The smallest tactical unit was the “Rotte”. It consisted of 2 planes. Two “Rotten” made one “Schwarm”. Organisational-wise, the smallest unit was a squadron (“Staffel”). A squadron was made up of 9 aircrafts and its commander was the “Staffelkapitän”, normally having a rank of Lieutenant (“Oberleutnant”) or Captain (“Hauptmann”).

Typically, a squadron had 10-12 pilots and it was common that low rank officers were used as pilots. Throughout the war, the size of the squadrons increased to 16 machines. Ground personnel was normally 15 times higher.

The next unit in the organisation was the “Gruppe”, normally consisting of three squadrons each having 9 machines, plus a “Stab” who had 3 machines (30 machines in total). Often, only one type of aircraft was utilized within the Gruppe, but sometimes (even if not common practice) there were exceptions to the rule. Normally, all squadrons within one group were stationed at one single airfield. The Gruppe was under the command of the commander (“Kommandeur”), normally having the rank of a Captain (“Hauptmann”) or Major. His Stab consisted of one Adjutant, technical expertise (“Fachoffiziere”) and one medical officer (“Sanitätsoffizier”). The relation between pilots and ground personnel was normally in the region of 1:5 to 1:9.

The next unit was the Wing (“Geschwader”). It consisted of 94 machines (3 Gruppen + 1 Geschwaderstab with 4 machines). Depending on type of mission and location, the commander of the Geschwader, the “Kommodore”, had a rank of either Major, Lieutenant-Colonel (“Oberstleutnant”) or Colonel (“Oberst”), but there were exceptions on this too. His Stab consisted of one “Adjutant”, one “Einsatzsoffizier” and one “Luftnachrichtenoffizier”. When the need arose, other specialists were added.

(Source: Matthias C. Noch)

This is an archived topic and no updates have been made to it in many years, never the less, it is copyright (C) 1999, 2019 by Bo Stahlbrandt