The first tanks in the German army appeared at the end of World War I - these were the A7V machines. After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the German armed forces were forbidden to develop armored weapons, but the German side did not honor these restrictions and secretly developed armored weapons. However, after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, this development became fully official, and in 1935 the 1st Armored Division was formed. In the period 1935-1939, further divisions were formed, and their main equipment was the Pz.Kpfw cars: I, II, III and IV. A single armored division at that time was composed of a tank brigade divided into two armored regiments, a motorized infantry brigade and support units, among others: reconnaissance, artillery, anti-aircraft and sappers. It consisted of about 300 tanks in full time. It is also worth adding that the German armored forces (German: Panzerwaffe) were trained and prepared to implement the doctrine of lightning war, and not - as in many armies of the time - to support infantry activities. Therefore, emphasis was put in training "pancerniaków" on the interchangeability of functions, independence in decision-making by officers and non-commissioned officers and the best technical mastery of the tanks owned. All this resulted in great successes of German armored weapons in Poland in 1939, but especially in Western Europe in 1940. Also in the course of the fighting in North Africa - especially in the period 1941-1942 - the German armored forces turned out to be a very difficult opponent. Before the invasion of the USSR, the number of German armored divisions almost doubled, but the number of tanks in these units decreased to about 150-200 vehicles. Also in the course of the fighting on the Eastern Front - especially in 1941-1942 - the German armored forces were superior in training and organization to their Soviet opponent. However, contact with such vehicles as the T-34 or KW-1 forced the introduction of the Pz.Kpfw V and VI tanks to the line in 1942 and 1943. Growing losses on the Eastern Front, as well as lost battles - at Stalingrad or Kursk - made the German Panzerwaffe weaken. Its structure included heavy tank battalions (with 3 tank companies), and in 1943, armored grenadier divisions were established. There was also an increasingly clear advantage of the Soviet side, and from 1944 - the need to simultaneously fight the Soviet troops in the east and the Allies in the west. It is also assumed that it was then (in the years 1944-1945) that the training of the German armored forces was weaker than in the previous period and did not constitute such a significant advantage on the German side than before. The last large-scale operations of the German Panzerwaffe were the offensives in the Ardennes (1944-1945) and in Hungary (1945).
The first paramilitary unit to have the abbreviation SS (German: Schutz Staffel) in its name was the personal protection of the dictator of the Third Reich called Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, which was officially formed in 1933. From 1934, the SS was an independent formation headed by Heinrich Himmler. With time, further SS units were formed, including the SS-Totenkopfverbände and the SS-Verfügungstruppe. It is worth adding that the latter was trained similarly to regular Wehrmacht infantry units. On a relatively small scale, SS units were used in combat during the fighting in Poland in 1939 and in the French campaign in 1940. The first units intended from the beginning to fight at the front were created in mid-1940, giving them the name of the Waffen SS. Initially, they were recruited on a voluntary basis, also among non-German people, but over time, compulsory recruitment began to apply. Within the Waffen-SS, many divisions of different combat value were formed. Nevertheless, a few of them (e.g. the 1st SS LAH Panzer Division, the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division or the 12th SS Hitlerjugend Panzer Division) can be considered elite units, with very high combat value and often equipped with the best available equipment. They demonstrated their considerable advantages not only on the Eastern Front (1941-1945), especially during the battles near Kharkiv in 1943, but also during the battles in France in 1944. Another thing is that the quality of the commanding staff of these units was in many cases debatable, and many Waffen-SS soldiers committed war crimes during World War II.