainly the Officers’ Corps and its elite General Staff constituted an exclusive brotherhood of their own. As a rule they viewed the Weimar Republic— to which it felt very little loyalty and less subordination—with illconcealed contempt. They were literally a world apart from the rest of Germany and preferred it that way.

The legacy of the Reichsheer dates back to the days of Prussia and the rise of what became the House of Hohenzollern in the early fifteenth century. Prussia became, as Baron Friedrich von Leopold von Schroetter remarked, ‘‘not a country with an army, but an army with a country.’’ Under Frederick Wilhelm I, the Prussian Army became the best-trained and best drilled army in Europe, although he avoided using it, despite a great many opportunities. His son, Frederick II (1712–86)—known to history as Frederick the Great—used it with great success, expanding his kingdom beyond its East Prussian and Brandenburger heartlands and into Silesia, which he took from the Hapsburgs. It was Frederick who established the reputation of the Prussian Army as the best in Europe, based on harsh discipline, obedience, and the courage of its men, especially its officers. Under Frederick, it fought the first and second Silesian wars, the Seven Years’ War, and the War of the First Partition of Poland. Unfortunately for Prussia, however, Frederick’s successors, Frederick Wilhelm II and III (his nephew and grandnephew), lacked his skills, strength of will, and intelligence. As a result, the army stagnated and was finally crushed and humiliated by Napoleon in the Jena campaign of 1806.

Following the Napoleonic Peace of Tilsit (1807) and the harsh Treaty of Paris (1808), the Prussian Army was built anew under the ‘‘reformers,’’ led by General Johann von Scharnhorst. Scharnhorst shifted the emphasis of Prussian military thought and doctrine from a volunteer army obsessed with iron discipline and rigid drill to a conscripted army, stressing technological expertise, operational planning, tactical flexibility, and a highly trained and dedicated professional Officers’ Corps. He and his young assistants, including Count Wilhelm Anton Neidhardt von Gneisenau and Karl von Clausewitz, founded the Landwehr (the national militia), the Prussian General Staff, and the War Academy, and lay the foundations for a tradition of military excellence that endured until 1945.

Scharnhorst died of wounds he suffered in the Battle of Luetzen in 1813, but the army he created helped smash Napoleon at Leipzig and Waterloo. Although the aristocratic military reactionaries were by no means a thing of the past after 1815 (thanks to their influence with the king), the Prussian Army continued its quiet, steady development under the supervision of the General Staff until it had, in effect, institutionalized the idea of professional military excellence at all levels of the army. General Staff training was especially vigorous. Entrance into the War Academy in Berlin (where the officers of the General Staff were trained) was by competitive examination, and well over three-quarters of the applicants were eliminated at the beginning. Of the 150 officers who succeeded in gaining admission each year, only about 50 completed the course, which was gradually expanded until it was three years long. The survivors were then assigned to the Great General Staff in Berlin for two years of additional training in topographical mapping, map exercises, and war games. Following this assignment, they participated in the annual Staff Ride, under the personal supervision of the chief of the General Staff. Finally, the top three or four candidates were chosen to wear the distinctive red trouser stripes of permanent members of the General Staff. They could look forward to more rapid promotions and better duty assignments than their contemporaries, and these candidates usually spent most of their careers alternating between positions with the Great General Staff (Grosser Generalstab), housed in a red brick building in the northeast corner of the Tiergarten, near the center of the government sector of Berlin, and assignments with the field forces (Truppengeneralstab).

By the 1860s, the great majority of Prussia’s senior commanders had developed through this process. The king was, of course, still the official supreme commander of the army, but by now his role was largely nominal: the chief of the General Staff was the real leader of the German Army. From 1813 until 1871, the Prussian Army enjoyed a string of unbroken
successes. After the Napoleonic Wars, it smashed the Revolution of 1848, overran Schleswig-Holstein in the Danish Wars of 1848 and 1864, crushed the forces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Seven Weeks’ War of 1866, and—to the surprise of the entire world—humiliated France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. As a result, Otto von Bismarck (the ‘‘Iron Chancellor’’) was able to unite Germany and make Wilhelm I the first kaiser (emperor) of the Second Reich (empire) at Versailles in 1871. The Prussian General Staff was generally considered the best-trained professional military body in the world between then and 1914. It was copied and emulated by a great many countries during that era, including the three formerly independent German states that retained the right to keep their military establishments in time of peace: Bavaria, Wuerttemberg, and Saxony. (Even these were forced to recognize the hegemony of Berlin, however, and were subordinate to the Prussian General Staff in time of war.)
If the Prussian General Staff was considered to be a model for others to follow, German diplomacy after Wilhelm II ascended to the throne in 1890 was not. He sacked Bismarck and maneuvered the Reich into a strategic corner by 1914, when it faced the prospect of a two-front war without a single strong ally. General Count Alfred von Schlieffen, chief of the General Staff from 1891, recognized Germany’s dangerous position as early as 1894 and devised a plan to deal with it. The famous Schlieffen Plan was based on the concept of a rapid mobilization and, making maximum use of railroads, called for concentrating the bulk of Germany’s combat power on the right flank of the Western Front. Six of the Kaiser’s eight armies would then overrun neutral Belgium and part of the Netherlands, debauch into France, and capture Paris before the British or Russians could decisively intervene.
The Schlieffen Plan probably would have worked had Schlieffen himself directed operations in 1914, but he died on January 4, 1913.

Appropriately enough, his last words were: ‘‘Strengthen the right wing.’’ This advice his successor General Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, known as ‘‘Moltke the younger,’’ did not follow. When World War I broke out, he attacked through Belgium with 55 divisions, instead of with the 71 planned by Schlieffen. Moltke also dispensed with the 16-division follow-up force his predecessor had envisioned.

Then, once the campaign had started, Moltke grew nervous about Russian advances into East Prussia, so he withdrew two corps from the main advance and sent them to the East. They arrived in Prussia after Paul Ludwig von Hindenburg, Erich Ludendorff, and Max Hoffmann had won the Battle of Tannenberg, and the Czar’s forces were in full retreat. Even so, the French government fled from Paris before French General Joseph J. C. Joffre halted the German offensive on the Marne.

This defeat ruined Germany’s prospects for a quick victory and doomed the Reich to a long war of attrition. Moltke the younger was replaced as chief of the General Staff on September 14, 1914, by General Erich von Falkenhayn, the minister of war of Prussia. When Falkenhayn was unable to break the stalemate on the Western Front, Wilhelm replaced him with the Hindenburg-Ludendorff team in August 1916. Ludendorff, the First Quartermaster-General, received the title Feldherr (literally, ‘‘warlord’’) and was called the ‘‘National Commander.’’ He scored a number of important successes, most notably the defeat of Russia; however, he exhibited a flaw common to German General Staff officers before and since: untrained in geopolitics or international affairs, and uneducated in politics, he had too much faith in the invincibility of German arms and too little grasp of what was practical or possible on the larger scale. As a result, his Great Offensive of 1918 failed, and he was replaced by General Wilhelm Groener in late October 1918. Less than three weeks later, Germany sued for peace.

The military clauses of the Treaty of Versailles attempted to reduce the German armed forces to the status of an armed police and coast guard force by limiting the German Army to 100,000 men, including 4,000 officers. So that it could never again wage offensive warfare, it was forbidden to have tanks, aircraft, poison gas, or field pieces larger than 105 millimeters. To ensure that no significant reserves were created, privates and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) had to enlist for 12 years, and officers were required to commit themselves to 25 years’ service. The General Staff, the War Academy, and the cadet academies were banned, a yearly personnel turnover of more than 5 percent was prohibited, and even its ammunition supply was limited to prevent stockpiling for a major war. The German Navy was similarly restricted. It was authorized 15,000 men (including 1,500 officers) and a fleet of six obsolete battleships, six light cruisers, 12 destroyers and 12 torpedo boats, with a reserve of two battleships, two cruisers, four destroyers, and four torpedo boats. It was forbidden to have submarines, a fleet air arm, or naval guns larger than 280 millimeters (approximately 11 inches). Both branches of the service were subject to inspections by the International Control Commission.
The Law of the Creation of the Provisional Reichswehr passed the Reichstag on March 6, 1919, but it was only a stopgap measure, still leaving the army more than twice the size permitted by the treaty and lacking a permanent organizational structure. President Ebert assigned the task of submitting recommendations concerning the organization of the postwar army to a commission headed by Lieutenant General Hans von Seeckt.
His recommendations were accepted with only minor modifications and became the basis of the new Reichswehr (Reich Defense Force or Armed Forces). The nominal commander-in-chief of the Reichswehr was the president, but actual authority was normally exercised by the defense minister.

The Reichswehr consisted of the Reichsheer (army) and Reichsmarine (navy). The former played such a predominant role (Germany was traditionally a land power) that many came to consider the Reichswehr and Reichsheer as being identical. The tiny navy amounted to little until after the rise of Adolf Hitler. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was not allowed to have an air force.

Because the treaty forbade the army or navy to have a commander-in-chief, the Weimar Republic’s defense ministry accepted Seeckt’s recommendation and created the Heeresleitung (army command), initially headed by a 48-year-old Wuerttemberger officer named Walter Reinhardt.

Under the Army Command came the Personnel Office, the Waffenamt (Armament and Equipment Office, or Ordnance Office), the Truppenamt (Troop Office), and the Army Administrative Service.

The real power in the army was the Troop Office, which was, in reality, a clandestine General Staff. It was headed by General von Seeckt, a highly cultured Pomeranian nobleman. Known in the army as ‘‘the Sphinx with a Monocle,’’ he was short, thin, neat, and dainty in his appearance. The son of a Prussian general, he was born in Schleswig in 1866, and was commissioned second lieutenant in the elite 1st (Emperor Alexander) Foot Guards Regiment at the age of 19. He became a member of the General Staff in 1899 and soon established a reputation as a brilliant staff officer. When World War I broke out, he was chief of staff of the III Corps and distinguished himself in the Soissons breakthrough.

As a result of these successes, he was named chief of staff of Field Marshal August von Mackensen’s newly formed 11th Army on the Eastern Front and played a major role in the Battle of Gorlice, one of the most spectacular German victories of the war. For his part in this campaign, Seeckt was awarded the Pour le Merite (the ‘‘Blue Max’’).

Later, he served as chief of staff of the Austro-Hungarian 12th Army and as chief of staff of the Turkish Army. During the war, Seeckt rose from the rank of lieutenant colonel to lieutenant general and proved that he was an extremely able officer who understood political problems; nevertheless, he was never given the chance to return to the Western Front, due to the animosity of Ludendorff. This worked to his advantage after the armistice, however; after serving as military advisor on the Treaty of Versailles and heading the reorganization commission, he rebuilt the General Staff (under the cover name Truppenamt) and established the organizational foundation that Hitler’s generals would later expand into the most feared army of its time.

Seeckt’s Troop Office was the chief planning agency for the army and consisted of several departments, including T 1 (operations), T 2 (organization), T 3 (statistics and intelligence), T 4 (training), and T 7 (transportation). These departments were further subdivided into office
groups (Amtsgruppen), branches (Abteilungen), and sections (Gruppen).
The lowest level of the General Staff was the Referat (desk). Each of these subdivisions dealt with various tasks, including a number forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. Group L of the operations department, for example, handled Germany’s clandestine air forces and kept up with developments in aviation and military aviation, while special section T 3V handled matters relating to the secret Red Army/Reichswehr agreements and so forth. This organization was flexible and could easily be expanded to serve a much larger army.

The level of command below the Army Command was the Gruppenkommando (Group Command). There were two of these field army–level headquarters: Group 1 in Berlin controlled all units in northern and eastern Germany, and Group 2 in Kassel controlled those in the south and west. Under these commands came the true functional heart of the German Army: the Wehrkreise (military districts).

Each Wehrkreis was a corps-level territorial command that was responsible for recruitment, mobilization, supply, administration, logistical support, and all territorial and military-political (or military-civilian) matters within its area. Later, when the German Army took the field, the Wehrkreise also assumed responsibility for training as well.

Initially, there were seven military districts, all designated by Roman numerals. Wehrkreis I, headquartered in Koenigsberg, controlled the district of East Prussia, which was cut off from the rest of Germany by the Polish Corridor. Wehrkreis II, headquartered in Stettin, controlled
northern Germany and included Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, and Luebeck. Wehrkreis III in Berlin directed Brandenburg, Silesia, and the Greater Berlin area. Wehrkreis IV in Dresden included Saxony and Anhalt. Wehrkreis V (Stuttgart) included Hesse, Thuringia, Baden, and Wuerttemberg. Military District VI (Muenster) consisted of Hanover, Westphalia, Brunswick, and Oldenburg; and Wehrkreis VII in Munich was responsible for Bavaria.
In addition to directing the military activities in their territories, each Wehrkreis commander was also the commander of an infantry division, which bore the same number as the Wehrkreis, although the two commands were technically separate. As divisional commander, the general was responsible for the training and operations of his division.

The Wehrkreis commander thus had two jobs and was responsible to two bosses. As a corps-level district commander, he was directly responsible to the Army Command in Berlin. As division commander, he was responsible to the Group Commander for operations, administration, and supply. Wehrkreise I through IV were subordinate to Group Command 1, and Wehrkreis V, VI, and VII reported to Headquarters, Group 2, in Kassel. When the Nazi-era military expansion began in 1935, the Wehrkreise commanders gave up their divisions and became true corps commanders in every sense.

Each infantry division consisted of three infantry regiments, an artillery regiment, and reconnaissance, signal, engineer, and anti-tank battalions, as well as smaller medical, supply, administration, service, and veterinary units. Each division had approximately 12,000 men, although this figure increased to the 15,000–17,000 range after 1935.

From then until the fall of 1941, it was not uncommon for a division to control 20,000 men, counting temporarily attached smaller units. Until 1935, each German infantry division had two deputy commanders: the Artillieriefuehrer and the Infanteriefuehrer (artillery commander and infantry commander, respectively). These men were normally major generals who commanded the divisional units of their branches, as well as any units attached to them by the division commander.

These men frequently functioned as battle group (Kampfgruppe) commanders in the many divisional maneuvers. The most important officer on the divisional staff was the Ia (the chief of operations), who was, in effect, divisional chief of staff (although this term was used only at the corps level and higher). When the division went to the field, the staff usually divided into three separate operational groups: the Fuehrungsabteilung (operations staff), the Quartermeister (the supply staff), and the Adjutantur (personnel staff).
The Füehrungsabteilung (which included the intelligence officer [Ic] and his staff) was the most important. Directed by the Ia, it formed with division’s tactical nerve center and was known as the division’s command post (CP).
The supply headquarters (Quartermeister) was headed by the Ib (chief supply officer or divisional quartermaster). Physically separated from the CP, it included the IVa (chief administrative officer), IVb (chief medical officer), and V (motor transport officer), each of whom directed his own section. Most of these officers were not members of the General Staff; as a general rule, only I-type officers (the Ia, Ib, and so on) were General Staff graduates.

The personnel group (or Adjutantur) was the third staff grouping. Generally some distance to the rear, it was directed by the IIa (chief personnel officer or adjutant). He supervised the IIb (second personnel officer), the III (chief judge advocate), and the chaplain (IVd), as well as various other units needed to keep a staff headquarters and divisional rear area functioning normally, such as security detachments, construction engineer units, labor battalions, and replacement units.

The basic combat unit of the infantry division was, of course, the infantry regiment. In the Reichswehr era, each infantry division had three such regiments, and each infantry regiment had three infantry battalions, numbered I, II, and III. Each battalion controlled four companies: I Battalion had the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th companies; II Battalion controlled the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th companies; and III Battalion directed the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th companies. All of these were infantry (rifle) companies, except the 4th, 8th, and 12th, which were the battalion-heavy weapons companies and included heavy machine-gun and mortar platoons. The 13th and 14th companies were the infantry cannon and anti-tank companies and were directly subordinate to the regimental commander.
The Reichsheer also had three cavalry divisions, which consisted of six small cavalry regiments and one artillery battalion each—a total strength of 5,300 men. The commanders of the cavalry divisions were junior in rank to the Wehrkreise commanders, had no territorial responsibilities themselves, and were subordinate to the district commanders in times of emergency. Most of the time, however, they were directly under the command of their Group Headquarters. Group 1 controlled the 1st Cavalry Division (headquartered at Frankfurt-am-Oder) and the 2nd Cavalry at Breslau. The 3rd Cavalry Division at Weimar came under the jurisdiction of Group 2.
Before the 100,000-man army could be established, tens of thousands of officers and hundreds of thousands of other ranks had to be involuntarily discharged from the service. Generals Reinhardt and von Seeckt disagreed on the type of officer to be retained. Reinhardt wanted to keep primarily frontline soldiers; Seeckt wanted to keep as many General Staff officers as possible. This issue was by no means settled on March 12, 1920, when the Kapp Putsch rocked the foundations of the Weimar Republic. It was sparked when the government in Berlin, acting on the orders of the Allied Control Commission, tried to dissolve the Freikorps—right-wing paramilitary organizations that the Weimar government had been using to suppress Communist revolts.

At 1 A.M. the following morning, with the rebellious Ehrhardt Naval Brigade marching unopposed on the capital, Gustav Noske, the defense minister, met with the leaders of the Reichsheer in his office in the defense ministry. Present were Generals Reinhardt, von Seeckt, Burghard von Oven, and Baron von Oldershausen; Admiral Alfred von Trotha; and six field-grade officers, including Major Kurt von Hammerstein, the son-in-law of General Baron Walter von Luettwitz, the senior rebel military commander. Noske wanted to use force against the Putschists, and he was backed by General Reinhardt, the chief of the Army Command. Reinhardt, however, was tolerated by the Officers’ Corps, rather than respected by it. He had liberal views, was a true believer in the Republic and its ideals, and had made too many compromises with the democratic politicians to suit the officers of the old school; in addition, he lacked seniority and had not even reached general rank until December 1918, when he became war minister of Prussia. The real power in the military lay with Hans von Seeckt, who solemnly declared: ‘‘Troops do not fire on troops.’’ In other words, Seeckt would not risk a civil war, even if it meant allowing the insurrectionists to capture Berlin and overthrow the regime. Of those present, only Noske, his personal adjutant, and Reinhardt voted to use force to protect the government. Noske, President Ebert, and the bulk of the cabinet were forced to flee into the night; the Putsch was only defeated because the government called for a massive general strike, which brought the life of the country to a halt and forced Wolfgang Kapp (the civilian leader of the Putsch who was largely a figurehead for Luettwitz) to ‘‘resign’’ on March 17. He then fled to Sweden.


Reichheer- The German Armed Forces 1657-1933 - The units, equipment, formations and organizations from Prussia to Weimar Republic. Las Fuerzas Armadas Alemanas 1657-1933 - Unidades, miembros y organizacion desde Prusia hasta la Republica de Weimar. 
Divisiones de Infanteria/Infanterie
The Heer initially consisted of 21 Divisional sized units and 3 Army Groups to control them, as well as numerous smaller formations. Between 1935 and 1945 this force grew to consist of hundreds of Divisions, dozens of Army Groups and thousands of smaller supporting units. Between 1939 and 1945 close to 13 million served in the Heer. Over 1.6 million were killed and over 4.1 million were wounded.  El Heer inicialmente constaba de 21 unidades de tamaño de división y 3 grupos de ejércitos para controlarlas , así como numerosas formaciones más pequeñas. Entre 1935 y 1945 este grupo creció hasta consistirá en cientos de divisiones, docenas de Grupos de Ejército y miles de pequeñosunidades de apoyo. Entre 1939 y 1945 cerca de 13 millones soldados sirvieron  en el Heer. Cerca de 1.6  millones de ellos murieron y más de 4,1 millones resultaron heridos. 
Divisiones Panzer/Panzer Divisions
El Alto Mando Aleman ademas de efectuar pruebas de experimentacion de los desarrollos en carros de combate en el campo de pruebas de Kama, provincia de Kazan en la Union Sovietica, desplazo personal para que aprendiera de la operacion de los carros y el entrenamiento tactico. Con ello querian crear una base de oficiales destinados el dia de mañana a formar las unidades de tanques en el futuro. En 1928 el Ejercito Aleman Reichswehr  proyecto crear dentro de los siguientes cinco años compañias de tanques. 
El 1 de Noviembre de 1933, quince años despues de terminada la I Guerra Mundial se formo la primera unidad Panzer de entrenamiento, dandosele el nombre de Comando Motorizado de Entrenamiento ubicado en la localidad de Zossen. 
Divisiones Panzergrenadier/Panzergrenadier Divisions
El arma de infanteria motorizada del Ejercito Aleman se inicio como una parte de las Schnelle Truppen o "tropas rapidas" del Ejercito. Estas fueron establecidas oficialmente en 1938 e incluian las tropas panzer, las antitanques y la caballeria. La infanteria motorizada nacio como Schützen (rifleros), Kavallerieschützen (rifleros a caballo) y Motorisierte Infantrie (infanteria motorizada). El 5 de Julio de 1942 fueron redenominadas como Panzertruppen (tropas blindadas), para esa epoca la parte de la caballeria hacia bastante tiempo habia sido eliminada de la organizacion. El termino Panzergrenadier fue adoptado en 1943. A pesar de su nombre, generalmente no habia la suficiente cantidad de semiorugas y gran parte de ella debia ir en camiones. Los Panzergrenadier fueron un resultado de los conceptos de Heinz Guderian acerca de la guerra motorizada, siendo absolutamente necesarias si se queria que los tanques pudieran sobrevivir en el campo de batalla.
Batallones Tigre/Tiger Batallions
Las dos primeras unidades equipadas con  Tanques Tigre, fueron organizadas en Febrero 16 de 1942 y fueron las compañias pesadas Panzer 501th y 502th. En Mayo 10 de 1942 estas dos compañias fueron organizadas como el Batallon Pesado Panzer 501th; el Batallon 502th fue organizado en Mayo 25 y el 503th en el mismo mes. Cada uno de estos batallones contaba con su compañia de mando y dos compañias pesadas Panzer; el 501º y el 503º contaban con PzMk VI Porsche y fueron enviados a Africa. El 502 fue equipado con PzMk VI Henschel y enviado a Rusia. La compañia de Staff contaba con dos PzMk VI y un PzMk III (50mm) en su peloton de señales y cinco PzMk III en su peloton de tanques ligeros. Cada compañia pesada fue organizada con una compañia de tropas (un PzMk VI y dos PzMk III) y cuatro pelotones (dos PzMk VI y dos PzMk III en cada uno). 
Uniformes/Uniforms
El uniforme militar tiene una significación más amplia de la que generalmente se le atribuye. Después de todo, un uniforme militar indica en el campo de batalla las prioridades prácticas, de cuerpo y hasta ideológicas del soldado, que es la persona que realmente mata, lucha y muere. Al ver el vestuario militar, se ve la exhibición de orgullo, además de ser un barómetro de los cambios en la forma de hacer guerra, las variaciones en la tecnología y las tácticas de combate. Military uniform is the standardised dress worn by members of the armed forces and paramilitaries of various nations. Military dress and military styles have gone through great changes over the centuries from colourful and elaborate to extremely utilitarian. Military uniforms in the form of standardised and distinctive dress, intended for identification and display, are typically a sign of organised military forces equipped by a central authority.
Brigadas/Brigades
El 2 de Julio de 1944 Adolfo Hitler ordeno la constitucion de unidades pequeñas, rapidas y blindadas en grupos de batalla (Kampfgruppe) destinadas a rodear y destruir las puntas de penetracion de los ataques rusos. Estas deberian contener un batallon montado en semiorugas, un grupo Panzer con 30 a 40 tanques, una compañia antitanque con PAK 37 y cañones antiaereos de 20 y 37mm. Hitler ordeno la constitucion de una docena de estas "brigadas". El 3 de Julio el Mando del OKH (Oberkommando Wehrmacht) propuso que las doce formaciones fueran convertidas de los elementos de las Divisiones Panzer 6º, 11º, 19, 25º y 116º que estaban en Alemania para su reconstitucion y recibo de nuevo equipo. 
Equipos de Combate:   Sistemas y equipos de combate usados por el Ejercito Aleman y otros desde 1914 hasta 2013. Combat systems and equipment  used by the German Army and others armies from 1914 to 2013.
Miembros/Members
The term Wehrmacht generically describes a nation's Armed Forces, thus, Britische Wehrmacht denotes “British Armed Forces.” The term Wehrmacht is in Article 47 of the 1919 Weimar Constitution, establishing that: Der Reichspräsident hat den Oberbefehl über die gesamte Wehrmacht des Reiches (“The Reich's President holds supreme command of all armed forces of the Reich”). From 1919, Germany’s national defence force was known as the Reichswehr, which name was dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 16 March 1935. 
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