Elite Troops in Axis countries and their resource costs?

Right now I’m playing an old WWII scenario for Civilization II not to dismiss the many, MANY crimes of RL Nazi Germany, this is alt-history with…not doing the WORST things, and everyone is happyish from access to consumer goods, including General government. But the point is, this has me thinking about elite troops in various Axis countries. In this scenario, which is 20 years old and very simplified, the Waffen SS is considered elite troops and 50% more expensive than regular troops of most countries, minus the Italians and the Soviets. The latter doesn’t seem ahistorical as Soviet divisions were half the size of standrd divisions, and required similar numbers of officers (smaller divisions being more flexible, or that’s the idea).

So in terms of industrial output
Italian and Soviet Divisions cost 10 shields or units of production
Regular divisions cost 20
Waffen SS costs 30

Now I know enough to know that Waffen SS weren’t exactly elite troops, it really depended (on how many Wehrmacht officers were drafted into the units), but for actual elite troops, the Falhschimjager, is also 30 shields

In practice, I’m playing these Waffen units as elite infantry depending on region raised. Units raised in Italy or North Africa are Bersaglieri or equivalent, troops raised in Bucharest are Romanian elite, etc etc.

Where I’m going with this is this:
In World War 2, how much more of a premium did elite infantry units cost, versus regular units? Was the cost of raising such troops to combat readiness just 50% more or higher?

And what were truly elite units in the Axis armies? Cause I know in the Soviet Union, those were the Red Guards.

I know things like the Italian Bersaglieri were elite but I don’t know if generally, things like Mountain troops are elite or just specialized.

I’m wondering what the elite divisions were for say the Hungarians, the Romanians, the Croats if there were elite infantry for the ROA, Vichy French, etc etc.

Going by another game, which is probably kinda accurate on this front, the most EXPENSIVE infantry are the combat engineers, and the most effective that don’t bypass fortifications are called Strossstuppen for the Germans, Royal Marines for the British, beyond Commandos and Para, and for the US, it’s Rangers and Marines

I’m wondering in particular if there were specific assault troops in WW2 called Strosstruppen.

TL;DR looking for a list of elite infantry units for all countries and their costs relative to regular infantry units.


Civilization 2 is awesome cool people are still playing it. I loved the Fabians scenario as well. It in my view is the most fun Civ to play (I loved civ 4 as well).

I started playing it from Railroad Tycoon, it’s Microprose predecessor and Civ1 on the Amiga.

Just one more turn :wink:

PS not sure about division cost relative to others.


Romania has the Vanatorii de Munte (Mountain Hunters / Huntsmen) created during WW1 and acted as a specialised, elite troop, including in WW2 and they are still a core component of the Romanian Army today. They were highly valued and very hardy troops, with their leader, commander Lascar, being the first foreign recipient of Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.

In 1941 they totalled four brigades and in terms of cost, they were higher than that of a general infantry brigade as they were awarded their own equipment and had a separate supply structure.

Plus of course extra training required.


As for resource cost:

Parshall who besides a history degree also holds an MBA has massive knowledge about operations management as well.

He speaks from 26:20 on why the Germans spent so much more resources on there “elite tanks” that e.g. the Russians and the USA. The German tanks were really very “expensive” because of there perfectionism and their workshop approach combined with tons of changes on the production lines. This led to lots of breakdowns which need real specialists to repair, as opposed your average maintenance guy using standard solutions for standard tanks.

A fellow student of mine in history class wrote a fantastic article on why these fantastic looking German weapons also were their downfall. Like the Hugo Boss designed uniforms, being beautiful is not all.


Was there a video link?

I gotta be honest, I get the point about tanks, except of course for the fuel issue, although I think it’s the technically proficient pinhead thinking to put into heavy tanks when what they needed were resources on fundamentals, mostly rail stock, and possibly land trains like Porche’s WWI design. They still wanted the war of maneuver in some capacity without the fuel to actually do it and that’s a big reason they lost.

What I’m talking about is different: because tank attrition is important but it’s not nearly as important as infantry attrition. Infantry mobilization is an economic and production CATASTROPHE and every death in the foxhole is a worker you’re not getting back. I played this lout in Victoria !, only game that ever played that made me hate and fear war. Cause I was playing as Britain, I was winning, and I was demographically and economically ruining everything I’d spent the last 80 years building. Because not only were my workers all mobilized in reserves and not creating wealth in the factories, they were dying off in droves.

Tanks don’t have a butter application, but people do. Also it’s faster to build a tank than replace I dunno 1,000 workers.

So in the case of elite infantry, quantity does not have a quality all it’s own. And then not to put a fine point on it, Humans unlike tanks are self replicating, so you’re not just losing war material, you’re losing capital accumulation, which is gonna put you behind the 8 ball of anything who stayed out. I read…somewhere, that without the more or less continual democide from 1914 to 1948, there would have been 400 million Russians alive today given the historical birthrates year by year. Not children of the Rus, not 400 million within the former Russian empire, 400 million ethnic Russians. Instead there’s something like 190 million.

Beyond the human tragedy, that’s a lot of economic clout, and utilized correctly, scientific and cultural clout you’re giving up to win/ To my mind the costs of infantry warfare are so high anything you can do to shield the infantry from casualties will pay for itself within a generation.

But, on the tanks I get: shoulda shelved the advanced tanks and focused on Hertzers and STUGs

1 Like