" Iststarke includes all men who are part of a unit according to zetterling. Although it does not specifically exclude higher level supply formations it does not spec include them. "
Yes it does - if we are talking about the Iststärke of a higher level formation, and the report in question is not "fechtende verbände", in which case it doesn't. There is an example of the differences between these in Zetterlings excellent critique of Overmans which you yourself was kind enough to draw my attention to some time ago. Iststärke of any given formation naturally does not include anything else than the troops who are part of that particular formation, be it a division, corps, army or army group.
This is however in Zetterlings case a moot point, because he uses a different method to calculate higher level supply services, in the absence of a fully adequate report. This can be found in chapter 4. On June 1 1944, German ground forces (including W-SS and LW ground) in the Netherlands, Belgium and France numbered 880,000 men. Adding together the strength of the divisions accounts for about 680,000. From this he concludes that 77% of all men were found in the divisions, the remainder being GHQ troops. Since about 58,000 men belonged to GHQ combat units, this leads to the conclusion that about 16% of German forces in Western Europe were non-divisional non-combat troops - what you would call supply and service troops. For the rest, let me quote Zetterling directly:
"We can calculate the toral manpower strength by adding together the strength of the units that arrived in Nomandy and then multiply it by 1.19 (the inverse of 0.84)." And there's the Cobra ratio for you (with casualties taken into account). This is naturally not an ideally accurate way of calculating German strength, which Zetterling himself also states, but no-one has so far been able to come up with a better one given the state of the available documentation. Moving down your post, I see that you do address this (though you have a slightly wrong percentage). I am however a bit mystified by this:
"While this may include some supply service personnal it does not by his description include all of them. "
Because he doesn't describe them, except to say that it includes ALL army, W-SS and LW ground combat personnel, and does not include the LW and KM ground organisations. How you can deduce from this that there are supply service personnel who are not included eludes me.
"..oints in Zetterlings book he describes how ration str as discribed by the ger army has nothing to do wih the combat str of the ger army. But it does matter for supply purposes. In my view actual str is by definition only about actual 'combat strength' and by def excludes a large part of rear services supply forces. If you look at the ration str of formations it gets even more bloated as you get higher according to zetterling. This iis exactly what you would expect if ration str included rear area service troops. "
You have a bit of a misunderstanding there. It is correct that ration strength does matter for supply matters, and Zetterling I believe refers to the OKW order to discontinue the use of the term except in matters relating purely to supply. The reason why is very simple - it details the number of people that has to be fed, thus it is neccessary to report it to ensure that adequate rations are provided. It has nothing whatsoever to do with ration strength describing supply troops, it is the other way around, it gives the number of people who needs to be supplied. Iststärke provides the personnel strength of a given formation and does NOT differentiate between combat troops and supply and service elements - that would be Gefechtsstärke, who counts only troops in combat units (albeit including non-combat troops in combat units - like the company clerk of a panzer company).
"Ration str If we look at the AGN numbers agin the number of actual str was around 550,000 but its ration str doubled to over 1 million. It seems to me the ger army is not going to give out double the number of rations as it needs to without getting something back in return. While I am sure not all these men were not supporting AGN a large part of them were. "
What exactly do you mean "supporting"? They certainly were not feeding people out of the kindness of their hearts. But an AG covering vast amounts of space in hostile territory employs all kinds of auxiliaries, from OT construction workers working on infrastructure and fortifications to Railway labor gangs to the local kid employed by some lieutenant to mend and polish his boots and run errands. Also, sick, wounded and prisoners of war and so on.
Once again, most of the points you raise are dealt with in the book itself. Refer to the AG North example you yourself quote, on page 12. Ration strength is 1,012,000. All German personell - that is every single German person the AG is responsible for feeding, not just soldiers, numbers 670,000. which means that more than 1/3 of ration strength in this case consisted of Russian civilians or POWs. Furthermore, of these 670,000, only 550,200 belongs to divisions, brigades, GHQ combat units, security units and - REAR SUPPLY SERVICES AND MEN SERVING WITH INTELLIGENCE, CONSTRUCTION, ARMY JUSTICE, PROPAGANDA, MAP PRODUCTION, RAILWAYS AND VARIOUS TECHNICAL UNITS. Can you think of any group not named here that would be relevant to include in strength? If you then move to page 13, you will find table 2.1, which gives the strength of "Fechtende verbände" - ie without higher support services, for the same date. These numbered 434,749. Which again means that higher echelon support services accounted for about 20% of the strength of AG North, which is not significantly different from the 16% Zetterling finds in Normandy.
" The number of actual str forces in the west and east is only 3.5 million on 1 jun 44 but there are 12 million men in the whermact at this time. Only 30% of the germans were employed fighting the rusians and allies. While this does not include garrion, luff and kregs personnal either it seems obvious to me that there are milllions of whermact soilders who would be unaccounted for and must assumed to be serrevice and supply troops."
This is something that has always fascinated me too. However, what you certainly cannot do without a shred of source support is to assume that millions of these were supply and service troops. Firstly as you say, there are garrisons and the organisations of the LW and KM, both of whom were very large. Then you have huge amounts of people manning FLAK defenses on the home front and supplying that network - if I am not much mistaken, about every second German artillery tube in 1944 was that of a FLAK gun pointing skywards in Germany. You have a huge replacement army capable of turning out a seven-digit number of replacements yearly, not to mention the troops they are currently training. By late 1943, this factor alone accounts for about two million men. You have the entire military administration and staffs at home, and its communications apparatus. You have at any given time a very large number of wounded. You have Guard detachments at all military installations, POW camps and industrial plants utilising slave labor.
Of course, most of these contributed in some way to the German war effort, but this is something different from the strength of the organisation engaged in a particular campaign. The US army had a total strength of 8 1/2 milion (ref Hastings), the great majority of whom were similarly engaged in training, administration and so on outside the theatres were the fighting took place. They are no less relevant (or rather, no more) relevant in this context, even though they too contributed to the functioning of the armies in Normandy. Modern mass armies required huge organisations, and the German numbers in this respect are not unnormal.
"In manstiens lost victories he mentions combing trough rear services to get all german manpower out and using ukr volunteers instead. "
The HiWi factor. A thorny issue when it comes to strength ratios in the east, but hardly very relevant here.
"Rich anderson at one point also posted the allied pow camp ger monthly numbers. Not calims by front line units but actual mouths to feed. The ger suffered about 2 mil MIA up to the end of 44. 1 million in rus and 1 million elsewhere all other coutries and causes over a total of 6 years. The number of germans in western pow camps at this point was 1.3 million. So the number of mia reprted by the ger must be increased by around 50%. One possible cause of these higher numbers of pows taken then reported missing might be rear service troops. Who wouldn't be included in the actual str reports and the reporting system for losses might go through a different chanel."
The explanation for that discrepancy is completely obvious (and shouldn't that be 30% rather than 50%?). The higher number includes LW and KM ground personnel, which the MIA reports of the army does not include. Also, various German personnel of different administrative agencies. Considering catastrophic defeat in Africa in 43 and in France in 44, those are numbers one would expect to see, and certainly not something that requires fanciful speculation.
"It seems to me that the ger army used actual str to reflect a truer picture of a units current comabat abilities. In my opion it would exclude rear area support pesonnal since they do not contribut directly to combat shape of the front units. " and "I will have to disagree with you. I think tot US manpower and german actual str are very different things. And until you or someone else can supply a sourse or argument saying otherwise I will just disagree. I will try to outline some reasons why I think so. "
1. What Iststärke does and does not include is well known and very simple - it includes all personell who are part of the unit or formation in question. Contrary to your assumption, it is not designed to give a "truer picture of a units current combat capabilities", as it includes short-term sick and wounded (expected to return within 8 weeks), and even men on leave or temporarily detached to other units. Zetterling: "Thus, despite its name, this strength number does not give the actual number of men available for service with the unit at a given time". Tagesstärke, or daily strength, would be the category that gives you that. Refer p 11. And it does include supply and support personnel. If it didn't it would have been identical to Gefechtsstärke. Consequently, for the umpteenth time, it would not "exclude rear area support personnel".
2. So much for "your opinion", without any sort of source support whatsoever, either from you or anyone else that I've read. You can have opinions about football or music, but when you start having "opinions" about the meaning of precisely defined administrative terms that can easily be found in sources you have available, it might be prudent to take it down a notch or two what?
3. Your reasons for "thinking so" have been addressed in the above. And I have done so using almost exclusively the same book which you took as your starting point.
4. Those who are unconvinced of your speculations are not the only ones who require sources. In fact, since you are launching here into speculation that runs counter to the current state of research, you are the one who needs the sources. It is not OK to believe anything that is conceivable until someone disproves it.
Last edited by Qvist on 03 May 2002 13:47, edited 3 times in total.