A lot of my readings confirm Mike's thesis as well. The diversion of the better recruits towards the elite formations, and the high number of so called elite formations to "refill" after the Eastern front losses, left the German line infantry divisions short of good human material by 1943. The Germans had an amazing number of "favoured" units, the total of the various panzer, panzer grenadier, paratroopers, mountain, light, SS, Lehr, etc. is high even when compared to the huge size of the German army. I think the switch from 9 batallion to 7 batallion ID also contributed to creating a situation were only the "elite" was capable of real offensive operations. The 7 batallion formations were nearly as good as the 9 batallion ones in defence, as they had about the same numbers of gun tubes and automatic weapons that are big killers , but a lot less capable in offense. Another factor was that the infantry divisions were almost never rotated out of line unless nearly completely destroyed, after a unit has been in the line for more than one year, even if most individual soldiers in it had some leave, it can become "brittle" due to accumulated combat fatigue, only by resting it as a unit will it be able to recover. By 1944 most German infantry was not on a par with it's opponents. I believe "small very special units" like the SAS and commandos are not relevant to this discussion, a German equivalent for them would be more Skorzeny and his likes than the above "elite". A better allied side equivalent would be units like the allied paras and marines, while these units did get better recruits on average, there were few enough of them not drain too high a pervcentage of the good recruits.