Axis order of battle

10 May – 25 June 1940 

Map showing dispositions of the opposing forces.

Organisation of forces

The overall commander-in-chief of the German forces - Oberkommando des Heeres  (OKH) was Generaloberst Walter von Brauchitsch. Although initially, the Axis forces consisted only of German troops, they Italians joined the conflict on the German side on 10 June.


The total German ground forces in 1940 were as follows:

  • 129 infantry divisions;
  • 8 motorized infantry divisions (including 3 Waffen-SS);
  • 10 Panzer divisions;
  • 3 mountain divisions;
  • 1 cavalry division;
  • 2 airborne divisions;

Generaloberst Walter von Brauchitsch.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-E00780 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Prior to the invasion of France, the German commanders had organised their forces into the following army groups:

  • Army Group A (von Rundstedt) with 45 1/2 divisions including 7 Panzer; Responsbile for the main thrust of the invasion through the Ardennes.
  • Army Group B (von Bock) with 29 1/2 divisions including 3 Panzer – undertaking a secondary assault through Belgium and the Netherlands, designed to draw the bulk of the French and allied forces away from von Rundstedt’s divisions.
  • Army Group C (von Leeb) with 19 divisions – placed in a defensive position facing the Maginot Line.

OKH Reserve

Second Army

Commanded by General of Cavalry Maximilian von Weichs

  • 267th Infantry Division
  • 294th Infantry Division
  • IX Corps - General der Infanterie Hermann Geyer
  • 15th Infantry Division
  • 205th Infantry Division
  • XXVI Corps - General der Artillerie Albert Wodrig
  • 34th Infantry Division
  • 45th Infantry Division
  • 295th Infantry Division
  • VI Corps - General der Pioniere Otto-Wilhelm Förster
  • 5th Infantry Division
  • 293rd Infantry Division

German soldiers move through a devastated French village.

OKH Reserves: Corps and division details.

Ninth Army

Commanded by Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz

  • 211th Infantry Division
  • XXXXII Corps - General der Pioniere Walter Kuntze
  • 50th Infantry Division
  • 291st Infantry Division
  • XXXXIII Corps - Generalleutnant Hermann Ritter von Speck, from 31 May Generalleutnant Franz Böhme
  • 88th Infantry Division
  • 96th Infantry Division
  • 292nd Infantry Division
  • XVIII Corps - General der Infanterie Eugen Beyer, from 5 June Generalleutnant Hermann Ritter von Speck
  • 25th Infantry Division
  • 81st Infantry Division
  • 290th Infantry Division

Reconnaissance squads head the German advance into Luxembourg, on May 10, 1940.

German Army Group A

Commanded by Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt

Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S37772 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Army Group A: Corps and division details.

Fourth Army

Commanded by Generaloberst Günther von Kluge (Chief of Staff: Generalmajor Kurt Brennecke).

  • II Corps - General of Infantry Adolf Strauß -> 30.5.1940 General of Infantry Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel
  • 12th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach
  • 32nd Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Franz Böhme
  • V Corps - General of Infantry Richard Ruoff
  • 211th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Kurt Renner
  • 251st Infantry Division - Generalmajor Hans Kratzert
  • 263rd Infantry Division - Generalmajor Franz Karl
  • VIII Corps - General of Infantry Walter Heitz
  • 8th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Rudolf Koch-Erpach
  • 28th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Hans von Obstfelder -> 20.5.1940 Generalmajor Johann Sinnhuber
  • 87th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Bogislav von Studnitz
  • 267th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Ernst Fessmann
  • XV Corps - General of Infantry Hermann Hoth (dispositions north to south: Yvoir-Houx-Dinant)
  • 5th Panzer Division - Generalleutnant Max von Hartlieb -> 22.5.1940 Generalleutnant Joachim Lemelsen -> 6.6.1940 Generalmajor Ludwig Cruwell
  • 7th Panzer Division - Generalmajor Erwin Rommel 
  • 62nd Infantry Division - Generalmajor Walter Keiner

German soldiers on the march during the Invasion of France.

Twelth Army

Commanded by Generaloberst Wilhelm List (Chief of Staff: Generalleutnant Eberhard von Mackensen).

  • III Corps - General of Artillery Curt Haase
  • 3rd Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Walter Lichel
  • 23rd Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Walter von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt
  • 52nd Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Hans-Jurgen von Arnim
  • VI Corps - General of Engineers Otto-Wilhelm Förster
  • 16th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Heinrich Krampf
  • 24th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Justin von Obernitz -> 1.6.1940 Generalmajor Hans-Valentin Hube
  • XVIII Corps - General of Infantry Eugen Beyer -> 1.6. Generalleutnant Hermann Ritter von Speck
  • 5th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Wilhelm Fahrmbacher
  • 21st Infantry Division - Generalmajor Otto Sponheimer
  • 25th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Erich Clößner
  • 1st Mountain Division - Generalleutnant Ludwig Kübler

A formation of German Dornier Do 17Z light bombers, flying over France on June 21, 1940.

Sixteenth Army

Commanded by General of Infantry Ernst Busch (Chief of Staff: Generalmajor Walter Model)

  • VII Corps - General of Infantry Eugen von Schobert
  • 36th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Georg Lindemann
  • 68th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Georg Braun
  • XIII Corps - Generalleutnant Heinrich von Vietinghoff
  • 15th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Friedrich-Wilhelm von Chappuis
  • 17th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Herbert Loch
  • 10th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Konrad von Cochenhausen
  • XXIII Corps - Generalleutnant Albrecht Schubert
  • 34th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Hans Behlendorff
  • 58th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Iwan Heunert
  • 76th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Maximilian de Angelis
  • 26th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Sigismund von Förster
  • Panzer Group Kleist - General of Cavalry Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (Chief of Staff: Generalmajor Kurt Zeitzler)
  • XIV Corps - General of Infantry Gustav Anton von Wietersheim
  • 2nd Infantry Division (mot.) - Generalleutnant Paul Bader
  • 13th Infantry Division (mot.) - Generalmajor Friedrich-Wilhelm von Rothkirch und Panthen
  • 29th Infantry Division (mot.) - Generalmajor Willibald Freiherr von Langermann und Erlencamp
  • XXXXI Corps - Generalleutnant Georg-Hans Reinhardt (disposition of Panzer Corps north to south, Montherme)
  • 6th Panzer Division - Generalmajor Werner Kempf
  • 8th Panzer Division - Oberst Erich Brandenberger
  • XIX Corps - General of Cavalry Heinz Guderian [20] (dispositions east to west: Donchery to Sedan)
  • 2nd Panzer Division - Generalleutnant Rudolf Veiel
  • 1st Panzer Division - Generalleutnant Friedrich Kirchner
  • 10th Panzer Division - Generalleutnant Ferdinand Schaal
  • Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland

German motorcyclists pass through a destroyed town in France in 1940.


  • XXXX Corps - Generalleutnant Georg Stumme
  • 6th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Arnold Freiherr von Biegeleben
  • 9th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Georg von Apell
  • 4th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Erick-Oskar Hansen
  • 27th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Friedrich Bergmann
  • 71st Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Karl Weisenberger
  • 73rd Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Bruno Bieler

German Army Group B

Commanded by Generaloberst Fedor von Bock (Chief of Staff: Generalleutnant Hans von Salmuth)

Generaloberst Fedor von Bock

Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1977-120-11 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Army Group B: Corps and division details.

Sixth Army

Commanded by Generaloberst Walter von Reichenau (Chief of Staff: Generalmajor Friedrich Paulus)

  • XVI Corps - General of Cavalry Erich Hoepner
  • 4th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Erick-Oskar Hansen
  • 33rd Infantry Division - Generalmajor Rudolf Sintzenich
  • 3rd Panzer Division - Generalmajor Horst Stumpff
  • 4th Panzer Division - Generalmajor Ludwig Radlmeier -> 8.6.1940 Generalmajor Johann Joachim Stever
  • IV Corps - General of Infantry Viktor von Schwedler
  • 15th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Ernst-Eberhard Hell
  • 205th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Ernst Richter
  • XI Corps - Generalleutnant Joachim von Kortzfleisch
  • 7th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Eccard Freiherr von Gablenz
  • 211th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Kurt Renner
  • 31st Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Rudolf Kaempfe
  • IX Corps - General of Infantry Hermann Geyer
  • XXVII Corps - General of Infantry Alfred Wäger
  • 253th Infantry Division - Generalleutnant Fritz Kuhne
  • 269th Infantry Division - Generalmajor Ernst-Eberhard Hell

Soldiers from the SS-VT Division (SS "Verfügungstruppe") during the Invasion of France.

Eighteenth Army

Commanded by General of Artillery Georg von Küchler

  • 1st Cavalry Division - Major General Kurt Feldt
  • X Corps - General Christian Hansen
  • SS "Adolf Hitler" Reinforced Regiment - Sepp Dietrich
  • 227th Infantry Division
  • 207th Infantry Division[3]
  • SS "Der Fuhrer" Reinforced Regiment (Detached from SS "Verfugungstruppe" Division) 
  • XXVI Corps - General Albert Wodrig
  • 256th Infantry Division
  • 254th Infantry Division
  • SS "Verfügungstruppe" Division (Less one Regiment "Der Fuhrer") - ss-Gruppenfuhrer Paul Hausser
  • 9th Panzer Division - Major General Alfred Ritter Von Hubicki
  • XXXIX Corps (Activated 13 May 1940) – Lieutenant General Rudolf Schmidt

A German motorized column streams through the “impenetrable” Ardennes Forest in the opening days of Hitler’s attack in the West, May 1940.


  • 208th Infantry Division
  • 225th Infantry Division
  • 526th Infantry Division
  • Air Landing Corps (Under Luftwaffe control)
  • 7th Air Division
  • 22nd Air Landing Infantry Division

German Army Group C

Commanded by Generaloberst Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb.

Generaloberst Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb.


Army Group C: Corps and division details.

First Army

Commanded by Generaloberst Erwin von Witzleben

  • 197th Infantry Division
  • Höh. Kom. z.b.V. XXXVII - Generalleutnant Alfred Böhm-Tettelbach
  • 246th Infantry Division
  • 215th Infantry Division
  • 262nd Infantry Division
  • 257th Infantry Division
  • XXIV Corps - General der Panzertruppe Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg
  • 60th Infantry Division
  • 252nd Infantry Division
  • 168th Infantry Division
  • XII Corps - Generaloberst Gotthard Heinrici
  • 75th Infantry Division
  • 268th Infantry Division
  • 198th Infantry Division
  • XXX Corps - General der Artillerie Otto Hartmann
  • 258th Infantry Division
  • 93rd Infantry Division
  • 79th Infantry Division
  • Höh. Kom. z.b.V. XXXXV - General der Infanterie Kurt von Greiff
  • 95th Infantry Division
  • 167th Infantry Division

A German armoured tank crosses the Aisne River in France, on June 21, 1940, one day before the surrender of France.

Seventh Army

Commanded by Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann

  • Höh. Kom. z.b.V. XXXIII - General der Kavallerie Georg Brandt
  • 213th Infantry Division
  • 554th Infantry Division
  • 556th Infantry Division
  • 239th Infantry Division
  • XXV Corps - General der Infanterie Karl Ritter von Prager
  • 557th Infantry Division
  • 555th Infantry Division
  • 6th Mountain Division
  • 218th Infantry Division
  • 221st Infantry Division

Overview of German armoured strength, May 1940.

Luftwaffe support

The Luftwaffe was a sizeable, well-trained, and well-equipped arm of the Wehrmacht, with a number of its members having seen action in the Spanish Civil War. Army Group B was allocated almost 2000 combat aircraft to support its invasion of France, along with over 500 transport and glider aircraft. Over 3000 combat aircraft were allocated to support Army Groups A and C. In total, it was almost double the size of the Allied air force it would face.

It was to mainly provide close support to the land forces with dive-bombers such as the Ju87 Stuka (which effectively acted as flying artillery) and medium bombers such as the Dornier Do17 or Heinkel He111. However, it was flexible enough to carry out operational, tactical, and strategic bombing as required.

Dornier Do 17 bomber from Kampfgeschwader 76 in flight, France, summer 1940.

Italian Army Group "West"

Commanded by by Prince General Umberto di Savoia.

Prince General Umberto di Savoia.

1st Army

4th Army

Commanded by General Pietro Pintor

  • II Army Corps - General Francesco Bettini
  • III Army Corps - General Mario Arisio
  • XV Army Corps - General Gastone Gambara

Commanded by General Alfredo Guzzoni

  • I Army Corps - General Carlo Vecchiarelli
  • IV Army Corps - General Camillo Mercalli
  • Alpine Army Corps - General Luigi Negri

The Italians committed around 312,000 troops to the campaign although they lacked artillery, transport and equipment designed for operating in Alpine environments.

Italian troops in Menton, France in June 1940.