Swiss Army - May 10, 1940

[Threat from the North] [Strength of the Field Army] [Comparison with the Report of the General]

In peacetime the Swiss army consisted of three army corps with the following structure:

The air force and air defense troops were just being formed (FF = Flieger und Flab).

In addition quite strong fortifications existed around the St. Gotthard pass and the "passage obligé" of St. Maurice in the Valais. Since the mid 30s more fortifications were built on the border and in the Sargans area.

Threat from the North - Aufmarsch Nord

For the defense in the case "Nord" (Operationsbefehl No 4) the general ordered the Swiss army to take the following structure. An additional army corps (No 4) was formed and some ad hoc "divisions" were formed to facilitate command. The general gave orders for the following troops

In addition a bunch of other army troops (Armeetruppen) were available.

Strength of the Field Army

The Swiss Army fielded the following forces in May 1940:

  Armee-truppen AK 1 AK 2 AK 3 AK 4 Div Gempen Div Murten Total

Infantry Divisions

2 7 4, 5 1, 6        

Mountain Divisions

    3 8 9      

Border Brigades

  7, 8 4, 5 6 9 3 1, 2  

Light Brigades

  1, 3   2        

Mountain Brigades

  12     10, 11      

Men

ca 73'400 ca 69'200 ca 77'300 ca 84'700 ca 93'400 ca
20'100
ca 15'600 ca 433'800
LMG 1'890 2'103 2'226 2'433 3'369 792 564 13'377
Laf LMG 522 540 618 693 939 210 141 3'663
sMG 600 985 940 964 1'127 280 60 4'956
81mm Mortar 144 216 208 220 250 64 54 1'156
47mm Ik 84 162 164 170 218 44 0 842
75mm Feldgeschütz 36 95 116 116 71 0 0 434
105mm sch mot Kan 8 26 40 56 25 0 0 155
120mm Feldhaubitze 0 61 0 36 28 0 0 125
150mm Feldhaubitze 0 1 16 16 0 0 0 33

Comparison with the Report of the General

After the war the General and other officers of the general headquarter's staff created some useful reports which can be used to check the figures above. In his report the general states that the Swiss Army had the following levels of equipment:

31.8.1939 Field Army Fortresses Total My Figures Deviation
LMG 12'418   12'418 17'040 4'622
HMG 4'804   4'808 4'956 152
81mm Mw 822   822 1'156 334
47mm Ik 823 63 886 842 19
75mm FG 542 26 568 434 -108
105mm Kan 84   84 155 71
12cm Kan 97 30 127 125 28
15cm Hb 42   42 33 -9
8.4cm Kan 170 15 185 - -

N.B. The horse and the truck figures match pretty well.

Interpretation

The sMG, 47mm ATG, the 12cm Kan and 15cm howitzer figures are very accurate.

My LMG figure is probably wrong. There was some purchasing between September 1939 and May 1940. I would wonder if more than 4'000 LMG were bought. Probably the Laf LMG (3'663) has to be separated from the LMG figure (13'377). Then the figure is pretty accurate.

My 81mm mortar figure is probably too high too. Although there was some production between August '39 and May '40, there are reports mentioning that not all second and third line infantry formations had their full complement of 81mm mortars.

I know that 105mm cannons were purchased in some numbers. I'll have to find out if there were really 71. If not these units should probably show 75mm guns where we have more than 100 unused guns in the count.

[Last Update 30.08.2010]