Scouts Out – Chapter 2: Organization

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After delving into development, training and doctrine in the 1st chapter, the 2nd chapter will concentrate on the actual organization of the various reconnaissance formations that were fielded during peacetime and war. The chapter begins with a discussion of the Organizations-Abteilung of the German Army, which was responsible for force structure development and organization. While theoretical constructs were necessary, the fielding of the force along the most desired lines proved to be impossible as a practical reality, with the result that tables of organization  and equipment—the Kriegsstärkenach-weisungen—were constantly in flux. A fairly detailed background concerning “real-world” influences on force structure is provided, since the constant reorganizations, consolidations and redesignations are difficult to understand without a basic understanding of all the outside influences at play, e.g., Hitler’s dictates, the lack of manpower, the constant loss of irreplaceable junior leadership, the lower priority afforded to the design, development and production of armored cars, the effort to standardize the force, to name but a few.

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Please note that sample pages here are illustrative only. Actual layout will differ since this was a rough draft for placement purposes. The text and images will remain the same, however.

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This discussion is followed by an in-depth review of armored reconnaissance elements within the various combat formations of the German armed forces, as well as their presence at higher levels of command (e.g., corps). While their presence was minimal in most foot infantry divisions, they were not entirely absent. The focus, of course, is on an overview of the armored reconnaissance formations of the mechanized infantry and armor division, the schnelle Truppe, and the assorted permutations of the armored reconnaissance force within those formations is covered in detail. The main body of the chapter closes with a discussion of armored reconnaissance within the SS-Verfügungstruppe/Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe ground combat elements.

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As with Chapter 1, Chapter 2 also provides the reader with a number of sidebars:

  • A discussion of the Gültigkeitslisten (List of approved documents), which determined the exact date a new KStN was supposed to take effect.
  • An overview of German tactical symbols used prewar and during the war (and different from the NATO-type symbols most modern readers are familiar with).
  • Organizational charts of several KSTN’s in use during the war. (Due to space limitations, extensive organizations charts could not be featured in Scouts Out. They have been placed into Tip of the Spear, however.

As with the previous chapter, photographic coverage not directly tied to a sidebar focuses ton advancing the chronology of the armored reconnaissance force. In this case, with photographs from the Campaigns in Poland and in the West.

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