The Waffen-SS, the combat arm of the Nazi Party, became the de facto fourth branch of the Wehrmacht, as it expanded from three regiments to 38 divisions by 1945.
The Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht is the Reich President, Reichsmarschall Hartmut Lossberg. The day to day operations of the Wehrmacht are the ultimate responsibility of Reich Chancellor Wihelm Franz, and Reich Minister of the Wehrmacht Franz Josef Jung. Wehrmacht operations are the responsibility of Generalfeldmarschall Wolfgang Schneiderhan, who is the Chief of Staff of the Wehrmacht.
He has two headquarters. One is known as the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht). This headquarters is primarily administrative. It serves as a de facto Defence Ministry for Germany.
His most important headquarters is Oberkommando Europa (Supreme Command of Europe). OKE controls several "Fronts". These fronts are the geographical tactical division of all German and EU forces. The following Fronts are known to exist:
- Eastern Front (OK Ost): Russia, Eastern Territories, Eastern Europe
- Southern Front (OK Süd): Mediterranean, Africa
- Northern Front (OK Nord): Arctic circle, Finland, Northern Russia
- Atlantic Front (OK Atlantik): The Atlantic Ocean
- South Eastern Front (OK Südost): The Middle East
- Central Front (OK Zentral): Internal security
- "Deterrence" Front (OK Abschreckung): Space operations, information warfare, global nuclear strike.
Fronts are commanded by Field Marshals or Grand Admirals. They include the armed forces of EU member nations. Sometimes, the entire armed forces of an EU nation are absorbed into a single front. Hungary's armed forces are under the sole command of OK Ost. Some countries have their forces split. Vichy France's armed forces are split between OK Süd, OK Atlantik, and OK Südost. Not all services of the Wehrmacht are represented in a particular Front. For example, the Atlantic Front's German forces are drawn from the Kriegsmarine only.
The existence of the Central Front and OK Zentral have not been confirmed by Western intelligence services, but German defectors have spoken of its existence as far back as 1968. Its purpose is to preserve National Socialist German power over Europe against internal rebellion, whether German or not. If tanks and troops are in the street, then OK Zentral ordered them there. In time of nuclear war, OK Zentral would have the responsibility of controlling matters in the Reich. Most of OK Zentral's current troops are reservists. In time of war, it could also absorb men from the Hitler Youth, RAD, NSKK, NSFK, SA, and Orpo.
The Abwehr is one of Germany's two intelligence services (the other being the SD). The Abwehr concerns itself with foreign intelligence collection, covert operations, and counter-intelligence overseas and inside the Wehrmacht. Abwehr intelligence efforts concentrate on military and economic matters, while the SD provides political intelligence. In practice, there is cooperation between the Abwehr and the SD, especially at the lower levels, such as in an Embassy station. The Axis alliance provides the Abwehr with a powerful asset. The Abwehr's close relationship with the Cuban DGI and the Iraqi Intelligence Service have proven important to Germany. To carry out its tasks, the Abwehr is divided into several departments, which are listed below:
- Abwehr I - Foreign Intelligence Gathering
- Abwehr I maintains a network of agents working from German Embassies and Consulates all over the world.
- Abwehr II - Signals and Cyphers
- Abwehr II is Germany's signals intelligence agency, comparable to the American NSA or the Australian DSD.
- Abwehr III - Paramilitary Operations
- Abwehr III conducts covert paramilitary actions throughout the world. It includes the notorious Brandenburg Division, and has operational control of the Army's Special Operations Division, the Air Force's KG 200, and the Navy's Usage Group 3402.
- Abwehr IV - Foreign Assistance
- Abwehr IV's stated role is aiding allied governments in countering "Allied sabotage and infiltration". It's real purpose is controlling the intelligence services of Germany's allies. The key relationships for Abwehr IV are with Cuba's DGI, South Africa's BOSS, and Britain's SIS.
- Abwehr V - Counter-intelligence
- The Abwehr monitors the Wehrmacht for intelligence infiltration, and aids the SD in investigating intelligence cases regarding German civilians.
Since the early 1990s, the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS used standardised camouflage uniforms. There are four patterns, Standard (wood), Autumn, Desert, and Snow.
Other Armed Forces
The German Reich has several other armed services. These services are recruited from Germany's various Reich Protectorates and Reich Commissariats, and are not part of the Wehrmacht. Each is commanded by its respective Reich Protector and Reich Commissar.
- Reich Commissariat of Ostland
- Estonian National Army
- Lithuanian Army
- Latvian Land Defence Force
- White Ruthenian Army
- Reich Commissariat Ukraine
- Ukranian National Army
- Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
- Protectorate Army
- Reich Protectorate Palestine
- Palestinian National Army
These forces vary in size from a single brigade (Palestine) to several divisions (Ukraine). The best equipped of these armies are the Ukranian National Army, and the three Baltic armies. The Ukranians and the Baltic peoples have a higher tendency to collaborate with German authorities than the Czechs or Belorussians. The primary role of these armies is internal security, however the Ukranian National Army and White Ruthenian Army have Panzergrenadier formations and could act as a reserve to the German and allied forces deployed on the Eastern Front.
Military Aircraft Markings of Germany
This Balkan Cross is the standard national marking of Germany. It appears on all German military aircraft. It is usually placed on both sides of the fuselage, and above and below both wings. It has been in use since 1935. A "flanks only" version is sometimes used to provide a low visibility marking.
This "lined Swastika" is the standard tail marking of most German military aircraft. It has been in use since 1939. The National Flag is used on non-camouflaged aircraft. An "outline" swastika is used as a low visibility marking.
Heeresflieger markings are the same as Luftwaffe markings, but the word HEER is added.
Marineflieger aircraft use standard national markings, but he word MARINE is added, as is the stylised winged anchor shown below.
Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps (National Socialist Flyers Corps)
The NSFK is Germany's fourth flying service. There are several flying components of the NSFK, including civilian flying clubs, Police Aviation, a government transport organisation, and Waffen-SS Aviation. Waffen-SS aviation aircraft wear Luftwaffe markings, with the addition of SS runes on the fuselage. Police aircraft are generally painted green (the traditional German police colour). Markings consist of the word "POLIZEI" in white, SS runes in white, and the German National Flag tail marking.