German army in WW1&2

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Rodger Herbst
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German army in WW1&2

Post by Rodger Herbst » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:20 pm

Would you say the German army was a conscript army?

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Alex Coles
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Post by Alex Coles » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:27 pm

Well, conscription was introduced later on, while in the early war they were able to choose whether to be in the army. I would call Hitlers' army more of a conscription army, because Reservists were constantly called, like in the 1938 before the Treaty of Munich regarding the Sudetenland.
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Post by Christoph Awender » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:29 pm

17 SS Panzer Grenadier wrote:Well, conscription was introduced later on, while in the early war they were able to choose whether to be in the army.
Aha Interesting.. until which war year they were able to say no to be in the army in your oppinion?

\Christoph

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:25 pm

Rodger, meant to post earlier, sorry. The term Conscription was NEVER used in WWII - because of the amazingly bad press it got as of The Great War. (well, except in Ulster, that is, where there was much debate about "conscription")

Whether it was Call-Up (SUPPOSEDLY volunteers, but it only started out that way) in Britain, the Draft in the US, or whatever name it was known by, once the standing armies and officers cadres had been called out/mobilised etc in 1939, and all Reservists called up - all subsequent recruitment within Germany's home borders was by conscription. There was a "volunteer" scheme within ethnic German populations elsewhere, but very great pressure was levied on them.

Only in allied nations on either side was recruitment by volunteering only.
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Alex Coles
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Post by Alex Coles » Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:39 pm

Aha Interesting.. until which war year they were able to say no to be in the army in your oppinion?
World War I. Unless you haven't heard of a case of Young boys being made into a unit and thrown into an assault (About 14-18, IIRC)
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Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:31 am

World War I. Unless you haven't heard of a case of Young boys being made into a unit and thrown into an assault (About 14-18, IIRC)
That would be German youths at the battle of Langemarck in 1914, singing "Deutschland Uber Alles" as they were cut down.

It can't be said that the early Wehrmacht was a conscript army, considering that the conscripts were well trained. It only started getting bad in 1943, and the Volksturm was definetly a conscript army.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:42 am

Kevin??? A conscript is a conscript, no matter how long or how good their training! This thread is about theiur ORIGIN, not their experience or degree of preparation.

phylo
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Post by Rodger Herbst » Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:23 am

Before WW1 the Germans had i believe, the Kumpler system, all men at the age of 18 had to register for induction into the army. Infantry recruits had a 2 year obligation, those in the cavalry had a 3 year stay,from what i gather only 60% of those elgible were called up.
What i meant did the Germans have a professonal army made up of 30 year men (thats what the time served to get a pension in the US army,now it's 20 years,kinda gives my age away). I believe the NCO corps of the German army where highly trained pros, i think they drew a pension after 12 years.
Anybody got any info on the German WW1 army recruiting system?
After WW1 it was a 100,000 man army.

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Post by Jock » Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:56 am

Hi,

I think the incident HvM and 17SS are thinking about is 'Der Kindermord bei Ypern'. It has some truth to it, but it was more used for propaganda purposes, and to get people to enlist. At this particular section of the line in Ypres, student volunteers made up some 18% of the soldiers in the line, and in a particular battle, they made up some 20% of the casualties - about 1000. Still a substantial loss of life, but one that was exploited for propaganda purposes. Who knows if they were singing "Deutschland Uber Alles" or wearing their school caps. Mabye some were, but its pretty widely accepted that most were not. Makes good propaganda anyway.

17SS, I very much doubt any of the soldiers were 14 or even 15. If you have any evidence for this, please share. I would imagine they would have been much closer to 17/18. Some British soldiers were extremely young, but this was driven by a strong desire for recruiting as many "men" into the army as possible, as the British army was desperate for recruits.

My own great-great-great uncle signed up at 16, and died at 18, but his age (at his death) is listed as 20 in his army record. This is an interesting topic, BTW, if I can add any more information on the subject of conscription later, I will.

Cheers,
Last edited by Jock on Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Jock » Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:17 am

Hi,

What length of time were German's required to serve for, when conscripted, in the pre war years, and at what age were they called up? I'm assuming 2/3 years and 18, but I could be wrong. I know German's were required to serve 2 years conscription prior to WWI. But again, can anyone confirm the age of call up?

I also meant to add to my earlier post that the 'Kindermord' did not even happen in Langemarck, but nearby in Bixschoote. Langemarck is obviously a more German sounding place name though. The Kindermord is an interesting case study in propaganda, much as the whole of WWI is, on both sides.

Cheers,
Jock

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Post by Paulus II » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:03 pm

Hi Jock,
When conscription was reinstated in 1935 the men were to serve for one year but in 1936 this was upped to two years. Exceptions were made for married men (among others) to serve for one year. I'm not sure but I think that also goes for some skilled workers.
Everyone from the age of 18 up could be conscripted.
It's a somewhat confusing subject since many German youths had had no military training at all because of the Versailles Treaty and many others were WWI veterans that needed an 'update'. The German army expanded rapidly from the 100.000 men it started out with and that resulted in men of almost all ages between 18 and 35 being called up for service at one time or another in the pre-war years. The divisions were divided in the Welle system where each Welle had a certain (on paper at least) percentage of Reservisten I (one year active service) and II (Weissen Jahrgänge, no active service) and Landwehr (WWI veterans).
This a very simplified version of the conscription system but I hope it will give you a starting point for further research.

Cheers,

Paul

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Post by Rodger Herbst » Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:05 pm

I hope i didn't get anyone confused more than i am.
In the pre WW1 Heer you were conscipted for military service
After your service was compleated you became a member of the reserve
There were refresher coarses for a number of years,getting fewer as you grew older, I think your military obligation was finished at about 50 yrs. of age.
The 100,000 man army had around 5,000 officers who had to serve, if my memory is right, over 20yrs. before retiring and the enlisted men had to serve at least 12yrs. The inspectors of the Versailles Treaty kept a close watch so the Germans couldn't build up a reserve. Treaty didn't specify the number of NCOs, so the 100,000 man army had over half NCOs.

When Hitler took over i'm kind of lost on the conscription setup,but i know von Seekt left him a dam good basic army,like to hear more on the raising of the Hitler era Heer. Thanks you guys

PS. My grandad was in the era of consription,put in his time in the infantry,
his home was in Potsdam.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Wed Aug 09, 2006 5:55 pm

Rodger, it might be hard to find cos its buried deep in a thread, but the Reichswehr DID manage to create a Reserve!....

Or rather...it managed to created a call-up system, have service numbers and duties assigned, training cadres named, Kaesern nominated for "non-existen" units lol even down to timetables drawn up for "non-existent" special trains on the rail network bringing the "non-existent" reservists in for basic training!
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Post by Christoph Awender » Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:48 pm

17 SS Panzer Grenadier wrote:
Aha Interesting.. until which war year they were able to say no to be in the army in your oppinion?
World War I. Unless you haven't heard of a case of Young boys being made into a unit and thrown into an assault (About 14-18, IIRC)
And this is your explanation for your theory that in WWI people had the choice to go to the army or not?

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Post by Rodger Herbst » Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:09 am

The General Staff Corps was supposed to be abolished but i think it was reconsituted as the personel branch of the Riechwher. The Germans were not allowed armored vehicals, so they made cardboard tanks and mounted them on bycicles or what ever was handy. Guderian commented how school boys on thier way home would push thier pencils through the sides.

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