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Average strength of a German regiment Somme


bmac
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If anyone has any information about the average strength of a German regiment in June 1916 on the Somme I would be grateful. I have information from the 55 RIR which suggests an average rifle strength of c. 170 for each of the 12 companies per battalion, therefore about 2000. Three battalions per regiment makes 6,000 or thereabouts.

My calculations show that there were 39 German battalions in line or close support on the Fourth Army front and a further 12 on the Third Army front. In other words, close to 100,000 men, i.e. broadly the same number as attacked them on 1st July 1916.

Any thoughts on those numbers - right, wrong, blah, blah?

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Hello,

I think you're wrong.

normally : 1 regiment (3000) - has 3 bat (1000) - every bat has 5 comp. (200)

= 15 comp pro regiment.

When there were only 12 comp. You get 12 x 170 = 2040 and not 6000 .....

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If anyone has any information about the average strength of a German regiment in June 1916 on the Somme I would be grateful.  I have information from the 55 RIR which suggests an average rifle strength of c. 170 for each of the 12 companies per battalion, therefore about 2000.  Three battalions per regiment makes 6,000 or thereabouts.

Any thoughts on those numbers - right, wrong, blah, blah?

The makeup of German units changed throughout the war. However, I think a typical infantry regiment of this period had three battalions, each one of which had four rifle companies and one MG company, the latter having 6 MGs (MG 08) at the beginning of the war and 12 a year or two later. A full-strength rifle company might have something under 200 men, a MG company somewhat less. Then crew-served weapons (e.g., MG 08/15) began being put into the rifle companies, and by the end of the war the companies were probably smaller, but hardly seemed to have any riflemen at all. (Exaggeration) My father's storm unit hardly carried any rifles at all on assaults, even in late 916; he never mentioned one to me in regard to assaults. Oddly, at one time the only guy in a squad who carried a rifle was the commanding NCO (this is from a manual), the privates carried P 08s and flame throwers and other crew-served weapons (special ultra-light MGs and mortars), plus sharpened spades, and grenades in a combat vest.

Bob Lembke

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Oops, silly me. Quite correct. All the battalions I have information for are 12 companies so, 170 men x 12 companies=2,040 per regiment.

Therefore approx 35,000 men in line/close support across the whole of the line on 1st July and 45,000 in reserve. That sounds a whole lot more reasonable.

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I checked some of my sources and while the individual strenght varied from unit to unit the regiments of the 26th Reserve Division (South of Serre to Ovillers) had an average company strength between 210 and 225 men (850-900 men per battalion). With the addition of reinforcements of MG's the division had a total of 90 heavy MG 08 machine guns on 1 July. There were enough guns to arm each regiment with more than 2 machine gun companies in total strength.

There were also two minenwerfer companies, the dismounted Reserve Dragoon Regiment, 6 recruit companies and 3 pioneer companies in the division.

The regiments were amply supplied with small arms ammunition, loose and belted for the MG companies. The artillery had ample supplies at hand for each gun and were reinforced during the fighting.

I believe I have some records of actual unit strength and if I can locate them I will post them on the forum.

Ralph

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