Replacement Army

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The Replacement Army (German: Ersatzheer) was part of the Imperial German Army during World War I and part of the Wehrmacht during World War II. It was based within Germany proper and included command and administrative units as well as training and guard troops. Its primary role was to provide replacements for the combat divisions of the regular army.[1]

In the Third Reich[edit]

It was formed in the various German military districts (Wehrkreise) and was tasked with the conscription, recruitment, training and replacement of personnel, testing of new military equipment, and administration, such as responsibility for soldiers on home leave.[2]

The Ersatzheer contingency plans for Operation Valkyrie were deliberately misused as part of the unsuccessful 20 July plot, for the assassination of Adolf Hitler, arrest of SS troops, and the staging of a military coup d'etat. Its commander, Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm, had enough power to control the German state because his position controlled army procurement and production and command of all army troops inside Germany.[3] Fromm had refused to cooperate in an earlier coup, Operation Spark (1940), but the planners in 1944 still planned to use the Reserve Army. Himmler personally took over control of the Replacement Army because of its potential to be used in another assassination attempt.[4]

Commanding officers[edit]

Chief Took office Left office Time in office
Joachim von Stülpnagel [de]
Stülpnagel, JoachimGeneral der Infanterie zur Verwendung
Joachim von Stülpnagel [de]
26 August 193931 August 19395 days
Friedrich Fromm
Fromm, FriedrichGeneraloberst
Friedrich Fromm
1 September 193920 July 19444 years, 323 days
Heinrich Himmler
Himmler, HeinrichReichsführer-SS
Heinrich Himmler
21 July 19448 May 1945291 days
Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff Took office Left office Time in office
Hans Jüttner
Jüttner, HansSS-Obergruppenführer
Hans Jüttner
21 July 19448 May 1945291 days


  1. ^ Ph.D, David T. Zabecki (2014-10-28). Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History [4 volumes]: 400 Years of Military History. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598849813.
  2. ^ Balkoski, Joseph (2005). Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy. Stackpole Books. ISBN 9780811732376.
  3. ^ Ziemke, Earl F.; Bauer, Magna E. (1985). Moscow To Stalingrad: Decision In The East. U.S. Army Center of Military History. ISBN 9780160019425.
  4. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. (2016-01-20). US Infantryman vs German Infantryman: European Theater of Operations 1944. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472801388.

External links[edit]