Illustration from the Nazi newspaper “Der Stürmer”

Who exactly faced off on November 9, 1923, the day of the Beer Hall Putsch, on the Odeonsplatz Square in Munich? I have found the numbers in Harold Gordon’s “Hitler and the Beer Hall Putsch”, Princeton University Press 1972, ISBN 0-691-10000-4:

The Putschists could count on very considerable numbers of men from München and were also bringing in men from much of southern Bavaria to strengthen these local forces. They also had the advantage of a great deal of popular support in the city. Yet, many of the members of their organizations and many of their supporters were not of any immediate military value. In terms of actual troops their strength was roughly as follow:


SA of the NSDAP

   – SA Regiment München – 1500 officers and men

   – Stosstrupp Hitler – about 125 officers and men

   – SA units from southern Bavaria – about 250 – 300 men

Bund Oberland

   – 3 battalions, undoubtedly understrength – perhaps 2000 officers and men


   – 2 infantry detachments, 1 machine gun detachment, and 1 artillery battery – about 200 officers and          men

Kampfbund München

   – approximately 2 infantry companies – about 150 officers and men

In other words, the Kampfbund had a maximum of some 4,000 armed men available for use in the Putsch. They were opposed by the government forces (in men available for combat) as follows:


a) Bavarian Police

Blue Police [1] – about 250 officers and men

Landespolizei [2] München

   – Headquarters and general staff (Landespolizeiamt) in the Armeemuseum (Army Museum, ¶)

   – Regimental headquarters (Polizeidirektion München) on Ettstraße

   – First Battalion (Erster Abschnitt) – about 400 officers and men (headquarters in Residenz)

   – Second Battalion (Zweiter Abschnitt) – about 400 officers and men (headquarters in Max II Kaserne, at the                 corner of Leonrodstraße and Dachauerstraße)

   – Third Battalion (Dritter Abschnitt) – about 400 officers and men (Maximilianeum and Türkenkaserne)

   – Approximately 1 motorized company (Kraftfahrbereitschaft) – about 75 officers and men (Türkenkaserne)

   – 1 armoured car detachment with 12 obsolete armoured cars – about 75 officers and men (Türkenkaserne)

   – 1 communications technical battalion (Türkenkaserne)

   – 1 Battalion Landespolizei München Land [3] – about 400 officers and men (Max II Kaserne)

   – 1 mounted reconnaissance squadron (Streitstaffel) – about 50 officers and men (Max II Kaserne)

   (Besides these units in München itself, there were available approximately two more regiments, a battalion at the Polizeivorschule in Eichstätt, and miscellaneous smaller units scattered throughout the state)

B) Reichswehr

Headquarters of Wehrkreis VII and the Seventh Division (Ludwig- and Schönfeldstraßen)

   – First Battalion, Nineteenth Infantry Regiment – about 300 men (Oberwiesenfeldkasernenviertel)

   – Headquarters of Infanterieführer VII and Artillerieführer VII (Ludwig- and Schönfeldstraßen)

   – Seventh Engineer Battalion – about 225 officers and men (Oberwiesenfeld, Pionierkaserne I and II)

   – Seventh Signal Battalion – about 150 officers and men (Oberwiesenfeld, Nachrichtenkaserne)

   – Seventh Motor Transport Battalion, headquarters and first company – about 100 officers and men

   – Seventh Transport Battalion (horse-drawn), headquarters and first and second companies – about 125 officers sand men

   – Seventh Medical Battalion

   – Fifth Battery, Seventh Artillery Regiment – about 90 officers and men ( Oberwiesenfeld)

   – City Commandant’s headquarters (Army Museum)

   – Infantry School – about 350 officers, cadets, and men (Blutenburgstraße at Marsplatz)  (The remainder of the Seventh Division and the Seventeenth Cavalry Regiment were also under the  command of General von Lossow and were available for use against rebels within twenty-four hours, assuming that the railways continued functioning).

[1] Municipal Police

[2] State Police

[3] Munich County Police

From these figures we can draw the following conclusion: in sheer number of men, the approximately 4000 rebel forces were superior , the more so because many of the Reichswehr men were on non-combat and staff duty, which reduced their theoretical number of perhaps 1500 men to only 800 ready for action. The Infantry and Engineer Schools were not even under Bavarian command but reported to Berlin.

(© John Vincent Palatine 2015/18)