German Army (Early War)
The German army (the 'Heer') utilised revolutionary Blitzkrieg tactics and equipment to conquer huge swathes of Europe during the Early War period. (NB. early war troops can be spotted by their knee-high boots!)
Key Battles: Invasion of Poland, Maginot Line, Barbarossa, Stalingrad
German Army (Late War)
Following the D-Day landings the German army fought the British and Americans on the Western Front AND the Soviets in the East. With increasingly varied camouflage and uniforms, they were still well eqipped with Panzers, Hanomags, the Kar98k rifle, STG44 Assault Rifle, Stick Grenades, Panzerfausts and Panzerschrecks.
Key Battles: Hedgerows of Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, Gothic Line, defence of Berlin
The armoured forces of the Deutsches Afrikakorps swept their way across the sands of the Western Desert in an armoured spearhead of Hanomags and Panzer IIIs, under the command of Erwin Rommel.
Get started with: Afikakorps Infantry
Key Battles: Torbruk, El Alamein
The Fallschirmjäger - German paratroopers - were considered one of the elite German fighting units. They were known as 'The Green Devils' due to their tenacious fighting spirit, and wore a unique rounded helmet.
Get started with: Fallschirmjäger
Key Battles: Eben Emael, Invasion of Crete, the monastery at Monte Cassino
Clad in their distinctive camouflaged uniforms, the core of the Waffen-SS were some of the most heavily indoctrinated of Germany’s elite soldiers who struck fear into the heart of many of their enemies.
Get started with: Waffen-SS
Key Battles: Caen, Arnhem, Kursk, the Warsaw Uprising, the Ardennes
German Army in winter gear
Faced with the bitter conditions of the Eastern front as well as the snow-covered Ardennes, the Germans made clever use of white or reversible camouflage clothing and snow hoods to keep out the cold and hide the troops in featureless terrain. This range can be used as Heer or Waffen-SS.
Get started with: German Grenadiers in Winter Clothing
Key Battles: Hürtgen Forest, Battle of the Bulge
WW2 German Terminology
Third Reich: Nazi name for the German regime from 1933-45.
Wehrmacht: The combined German armed forces, including the Heer, Fallschirmjäger, Waffen-SS, etc.
Heer: The regular German army.
Luftwaffe: The German airforce.
Kriegsmarine: The German navy (many crewmen ended up fighting on land).
Pioniers: Combat Engineers.
Feldgendarmes: Military Police.
Panzer: Tank/Armour. Often followed by model number, ie Panzer IV.
Big Cats: Late War heavy tanks - the Panther (Panzer V) and Tiger (Panzer VI).
Sd.Kfz: (Sonderkraftfahrzeug) special-purpose vehicle. Used to identify the many types of half-track (Hanomag) and other armoured cars.
Ausf.: (Ausführung ) version, model, variant, etc.
PaK: (Panzerabwehrkanone) anti-tank artillery gun.
Panzerschreck: Heavy re-usable infantry anti-tank grenade launcher.
Panzerfaust: Light disposable infantry anti-tank weapon.