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A paper command is a military term for an officially established military formation that lacks the manpower or staffing normally befitting such an organization. Such commands are similar to those that are under-strength—however, a paper command generally refers to a unit that military authorities have no intention of expanding, and have created solely for administrative purposes or to present the appearance of a larger military force than actually exists.

During the Second World War, George S. Patton was assigned to command the First United States Army Group, regarded then as a paper command to deceive German forces. He later commanded the Fifteenth United States Army, which was in fact a battalion of military historian specialists.[1]

The Nazi Allgemeine-SS also maintained paper commands of mustering SS formations, when in fact all the SS members had transferred to combat and the unit held no actual members. Prominent examples are the 118th SS-Standarte, the 121st SS-Standarte and the 126th SS-Standarte.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Blumenson, Martin (1987). Patton, the man behind the legend, 1885-1945. Berkley Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=X1XWAAAAMAAJ&q. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  2. Yerger, Mark C. (1997). Allgemeine-SS, Schiffer military history book. Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 978-0764301452. http://books.google.com/books?id=05oJNQAACAAJ&dq. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 

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