Military history

Appendix D

German land forces encountered by the Allies in Normandy

The composition of German armies and corps varied constantly during the campaign, but at different times part or all of the following were engaged:

Seventh, Fifteenth, Fifth Panzer (formerly Panzer Group West) and First Armies, embracing the following 13 corps and 15 divisions:

Panzer Corps: I SS, II SS, XLVII, LVIII


Panzer Divisions: 1st SS, 2nd SS, 2nd, 9th, 9th SS, 10th SS, 12th SS, 21st, 116th, Panzer Lehr

Panzergrenadier divisions: 3rd, 15th, 17th SS

Infantry Divisions: 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th Parachute; 16th, 17th, 18th Luftwaffe Field; 47th, 48th, 49th, 77th, 84th, 85th, 89th, 91st Airlanding, 226th, 243rd, 245th, 265th, 266th, 271st, 272nd, 275th, 276th, 277th, 326th, 331st, 343rd, 344th, 346th, 348th, 352nd, 353rd, 363rd, 708th, 709th, 711th, 716th

SS Panzer divisions were substantially larger and better-equipped than their Wehrmacht counterparts. All panzer divisions normally contained an armoured regiment of two battalions – one equipped with Mark IV tanks, the other with Panthers. Army panzer divisions also contained two infantry regiments, each of two battalions, but SS divisions mustered six infantry battalions. The average panzer division went into Normandy with 160 tanks, 700 machine-guns, 70 mortars, 37 infantry guns, 40 field and medium guns, 33 anti-tank guns and over 100 anti-aircraft guns. Each division’s vehicle establishment was around 3,000. Wehrmacht divisions mustered almost 15,000 men at full strength, SS divisions up to 20,000.

Panzergrenadier divisions possessed no tanks but their infantry were fully motorized, and supported by a battalion of 45 self-propelled guns.

Of the 38 German infantry divisions that fought in Normandy, five were ‘static’ formations comprising nine battalions, the same organization as the parachute units. The other 30 were on ‘1944 establishment’ of six infantry battalions, with a fusilier reconnaissance battalion, often bicycle-mounted. Each division mustered, on average, 650 machine-guns, 76 mortars, 24 infantry guns and howitzers, 31 anti-tank guns and 48 medium and field guns. Transport was provided by 615 motor vehicles and 1,450 horse-drawn vehicles.

GHQ and army troops included III Flak Corps’ 160 88 mm guns in a dual-purpose role facing the British front. There were three heavy tank battalions, each containing up to 45 Tigers; two battalions of Jagdpanthers, 88 mm tank-killing self-propelled guns; several independent towed 88 mm gun battalions and 75 mm-mounted self-propelled gun battalions. The Germans possessed relatively few field or medium guns, and only one heavy regiment of 170 mm guns.

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