Question about german troops

Gretings Indy and the entire team from one of your biggest fans in the middle east
I have a question for OFTF that relates also to ww1 that may sound idiotic but I have always wondered about
How did germany find all of those troops to fight when they didn’t have any colonial soldiers to use
In ww2 they are now fighting in the east and north Africa and soon enough “spoiler alert” they are gonna fight in italy and the western front
The allies used commonwealth, colonial troops and even free polish troops and even Brazilian soldiers in their italian campaign alone
So my question is how was germany able to mobilize all if these men on it’s own and what was the conscription age in germany
Sorry if the question was too long and hope you will answer it :sweat_smile:


manpower was always a serious issue for the germans however they found a lot of “shortcuts” to gain more. when the war started it was a volunteer army and the SS was volunteer as well. as the war progressed men were wounded or killed so it became a conscription army with a minimum age of 18 if i am recalling correctly, though like every army there is a small contigent of those lying about age to get in and in 1943 the SS even started conscripted which shifted it away from an entirely hardline party volunteer organization. from the first days of the war men were coming from a variety of location, many Germans returned to Germany along with their families when Hitler put out some decree (forgetting the name and date of it) calling for Germans to return to Germany and that brought many more people who would not have been there. Once territory was conquered the Germans starting pulling people from conquered lands to serve in the army, volunteers at first but then conscription took over. The SS also even formed foreign units comprised of volunteers/conscripts from certain countries such as the SS Charlemagne division which was comprised of French nationals and they had ones for most if not all European countries. the Wehrmacht also received volunteer units from other countries such as the Spanish Blue Division which participated in Barbarossa. as the war began to end the manpower issues became serious enough that the germans formed a militia known as the Volksturm. The Volksturm was organized into several groups based on effectiveness and other contributions to the war effort, the highest rated volksturm units were used somewhat like a standard infantry unit and the lowest rated ones almost did not exist, the volksturm was a band aid on german manpower issues and it brought in factory workers for local conflicts, the elderly, the sick and injured (who were still alive) and children some as young as 7, their manpower however while adding people was not the best as the germans did not have many weapons to give them so most got panzerfausts, French lebels, Gewehr 1888’s, Italian Carcanos and other outdated weapons with some not receiving weapons at all (due to volkssturm intervention it has been stated that 16 different rifle calibres were needed to keep the men supplied during the battle of Berlin, imagine that logistical headache!) and lastly later in the war children mostly 16 and over but some younger, mostly Hitler youth members were recruited into the army and the SS

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I can’t source (most of) these comments (sorry), but if I recall correctly Germany had rather massive man power problems from the start. For one due to the Versailles treaty there was a shortage of NCO’s and front line officers. At the start of Barbarossa most sergeant-, lieutenant- and captain-equivalents where veterans of WW1 (by then old men (for frontline combat)).
Another detail. Military campaign planning had to be shifted around planning for factories as technical specialists where needed at the front and at home. Campaigns ran into delays as these laborers where needed on the factory and where specialist that could not be replaced by slave labor.
At the end of the war things got worse. A telling detail mentioned in interviews in a (in my very humble opinion) great Dutch source (the television series Andere Tijden) is the drafting of collaborator’s children. NSB-party members (the Dutch fascist party) fled the country on the 5th of September in 1944 as rumors of an impending allied invasion swirled. Arriving in Germany their male children from 14 years and older where taken and forcibly recruited into serving in SS and army units (you can find the episode (sorry Dutch language) here: ).