Allied contigency plans

German Freikorps, Reichsheer and Reichsmarine 1919-1934.
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Post by phylo_roadking » Mon May 22, 2006 1:29 pm

All, coming to this late, but pertinent .....

One of the small but very specific clauses of the Treay of Versailles was that the nation of Germany was not in ANY way allowed to maintian a military reserve of any sort or nature. There was NO mechanism in place for calling up, training, dressing, feeding let alone arming any enthusiatic volunteers.

In 1939 Britain what you saw was essentially the same thing - hundreds of thousands of volunteers stepping forward - only to be sent home and "called up" in an orderly fashion! Because even in a nation with a full-time training cadre in the form of the Territorial barracks' and camps, now empty as their troops went to France, as well as a vast non-Territorial Reserve - the government simply couldnt accomodate them. So what would have it been like in a country with NO scheme let alone im sure anti-war agitators of ALL flavours...knowing Weimar Germany....getting in the way, it would have been months before any scratch volunteer force was available.


sid guttridge
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Post by sid guttridge » Tue May 23, 2006 1:56 am

Hi Phylo,

A very good point.

Given their late starting date for expansion and the small size of their regular forces at the start, the British and particularly Americans, did well to produce armies capable of successfully mounting an opposed invasion of the continent of Europe by 1944.



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Post by PaulJ » Tue May 23, 2006 12:35 pm

phylo_roadking wrote:There was NO mechanism in place [in Weimer Germany] for calling up, training, dressing, feeding let alone arming any enthusiatic volunteers.
Well .... how true is that?
One of the things scholarly trolling through all of the German archives has made clear is that right from the early 1920s (ie well before the Nazis), various German official entities were systematically subverting the Verseilles rearmament restrictions as energetically as they possibly could. This included everything from the secret retention of the general staff corps (hidden within the "Truppenamt"), to the glider clubs deliberately used to create a nascent luftwaffe, to the secret armoured training establishment in the USSR. All of those efforts preceded the Nazi rise to power by years.

So if they were doing all of that, what were they doing to prepare for mobilization? For one thing, the Reichswehr was designed for rapid expansion. Every private trained as an NCO so he could lead at least a section upon mobilization. Plus, did they not design they wehrkreis system in the 1920s (regional mobilization areas) which was utilized, essentially without modification, for the rapid build-up of the later 1930s and wartime mobilization after that?

While they did not have an actual active reserve, is it really true that Weimer Germany had "no mechanism for mobilization?"
Paul Johnston
Per Ardua ad Astra

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue May 23, 2006 2:55 pm

Paul, the problem is it may have been there, yes undercover, but putting it in place, getting it working, and THEN getting the recruits in the door? Certainly not in time to stop any ONGOING invasion which was HvMs point.

Example - FDR introduced the Draft in the USA in I think 1940, as part of his ratcheting-up of America as far as he could to assist the British. Took something like eight months for the first complete NEW units to be available, they only got round the speed issue by incorporating newly-trained companies into the "short" divisions around the country and abroad. It was Draft companies like these that were then unfortunately in the Phillipines for the Japanese invasion....but also which allowed the US to take over the garrison of Iceland.

And remember - prior to Hitler and rearmament, and also prior to proper Appeasement governments in France and Britain, noone could call the government of France that reoccupied the Rhineland Appeasers. Bringing any illegal Reserve plan or formations out from under the table would ITSELF have broken the Treaty of Versailles and provoked a healthy French military response.....

Chicken and egg time lol


Carl Schwamberger
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Post by Carl Schwamberger » Tue Dec 25, 2007 8:39 pm

This thread has been a interesting read. Back in my college days I took a couple semesters of 20th Century European history taught by Dr Kline-Albrandt. In one lecture he addressed the question of the actual strength of the Reichwehr. Drawing from various German sources, including interviews with a long retired officer -Albrandt identified the Reichwehr as being able to organize a little under 500,000 armed men. There were several sleight of hand methods, but the primary was through the police and police auxillarys. The Weinmar government ensure finacial support for extra police companys in each district. Training was accomplished by first favoring men trained and discharged by the Reichswehr for recruitment into the police forces, and second by expanding police training to include basic infantry skills. Other pools of hidden soldiers were: Gun clubs. These varied from legitamate hunting clubs which -Albrandt did not count, to groups of discharged Reichwehr soldiers and WWI veterans who club activites included classroom type training similar to Reserve Officers training in the US of the same era.

Civilians employed by the Reichwehr. These were largely discharged officers and NCOs who continued to work alongside their uniformed comrades at the same staff & administrative tasks as when they wore the uniform.

Creative accounting. -Albrandt estimated the actual number of men in the Reichswehr uniform to be closer to 150,000 men than 100,000.

Discharged list. This overlapped the civilian employee and hunting club categorys. Administered by the governemnt department responsible for ordinary government employees this ammounted to a hidden list of reservists.

Between those in active Reichwehr service, the clubs, civilian employees, and the discharged list a little over 200,000 men were availble for imeadiate service. Police and police auxillarys trained for military service ammounted to another 250,000 to 300,000 men. The Reichwehr stocks of small arms and the 'extras' held by the police provided suffcient rifles and automatic weapons for this pool of men. The Reichwehr also counted of requisitioning considerable numbers of horses and automobile transport to form supply transport.

If one thinks this could not be concealed from the French they are correct. -Albrandt found the French intellegence service was awaare of all this. The French did exert presuure on the Weinmar government and forced some compiance with demands up to 1923. However the 1923 occupation of the Rhineland by the French army proved politically disastrous and from 1924 the French politicians were reluctant to take any serious measures to enforce the Versailles restrictions.

Phylo is correct that expanding the Reichwehr into a larger army would not be a instantaneous thing. While the Reichswehr had pleanty of small arms its artillery park was barely suffcient for the ten divsions authorized. Particularly after they would be filled out with police companys and other "volunteers". At best the fully mobilzed Reichswehr would only force a enemy such as Poland or France to pay the price of full mobilization of its own army to properly defeat it.

The mobilization of the US Army from 1940 was raised as a comparison. It is a fair one. The strength in the summer of 1940 was still under 200,000 men on active service, including the Air Corps. The Emergency War Powers Acts brought another 250,000 National Guards & between 50,000 and 100,000 Army Reservists and others onto active Federal service. Volunteers and conscrption brought in over one million new men in the next twelve months. It took the better part of eighteen months to completely reorganize this mass into suffcient new combat formatons to defend the US, and a training establishment for expanding to the eventual full strength. Complete moblization to 90 Divsions and a equivalent number of Air Wings took three full years. This included the auxillary units and support base for expeditionary action outside the US.

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