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aruna
07-07-2018, 02:12 PM
OK I admit: I know absolutely NOTHING about military stuff. Zero.

But my WIP happens to be set in the WW2 and though it does not concern the military specifically, I do have some specific questions.

It concerns the final battles of 1944-1945, taking place in one of the last bastions of German occupation/annexation, the Alsace, on the eastern border to Germany.

The Wehrmacht was battling the US forces in Operation Nordwind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Nordwind).

I don't need to know any of the actual battle details. They don't come into the story.

But the main characters conserned are the MC, a female SOE agent based in Colmar, and a Wehrmacht Oberleutnant who has fallen for her. She is playing along in the form of a honey trap, in that she hopes to get secrets from him in pillow talk.
He genuinly loves her, and in fact wants to marry her. He trusts her completely.

There had been not much action in Alsace until November-December 1944. They met in June but he was recalled to Berlin for a few months for strategy planning, possibly, and now he is back.

I want to know: what exactly did an Oberleutnant (2nd Lieutenant) do? Would he be actually fighting (please don't laugh at me for the stupidity of this question! I've just never considered it before!) Would he have been in acute danger? How often would he be able to leave the battlefield and visit his lover in Colmar? Can you imagine/suggest a scenario in which he returns, battle weary, and confides secrets to her? Or would he be away for weeks, (staying in tents?) and never see her during this time? What kind of things would he tell her? he is of course under extreme stress, and talking to her provides emotional release.

I know for a fact that Hitler sent Heinrich Himmler to the Alsace in this time to take control of the forces even though Himmler was totally inexperienced. I want him to reveal this fact to the MC, so that a bomb attack on Himmler can be planned.

Eventually, of course, the Americans won.

And that's about it. These chapters have not been written yet so I am open to all scenarios!

Al X.
07-07-2018, 06:36 PM
There could be a wide range of duties that a second lieutenant could be performing depending on the type of unit to which that lieutenant is assigned, ranging from non-combat administrative, to leading enlisted troops on the ground in combat.

I can't speak to the Wehrmacht specifically, but in the US Army, in a line Infantry unit (ground fighting force), a lieutenant (1st or 2nd) will lead enlisted troops at the platoon level, and that is the lowest organizational level that will be led at an officer level. A platoon consists of four squads of ten junior enlisted each led by a junior NCO squad leader, and the squads will be led in parallel by a more senior NCO (typically a Staff Sergeant E6) and a lieutenant. The platoon sergeant commands the men administratively. The lieutenant calls the tactical shots. A company is comprised of four platoons, and is led in parallel by a First Sergeant and a Captain (O3). The German army structure would have been similar. Depending on the level of detail you need to get in to, the differences may or may not be important.

A combat deployed Infantry officer is going to have basically no free time on his hands throughout the entire conflict, active combat or not. A behind-the-lines support officer (eg. signal or supply) may have some free time, but is still going to be confined to the duty station for the most part for the duration of the conflict. In either case, an injury might have caused your character to return 'home,' or perhaps a temporary administrative reassignment might give him a break. I don't think extended R&R breaks were common for the German line soldiers during WWII.

tallus83
07-07-2018, 11:17 PM
Hello. An Oberleutant is a First Lieutenant. A Leutant would be a Second Lieutenant. At the time period you are writing about, very few military personnel would be granted leave, except for a real emergency. This is the time of desertions and the Gestapo would have numerous checkpoints and would go over all leave documents with a fine tooth comb. Depending on his branch would determine if he fought or not. But, again this is also the time when clerks and truck drivers would be handed a Panzerfaust and sent to the front lines.

Hope this is of some help.

tallus83
07-07-2018, 11:55 PM
Thought about your issue and you could get away with the main character being on staff for the town commandant. Hence, he wold be around all the time and you would not have to worry about leave.

Al X.
07-08-2018, 01:10 AM
As to the question of whether the lieutenant would be fighting, his issue weapon would have been a sidearm or perhaps an SMG, and certainly he would engage the enemy in a firefight or hand to hand if necessary, but his primary job is to lead, not to fight. If he has to use his sidearm or commandeer a rifle or machine gun, things have pretty much already gone to hell.

aruna
07-08-2018, 08:45 AM
Thanks to all. I think I'm going to use this bit of info (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Group_Oberrhein_(Germany)) and have him return end January -- or would he be immediately deployed somewhere else?
And what does "theatre level command" mean?



On November 26, 1944, the Germans organized the Upper Rhine High Command to defend the upper Rhine.[1] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Group_Oberrhein_(Germany)#cite_note-1)[2] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Group_Oberrhein_(Germany)#cite_note-2) Hitler placed German Interior Minister (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interior_Minister)Heinrich Himmler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Himmler) in command on December 10,[3] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Group_Oberrhein_(Germany)#cite_note-3) believing that Himmler's presence would stimulate extraordinary efforts by both German military and Nazi Party (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Party) officials in the region.
The designation of the command as a "High Command" also meant that the Upper Rhine High Command was an independent theater-level command that answered directly to OKW, rather than to the OB West (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OB_West). OB West was the German command responsible for the rest of the Western Front. With Himmler in charge of the Upper Rhine High Command, the practical effect was that this army group answered directly to Hitler. This introduced a largely disadvantageous schism into the German high command for operations on the Western Front (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Front_(World_War_II)).
On November 26, 1944, the Germans organized the Upper Rhine High Command to defend the upper Rhine.[1] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Group_Oberrhein_(Germany)#cite_note-1)[2] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Group_Oberrhein_(Germany)#cite_note-2) Hitler placed German Interior Minister (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interior_Minister)Heinrich Himmler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Himmler) in command on December 10,[3] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Group_Oberrhein_(Germany)#cite_note-3) believing that Himmler's presence would stimulate extraordinary efforts by both German military and Nazi Party (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Party) officials in the region.
The designation of the command as a "High Command" also meant that the Upper Rhine High Command was an independent theater-level command that answered directly to OKW, rather than to the OB West (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OB_West). OB West was the German command responsible for the rest of the Western Front. With Himmler in charge of the Upper Rhine High Command, the practical effect was that this army group answered directly to Hitler. This introduced a largely disadvantageous schism into the German high command for operations on the Western Front (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Front_(World_War_II)).

tallus83
07-08-2018, 05:00 PM
The German High Commands were one of its biggest problems. The OKW or Ober Kommand Wehrmacht (Armed Forces High Command) was in charge of the Eastern Front, while the OKH or Ober Kommand Heeres (Army High Command) was in charge of the Western Front. As a sidelight, the was also an OKL, Luftwaffe High Command, and an OKM, Navy High Command. But I digress. Hitler's idea that Himmler would be a good commander was seriously wrong. Himmler was no ground commander and was useless, verging of total incompetence. The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan shows just how much Himmler failed as the commander of the Eastern defenses of Berlin in early 1945.

OB West was just another level of command that slowed any real command decision. Hitler at this point of the war demanded no withdrawal and defense to the death.

How are you going to tie Himmler or the German High commands with your story?

aruna
07-08-2018, 10:31 PM
Himmler's presence in the Alsace at this time is certainly relevant to the story. Thanks for the info!

cbenoi1
07-12-2018, 12:08 AM
He could be carrying war material requisitions from one front to another with Colmar an in-between stop. The Germans were pretty damned good about leaving paper trails for everything they have done and requisitions are a good way to determine where the next action is going to take place and what sort of equipment / unit strength is expected. He could make his stop in Colmar look casual to his superiors - ex: having lunch or a layover - but in fact he's in bed with the lover who would later take copies / pictures / notes while he showers.

-cb

bernster
07-18-2018, 04:32 AM
Choose a real unit that was engaged in the battle, like 21st Panzer Division. Those units move around more than infantry units. Give him a specialty or something colorful. When unit is transferred from western to eastern front, he gets to see his girl. Or when the unit is refitting, he gets a brief leave (though that's harder to imagine towards the end of the war.

aruna
07-26-2018, 01:38 PM
Indeed! And I have found some fantastic books that go into great detail, for instance this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eisenhowers-Thorn-Rhine-Battles-1944-45-ebook/dp/B019EJVJRU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532597881&sr=8-1&keywords=colmar+pocket+eisenhower