Axis Division Staff
“Wacht Am Rein”
Battle of the Bulge 2018
Organization of Axis Division
The WWIIHA Event Administration functions are designed to replicate the original 1944 U.S. Army Division structure, and both the Allied and Axis re-enactors’ respective chains of command are also organized according to each side’s 1944 divisional structure.
Up until January 2017 the focal point of the Axis 1944 Division model at the Battle of the Bulge has been the German Headquarters and its system of managing impression and behavioral standards through the Soldbuch inspection/Café Trois pass system. In the original Division, this would have fallen under the rear area service known as the Division Staff Adjutanture Unit or IIa.
In 2017, we continued to evolve our replication of the 1944 Division Staff model by staffing up three additional fundamental activities that must occur for success at our event. The original staff model contained other functions (such as veterinarian staff) that do not apply to our event.
These four functions are based on a real world model that served the German Army well, but have been adapted with practicality for contemporary re-enactors:
1. Administration & Discipline (originally the Division Staff Adjutanture Unit or IIa)
Standards of behavior and appearance must be established, widely understood and enforced. Additionally, event management must have a central point of contact for all administrative issues surrounding event registration, housing, parking, post regulations.
2. Battle Planning (originally the Division Staff Command Unit or Ia)
The objective of the battle must be clearly understood via analysis of terrain, combat capabilities of the Division’s front line and the combat capabilities of the enemy. That analysis must be ongoing and developed into recommendations of action for the Commander.
3. Ammunition Management & Troop Movement (originally the Division Staff Quartermaster Unit or Ib)
Daily movement of troops happens in this order: Appell, Ammunition Distribution, Convoy Assembly and Deployment to the field. Since there are multiple convoys and routes into the field, these must be coordinated from a central point of management that ensures the order of march to the field is properly maintained and that control of all elements is maintained upon arrival.
4. Combat Effectiveness (this is delivered by the Regiment(s), or the front line of the Division).
Full strength divisions were organized into multiple regiments supported by several back line services. The Regiment has a commander solely focused on translating the Divisional Commander’s Intent into success on the battlefield via the regiment’s Kompanie commanders, men and assets.
All four of those elements and their commanders will report directly to the Division Kommandur. His responsibility is to ensure that the four act in concert with each other, give each strategic advice and direction. The Axis Division Kommandur has the ultimate accountability to WWIIHA for their performance and in turn he works to ensure the appropriate WWIIHA support for their operations.
How The Axis Division Chain of Command Will Function
· Kaserne Operations is the chain of command to be used when the troops are in garrison
· Field Operations is the chain of command to be used when the troops are in the field.
· Divisional command will retain command over both Kaserne Operations and Field Operations, but will administer each through separate chains of command
Kaserne Chain of Command
Kaserne/Administrative Structure Definition:
This is the structure and chain of command used throughout the year leading up to the event and during the event in Kaserne for all activities except for Field Operations (“tactical activity”).
In Kaserne, a German unit will be referred to as a Zug. These are the entities officially recognized as having been invited by WWIIHA to participate in the event. The chain of command in Kaserne will start with the Divisional Commander, who is a member of the WWIIHA Executive Board, and be administered through two Divisional Bataillon: Wehrmacht (Heer and Luftwaffe) and Waffen SS. Unit commanders will report directly to their respective Bataillon commander, who in turn reports directly to the Divisional Commander. All garrison functions will be directed through this chain of command. See below:
DIVISION is responsible for overall administrative control. It is supreme in the chain of command and holds overall decision-making responsibility. It controls troop movement to the Training Area for Field Operations and from the Training Area when Field Operations are complete.
BATAILLON has full and direct control of its respective branch of service and is the primary branch of service interface between Division and the various Zuge within Heer, SS and Luftwaffe. (The Luftwaffe Zuge will use the Heer Bataillon unless otherwise ordered by Division.) This includes all administrative reports to Axis HQ and the IIa, including strength reports. All communication up and down the chain of command passes through Bataillon according to branch of service. All ceremonial functions are administered through Bataillon.
ZUG means an individual pre-established unit per event registration. Whether 5 men or 50, we consider these units a Zug and they are expected to report to their respective Battaillon.
REGIMENT, while in Kaserne, is subordinate to Division, but not in the direct chain of command for Kaserne Operations. While in garrison it has no role other than planning/preparation of Field Operations. Regiment will determine all Field Operation subdivisions as needed, including Kampfgruppen and within KG’s, smaller subordinate Kompanien comprised of individual units (Zug) as recognized by WWIIHA registration.
Field Operations Chain of Command
Field Operation/Tactical Structure Definition:
The Division will administer Field Operations through a Regimental Command that has direct tactical command and control once in the combat zone. Regiment will determine the Order of Battle, and will have the authority to arrange Zuge into Kompanie and/or Kampfgruppe based on the mission requirements. The OB and composition of Ko and KG is therefore not static and can change from year to year to be determined by the nature of the scenario we are re-creating.
This is the structure and chain of command used once troops have physically entered the training area.
DIVISION maintains overall operational control, addresses over-arching logistical issues that may arise, is the POC for event management issues that may arise (WWIIHA, FIG Range Control) and controls combat flow via comms with enemy (Allied) counterparts. It does not directly control subordinate tactical units. Division controls movement to and from the Training Area.
REGIMENT assumes full and direct tactical control of all subordinate tactical units once command is released from Division at Startex. In relinquishes control back to Division at Endex or if WWIIHA or FIG authorities intercede due to an event level issue. The Regimental Commander will be a senior officer with the highest level of field operations experience and demonstrated performance.
KAMPFGRUPPEN are ad hoc constructs used to organize multiple subordinate assets into a cohesive fighting force to achieve specific ends. The quantity, composition and leadership of Kampfgruppen is adaptable to the particular needs of Regiment based on the capabilities/specializations of the assets and expertise of specific commanders. KG’s are driven by need, may combine subordinate units from different branches and are temporary.
KOMPANIE is the primary element in the tactical structure. A Kompanie can be comprised of one or more individual units (Zuge). One example of this is combining all Gebirgsjager and Jager Zuge into a GJ Ko with a single commander. This combines three Zuge of similar assets (light infantry) but different sizes (large, medium and small) into a larger more effective fighting force. It is also more efficient to deploy these units under a single Ko commander. The quantity, composition and leadership of Kompanie is adaptable to the particular needs of Regiment (or KG, if being used), and is based on the capabilities/specializations of the assets and expertise of specific commanders. Kompanien are driven by need, and may combine subordinate Zuge from different branches.
Field Operations Chain of Command
With Example of Ad Hoc Kampfgruppen
What follows is a description of each of those assignments, using the original duties of 1944/45 as a foundation, but adapted for this event so that the key tasks required for this event are executed successfully. There is some significant change and clearer definition of responsibility, primarily to remove operational silos which hinder seamless execution of the Division Commander’s orders and intention.
Division Staff Command Unit Ia:
Responsibilities of Ia:
· Provides the field operational planning support to Regiment
· Monitors, records, evaluates and reports with recommendations on all aspects of the Division’s combat operations, including troop leadership, training, organization, transport, weaponry.
· Develops and presents field operations options for consideration.
· Manages support staff including temporary officers and/or EM/NCOs with tasks directly related to the command unit
· Oversees the preparation of maps and war diary
· Oversees the gathering and analysis of intelligence prior to and during field operations
· Drafts the Division level Field Orders and maintains integrity of “Commander’s Intent.”
Division Staff Personnel Unit IIa:
Responsibilities of IIa:
· Division Chief Adjutant, Axis 2nd in Command for all WWIIHA admin “event level” issues should the Division Commander leave the event due to a personal emergency.
· Prior to the event is the clearinghouse for ALL unit commanders’ barracks/housing requests.
· Oversees all Axis HQ and Rear Area functions and activities, including, but not limited to:
o German reenactor compliance with Axis impression standards via the Soldbuch stamp/Café Trois pass system
o Officer registration card system
o Occupied Europe living history security scenarios.
· During the event, is the primary POC representing Division Commander on all WWIIHA event admin matters, including event registration issues, personal vehicle parking, snow removal, barracks assignments, barracks conditions.
· Primary POC representing Division Commander to the MP Commander
· Maintains a supply of key event and field exercise documents for distribution to registered Axis participants— Barracks maps, Tactical maps, Unit Commander Briefs, Master List of all event registrants, vendors, and vehicle owners, all published schedules, regulations, etc.
Division Staff Supply Unit Ib:
Responsibilities of I b:
· Subordinate to WWIIHA, oversees matters related to German transportation and troop movement, starting with morning Appell, continuing with assembly of convoys in garrison, from garrison to training area. He releases command of all German troops to German Regimental field commander in the Training Area upon orders from German Division commander.
· Commands the German officers responsible for the Tracked Vehicle Convoy, Wheeled Vehicle Convoy and the Bus Infantry Convoy.
· Acts as POC for WWIIHA Bus Convoy Commander, Allied Convoy Command, Range Control and FIG Police in matters related to troop and vehicle movement.
· Subordinate to WWIIHA, oversees matters related to German ammunition supply and distribution
· Maintains radio contact with all three subordinate convoy commanders each morning until their tasks are complete.
· Maintains existing responsibilities in the TOC for facilitating safety and medical issues in the field
Order of March for ALL Convoy Movement (following Appell and ammunition distribution):
1. TVC (Tracked Vehicle Convoy assembles) at Tank Wash.
2. WVC (Wheeled Vehicle Convoy) assembles at Axis HQ.
3. Bus Convoy assembles on the company street TBD by WWIIHA; Bus Convoy moves to Training Area upon orders from WWIIHA.
4. Division Commander, Field Regiment Command, Division Ia, Division Ib, and SS Bn commander assemble at Axis HQ.
5. Division Ib confirms that all wheeled vehicles, troops and personnel listed in #4 above are present.
6. Upon orders from WWIIHA, Division Ib authorizes WVC to advance to the tank wash to fall in behind the Axis TVC and informs Axis TVC commander by radio.
7. WVC falls in behind Axis TVC at tank wash
8. TVC commander reports to Ib on status of tactical vehicle readiness, including mechanical and radio status. Ib reports to the Division Ia and Division Commander and subordinate to WWIIHA, the Division Commander orders movement to the Training Area.
9. Division Ib releases joint TVC/WVC convoy for movement to the Training Area and informs Bus Convoy Infantry Commander by radio.
a. No Axis vehicles may leave the tank wash for the training area without permission of the Ib.
b. No Axis vehicles may leave the tank wash for the training area without the Division Commander and personnel listed in #4.
c. Ib maintains radio contact with TVC Commander and Bus Convoy Infantry Commander until all arrive at the Training Area.
d. If the Bus Convoy arrives at the Training Area before any of the vehicle convoys, the Bus Convoy Infantry Commander holds all infantry under his command in that position until other orders received.
10. It is the Division Commander’s firm intention that both vehicle convoys and bus infantry NOT deploy into the Training Area separately and/or at different times, and not without orders from the Division Commander on site.
Regimental Commander (Regimentsführer)
1. Assumes direct control and orders deployment of all convoys and troops from Division Ib when all have arrived in the training area.
2. Commands the Regiment and is responsible for its effective performance in all matters assigned to it.
3. Using the Divisional Field Order, Originates all fragmentary field orders given to subordinate units.
4. Directly controls the movement and actions of the Regiment in combat.
5. Mediates disputes arising within the Regiment.
6. Establishes the content of and leads the Thursday night Field Exercise Orientation meeting.
7. Establishes the Order of Battle
8. Selects men from the Zuge for all necessary Kompaniefuhrer and/or Kampfgruppefuhrer positions.
Bataillon Commander (Bataillonsführer)
1. Orient Zug commanders to be able to identify Axis Division, Battailon and Regimental Leadership: Division Commander, Ia, IIa, Ib, Military Police Commander, Heer Bn Commander, SS Bn Commander, Regimental Commander
2. Maintaining troop strength reports.
3. Enforce military courtesy of superiors in all branches
4. Ensures participation of Zuge for their Bataillon in Pass In Review
5. Ensures each Zug Commander in their Bn is in compliance with the Zug Commander event responsibilities.
6. In Kaserne, is the highest officer in the chain of command for the Zuge commanders, only subordinate to the Division Commander.
7. Organizes respective Bn for Appell and presents Bn to Division for review
8. Senior officer for Bn in Kaserne for any other ceremonial functions.
Kompanie Commander (Kompanieführer)
1. Attends Thursday night Field Exercise briefing as representative for his Kompanie
2. Conduct tactical briefing for his men.
3. Maintain operational security in Barracks
4. Upon arrival in the Training Area, waits to receive direct tactical command of his Kompanie from Regimental Commander and deploys his Kompanie when ordered by Regiment.
5. Safety of their men: hydration, personal weapon safety, awareness of armor/tracked vehicles safety distances.
6. Situation Reports to their superior as determined by Regiment
7. At Endex, releases command of his men to the appropriate Convoy commanders for movement back to Kaserne.
Zug Commander (Zugführer)
1. Ensure his unit’s officers are registered at Axis HQ and carry their officer card on their person.
2. Ensure that the men under their command are registered at the event and that their ammunition has been checked and that their registration card is stamped.
3. Ensure that weapons are secured in barracks and that no ammunition is kept in the barracks.
4. Maintain a clean barracks in good order. Keep non-period items out of sight in the barracks
5. Report troop and vehicle strength as determined by Bataillon commander.
6. Ensure that his men conduct themselves in good order while in public
7. Enforce military courtesy
8. Orient their men to be able to identify Axis Division, Battailon and Regimental Leadership: Division Commander, Ia, IIa, Ib, Military Police Commander, Heer Bn Commander, SS Bn Commander, Regimental Commander
9. Maintain operational security in Barracks.
10. Attends Thursday night Field Exercise briefing as representative for his Zug.