I am specifically looking for statistics that estimate man for man what Wehrmacht infantry units were worth compared to allied infantry (principally British and American) after the opening of the western front with Operation Overlord.

I have received the statistic that Wehrmacht infantry was 20-30% more effective against the western Allies and up to 2x more effective than Soviet infantry overall. The source of these statistics is unreliable though. I'm providing them here as a suggestion.

I am specifically interested in a statistical analysis of the hard numbers, not a soft analysis of why some units might or might not have been as combat effective.

  • You seem to be presuming that are such "hard numbers"... – Felix Goldberg Feb 13 '14 at 2:01
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    There are. I know that they exist because I've seen the literature on this subject before. The US Army has some good statistical analysis that is old enough now that its hard to come by. There was a ton of research done after the war on combat effectiveness, see for example the US Strategic Bombing Survey. – Resting in Shade Feb 13 '14 at 2:21
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    The numbers would shift not just over space but time as well. German troops in Poland in 1939 during the invasion were a lot more effective than their compatriots in 1944 during the retreat for example. And a German soldier on the line at Stalingrad during the initial stages of that campaign was more effective than that exact same soldier a year later, frostbitten, hungry, shell shocked, and fighting a battle he knows is hopeless. – jwenting Feb 13 '14 at 9:00
  • Hence my typing of the war into theaters. These stats are out there, I just don't have the book or the expertise. – Resting in Shade Feb 13 '14 at 12:58
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a resource request for statistical analyses; not a request for an answer to the question. – Samuel Russell Feb 14 '14 at 21:53

Col. Peter R. Mansoor, author of the well-regarded book "The GI Offensive in Europe", offers this extensively researched and well reasoned conclusion in a lecture on the topic -

A more balanced comparison of German and American forces would compare each organization at its zenith, say, the German army in June 1941 and the American army in April 1945. I submit that one would be hard pressed to choose between the two forces on the basis of technical or tactical proficiency at the division level.

He also discusses the difficulty in comparing infantry to infantry, as the AUS and Wehrmacht had very different tactical doctrines that do not match up neatly, and cannot be separated from their role in combined arms warfare.


I think you are talking about Trevor Dupuy's modeling as talked about in his book Numbers, Predictions, and War.

While I am skeptical of this kind of thing, I don't think it is controversial that a typical German unit fought better than the typical Allied unit. That's why we brought along more units.

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    That, and it's harder to capture a prepared defensive position than it is to defend it (you have to move less, you have better "terrain" to hide in/behind, you know the terrain, etc.). – user31865 Feb 8 '19 at 18:19

You might want to consider not only the combat effectiveness of the German infantry, but also how it interacts with its support: aviation and artillery fires, and with the tansk that were often helping its counterattacks.

The combat effectiveness of the German infantry depended of the units, but notably you can say that the mountain, Austrian or German borne, infantry had great results against the Allied corpses in Italy.

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