Armies

German military parade

Adolf Hitler at a miltary parade for the reintroduction of the military service.

Strength, Organization, Orders of Battle, Weapons, Equipment of WW2 Armies.

A description of the strength, organization, orders of battle, weapons and equipment of the armies and armed forces of the involved nations for different periods of WW2.

On 1 September 1939 the armed forces of Nazi Germany began WW2 by invading Poland. With the notable exception of the German Wehrmacht, the organization and many weapons of the armed forces which fought the early campaigns was dominated by the memories of World War I and this was also the case in the design of uniforms. Not before the end of WW2, organization, uniform, equipment and weapons had often acquired a very modern look, as we knew it until today.

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Red Air Force and Navy 1941-1942

MiG-3 fighters over Leningrad

Russian Air Force 1942 The enforced lull in air operations during the winter period allowed the Red Air Force to recover from the first shocks. Training was improved and the quality of the aircrews rose generally through direct combat experience.… learn more

Red Army 1942

Russian infantry assault winter 1941-42

Strength and Organization of the Russian Armed Forces On 5 December 1941, in temperatures of minus 30 degrees centigrade, the Red Army launched its counter-offensive with 720,000 men, 670 tanks (205 of which were heavy KV-1 and medium T-34 models),… learn more

Japanese Navy

Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima

Strength and organisation of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Prime Minister presided over Imperial General Headquarters (GHQ) which was split in two sections – Army and Navy. Holding positions at Imperial GHQ were the Navy Minister and the Chief of… learn more

Japanese Army 1939-40

Japanese soldiers crossing a pontoon bridge in China

Strength and organization of the Imperial Army and Air Force. The Japanese Army was a mirror of Japanese society before 1945. It contained a peculiar amalgam of medieval attitudes and modern material, for the Army still followed the code of… learn more

Polish Armed Forces in Exile

Polish troops march through an English town during the summer of 1940

POLISH ARMY IN EXILE. Many Polish soldiers, singly or in small groups, had evaded capture or escaped internment after the defeat in 1939, and made their way to France through the Baltic countries in the north, and through Hungary, Romania,… learn more

3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf

Grenadiers of the Totenkopf Division

Campiagns of the 3rd SS tank division Totenkopf (Part II: from 1943 to 1945). Russia 1943 Kursk tank battle and the Donez Basin. The Totenkopf, which had expanded into a Panzergrenadier division in France – but now actually even had… learn more

Czech National Army in Exile

Czech soldier on exercise in Britain

Czechoslavak Exil Forces in World War II. Before 1938, the 1,500,000 strong Czech Army was one of the largest in Europe. After the Munich Agreement, Czech soldiers began to leave their homeland, and the first Czech units abroad were formed… learn more

French Armed Forces 1939

French soldiers moving a heavy artillery gun

Strength and organization of the Army divisions and l’Army de l’Air of France in September 1939 France emerged from World War One with considerable military prestige, but the French Forces and indeed the whole nation were exhausted. After the experiences… learn more

Luftwaffe Orders of Battle September 2, 1939

Ju 87B dive-bomber

Strength and aircrafts of the Luftflotten on the day after Germany invaded Poland The Luftwaffe Orders of Battle gives the strength of the German air force operational units on the day after Germany invaded Poland, and the day before Great… learn more

German Orders of Battle for September 1, 1939

German Panzer Division after the first border fights in Poland

Orders of Battle, strength of the Army divisions and tank inventory of the Wehrmacht at time of campaign in Poland. The German Orders of Battle at the time of the campaign in Poland and the resulting outbreak of World War… learn more

Polish Armed Forces

Polish soldiers at a pre-war torchlit review.

Strength and organization of the Army divisions, tank inventory, Air Force and Navy of Poland in September 1939. The Polish Forces came into existence after World War One , and, like all the armies of the newly independent states which… learn more

RAF Squadrons in September 1939

Gloster Gladiator launching

Aircrafts and bases of the Royal Air Force at the beginning of World War II. By the outbreak of World War Two, most RAF squadrons had modern equipment, the breathing space given by the Munich agreement having given time for… learn more

Royal Air Force on Eagle Day

Hurricane pilots 'scramble' on Eagle Day.

Aircrafts and bases of the RAF squadrons in August 1940. The first phase of the German plan for the invasion of England was to gain control of the air and so during the months of July and August 1940 the… learn more

RAF Squadrons 1942

Stirling bomber of the RAF Bomber Command

Aircrafts and bases of the Royal Air Force in June 1942. By July 1941 the strength of Bomber Command stood at 45 RAF squadrons with a theoretical deployment of 1,000 aircraft. In practice, only 37 squadrons could be considered for… learn more

RAF Squadrons in May 1940

A trio of Bristol Blenheim IV bombers.

Aircrafts and bases of the Royal Air Force on May 10, 1940. In January 1940 it was decided to unite the Air Component and the Advanced Air Striking Force under the command of the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief British Air Forces… learn more

British and Empire Armies 1939

Troops of the 13/18th Royal Hussars

British Army in September 1939. On 2 September 1939, the day before England declared war on Germany, a small military advance party was flown to France, and soon after this the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) began crossing the Channel. By… learn more

British Army in the Mediterranean 1940

Exercise of light Vickers Mark IIA tanks

British and Empire Armies in the Mediterranean The Mediterranean theatre was an area of prime importance to Britain. She had many interests there and the Suez canal was the most important artery of the Empire. In August 1939 the land… learn more

British Army in Western Europe 1940

King George VI inspects men of the Home Guard

British Army and Home Guard in Western Europe and Britain For the first six months little military action took place at the Western Front except a minor, half-hearted French offensive in the Saar region. The BEF trained, consolidated its position,… learn more

SS-Totenkopf Division

SS-Unterscharfuehrer (Corporal) of the Totenkopf Division

Creation and Campaigns of the SS-Totenkopf (Death’s head) division (T) – Part I. Designations SS-Totenkopf-Division (Oktober 16, 1939) SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Totenkopf (November 9, 1942) 3rd SS-Panzer-Division Totenkopf (November 22, 1943) Commanders SS-Obergruppenführer Theodor Eicke (November 1939 – July 1941) SS-Obergruppenführer Matthias… learn more

British Army 1942

Vickers heavy MG about to open fire with the 1th South African Division of the Eight Army.

Strength and Organization of the Armies of the British Empire in the Middle East and Europe From late 1941 until the summer of 1942, the British 8th Army in North Africa fought a series of engagements which revealed serious deficiencies… learn more