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Elite Units of the German Army 1939-1945

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  • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
    The Panzer Regiment was clearly something special (It was also used in Bake's Heavy PR). Its origins was as a panzer reserve unit IIRC.
    I don't know about that. I'm reading the combat history of the 23rd Panzer division and it seems that the panzer regiment demonstrates a consistent ability to lose most of its new tanks in about 2 weeks of combat. IIRC II/23 goes from 85 new panthers to 5 between 5/9/43 and 12/9/43 with over 20 total losses.


    • I wrote notes from that book here (about the Panthers):

      II/23.PR was not returned to the division, but sent to AGS as its reserve as a 'fire brigade' panzer unit. II/23.PR returned to the division sometime after the Korsun pocket.

      I read 'History of the 23.Pz' last year. As far as I know, 2-3 weeks then runners down to less than half due to heavy combat is a pretty normal state of affairs for panzer divisions.


      Blau II, Rostov:

      Last edited by Cult Icon; 28 Jan 15, 11:31.


      • Elite units?

        The Brandenbergers. The Fallschirmjaegers. The Gebergejaegers. Liebstandarte Adolph Hitler, known as the Feuerbrigade.

        The U-boat crews.

        Units that performed well do not mean "elite" by acknowledged standards, since all units are expected to fight to their maximum ability and often beyond.


        • of note: The tactical victories won by the panzer divisions noted earlier (summer offensive 1942) were in large aided by the desperation of Soviet commanders, as they were ordered to attack without much preparation and minimal planning. This, plus force structure immaturity, lead to immense losses of material.

          Diagram of 14 Panzer Korp's blitz and the Kotluban I counteroffensive, as described earlier:

          Last edited by Cult Icon; 29 Jan 15, 17:12.


          • krichter, have you read " Knight's Cross Panzers: The German 35th Tank Regiment in World War II"?



            • A synopsis of the Kotluban II Offensive, as derived from 'Armageddon at Stalingrad'. I'm halfway through the big book, and the divisions of 8. AK and 14. PzK fight really well.

              By mid-September, Moskalenko had massed a force of 123,000 troops and 340 tanks (including forty-two KV-1 and 143 T-34 ) opposite the 60 Infanterie-Division (mot.) and 76. Infanterie-Division (mot.) near Kotluban. However, mass was not enough and Yeremenko failed to employ deception, so Paulus saw the blow coming and concentrated his anti-tank guns and 8.8cm flak guns in this sector. Moskalenko attacked on the morning of 18 September, in broad daylight, across flat terrain with good fields of fire. The German anti-tank guns and flak guns ripped the Soviet armour to pieces, inflicting 106 losses on the first day ; the new 7.5cm Pak40 was now available in quantity and could destroy either the KV-1 or T-34 at ranges up to 1,000 meters or more. The Luftwaffe also bombed the 1st Guards Army mercilessly and the impotence of Soviet air support ensured failure.

              Hube’s 16. Panzer-Division launched a vicious counterattack with about fifty tanks that demolished two of Rotmistrov’s tank brigades, knocking out seventy-five of his ninety-three tanks. One of Hube’s panzer companies, the 7./ Pz.Regt 2, had only seven operational tanks but succeeded in knocking out twenty-two of Rotmistrov’s tanks. Moskalenko’s 1st Guards Army suffered 46,000 casualties during the offensive and lost 341 of 384 tanks committed, including forty-eight KV-1 and 173 T-34. Rotmistrov’s 7th Tank Corps was reduced to just eighteen operational tanks.

              Forczyk, Robert (2014-02-24). Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1942: Schwerpunkt (Kindle Locations 5440-5451). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.


              • Yes, I read "Knight's Cross Panzers" a few years ago when it first came out, and I have to say it was one of the most "exiting" books I read. It isn't an extremely detailed, unit history. It is more of a collection of first person accounts that are chronologically connected together by Schaufler. However, it is still an excellent read, and very enlightening about small unit armored tactics....I would definitely get it!

                Also with all your excellent quotes from Forczyk's book, "Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1942," I believe I have to buy that one...


                • Thanks for that.

                  This is what my 41-42 reading list looks like. I'm also doing Leningrad and 44, 45. :

                  1. The Bloody Triangle: The Defeat of Soviet Armor in the Ukraine, June 1941
                  2. The Drive on Moscow
                  3. The Defense of Moscow 1941
                  4. Armageddon in Stalingrad: September-November 1942
                  5. Knight's Cross Panzers: The German 35th Tank Regiment in World War II
                  6. Panzer Warfare on the Eastern Front
                  7. Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941, Volume 1
                  8. Endgame at Stalingrad: Book One: November 1942
                  9. Endgame at Stalingrad: Book Two: December 1942–-February 1943
                  10. Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941 Volume 2

                  Forczyk's book is essential and is basically a densely written synopsis of almost all the most decisive armor actions of 1941-1942.
                  Last edited by Cult Icon; 30 Jan 15, 22:58.


                  • Interesting comment from Stahel, Typhoon Oct. 1941:

                    Hoepner was also being carefully watched by Kluge, his nominal superior
                    at Fourth Army. Kluge had come to distrust panzer commanders
                    precisely because, as he saw it, they always sought to start new battles
                    before the old ones were completed.
                    Thus Kluge kept Hoepner on a very
                    short leash, leading to much friction between the two.


                    • It makes you wonder if Kluge was too old fashioned, or if he knew more about operational warfare than usually accredited to him...


                      • Kleist's Panzergruppe 1 emerged victorious over Southwestern Front during the border battles of 1941. Among its units, 11.Pz, 13.Pz, 14.Pz, and 16.Pz played a large role.

                        From 'Bloody Triangle':

                        Like probing pincers, three battle groups of the 14th Panzer Division
                        were extremely active in the vicinity of Lutsk during June 25. Representing a
                        mission-oriented balanced all-arms task forces, each of these combat groups
                        was capable of carrying out independent tasks:
                        • Kampfgroup Stempel. 108th Panzer Grenadier Regiment (minus
                        2nd Battalion), 36th Panzer Regiment (minus one tank company),
                        one battalion from the 3rd Artillery Regiment, one battery from 607th Mortar Battalion (corps assets, 210mm mortars), one battery
                        from 60th Artillery Regiment (corps assets, 100mm cannons), one
                        company of 4th Antitank Battalion, 2nd Company of 13th Motorized
                        Engineer Battalion, and several smaller support detachments.
                        • Kamfgroup Falkenstein. 103rd Panzer Grenadier Regiment, one
                        tank company of 36th Panzer Regiment, 2nd Battalion of 4th
                        Artillery Regiment, 4th Antitank Battalion (minus one battery),
                        and several small platoon-sized detachments.
                        • Kampfgroup Damerow, holding defensive positions near a bridge
                        at Rozhysche. One battalion of 108th Panzer Grenadier Regiment,
                        one battalion of 4th Artillery Regiment.
                        • Division was reinforced by corps artillery: 511th Artillery Regiment
                        (150mm howitzers), 2nd Battalion of the 60th Artillery Regiment
                        (100mm cannons), 607th Heavy Artillery Battalion (210mm
                        mortars, minus one battery), 731st Heavy Artillery Battalion.6
                        Other German panzer divisions were similarly formed into missionoriented
                        combat packages, generously sprinkled with corps artillery. This
                        would prove to be an all-important factor in the upcoming straggle over the
                        next several days.
                        Made a change to reading list

                        Last edited by Cult Icon; 08 Feb 15, 21:35.


                        • 1.Pz and 900th Lehr Brigade , 1941. Both were especially well equipped units and were given crucial assignments. 1.Pz was the only division with 2 x SPW battalion while most Pz had only 1 battalion or 1 company.

                          900th Lehr Brigade- This was an extremely well equipped unit with lots of fancy toys.

                          Formed from the school and demonstration battalions and companies of the motorized training establishment, this unit, under Colonel Walther Krause (future commander of 1st Panzer Division), was a strange and unique one.


                          • Originally posted by krichter33 View Post
                            It makes you wonder if Kluge was too old fashioned, or if he knew more about operational warfare than usually accredited to him...
                            Of the senior commanders, Kluge and von Leeb have been talked about as being too conservative for mobile warfare. Kluge was more of a set-piece commander.

                            I got a copy of 'Knight's cross panzers'. Do you believe that this regiment deserved the most Knight's crosses in the Army?


                            • I believe, based on their performance, that they definitely deserved their awards. This wasn't the WSS and the 4th Panzer wasn't a famous division. So whatever awards they were given weren't awarded out of political considerations. I believe this is true for most army awards.


                              • ^
                                I got a copy of 'Panzer Battles' recently...there is a lot of coverage on 11.Pz and 48th PzK. Have you read it?

                                The book is very outdated in the strategic sense, although tactically it is interesting.

                                Mellanthan on the lack of German anti-tank divisions (Soviets used destroyer brigades) and the 18. Artillery-Division:

                                Our difficulties were aggravated by faults in the German War Establishments. We did not
                                possess antitank divisions (i.e. divisions consisting mainly of antitank artillery) although such
                                formations have a very important place in modern war. At the beginning of a battle divisions of
                                this type should be kept in reserve, and should only be committed when a serious breakthrough
                                is threatened. After they have stabilized the front, the armored divisions can be thrown into a
                                counterattack. Our lack of antitank divisions was the cause of many misfortunes, and it would
                                have been very easy to form them. Forty-eighth Panzer Corps strongly advocated this course,
                                but our representations were turned down on the ground that the required equipment was not
                                available. This excuse does not hold water, as the 48th Panzer Corps alone captured between
                                five and six hundred Russian antitank guns in December, 1943. These would have been ample
                                to equip a division; the Russian antitank artillery was of high quality, and it was easy to adapt
                                their guns to German ammunition.
                                Although we had no antitank divisions, an artillery division was very much in evidence during the
                                fighting at Zhitomir. It comprised several artillery regiments, an assault gun unit, and a battalion
                                of heavy cannons. The division was a complete misfit, and did nothing but block the roads and
                                lose its guns. There was some idea in high quarters that it could be used as an armored
                                division, but it proved a failure in attack or defense, and was quite incapable of holding Zhitomir.
                                If its regiments had been used purely as artillery, the division could have done useful work
                                under corps control.
                                Last edited by Cult Icon; 04 Mar 15, 12:18.


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