Military district (Germany)

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The Wehrkreise after the Anschluss
Map of the Wehrkreise in 1943-1944

During World War II, Germany had a system of military districts (German: Wehrkreis) to relieve field commanders of as much administrative work as possible and to provide a regular flow of trained recruits and supplies to the Field Army. The Field Army (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres) was separate from the Home Command (Heimatkriegsgebiet). The responsibilities of training, conscription, supply, and equipment were entrusted to the Home Command.[1]

In peacetime, the Wehrkreis was the home to the Infantry Corps of the same number and all subordinate units of that Corps. The corps commander also commanded the Wehrkreis. Command of the Wehrkreis passed to the corps second-in-command at the outbreak of war.

Before the start of the war, there were also four Motorized Army Corps (in effect, staffs to control the training of Panzer and Light Panzer formations). These had no corresponding military districts, but were served (as regards conscription and supplies) by the districts in which Corps headquarters or subordinate formations had their Home Garrison Stations. These Corps were:

  • XIV. Armeekorps (mot.) ("XIV Army Corps (Motorized)")
  • XV. Armeekorps (mot.) ("XV Army Corps (Motorized)")
  • XVI. Armeekorps (mot.) ("XVI Army Corps (Motorized)")
  • XIX. Armeekorps ("XIX Army Corps")

Each Wehrkreis controlled Wehrbezirk Hauptquartier ("District Army Headquarters") and Wehrersatzbezirk Hauptquartier ("Alternate District Army Headquarters"). (These Bezirk HQs corresponded to civil political districts falling within the area of the Wehrkreis.) These in turn controlled Bereich Hauptsitze ("Area headquarters"), which controlled Unterregion Hauptsitze ("Sub-region Headquarters").

At the start of the war, there were fifteen Districts in Germany. During the war, four were added, and some Districts had territory added to them from other countries conquered by Germany.

List of Wehrkreise and subordinate HQs[edit]

Wehrkreise XX and XXI were established to control Danzig and Posen: the areas which were part of the German Empire before World War I, were awarded to Poland in 1918, and were annexed by Germany after the conquest of Poland in 1939.

Two additional Wehrkreise were established after the conquest of Poland. Wehrkreis General-Government controlled the remainder of Poland. Wehrkreis Böhmen-Mähren controlled the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia: those parts of the Czech lands not part of the Sudetenland.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hogg, p. B2

Sources[edit]

  • Hogg, Ian V. (1975) German Order of Battle 1944: The Regiments, Formations and Units of the German Ground Forces London. Arms and Armour Press.