some german soilders had a relatively easy time occuping Norway or Denmark and some a really hard time fighting in the Soviet Union. Was there a policy in German conscription that decided which soldier was stationed where?
Hi, good question. Personally, I think that the individual soldier had no influence on the location of his stationing. Even today you are assigned to a specific unit by the central responsible authority. Germany was divided into military districts and individual divisions / units had home bases. Most of the staff was then recruited from this region. The higher military command then decided the use and area of operation of the units. For example, the 24th Panzer Division came from Dresden and was recruited from Saxon soldiers. This division was later destroyed in Stalingrad. The 32nd (Pomeranian) Infantry Division (in which my grandfather served) was based in Pomerania (e.g. Köslin / Koszalin) and was recruited from northern German soldiers. This division fought up to Kurland in the northern section of the Eastern Front until 1945.
When recruiting, the individual soldier may have specified what he would like to do in the military or in what branch of service (Truppengattung) he would like to be. Later on, requests for transfer were certainly also possible. I think a direct selection of the theater of war was unlikely. Many would then probably have preferred to serve as an occupier in France than to fight in the Soviet Union. Many greetings.
Hej Johannes. As a dane I am upset that You mean we were easy prey. We lasted for a full 3 hours before we surrendered but the German soldiers in Denmark was at first normal troops, later it was a combination of soldiers manning the Atlantic Wall, and troops sent to a quite place to rest. Otherwise I think it was like other armies: a match between what the soldier preferred and practical skills like mechanics and so on.
It might also be that most reacted to the adverts. The old Kriegsmarine or Luftwaffe adverts looked great but (an example) Gunter Grass applied to the Submarines and ended up in the 10th SS. Armies tend to advertise with the “best” looking jobs. Between quotes because the Museum in Kiel, Germany is full of horrible statistics.
Also this is a joke with some truth to it.:
1 Everyone wants to be a pilot,
2 If that fails they want to join the Anti Aircraft Artillery to make sure no one flies.
I assume the German Army also had aptitude tests which meant passing requirements.
PS Gunter Grass made the touching but slightly weird move " Die Blechtrommel /tin drum".