by John Mulholland

During World War II the German infantry divisions were, mostly, mobilized in “Wellen” (Waves) as they were required by the changing fortunes of war.

The best definition I’ve found for the “Welle” (Wave) system of mobilization is that given by Dr. Leo (W.G.) Niehorster:
“Welle was the German designation for groups of infantry divisions raised at approximately the same time, with approximately the same type of organization and equipment, and that shared a similar type of personnel and level of training. Similar to the designations "Model", "Mark", "Version", etc.”

From 1939 to 1945 there were at least 38 “Wellen” formed in the various “Wehrkreise” (Military Districts), under the supervision of the “Ersatzheer” (Replacement Army).

The lists below, by year, show the infantry divisions raised by each “Welle” (Up to #35), as well as all other “land” divisions formed during the war. These include those raised by the “Heer” (Army), “Luftwaffe” (Air Force), “Kriegsmarine” (Navy), “SS” (Security Service), and Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD - Reich Labour Service).

I would like to thank the staff of the Massey Library, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario, for their kind assistance.  Also, thanks go out to Ron Klages, Piet Duits, Loic Bonal, Dieter Zinke, Douglas Nash, Marcus Wendel, Doktor Krollspell , and, as always, Dr. Leo (W.G.) Niehorster.

NOTE: Any errors, omissions, or “typos” (and there are bound to be some), are strictly the fault of the writer. – John Mulholland.


Sources used

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Andreas Altenburger - Website: “Lexicon der Wehrmacht”
Jan Linzmaier - Website: “Diedeutschewehrmacht”
Jason Pipes - Website: "Feldgrau"
Marcus Wendel - Website: “Axis Historical Factbook”

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