Briefing - Miscellaneous Divisions of the German Army in World War II
The German Armed Forces raised literally hundreds of divisions during World War II, if Most of these were combat divisions or various types – infantry, mechanized, panzer or panzergrenadier, parachute, mountain, jaeger, etc. – fielded not only by the German Army and the Waffen-SS, but also by the Luftwaffe, and the Navy. But there were also a number of special divisions created by the Army which had either very specific combat functions or special administrative duties.
|Miscellaneous Division, 1939-1945|
|1942|| 19|| 1|| 2|| 78|
|1943|| 22|| 5|| 10|| 85|
|1944|| 17|| 23|| 36|| 3|| 40|
|1945|| 1|| 6|| 1|| 34|
|TOTAL|| 125|| 35|| 53|| 3|| 34|
|Note: New indicates units activated during the indicated year. Conv, units converted to other “normal” types of combat divisions in the course of the year. Disb, those disbanded, for whatever reason. Lost, those lost in combat. Bal is the balance of units remaining at the end of the year, or, in the case of 1945, by the time of the German surrender on May 8th.. Total summaries these figures. |
Ten different types of divisions are included in this table.
- Replacement Divisions: responsible for the induction and training of new personnel in corps areas in Germany.
- Field Training Divisions: responsible for holding trained replacements and for their continued training, notably in rear areas on the Eastern Front, where they often doubled as occupation and security troops.
- Special Administrative Division Staffs: controlled local forces in corps areas in Germany.
- Reserve Divisions: controlled reserve and rear area formations for training and occupation duties.
- Frontier Guard Divisions: controlled frontier defensive sectors and frontier guard units assigned thereto.
- Security Divisions: responsible for line of communications security, occupation duties, and anti-partisan activities.
- Coast Defense Divisions: controlled coast defense forces in specific sectors.
- Fortress Divisions: controlled forces assigned to the "last ditch" defense of specific geographical locations, such as Crete.
- Artillery Divisions: coordinated artillery activities in a wide sector of the front.
- Corps Detachments: division-sized formations created out of the remnants of shattered divisions in the closing months of the war on the Eastern Front.
Although the primary function of most of the divisions included in these categories was not combat, many Field Training Divisions, Replacement Divisions, and Reserve Divisions did become embroiled in conventional combat on the Eastern Front. Security Divisions were frequently involved in heavy fighting with partisan forces, and were among the perpetrators of some of the worst atrocities of the war. Frontier Guard divisions saw some defensive service during the Polish Campaign of 1939, but were mostly soon disbanded or converted into regular infantry divisions. Fortress and coast defense divisions were usually created through the conversion of infantry divisions and frequently were not supplied with the artillery and other specialized equipment necessary for the proper fulfillment of their new roles. Artillery divisions were generally improvised organizations and rarely actually had troops and equipment directly under their command.
lanIn addition to the formations shown on the table there were 53 primary training divisions created during the war. Of these, 25 became Reserve Divisions in 1942 and 1943, and are listed in the table under “New,” four of which became regular infantry divisions in 1944, listed under Converted. There were also about 25 landwher or militia divisions created in 1939-1940, all of which were soon disbanded.