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Heer (Army) Mobilization

The assembly of forces at the time of the Austrian and Czech crises gave the German planners the opportunity to test their existing mobilization plans', which were found to be deficient in a number of respects. A special annex to the annual mobilization plan, issued 8 December 1938, superseded previous instructions and provided for the mobilization of the active and reserve forces of the Army by "waves." Four such waves were planned, and their mobilization could be accomplished almost simultaneously.

Wave I would involve only higher headquarters, active divisions (numbered in the 1-50 block), and supporting units. The headquarters for 1 army group (Army Group C) and 10 armies (First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, Twelfth, and Fourteenth) would be formed from the existing Heeresgruppenkommandos and several of the active corps headquarters. Since only 6 group commands existed and 11 higher headquarters were planned, 5 corps headquarters would provide personnel for an equal number of army headquarters as well as their own headquarters on mobilization. The Wehrkreise would attend to the procurement and training of replacements for units of the tactical corps and divisions once the tactical commands left for the field.

Operational headquarters for the Army High Command would be set up within six hours of the time mobilization was ordered. Army Group C and the 10 army headquarters would be operational by the second day of mobilization. The active corps headquarters, the Panzer and light divisions, and the support units of the infantry divisions would also be mobilized by the second day. The remaining units of the active infantry divisions would be mobilized by the third day.

Wave II would include a number of corps headquarters to be organized from the reserve, with a cadre of active personnel, and 16 fully trained reserve divisions (numbered in the block 51-100), composed largely of personnel who had completed their period of compulsory training. The Wave II corps headquarters would become operational on the third day of mobilization and the Wave II divisions would be ready within four days of mobilization to move into the field with the active divisions.

Wave III would call into service 21 divisions (numbered in the block 201-250) consisting mostly of reservists with less training, including many individuals of the 1901-1913 classes and World War I veterans who had had one or more short periods of refresher training. These divisions were to assemble by the sixth day following mobilization. The Wave III divisions would fill the vacuum caused by the departure of the active and Wave II divisions for the field, they would secure rear areas, and could be committed to combat operations in a restricted role.

Wave IV would include 14 divisions (numbered in the block 251300) to be formed from training units within Germany; these divisions were to be formed by the sixth day of mobilization and would supplement the Wave III divisions. As of the seventh day a new headquarters, for the Replacement and Training Army (Ersatzheer), would be mobilized to assume responsibility for the Zone of the Interior, permitting the Army High Command to devote its attention to directing the operations of its armies in the field.

Personnel as well as units were designated for mobilization assignments. Certain officers and enlisted men of the active Army were to be assigned to reserve units as they formed. A number of active officers in Wehrkreis and station complement assignments would remain in the various garrison areas until their replacements, usually older reserve and retired officers, were familiar with their duties. The active officers would then rejoin their commands in the field.

Additional motor vehicles' and horses would be required by the Army on mobilization. In accordance with standard German practice, the trucks and other motor vehicles of government agencies outside the armed forces, e. g. the extensive German postal organization; business corporations; and private owners were registered with the local Wehrkrei* for military use. The same procedure applied to horses, to fill the extensive requirements of the reserve infantry divisions and support units. Both vehicles and horses wTould be requisitioned when reserve units were mobilized. The selection of vehicles and horses, however, could be accomplished only by procurement commissions.

Special reference should be made at this point to the mobilization assignment planned for Army Group C and the First, Fifth, and Seventh Armies. In the event of mobilization, Heeresgruppenkommando 2 at Frankfurt-am-Main would become Army Group C, to control the First, Fifth, and Seventh Armies in the defense of the Westwall. First Army would be formed by XII Corps and the Saarpfalz Frontier Command. Fifth Army wTould be formed by VI Corps and the Eifel Frontier Command. Seventh Army would be formed by V Corps and the Upper Rhine Frontier Command. The frontier commands would be responsible for security and garrison duties in the Westwall area pending mobilization. Corps headquarters and active and reserve divisions were designated for allocation to. the army group, and would pass to the control of the army group and its armies upon orders mobilizing Army Group C and directing it to assume responsibility for the western frontier. The code name for the military movements for this contingency was Plan WEST.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:54:13 ZULU