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Reading KStN Charts

Reading KStN Charts

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Published by JohnWinner
Reading German military KStN charts
Reading German military KStN charts

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: JohnWinner on Apr 23, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Deciphering theKriegsstärkenachweisung(KStN)
By John Winner ©April 2011
The Kriegsstärkenachweisung or KStN is a chart showing the theoretical make up of acertain unit in the German military during the years of the Third Reich. KStN's were often changedduring the course of their existence so you must take care when researching the makeup of a certainunit. Most KStN's in books and other forms of media will be referred to by number and year. Theexample that I will be using here happens to be "KStN 1176 (fG) 1.11.1944".At first looking at one of these charts can seem overwhelming, but hopefully I will be able tohelp you to unlock the secrets seemingly locked away in these charts, I will first start with a basicoverview of the charts layout. These charts can be layed out either vertically or horizontally on the page. You will first notice that they are layed out in columns and lines. Every line is numbered, thatis the easy part, so I will concentrate on the columns. Before I get into that I will mention the large box in the upper left of the chart which tells you what unit is being described. It will be given inlong form and then in abbreviated form. These charts can be full of German military abbreviations,I suggest getting a guide to decipher them. A good one is
German Military Abbreviations, Special  series No. 12, MIS 461
by the Military Intelligence Service of the US War Department. Now the columns: Nr. der Zeile: this one is pretty self-explanitory, line number.Stellengruppe: this column is used to denote the rank of soldier within the unit. I will go more indepth about the Stellengruppe system later.Hauptspalte: translates as main column, this column holds information such as vehicle types,soldiers duties in the unit and so on.Kopfzahl: this is the headcount of soldiers in the unit. It is broken down into four parts:a) Offiziere (officers) b) Beamte (officials)c) Unteroffiziere (non-commissioned officers)d) Mannschafften (enlisted men)Waffen: this counts the weapons used by the unit described. It is broken into four parts:e) Gewehre, Karabiner – rifles, carbinesf) Pistolen (Masch.Pist) – pistols (machine pistols)g) s.M.G. (le.M.G.) - heavy machinegun (light machinegun)h) besp. (unbesp.) Geschütze und Werfer – horse-drawn (non horse-drawn) guns andlaunchers
Fahrzeuge: this count all the vehicles used in the unit (can differ from chart to chart)i) besp. (unbesp.) Fahrzeuge [Wasserfahrzg.] - horse-drawn (non horse-drawn) vehicles[water vehicles]k) Krad (Krad mit Seitenwg.) [Kettenkrad] – motorcycle (motorcycle with sidecar) [trackedmotorcycle]l) Personenkraftwagen (Lastkraftwagen) [Gleisketten-Lkw.] - cars (trucks) [tracked carrier,unarmored]m) Zugkw. (Vollketten-Schlepper) [Radschlepper] – prime mover (fully tracked carrier)[wheeled carrier]n) gp. Vollketten-Kfz. (gp. Halbkett.Kfz.) [gp. Räderkfz.] - armored fully tracked vehicle(armored half-tracked vehicle) [armored wheeled vehicle]o) Fahrräder (Anhänger) [Eisenbahnfahrzeug] – bicycles (trailers) [railway vehicle]When reading these columns you must take care to read them correctly. For example, in the columnlabeled Krad (Krad mit Seitenwagen) [Kettenkrad], the numbers in the column will be able todenote the three types listed. A number with no brackets would be just motorcycles, inside ( ) would be motocycles with sidecar, and inside [ ] would be Kettenkrad. Now I will attempt to explain the Stellungruppe system (rank group system). This systemworks somewhat like a pay grade system. The different groups had different duties, relating tocommand of units of certain sizes.The system groups are layed out like this:"A" Group (Oberbefehlshaber)GeneralfeldmarschallGeneraloberst"F" Group (Kommandierender General)General der InfanterieGeneral der KavallerieGeneral der Artillerieand so on"D" Group (Divisionskommandeur)GeneralleutnantGeneralstabsartzGeneralstabs-... and so on"I" Group (Infanterie, Artillerie, Brigadekommandeur)Generalmajor GeneralartzGeneral-....and so on"R" Group (Regimentskommandeur)OberstOberstartzOberst-...and so on"B" Group (Battaillonskommandeur)OberstleutnantOberfeldartz

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