Friday, 26 July 2019

The Reichsheer: The German Army after Versailles

The Treat of Versailles laid down very specific limitations on the new German Army or Reichsheer.

Under the terms of the treaty, the Reichsheer comprised:
  • Seven infantry divisions, and
  • Three cavalry divisions
These were split into two commands:
  • Army Corps Headquarters 1 at Berlin supervised:
    • 1st Division (Königsberg)
    • 2nd Division (Stettin)
    • 3rd Division (Berlin)
    • 4th Division (Dresden)
    • 1st Cavalry Division (Frankfurt an der Oder)
    • 2nd Cavalry Division (Breslau)
  • Army Corps Headquarter 2 at Kassel supervised:
    • 5th Division (Stuttgart)
    • 6th Division (Münster)
    • 7th Division (Munich)
    • 3rd Cavalry Division (Weimar)
The treaty also laid down how the divisions were to be organised and their strengths.

Army Corps Headquarters Staffs (x 2)

Establishment of an Infantry Division (x 7)
  • Each Infantry Regiment was comprised of three Infantry Battalions, each of three Infantry Companies and a Machine Gun Company
  • The Field Artillery Regiment was comprised of three Artillery Groups, each of three Artillery Batteries
  • The Pioneer Battalion was comprised of two Pioneer Companies, a Pontoon Detachment, and a Searchlight Detachment
  • The Divisional Signals was comprised of a telephone Detachment, a Listening Section, and a Carrier Pidgeon Section
Establishment of a Cavalry Division (x 3)
  • Each Cavalry Regiment was comprised of four Cavalry Squadrons
  • The Horse Artillery Group was comprised of three Horse Artillery Batteries
The treaty also laid down the authorised numbers of each type of weapon that could be held in Army stocks, along with the maximum number of rounds.

Looking at the above, I was struck by how the Reichsheer could provide the basis for a small, interbellum imagi-nations army, especially for anyone fighting a small-scale campaign.

The Reichswehr flag.


  1. Very interesting. I'm currently working my way through a new book "The Appeasing of Hiltler" by Tim Bouverie. Covering the period from 1933 to Dunkirk. Amazing the naivety of Chamberlain in hindsight, in his dealings with Hitler. The political twists and turns of the major nations during that period are bewildering, and a number of times made me think of Brexit and how nothing changes.

    1. Joppy,

      There are some interesting parallels between the political situation in the UK today and in the late 1939s. One wonders if our new PM sees himself as a latter day Churchill, and whether that might affect his decision making. Only time will tell.

      All the best,



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