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Elite Units of the German Army 1939-1945

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    This is a well-researched book that covers a gap in the Normandy literature- the forces that fought in the battle of the bocage and in the US sector. It's a tactical history of II FJK. I see its use as a "tactical" proxy for the german infantry formation in the battle.

    Of the II FJK units (comprising 50,000 paratroopers) , the 3.FJD and FJR6 were jump trained, composed of 30-40% para veterans and overall the best para unit in the german air force. It had some equipment and training deficiencies but not of a high magnitude. The personnel were 22 years of age on average- indoctrinated from the nazi system- and lead by fanatical,decorated leaders. FJR6 was similarly complete but largely composed of teenagers (age 17-18).

    3.FJD was the best german infantry division on paper and probably in practice. Its only chief weakness was its very weak artillery (only 1 out of 3 battalions was available) and its 50% shortfall in vehicles. The rest of the units were remnants or low quality and only partially built (2.FJD, 5.FJD, 6.FJD)- 5.FJD was comparable to a troubled and unequipped german infantry division in normandy.

    3.FJD had trained extensively for close-quarters combat and high-intensity defensive maneuvers. These defensive actions that would constitute their actions in the bocage.

    https://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Parat...=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    Just got the new book "III.Germanic SS Panzer-Korps: The history of Himmler's favorite SS Panzer Korps, 1943-1945 vol. 1 Creation-Sept 1944" by Westberg, Kjellander, Brenden

    Preview:

    Scholarly book that analyzes the unit with a great deal of expertise.

    It's an essential complement to Tiecke's rather dry book "Tragedy of the Faithful" as it in-cooperates political/unit analysis and many veterans accounts & inside information that the former operational history lacks. It makes me want to get the other books by the authors.

    The photo gallery/maps are well selected and interesting and w/ good captions.

    On the downside it is rather short. Text is 266 pages long and approx half of the space is taken up by photos and maps.

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    There is a two volume history of the 4.SS Police division by its IIRC veterans organization. This division in 41-42 was equipped as a regular infantry division. I have been meaning to get it as a model/study of the experiences of the "regular" horse-drawn division with motorized elements. Maybe that can help.

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  • Kurt Knispel
    replied
    Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland - IRGD from here on in - on the eve of 22 June 1941 had a strength of 3 infantry battalions, 1 HQ infantry battalion, regimental HQ, 14TH Panzerjager Company, 15th (heavy infantry gun) Company, one flak platoon of the 20th (flak) Company, 400th Artillery Battalion, remaining supply units.

    Total manpower strength not given in the book. The author states of the above OoB there were 5 total battalions manned by 20 companies.

    Naturally, when discussing the "elite" units in the German Army Groups during Barbarossa, one must also delve into the "regular" Wehrmacht units as they fought side by side. At first I hope to shed some light on Army Group Center which had IRGD and IISSDR attached and subordinate to it. Feel free to comment.

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  • Kurt Knispel
    replied
    This is the latest "Market Garden" book which I will be purchasing soon.

    https://www.amazon.com/Arnhem-Comple...s%2C128&sr=8-4

    I am so tied down in reading other books I have not had the time to check the "Kampfgruppe Walther" book for info on their reconnaissance assets.

    Currently half way through Glantz' Barbarossa Derailed volume 2. I bought the first 3 volumes at 2.99 each kindle price. Buying the volume 4 map book was a good decision on my part. It is a large format book - 11" x 11" - with 118 colored maps.

    Following along reading the 10th Panzer Division history and Das Reich volume 2 as these 2 motorized divisions were right up front and reached the furthest point of the invasion at El Nia before Hitler sent 3 Panzer Group north to encircle Soviet 22nd Army and destroy it to connect Army Group Norths front line (right wing) to Army Group Norths front line (left wing) and eliminate the Soviet salient extending to Veliki Luki. Hitler then sent "Panzer group Guderian" (originally Panzer Group 2) south to assist Army Group South and Panzer Group 1 in encircling multiple Soviet army's in and around Kiev.

    I have also started reading David Stahel's book "Kiev 1941" which I believe is the only book available that covers the Kiev battles in depth.

    The Glantz book gives an account from the army - corps - division perspective and command decisions while the 10th PzD and IISSDR has all of the smaller tactical supplements. There are to many instances in the 2 divisional history books of proper reconnaissance by the Germans and improper, disorganized, and misleading reconnaissance by the Russians.

    While reading all 3 books I'm always reaching for the Glantz map book.

    Also, since this thread is entitled elite units of the German Army, the Regiment Grossdeutschland, also attached to the 10th PzD as well as the Das Reich Division, I pulled volume 1 of Helmuth Spaeter's 3 volume work on I.R. Grossdeutschland off my bookshelf last night and will follow along with this book as well.

    I am very happy in this recent study of mine because the battle of Smolensk, and the battles north and south of Smolensk 10 July - 10 September was a very important 60 days during Operation Barbarossa. It was not just a speed bump in the German advance on Moscow as many other historians contend. These critical 2 months, and Hitler's decision making along with the aggravation of his senior commanders at OKW and OKH, was, in all actuality, despite all the German victories and complete annihilation of upwards of 10 Soviet army's, the first tiny step toward the beginning of the end of Hitler's dream of living space in the East.


    Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 02 Sep 19, 13:04.

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
    IIRC, the most important vulnerability, perhaps after training, for independant Panzer Brigade was their lack of reconnaissance elemnts, and therefore their high vulnerability to meeting engagment with the enemy.

    Comments?
    Their lack of recon assets was significant in the counterattack in the Lorraine, however their lack of artillery, insufficient AA, & infantry also effected their capabilities in the West. I recently trawled through all my market garden materials (though missing the best stuff: the recently published Bergstrom series and KG Walther book) and lack of combined arms effected the use of 107.PB during critical moments (needing infantry and artillery) leading to canceled attack opportunities. 107.PB and the PB in the Lorraine were also missing workshop units, which effected their repair and recovery capacity. Overall, however, it seems however, broader- like the Red Army's tank brigades in 41-42 they were limited capability units and certainly were worth much less than a Panzer division per tank. I agree with the conclusion in the link that all this valuable material should have been sent to rebuild the PzD in the West front.

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  • Kurt Knispel
    replied
    Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
    IIRC, the most important vulnerability, perhaps after training, for independant Panzer Brigade was their lack of reconnaissance elemnts, and therefore their high vulnerability to meeting engagment with the enemy.

    Comments?
    Reconnaissance is very important for armored formations. Both the Wehrmacht and SS motorized divisions used large battalion size reconnaissance groups - Panzer aufklarungs abteilungen, which would advance sometimes up to 30 miles ahead of their parent panzer/motorized regiments.

    Panzer Brigade 107 had its lead Panther tank destroyed and damage to a few other tanks during its initial engagement during Operation Market Garden as the did not reconnoiter properly. I would have to look back into the Didden's book which I read 2 years ago to see if they had an attached aufklarungs abteilung.

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  • Capt AFB
    replied
    IIRC, the most important vulnerability, perhaps after training, for independant Panzer Brigade was their lack of reconnaissance elemnts, and therefore their high vulnerability to meeting engagment with the enemy.

    Comments?

    Leave a comment:


  • Cult Icon
    replied
    Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
    Cult this is an excellent book on the subject of your last post:

    http://books.stonebooks.com/reviews/170115/

    I was just browsing through the last page (30) and I see that you are already planning to buy the above book. You wont be disappointed.
    Yea- I think I'll get it from a dutch or UK dealer!

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  • Kurt Knispel
    replied
    Cult this is an excellent book on the subject of your last post:

    http://books.stonebooks.com/reviews/170115/

    I was just browsing through the last page (30) and I see that you are already planning to buy the above book. You wont be disappointed.
    Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 29 Aug 19, 20:40.

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    From the link. "Hold the Westwall" is a unit history of the 105. PzB and IIRC this unit was trained for only 4 weeks:

    "The future of Panzer-Brigade 107 was more promising than of any other Panzer-Brigade assigned to the Western Front. It was raised around the remnants from Panzer-Grenadier-Division 25. Although the brigade only received 33 Panther tanks and 12 StuG IV assault guns the unit got 9 to 12 weeks for training and organisation! The urgency of troops at the front thwarted this schedule and on the 15th of September the troops were loaded on trains heading for the West. Panzer-Brigade 107 was destined for operations in Lorraine but the major Allied airborne operation in the Netherlands required tank forces in this sector."

    This unit, according to "it never snows in Sept, kershaw" had around 3,000 men. Besides Market-Garden its key highlight was in the later battle of Overloon, where it defended frontage with strongpoints composed of Panthers and SPWs.

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
    Cult, 15cm guns mounted on SPW? That means 6" cannon! Maybe you meant 1.5cm (37mm)?

    Pruitt
    Yes, 1.5 cm guns. This was triple mounted and fitted on halftracks. They were formally cannons meant for fighter planes. They were authorized 45 x triple flak drilling.

    Here is some research on the 107. PB FLAK. T From reading battle histories, the AA firepower managed to repell air assault but near the end of Market-Garden, some got through and inflicted heavy damage on the 107. PB.

    More considerably, there is a full length unit history called "Kampfgruppe Walther and Panzer Brigade 107" that I'll get later.


    https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=180997


    Last edited by Cult Icon; 29 Aug 19, 09:06.

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    interesting write up on the Panzer Brigades:

    https://panzerworld.com/panzer-briga...-the-west-1944




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  • Pruitt
    replied
    Cult, 15cm guns mounted on SPW? That means 6" cannon! Maybe you meant 1.5cm (37mm)?

    Pruitt

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    https://www.axishistory.com/books/15...er-brigade-107

    107. Panzer-Brigade- Built from the remains of the destroyed 25.PzG from the Eastern Front. More of an improvisation than an elite unit- but it was used as such operationally. It was famous in market garden, this was called by the allies as a "pocket panzer division" and it was possibly the best equipped Panzer brigade due to its larger size and stronger supporting elements. What differentiated this unit was its enormously strong Anti-aircraft assets- many of which was composed of retired triple flak 15cm mounted on SPW which was capable of generating a wall of AA fire.

    Unlike the ill-fated PzB in the Lorraine this unit would give good account of itself in Sept-Oct before it was dissolved like many other PzBs.

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