Comparison to US Army 1939-1945
Fighting power of the German Wehrmacht (Part I)
According to calculations by the US Army the results of the battles in WW2 were only possible, when the soldiers of the Wehrmacht – man for man and unit for unit – were 20 to 30 percent more effective than was the British and American forces they faced.
Extrapolating the individual soldiers against each other – and although the Wehrmacht was far lower in numbers – so the German troops that faced British and American troops (for assaults with the usual factor of 1.0 – in the defense in carefully selected positions with view by a factor of 1.3 – in prepared defense positions 1.5 – in fortified defense positions by a factor of 1.6) cause approximately 50 percent higher losses than they suffer under all combat conditions.
This was accessible whether the Germans were in attack or defense, if they were locally in place with higher numbers or – what was the rule – in lower numbers, if they had air cover or not, whether they had won the battle or lost at the end.
see also: German military performance according to HERO database.
Even in the bitter years of defeats on the Russian front, the German combat effectiveness superiority over the Russians was even more pronounced. In the early days of the campaign in the east, one German division could take up with three Russian divisions of comparable strength and power. And, theoretically, under favorable defense conditions one German division could stand against no less than seven comparable Russian divisions.
In 1944 this superiority was still about 2:1, and one German soldier at the front caused an average loss of 7.78 Russians for one German casualty. These figures need to adapted to the fact that the Wehrmacht in 1944 was almost always in the defense, had a relatively higher mobility and at this time the German weapons were better than the weapons of the Russians. But even if you take into account these considerations, the ratio for the infliction of losses was more than 4:1 and the German fighting power in battle was – man by man – about more than 50% better.
Moreover, from the available figures you could see, that the performance of the Polish army in 1939 was statistically better than the Russians in the later course of the war. In addition, the Poles suffered – unlike the Russians – under the disadvantage of limited space for retreats, and that they were attacked by the Russians in the back, although they had a non-aggression pact with them. If we assumes that the Poles were defending mostly and the defender has an advantage of 1.3, 100 Poles caused the Wehrmacht 0.4 losses per day. At the same time 100 Germans costs the Polish 1.52 casaulties. This results in the infliction of casualties of a German superiority of almost 4:1, and on the basis of other statistical surveys from WW2 the fighting power superiority was almost 2:1 for the Wehrmacht.
The difference between the referred effectiveness at the beginning of this report (20-30% in the West, more than 50% in the East) and inflicted losses (50% in the West, 400% in the East because of the additional thoughtless mass assaults) but also results probably from the more improved equipment of the Wehrmacht (especially the Panzer V Panther against the Sherman tank, 88 mm Flak gun, Nebelwerfer rocket launchers, Sturmgewehr assault rifles, Panzerfaust and especially the MG34 and MG42 machine guns, the second one is still in use today) and has nothing to do with the fighting power of the individual soldiers or the individual units.
The fact that major strategic mistakes were done by Hitler and his Wehrmacht high command have not been interfered with this conclusion. The soldiers of the Wehrmacht fought unabated on for many years after all real hope for the ‘final victory’ in World War II was gone. Even in April 1945 the German units fought on unabated everywhere where the local tactical situation was at all bearable, so an Allied intelligence report for this month.
The main causes of the superior fighting power of the Wehrmacht
It can not lead to the inclination for wars, because since 1776 the U.S. were involved in 13 wars over a total period of more than 38 years – Prussia, the German Empire and Germany over the same period a total of 14 wars lasting total of about 29 years.
The social status of the military:
The officers and soldiers career in the German Reich until the end of the Second World War had a much higher social status and attracted more qualified applicants than this was the case in the United States.
The German commanding principles until the present is the ‘order tactics’, which means that the commander is commanding to his subordinates what they have to do, but not the way they have to do it (a principle against which the self-declared ‘greatest war leader of all times’ – Adolf Hitler – regularly broke on the strategic level).
In the US Army there was a tendency to anticipate every possible situation in detail and order for everything in detail, and the view that war is a kind of ‘industrial management’.
Proportion of combat troops
These are the actually fighting troops.
|Date||September 1939||July 1941||June 1942||December 1943|
|German divisions total||106||203||239||278|
|Average strength per division on paper||16,626||13,900||13,500||13,000|
|Real average strength per division||16,626||13,800||11,836||10,453|
|Combat troops in divisions||90.7% infantry, 86.2% armoured|
|Division slice: average strength on paper per division together with auxiliary troops (reserves, guards, wounded, sick and so on)||34,893||24,907||24,931||26,172|
|Division slice: real average strength with auxiliary troops||34,893||24,807||24,267||23,625|
|Date||June 1944||November 1944||April 1945||for comparison US Army (January 1945 in Europe)|
|German divisions total||255||260||260|
|Average strength per division on paper||12,500||12,500||11,500|
|Real average strength per division||12,155||8,761||9,985||13,400|
|Combat troops in divisions||89.4% Panzergrenadiers||88.9% infantry, 83.6% armoured divisions|
|Division slice: average strength on paper per division together with auxiliary troops (reserves, guards, wounded, sick and so on)||27,401||26,583||21,895|
|Division slice: real average strength with auxiliary troops||27,056||22,844||20,380||43,400|
In 1945 each division of the Wehrmacht required about 50% less auxiliary troops as a U.S. division (ie 20,380 men per 9,985 soldiers division strength, with the U.S. Army 43,400 men per 13,400 soldiers division strength).
Ie the proportion of actual fighting troops in the Wehrmacht was much higher than in the U.S. Army.
CONTINUE HERE TO Fighting power Wehrmacht Part II
see also: German Fighting Power in World War One