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.
Heer For the army the following series of manuals exist:
H.Dv. - planmäßigen Heeres Druckvorschrift - planned Army manuals
H.Dv.g. - geheime planmäßigen Heeres Druckvorschrift - classified planned Army manuals
D. - außerplanmäßigen Heeres Vorschriften - unplanned Army manuals
D+. - geheime außerplanmäßigen Heeres-Vorschriften - classified unplanned Army manuals
Merkblatt - notes for the Army
Merkblatt Geheim - classified motes for the Army
Bildheft - manuals describing dia-series intended for visual training sessions
Potsdamer Tafeln - short tables with the essentials on various topics
Stärkenachweisungen - descriptions of organization and composition of the standard units of the Wehrmacht NEW
Luftwaffe For the airforces the following series of manuals exist:
L.Dv. - planmäßigen Luftwaffe Dienstvorschrift - planned Airforce manuals
L.Dv.T. - technische planmäßigen Luftwaffe Dienstvorschrift - technical planned Airforce manuals
L.Dv.g. - geheime planmäßigen Luftwaffe Druckvorschrift - classified planned Airforce manuals
D.(Luft) - außerplanmäßigen Luftwaffe Vorschrift - unplanned Airforce manuals
D.(Luft)T. - technische außerplanmäßigen Luftwaffe Vorschrift - technical unplanned Airforce manuals
Lw. Merkblatt - notes for the Airforce
Werkschrift - dedicated service notebooks for airplanes
Kriegsmarine For the naval forces the following series of manuals exist:
M.Dv.Nr. - planmäßigen und geheime Kriegsmarine Druckvorschrift - planned Naval Forces manuals, including classified manuals
Besides the Wehrmacht, the various other organizations also had their own lists of manuals. These are:
P.D.V. - Polizei Druck Vorschrift - manual for police forces
Rad.Dv. - Reichsarbeitsdienst Druckvorschrift - manual for the organized civil work-forces applied by the military
SS Dv.Nr. - SS Dientvorschrift - manuals for the SS
M.W.SS - Merkblatt der Waffen SS - notes for the Waffen SS NEW
Hitler Jugend ; Deutsches Jungvolk in der HJ ; Bund Deutscher Mädel ; Jungmädel in der H.J. - manuals for the different youth organizations
Hilfsblätter - educational manuals specifically for training in communication equipment, both for Army and Air Forces
Militärgeographische Arbeiten - publications of the geographical army services, dealing with up-to-date maps and geographic descriptions UPDATED
W.L.S.Dv. - Werkluftschutzdruckvorschrift - manuals for the air-raid services
TS Lehr.Bl. - Technische Lehrblätter - general technical manuals to be used in airfield ground personnel training
TN Dv. - Technische Nothilfe Druckvorschrift - manuals for the technical civil cervices
D.R. - Deutsche Reichsbahn - manuals for the railway services
Miscellaneous contains various books and leaflets that were not issued as registered manual in the listings above, but rather as communication:
Sources and references
There are many websites where lists of manuals can be found, see www.superborg.de 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:
Original German manuals such as:
H.Dv. 1 Verzeichnis der planmäßigen Heeres-Druckvorschriften
L.Dv. 1 Verzeichnis der Dienstvorschriften und Druckschriften der Luftwaffe
D. 1 Verzeichnis der außerplanmäßigen Heeres-Vorschriften
D. 1/1+ Verzeichnis der geheimen außerplanmäßigen Heeres-Vorschriften
Merkblatt 35/10 Verzeichnis der Druckvorschriften des Heeres
The lists presented in www.superborg.de
The archives of NARA (U.S. National Archives & Records Administration), - WW2 Archives (wwiidigitalarchives.org)
And my own collection, of course
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, and currently I am at ~35% coverage. You will also find PDF's of many manuals, currently over 2,300 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:
Kampfeinsatz - battle-deployment - manuals required for effective warfare and that needed to be present during campaigns.
vorübergehende Ruhezeit - short breaks - covering additional manuals that the troops require during the short battle breaks. They are on topics for e.g. the specific front, specific weapons and specific weather conditions in which the troops were employed.
längere Ruhezeit - longer breaks - covering manuals for further education of the troops during longer breaks, such as time-off.
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.
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.