The purpose of this guide is to provide a historical reference for how to recreate a reasonably accurate Order Of Battle (OOB) for Germany. The command structure article describes how the game manages command hierarchies.
For gameplay purposes, an approximation of German theaters could be supreme command headquarters (Oberbefehlshaber), which Germany created based on the cardinal directions at various points of the war. In 1936, OB West and OB Ost could be used as the starting theaters, for example.
- OB Nordost - Northeast
- OB Nord - North
- OB Nordwest - Northwest
- OB Ost - East
- OB Süd - South
- OB Südost - Southeast
- OB Südwest - Southwest
- OB West - West
Theaters as such did not exist historically, as Germany was a continental power and fought wars nearly exclusively at home and around it. German activities in Africa, for example, were too limited to warrant a theater command of its own. From 1938 onwards there were two parallel commands, one of which always was the supreme command of the main attack direction, and the second commanded forces in all other places. Thus these could be used as theater names as well:
- OKH: Oberkommando des Heeres (High Command of the Army)
- OKW: Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High Command of the Armed Forces)
Alternatively, one could use:
- WBF: Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber xxx (Command of the Armed Forces in xxx)
- MBF: Militärbefehlshaber xxx (Command of the military in xxx)
Army Groups (Heeresgruppe)
Army Groups as command of several armies were exclusively called "Heeresgruppe". Several naming conventions were used, at times by letter:
- Heeresgruppe A
- Heeresgruppe B
In some campaigns (Poland, Barbarossa), the letters the were replaced by directions:
- Heeresgruppe Nord
- Heeresgruppe Mitte
- Heeresgruppe Süd
Sometimes (esp. later in the war) Army Groups were also called with names reflecting their geographical position:
- Heeresgruppe Nordukraine
- Heeresgruppe Weichsel
- Heeresgruppe Afrika
Other regional names could be:
Armies were named with an Arabic number followed by a period and the word "Armee", e.g. 1. Armee, 18. Armee etc. All numbers from 1 to 20 (and in the last months of the war even above that) were used with one exception: There never was a 13. Armee; even nazis were superstitious.
After Poland, several armies were renamed:
3. Armee (von Küchler) --> 16. Armee (Busch) 8. Armee (Blaskowitz) --> 2. Armee (von Weichs) 10. Armee (von Reichenau) --> 6. Armee (von Reichenau) 14. Armee (List) --> 12. Armee (List) 5. Armee (Liebmann) --> 18. Armee (von Küchler)
Armored armies were first called "Panzergruppe" and in the late 1941 rebuilt into "Panzerarmee". The 4 armored armies of Barbarossa were built from corps HQs in several steps:
XXII. Armeekorps --> Panzergruppe Kleist --> Panzergruppe 1 --> 1. Panzerarmee
XIX. Armeekorps --> Panzergruppe Guderian --> Panzergruppe 2 --> 2. Panzerarmee
XV. Armeekorps --> Panzergruppe 3 --> 3. Panzerarmee
XVI. Armeekorps --> Panzergruppe 4 --> 4. Panzerarmee
There were some "named" armies as well, e.g. "Armee Norwegen", "Armee Lappland" or the famous "Panzerarmee Afrika".
The HQ of an army was called "Armee-Oberkommando n" (n replaces the number), usually abbreviated A.O.K. 1, A.O.K. 18, A.O.K. Norwegen etc., for armored armies "Panzerarmee-Oberkommando" (Pz.A.O.K. 2)
Most corps were called with a roman numeral, period and the word "Armeekorps". This is until 1943 even valid for armored corps; those then were renamed into "Panzerkorps". Those roman numerals were used with one quirk: the number forty was displayed not as XL (as it would be right), but as XXXX. E. g. Reinhardts forty first corps was called not XLI. Armeekorps, but XXXXI. Armeekorps. Army corps in mountainous regions were sometimes called "Gebirgskorps".
Corps numbers were strictly unique, there was not a III. Armeekorps and a III. Panzerkorps at the same time, or a XXXV. Armeekorps and a Höheres Kommando XXXV. The numbers of dissolved corps were sometimes reused, e.g. a while after the XIX. Armeekorps had been made the Panzergruppe Guderian, the number XIX was given to a Gebirgskorps in Norway.
The command of a corps (in HOI terms the HQ) was called "Generalkommando xxx. Armeekorps" (xxx replaces the roman number).
Some corps especially in occupied regions or in reserve were called not Armeekorps, but "Höheres Kommando xxx" (Higher Command) and later (namely after D-Day) rebuilt into ordinary corps.
I II IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XVII XX XXIII XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII XXIX XXX XXXVIII XXXXII XXXXIII XXXXIV L LI LII LIII LIV LV
The XXI. Armeekorps (von Falkenhorst) participated in Poland, was rebuilt for the invasion of Norway into Gruppe XXI and later into Armee Norwegen.
III XXIV (both after France, were infantry before) XIV XXXIX XXXX XXXXI XXXXVI XXXXVII XXXXVIII LVI LVII
XV XVI XIX and XXII were (armored) corps too, but later rebuilt into panzer groups and armies.
XVIII XXXVI (started as Höheres Kommando) XXXXIX
XXXI XXXII XXXIV XXXV XXXVI (until being rebuilt into a mountain corps) XXXVII XXXXV (all mostly Poland and France) LXV (Serbia) XXXIII LXX LXXI (all Norway)
These numbers are valid up to 1942-43, afterwards and especially after D-Day corps and commands were built and renamed wildly, that it's pretty hard to keep track.
Divisions mostly were named by an Arabic number and a period, followed by the type of the division:
- Infantry: Infanterie-Division (some renamed in 1943 to Grenadier-Division)
- Motorized Infantry: Infanterie-Division (mot.) (in 1943, "Panzer-Grenadier-Division" (mechanized))
- Light Armor: Leichte Division (later renamed into 8. Panzer-Division, the only type of division without a dash ("-")
- Medium and Heavy Armor:Panzer-Division
- Mountaineers: Gebirgsjäger-Division (sometimes called just Gebirgs-Division)
- Paratroopers: Flieger-Division (in 1943 renamed into: Fallschirmjäger-Division)
- Cavalry: Kavallerie-Division (in late 1941 rebuilt into 24. Panzer-Division, destroyed in Stalingrad)
- Garrisons: Sicherungs-Division (in 1942, Luftwaffen-Feld-Division; in 1944, Volksgrenadiers)
There were named divisions too, but those were exceptions.
Numbers within infantry, motorized and mechanized division were unique, e.g. there never was a "3. Infanterie-Division" and a "3. Infanterie-Division (mot.)" and/or even a "3. Panzer-Grenadier-Division" at the same time.
Between 1937 and 1941, some divisions of the 1st wave were rebuilt into motorized divisions and took their numbers with them. Some were even rebuilt into armored divisions, usually taking a new number and abandoning their old. These numbers usually were abandoned in the first time. Later in the war many of them were reused, however. E. g. the "2. Infanterie-Division" was motorized 1937 and called "2. Infanterie-Division (mot.)". Late 1940 it was rebuilt into the "12. Panzer-Division". There no longer existed a 2nd infantry division to the end of the war.
Some of the older divisions had other names before the war, the mentioned 2. Infanterie-Division was 1935 called Infanterie-Division 2 and beforehand even Artillerieführer II (artillery commander II) for the purpose of disguising the violation of the Versailles treaty, but within the scope of the game this is insignificant - even the most hardcore historical player hardly will rename his divisions every few months.