Waffenamt

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Former Heereswaffenamt, Jebensstraße corner Hertz Avenue, Berlin
Former Army Ordnance Department (courtyard), Jebensstraße corner Hertz Avenue

Waffenamt (WaA) was the German Army Weapons Agency. It was the centre for research and development of Germany and also during the Third Reich for weapons, ammunition and army equipment to the German Reichswehr and later Wehrmacht. It was founded 8 November 1919 as Reichwaffenamt (RWA), and 5 May 1922 the name was changed to Heereswaffenamt (HWA).

The task of overseeing the Germany's gigantic World War II rearmament process was given to the Heeresabnahmestelle (the Army Acceptance Organization, commonly referred to as the Abnahme), a subsidiary of the Heereswaffenamt.

By 1940 the Abnahme consisted of 25,000 men in five departments in 16 inspection areas, augmented by specially selected plant personnel who were assigned to assist the Waffenamt inspectors in each manufacturing facility. Later, in the middle of 1944, approximately 8,000 of these Abnahme inspectors were "freed for service at the front".

The Heeres-Abnahmewesen was responsible for the testing and acceptance of all weapons, equipment and ammunition before delivery to the Wehrmacht. Inspections were carried out according to detailed guidelines called "Technische Lieferbedingungen" (TLs) prepared by the various Waffenprüfämter (WaPrüf) departments

When the rearmament program began, Waffenamt inspection departments were established in each factory and armourers were encouraged to apply for positions there. In preparation for their new duties they were given a four-week course at the Heereswaffenmeisterschule (Army Armourers School). The course ended with a test for Technical Inspector which raised the rank of each successful applicant to that of Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant). At the beginning of 1935, all inspection officials in the newly created program started on an equal footing as Technical Inspectors, but by the start of the war in 1939 nearly all of them had been promoted to Technical Inspector First Class with a rank of Hauptmann (Captain).

Waffenamt codes is the German inspection proof mark.

An example of a Waffenamt stamp.

Waffenamt Prüfwesen (Weapons Proof) departments[edit]

Wa Prüf - Amtsgruppe fur Entwicklung und Prüfung
Development and Testing Group
Wa Prüf 1 - Ballistische und Munitionsabteilung
Ballistical and Ammunition Branch
Wa Prüf 2 - Infanterieabteilung
Infantry Branch
Wa Prüf 4 - Artillerieabteilung
Artillery Branch
Wa Prüf 5 - Pionier- und Eisenbahnpionier-Abteilung
Engineer and Railway Engineer Branch
Wa Prüf 6 - Panzer- und Motorisierungsabteilung
Panzer and Motorized Equipment Branch
Wa Prüf 7 - Nachrichtenabteilung
Signal Branch
Wa Prüf 8 - Abteilung fur Optik, Messwesen, Heereswetterdienst, Feuerleitung und Kartendruck
Branch for Optical, Survey, Meteorological, Artillery Fire Control and Map Printing Equipment
Wa Prüf 9 - Gasschutzabteilung
Gas Protection Branch
Wa Prüf 11 - Abteilung fur Sondergerät
Special Equipment Branch
We Prüf 12 - Abteilung fur Versuchsplätze
Branch for Proving Grounds

References[edit]