There are quite a few posts on the Forum, dealing with German ammunition from this period, and the questions are often, who made this? For who? Why?The foundation to answering all these questions seems to me to be in the organization(s) that established the requirements for items of ammunition; the ones who funded these requirements; the ones who took delivery of the products and who were the eventual users who consumed this ammunition in combat or training or just carried it around.
The German organizations in this process from 1919 to 1945, and the rules and leadership who shaped what they did changed significantly during this period, and appears to me to be poorly documented. This may be because I read no German, but even in conversation with expert collectors who speak German, this organizational structure is not clear to me. Probably a good deal of this is because of my personal shortcomings.
Still, I feel strongly that we would all benefit from a better (and a common) understanding of the German ammunition ordnance organizations and functions during this period. I have recently bought and dug through quite a few books over the last few years, and most ignore or skim over these areas.
Recently I found "Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945 by the US War Department. Both hard copies and ecopies are available on the internet. The most useful depiction is the following chart.
This is pretty top level is really just the late WWII period. Still it makes some very important points. There were three seperate sources of ammunition requirements and orders that seem to act, from other material I have read, pretty independently, and sometimes Himmler and the SS actually operated in some competition with the Army and Albert Speer who ran the Ministry for Armament ane War Production from early in the war. In addition some activities moved from the army to Speer’s office and late in the war some moved under Himmler and the SS High Command. The depots are an important element in all this process, though they are little discussed. I assume that the OKW Depots include those that supplied both the Air Force and the Navy but this may not be true. There are some boxes that identify depots that appear to exclusively support the Air Force.
First question is where we can find a reasonably complete list of the depots? Michael Heidler in his great book on German codes identifies the codes for these depots, but I can’t find a list of these depots by service, and the products they support.
Perhaps I am all wet and this information is well documented and I just don’t know where to look and in which language it resides. In that case, please help me look in the right places. If not, then perhaps we should take the initiative and begin documenting the structure and how it evolved over the years. For example, I wonder what this chart looks like if it were in 1921, 1935 and 1940 before the creation of the organization that Speer took over in 1942.
Interested in your opinions and inputs.