The site has come a long way since I first constructed it, almost a decade ago at time of writing. So too has the availability of information on unit organisation during the Second World War. When I began, I had just a few original tables of organisation, and was heavily reliant on the often vague information found in a handful of books. Over time, I was able to amass what I thought was a decent collection of British War Establishment Tables, United States Tables of Organization and German Kriegsstarkenachweisung (roughly translated as 'War Strength Instruction' tables).
While I was working away at a moderate pace however, elsewhere on the internet other researchers were proceeding in Blitzkrieg fashion. When I first connected to the internet around 1999, pretty much everything I could find on military organisation was aimed at, or specifically formatted for, war games enthusiasts. Many promising pages turned out to be of the 'one stand equals one Platoon' type. For a little while at least, there were few internet sources that offered anything on actual unit organisation for the conflict, and it felt the site was serving a definite purpose.
The situation has changed remarkably, probably in a space of around two years. There are now multiple internet sources that reproduce or offer direct scans of the same organisational tables I had gradually accumulated over a long period, and most of these go further, covering units that remained outside of my scope of interest, or budget. The links to these sites are given below, so if you are interested in seeing the real thing or a close approximation, these would be my recommendations.
That sense of redundancy caused me to pull the site for a spell in late 2009. It felt a little like being a corner shop owner who suddenly found himself surrounded by supermarkets offering better deals and greater variety, though this is of course a hobby and not a livelihood. Also it seemed, to me at least, that just obtaining information has become more difficult. the UK National Archives had previously offered online ordering, but suddenly changed their terms and conditions, making it necessary to employ a researcher. That is generally a prerequisite for ordering outside of the UK, and has grown markedly more expensive in the last two or three years.
Perhaps a couple of dozen people though expressed their regret at losing the information available on the site, and caused me to reconsider my decision. Among them was Maximilian Ahn, who offered to provide the necessary server space to keep the site operational and gave a great deal of his time to transcribe the pages into a more modern format. His efforts can be seen at www.bayonetstrength.com which currently serves as a mirror site. After his endeavours, and to be truthful somewhat embarrassingly to me, I found a largely intact back-up version of the site, tucked away in my computer security software, including the images scanned for the Infantry Weapon section.
So, after some deliberation and the encouragement of those kind enough to get in touch, the site is back. The final irony was the arrival of some German documents I had been trying to obtain for around a year, about a week after I pulled the plug!
There is, quite probably, very little here now that those interested in the subject cannot find elsewhere. As mentioned, when I began the site contemporary documents were a rarity. That caused me to adopt a summary approach when describing the organisation of a unit. Starting again from scratch and providing complete personnel, vehicle and weapons data for each and every type of unit covered on the site is not something I wish to undertake (though the idea of a summary for key elements of units has been suggested and I will be looking into a format for it).
There is also the question of sources. At present, every British, Commonwealth and United States unit entry on the site is based on a copy of the official organisational document issued by the Army concerned, either obtained by me or kindly donated by a fellow enthusiast, with an acknowledgement to them on the relevant page. In the case of the German Army, I have a reasonable collection of KStN tables, but there are gaps in the records that survived the war. These I have attempted to fill in with my own interpretations of the available information from various sources, most notably the work of Dr Leo Niehorster in respect of the early war period. The Japanese unit detail is taken largely from a series of reports held at the United Kingdom National Archives, which I unintentionally obtained a copy of, underpinned by the US Army intelligence handbook compiled during the war and currently available as a reproduction.
Despite all efforts I have never tracked down anything official for the Italian Army of 1939 to 1943, which has always bewildered me as the Italian Army had numerous, and sometimes unique, organisational structures. I have been able to find some information for the Combat Groups, which served with the Allies in Italy from late 1944 onwards, and will be adding that at some point.
The main stumbling block for me as concerns sources however remains the Red Army. I have no contemporary Red Army tables to hand, and even if I did the language barrier would render them useless. To the best of my knowledge, the sole authoritative English language source remains the Red Army Handbook, by Zaloga and Ness. It was not until reviewing the pages I had written that I realised just how heavily I had lent on their work. It was not copied word for word by any means, and in certain areas I had to make interpretations from the Company level summaries provided, but take away their efforts and I can offer nothing. There is a long standing and important debate on the subject of work by authors being transcribed and made available 'free to air' by another party on the internet. At present I think my few Red Army pages are too heavily modelled on the work of others for me to publish them again via electronic means. That is a regret, as I felt the inclusion of Red Army units gave the site a more balanced coverage of the wartime participants.
External links to sites covering unit organisation
www.warestablishments.net current emphasis on British and Commonwealth units
http://www.militaryresearch.org/freebies.htm reproductions of numerous US Army tables (emphasis on 1943 to 1945)
http://www.ghqmodels.com/pages/military/freerules.asp just a few tables, but includes USMC for 1942 and 1944
www.sturmpanzer.com German organisational tables in original format (emphasis on 1943 to 1945 at present)
http://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstnmain.htm German tables reproduced with graphics of vehicles and weapons
Internal site links
The British Army
The United States Army
The United States Marines
The German Army
The Japanese Army
Infantry Weapons of World War Two
Infantry Tactics of World War Two
Published works and Websites