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german and russian "nicknames" for units
United States
Joined: February 11, 2013
KitMaker: 2 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 - 08:32 PM UTC
Hi guys!! I am new to the forum...recommended by a friend to stop by here and ask a question (he runs a facebook armor journal page).

My name is Nick, I am currently in film school (The Los Angeles Film School) and I was hoping some of you fine folks here might be able to help me with some stuff. I am a bit of a history buff, but no where near a history "nerd", I'm more of just a nerd (I love sci-fi, math, physics, etc).

Anyway, I was hoping someone(s) could help me out with some unit/company designations on the German and Russian sides during WWII. You know how the US had things like the "fighting seabees" and many other nicknames, given to them by other US military personnel or by their own units...I want the same type of stuff for German and Russian units/companies/legions/battalions/etc, NOT what the US and Allies gave units as nicknames.

I would really appreciate your help in this matter. I am doing a Star Wars short for my thesis at school and I have everything written out, just haven't given squads, company, legion, etc names...they won't necessarily be names based (or exactly) off of what anyone posts here but some insight as to what the German and Russians called/named their stuff (though I'm sure it's the same type as stuff, they're human just like us) would be incredibly helpful!!!

Thanks all!!

Alabama, United States
Joined: March 28, 2006
KitMaker: 554 posts
AeroScale: 7 posts
Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 - 11:30 AM UTC
Hi Nick,
Welcome to Armorama. I am not any kind of expert on unit names but your question got me thinking. I found the info below on Wikipedia. You may want to look at the US division names. A lot of them are good too.
Anyway, here is what I found. Hope it Helps

German Options

Division Names
Feldhermhalle 1 and 2
Panzer Lehr
Furher Begleit
Occasionally named for commander, e.g. Hermann Goring, common in smaller units, e.g. Kampfgrupe Peiper

SS Divs
1st - Leibstandarte Adolph Hitler
2nd - Das Reich
3rd - Totenkopf
4th - Polizei
5th - Wiking
6th - Nord
7th - Prinz Eugen
8th - Florian Geyer
9th - Hohenstaufen
10th - Frundsberg
11th - Nordland
12th - Hitlerjugend
13th - Handschar
14th - Galizien
15th - 1st Latvian
16th - Reichsfurher-SS
17th - Gotz von Berlichingen
18th - Horst Wessel
Several more up through 38th - Nibelungen

Types of Divs
Festung - Fortress
Grenadier - motorized
Jager - Light
Panzergrenadier - motorized with more armor
“Native” Divisions, e.g. Spanish Blue Division
Cossack - Cavalry
Fallshirmjager - Parachute

Russian Options
No unit names found in search

Types of Divisions
Guards Rifle
Guards Cavalry
Guards Rocket Artillery
Breakthrough Artillery

Larger units also called
Guards Armies
Shock Armies
Red Banner Armies
All typically numbered except fronts which were named for the general area of operation
United States
Joined: February 11, 2013
KitMaker: 2 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 10:00 AM UTC
Thanks! I was looking more for direct translations of nicknames, but I imagine they'll be the same type of stuff used by the US, just in German. Just sounds cooler in German, more so in Russian as well. I'll have to translate some.

Thanks again!
Kentucky, United States
Joined: September 26, 2007
KitMaker: 162 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 02:22 AM UTC
Nick, the Germans would nickname some their divisions from either the symbol of the unit like the Windhund (Greyhound) Division (16th Motorized Division, and the later 116th Panzer Division), or from the area the unit is headquartered in Germany - the 3rd Panzer Division from Berlin, 25th Panzergrenadier Division from Stuttgart, the 22nd Panzer Division from Hesse.

Two 'nicknames' I know the Germans used during the war was the Ghost Division for the 7th Panzer Division that Rommel commanded during the attack on France in May/June 1940; and the Blow Torch Battalion that was given to a panzergrenadier battlion of the 1st SS Panzer Division that Peiper commanded in Russia in early 1943. Reason for the nickname is not quite known - the unit used blowtorches to warm their rations in the Russian winter, or they burned through the Russians, or they burned down the villages that had Russian forces suspected to be in them.

I am not sure if any of the Tiger battalions had nicknames associated with them - 505 Tiger Battaion had the charging knight symbol later in 1943 through 1945, was it called the 'charing knight' battalion.

And half of the fun with our hobby is doing the research and finding out new things; at least for this history major....

Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: October 22, 2008
KitMaker: 1,280 posts
AeroScale: 3 posts
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 07:31 AM UTC
German units still had designations referencing state of origin like "xx " i.e 18. Westfalien Infantrieregiment back then. So they where often known (lokaly) as the Westfalen = Westfalian or the 18. Westfalen = 18. Westfalians for short. Some had long standing connections to towns i.e the Bückeburger Jäger = Bückeburg Rangers.