German WW-2 Manuals


The German Wehrmacht was subdivided into the Heer Army, Luftwaffe Air Forces, and Kriegsmarine Naval Forces. All had their own organizational structure and, accordingly, their own set of manuals. The German Wehrmacht was known for their high level of organization, which also reflects in the amount of manuals: more than 12,000 manuals are known and registered. 

This website presents the most complete listings of German WW-II era manuals to be found

The different categories of manuals

The Heer, Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine all had their own lists of manuals, and were referenced as such. Manuals on general topics that concerned multiple army fources were shared. In that case, multiple references were indicated on the cover of the manual, such as H.Dv., L.Dv., and M.Dv.Nr. references. Below, you can find links to the different listings. Listings that do not have a link are in preparation and will be added in due time.

Wehrmacht - for the German armed forces in general:

Heer - for the army the following series of manuals exist:

Luftwaffe - for the airforces the following series of manuals exist:

Kriegsmarine - for the naval forces the following series of manuals exist:

Besides the Wehrmacht, the various other organizations also had their own lists of manuals. These are:

Miscellaneous contains various books and leaflets that were not issued as registered manual in the listings above:

Sources and references

There are many websites where lists of manuals can be found, see as a good example, but all these sites represent limited listings. Years of collecting and researching has led me to draft the lists that are presented on this website, which, I believe, are the most complete listings to be found on the web. Besides the manuals in my collection, both original as digital, I have used a wide variety of sources to draft these lists:

For pdf versions of the manuals on the website, their origin is indicated in case they are not part of my own collection. The most common are:

I am continuously updating my listings and any additions or corrections are welcomed

see also the newly added section

Scans of manuals that are missing in my lists, or tips on websites are appreciated. However, please note that I will only make changes to my lists in case I am fully convinced of the correctness of the additional information you might provide, as more and more copies appear.

I aim to combine every entry with an image of that particular manual. You will also find PDF's of many manuals, currently over 2,500 entries.

For every manual, I also list published reprints that may or may not have been updated (Nachdruck mit eingearbeiteteten Deckblättern and Unveränderter nachdruck). In case the manual title did not change, only the additional information is listed. Many manuals have add-ons, marked with Zusatz zur... or Zum einlegen in... These are listed as such. I do not list the correction sheets (Deckblätter) that appeared regularly, as these were consumables that were to be worked into the manuals. The corrections noted in the Deckblatt had to be added either by hand or by cutting and gluing.

Missing information in my lists is marked by "?".

Disclaimer: I do not have commercial intentions with the lists provided on this website. In that context: the watermark on the PDF's on this website do not relate to copyright claims (as if that were possible...), but are placed to prevent commercial exploitation. The information provided is entirely intended for educational and research purposes.

planmäßig/außerplanmäßig ; Grundsoll/Sondersoll

Two main groups of manuals can be recognised: the planmäßige planned and außerplanmäßige unplanned manuals. The planned manuals represent the basic provisions for and training of personnel in every army section. Unplanned manuals or notes appeared whenever they were required, describing e.g. new or newly captured equipment or valuable battlefield experiences. If the topic of an unplanned manuals was considered important and generally applicable, the unplanned manuals eventually became planned manuals.

Every army section has a list of mandatory manuals, the Grundsoll and Sondersoll, that were assigned to these specific troop sections. These covered educational, administrative, ammunition, weapons and firing manuals. Besides the Grundsoll and Sondersoll, there are the specific manuals that had to be ordered separately. These concern special weapons and equipment Waffen- und Geräteausstattung, and special assignments and training needs besondere Einsatz- und Ausbildungsaufgaben. These latter 2 groups often deal with technical manuals. Often, technical manuals belonged to the equipment, indicated as Zum einlegen in das Gerät. In case the equipment was transferred, the manual was transferred with it.

Nur für den Dienstgebrach (NfD) vs Offen

Manuals are either classified as offen or Nur für den Dienstgebrauch, which relates to their availability and means of ordering. Nur für den Dienstgebrach (NfD) means the manual is only intended for military use and can only be ordered at the intended military administrative department, for example the Vorschriftenabteilung der Heereswaffenambt, Wa.Z.4 for the D. manuals. Another indication of classified manuals is that such manuals refer to the publishing company as Gedruckt bei/in, printed by.

Offen means that they can be ordered directly at any bookstore by the military department or military personnel. On these manuals, mentioning to the publishing company is done without the prefix Gedruckt bei/in, printed by.

Depending on the NfD or Offen rating of the manual, the manuals that were no longer needed by the troops were disposed of differently. The Offen manuals should be returned to the army administration offices, while the NfD manuals were to be destroyed by the troops according to the regulations mentioned in H.Dv. 99 Verschlußsachen-Vorschrift.

Many Nur für den Dienstgebrauch classified manuals had the extra classification that they were not to be taken to the front, where they might fall into enemy hands. For the manuals of the Heer army, this was indicated by Nicht in Feindeshand fallen lassen ! printed on the front cover: do not allow capture by the enemy. The whole H.Dv. 119 series Schußtafeln firing tables had this classification. Some other H.Dv. manuals had Nicht in die vordere Linie mitnehmen ! on the front cover: do not take into the front line. This was the case for the H.Dv. 89 series Die ständige Front and H.Dv. 220/4b Ausbildungsvorschrift für die Pioniere and several issues of Merkblatt. For the Luftwaffe airforce a similar message was used: Nicht auf Feindflug mitnehmen ! don't take on a combat flight.


Secret manuals had the classification Geheim! and deal with topics that were classified before and/or during the war. Secret manuals could only be obtained with special permission. As soon as the war started, however, a lot of these manuals got their Geheim! status cancelled and their status became Nur für den Dientgebrauch. This was required as widespread distribution was needed for effective warfare. This is why you will often find that the Geheim! addition is crossed by pensile on these manuals. On some manuals the Geheim! inscription had the addition Bei Einsatz: N.f.D., which reflects it exactly. 

Manuals classified as Geheim! manuals were to be destroyed in case of danger. These manuals should under no circumstances fall into enemy hands and were forbidden to be taken to the frontlines.

3 levels of training

The manuals provided to the troops were meant for 3 levels of training. These were:

It was encouraged to distribute the manuals among the troops for usage, instead of locking them up in chests. 

Because of the many manuals, overviews of manuals were distributed. Besides the listings Verzeichniss der Vorschriften, special listings existed which indicated what army section needed which manuals, the so-called Kriegssol an Vorschriften. Because of the importance of hands-on training possibilities, also versions of these Kriegssol manuals that were prepared by the troops themselves existed. A nice example is given on the right, consisting of a typed list. Because this is not an official manual, but prepared by the troops themselves, it is funny to mention that the list contains numerous errors.

Kriegssol manual prepared in the field.

Manuals used for phycological warfare by the allied forces

The British forces used German booklets and military manuals for the camouflage of the handbook on malingering, pretending to be ill or causing an injury to yourself, one can survive the war in a comfortable hospital rather than fighting and dying at the front. This handbook is known as Krankheit rettet. I have 1 example in my collection, disguised as the Merkblatt 53d-58 Truppenhygiene im Winter.

Read more about the topic.

Merkblatt  53d-58 of British origin as disguise of the Krankheit rettet booklet.