From: Cottesmore, Rutland
ORIGINAL: KG Erwin
I find it interesting in that the US Marine Corps in WWII kept their reorganizations based on the divisional level, with the 1942 TOEs simply being called D-100. In 1943 was E-100, and in 1944 F-100. G-100 followed in 1945, but this organization wasn't formalized until the war ended.
By contrast, the Germans had a hopelessly overcomplicated system of KStN, which are fascinating to track, but seldom were fully equipped to compose the larger organizations they were meant to be elements of. To this day, other forums are filled with questions on "who had what equipment at a particular time".
I agree that it does complicate thing now but not then.
A Kriegsstärkenachweisungen (KStN) and roughly translates to 'Wartime strength instructions' or TOE. The big difference is it’s based on company sized units whereas the TOE is battalion sized or larger. Bigger organisations were put together using the KstN system according to a Gliederung (arrangement).
The issue of a KstN affected all units using it and in theory they all had to comply by the date of the KstN, the older ones being destroyed. A KstN like TOE is what they should have not what they do have.
KstNs also make putting together adhoc formations simple and the Germans were good at that. Another thing that makes the German system more flexible is companies had their own support elements (until end 1944 anyway). The allied support was at battalion level.
In practice few if any units reached anywhere near to their allocated levels other than maybe during the first two years, especially if they had been in combat. Even in the rear shortages were a big problem to them.
This however is true of any army during the period and still is. The only time any unit is likely to be at full authorised strength is during their initial organisation in its depot.