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WWII Axis: Featured Book
Welcome to the WWII Heer Units page!
In this area, you will find listings for all the websites we can find of units portraying the German Army during the Second World War. The German Army had (has) a long and honored history (don't start, they did!) and their loyalty and honor, plus a sense of duty was a part of what made the Wehrmacht great. Loyalty to his organization, family, country and comrades is one of those things that makes the German a natural soldier and most of try and do this portrayal correctly.
If you are interested in portraying a "Landser," check out one of these units listed below, they will get you going!
The German Army furthered concepts pioneered during the First World War, combining ground (Heer) and Air Force (Luftwaffe) assets into combined arms teams. Coupled with traditional war fighting methods such as encirclements and the "battle of annihilation", the German military managed many lightning quick victories in the first year of the Second World War, prompting foreign journalists to create a new word for what they witnessed: Blitzkrieg.
The Heer entered the war with a minority of its formations motorized; infantry remained approximately 90% foot-borne throughout the war, and artillery primarily horse-drawn. The motorized formations received much attention in the world press in the opening years of the war, and were cited as the reason for the success of the German invasions of Poland (September 1939), Norway (April 1940), Denmark, Belgium, France and Netherlands (May 1940), Yugoslavia (April 1941) and the early campaigns in the Soviet Union (June 1941).
With the entry of the United States in December 1941, the Wehrmacht found itself engaged in campaigns against two major industrial powers. At this critical juncture, Hitler assumed personal control of the Wehrmacht high command, and his personal failings as a military commander arguably contributed to major defeats in early 1943, at Stalingrad and Tunis in North Africa.
The Germans' military strength was managed through mission-based tactics (rather than order-based tactics) and an almost proverbial discipline. In public opinion, the German Army was, and sometimes still is, seen as a high-tech army (e.g., The movie "Star Wars" features a MG42, used by the Empire's storm troopers.). These technologies were featured by propaganda, but were often only available in small numbers or late in the war, as overall supplies of raw materials and armaments became low. For example, only forty percent of all units were motorised, baggage trains often relied on horse-drawn trailers and many soldiers went by foot or used bicycles (de: Radfahrtruppen).
Max Hastings, British author, historian and ex-newspaper editor, said in a radio interview on WGN Chicago "...there's no doubt that man for man, the German army was the greatest fighting force of the second world war." This view was also explained in his book "Overlord: D-Day and the battle for Normandy". In the book World War II : An Illustrated Miscellany, Anthony Evans writes: 'The German soldier was very professional and well trained, aggressive in attack and stubborn in defence. He was always adaptable, particularly in the later years when shortages of equipment were being felt'. These views of German warriors are an attempt to evaluate their fighting abilities and not trying to excuse or justify some of the aims or actions of the Nazi regime.
Among the foreign volunteers who served in the Heer during World War II were ethnic Germans, Dutch, and Scandinavians along with people from the Baltic states and the Balkans. Russians fought in the Russian Liberation Army or as Hilfswilliger. Non-Russians from the Soviet Union formed the Ostlegionen. These units were all commanded by General Ernst August Koestring and represented about five percent of the forces under the OKH.