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  #241  
Old 27 Sep 17, 17:26
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Eastern Front- the Center and South

German armor strength in AG Center (June 15 1944):

489 operational, with 90 in repair

German armor strength in AG North Ukraine and South Ukraine (June 15 1944):

1,690 operational with 352 in repair.

Of interest is the dominance of the Stug: 1,319 Stugs were operational.

Last edited by Cult Icon; 27 Sep 17 at 17:38..
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  #242  
Old 27 Sep 17, 17:47
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Unnamed German tank officer's report to the German General Staff on his opinion of why Operation Bagration was so strong:

Quote:
1.) Considerable improvement in the deployment of artillery: The enemy
weapons were effectively concentrated to knock-out our artillery and to
strengthen the defence… The leadership was skillful and adept. All
weapons were quickly moved forward.
Counter measures: Rapid repositioning of our artillery, increased usage
of mobile guns and batteries… If an attack is foreseen, all batteries
should be moved to new positions.

2.) The usage of Schlachtflieger [ground-attack aircraft] was effectively
concentrated following combat profiles developed by Allied air forces
combat… During the day our artillery was effectively neutralized, and
any attempt to move reserves was impeded.
Counter measures: All movements by motorized transport should take place
during darkness. Fight with ALL weapons… increase the use of camouflage.

3.) Commitment of enemy tanks: Reduced numbers were used during the
opening phase of the attack. After successfully breaking through our
positions massed tank units were deployed across a broad front.
Counter measures: Deeply stagger our anti-tank gun positions. Establish
alternative anti-tank defences (obstacles, mines, ditches).

4.) Contingency planning: The enemy no longer stops after reaching his
objective, but continues to advance disregarding any threats to his flanks.
Counter measures: Forward-thinking before committing own reserves.
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  #243  
Old 21 Oct 17, 23:06
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From "Ghost Division: the 11th Panzer"

11th Panzer in the defense Oct 1944- The division had roughly 60 panzers with a depleted infantry component.

Quote:
By doctrine and by organization and equipment armored units were not well suited for position defense, but there was no alternative. Pz.-Rgt.15 reserves were under forest cover, one Eingreifgruppe (counterattack group) 2 kilometers south of Blanche Eglise, a second group 3 kilometers southwest of Ommeray. The HKL could only be held as a series of strongpoints, using the stone farm buildings. The strongpoints covered the gaps by fire, and were linked by patrols at night, giving a semblance of a defense in depth. As practiced in Russia, the front lines were thinned out as Vorposten.

In addition, some positions after the fighting were on exposed forward slopes. Wietersheim wanted to pull these back to more defensible reverse-slope terrain, but orders were to hold all ground won. The positions were strengthened by minefields, but they couldn’t be supplied during daytimes.
The artillery batteries were deployed so that all sectors had some artillery support. But they were too weak and short of shells to engage the American artillery in duels, and had to prepare alternate firing positions, well camouflaged.
[quote]

Quote:
On 10 October Pz.Gren.Rgt.111 returned to the division, but two days later the 11. Panzer was mandated to take over the sector including the Luneville–Sarrebourg railroad line and much of 111. was kept south of the canal. There were stiff local actions, especially around the Moncourt woods, Coincourt, and Bezange la Petite. On the 12th there was increased artillery and mortar fire on Hill 265, and in the afternoon Amerikaner infantry attacked and forced 5.

Kompanie out of their Schützengraben. During the night Schneider coordinated a counterattack force and at first light, with Lt. Rudolph’s three Panzerwagens, regained the hill. One panzer crested the ridge but was knocked out by an AT gun. The crew escaped, and the next night the I-Staffel were able to attach tow cables and retrieve the damaged panzer.7
On higher orders, a Grosskampfstellung (main battle position) system was to be followed. As earlier, to reduce the effects of enemy artillery fire, the HKL would only be held by one-third of the defending unit, the other two-thirds positioned back 1,000–2,000 meters in strongpoints, to which the front line troops could withdraw. But this was dependent upon the strength of the unit, and in the case of Hax’s Pz.G.R.110, it had a fighting strength of about 600 men and a sector 9–10 kilometers wide; if one-third of the Landsers were in the front line, 200, this meant only 20 men per kilometer! In some cases companies fell to 20 men total. With a couple of panzers behind the HKL, camouflaged in defilade positions but also having alternate positions, engine sounds and sometimes the squealing of tracks, magnified at night, perhaps deterred American patrols or probes.8
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  #244  
Old 21 Oct 17, 23:50
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From "Ghost Division: the 11th Panzer"

11th Panzer had 60 tanks and 10 AGs

Quote:
Wietersheim met with his unit commanders to discuss tactics against Patton’s next offensive, expected in November, toward the Saar industrial basin through the traditional “Lorraine Gateway.” They knew that American artillery and airpower, even with the anticipated poorer weather, made large-scale armored operations impractical, and Balck’s headquarters now acknowledged this. For the infantry manning the HKL, the principles of elastic defense and defense in depth were invoked, despite OKW’s (Hitler’s) order to hold every meter of ground. Again, Vorposten 2 or 3 kilometers forward of the HKL would withdraw when an attack appeared imminent. Night-fighting was emphasized and immediate sharp, local counterattacks would be mounted. Funkverbindung, radio communications, would be crucial.

For the panzer units the Panzerkampftrupps, panzer battle teams of mixed companies of a panzer platoon (usually two to three panzers) and two panzergrenadier platoons each, would fight these actions, as Wietersheim had planned in southern France. As the lone panzer division for 1. Armee’s front, some 135 kilometers (85 miles) long, even battalion-sized Kampfgruppen would have to be scattered to various threatened locations. “Speed, movement, and surprise,” recorded Major Thieme, “should offset the numerical and materiel superiority of the enemy.” Aggressive company-grade officers would be vital.20

Small sections of even one panzer, a half-track, and an artillery forward observer would by their sudden presence and fire magnify their small numbers, encouraging their own infantry and making the advancing Americans more cautious. These tactics did not conform to the principles of mass and concentration, but they seemed the only practical way to slow a powerful American advance along a very broad front. Other panzer forces were moving north, as the continuing American First Army drive toward Aachen threatened to advance through the Westwall, across the Roer River, and onto the Köln Plain and against the Ruhr industrial heartland.
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  #245  
Old 22 Oct 17, 10:30
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4 Dec 1944 (vs US 3rd Army)

11.Pz: 3,500 men (800 Pzg), 20 tanks and AG

17.SS: 4,000 men (1,700 Pzg)

25.PzG: "Fighting strength 600 men"

21.Pz: "200 Pzg"


Ghost Division: 11.Panzer

Quote:
The autumn fighting in Lorraine had cost the 11.Pz.Div. over 6,000 casualties, including 1,000 killed: 1,668 Verluste including 349 killed in September, 1,947 including 311 killed in October, and 1,748 including 343 gefallen in November, plus the losses in December.23 Mellenthin noted the “splendid resistance” of the 11. Panzer-Division, and Wietersheim felt justified in the tactics he had employed: a defense in depth in a chessboard deployment offering flanking possibilities with panzers and self-propelled artillery and flak that could rapidly change positions. Retirements and then surprise counterblows kept the opponent off-balance.

The fighting in Lorraine could be described, he felt, “as one continuing crisis.” As the most viable panzer force for all of Balck’s army group, of necessity the Elfte could not be concentrated as a division. Instead its battle groups had to be dispatched to various danger points. Again, it was vital that the junior commanders, given increased and even independent command and decision-making responsibilities, be able and energetic. The “Kavallerie-Taktik,” said the general, were mastered by even the smallest Kampfgruppen, and contributed decisively to the defensive successes against an opponent superior in numbers and equipment.24

Last edited by Cult Icon; 22 Oct 17 at 10:37..
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  #246  
Old 22 Oct 17, 19:31
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Jan 1, 1945: Operation Nordwind

11.Pz rebuilt to:

- 13,726 men

-50 Panthers, 30 Pz IV

-25 Jagpanzers
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  #247  
Old 25 Oct 17, 11:48
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I'm just looking at this for the first time:



https://www.amazon.com/dp/0811716279/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

It's a good book (released in Sept) about the 10.SS division. It goes into detail about how they were trained and the tactics they used in combat.
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  #248  
Old 25 Oct 17, 14:47
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Interestingly enough, the author largely considered the staying and fighting power of the 10.SS as most reliant on their artillery regiment and the various tactics employed.

Most divisional histories are focused on the armor and infantry.
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  #249  
Old 25 Oct 17, 18:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cult Icon View Post
Interestingly enough, the author largely considered the staying and fighting power of the 10.SS as most reliant on their artillery regiment and the various tactics employed.

Most divisional histories are focused on the armor and infantry.
On the eastern front, I suspect that would be because of the arty antitank capability.
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  #250  
Old 25 Oct 17, 21:46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
On the eastern front, I suspect that would be because of the arty antitank capability.
^
The summary from the intro/conclusion talk about the 105/150mm guns- apparently this regiment was very interested in counter-battery fire, particularly in the West front.

I will be posting stuff from this book as I read it. It has a lot of details about artillery.
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  #251  
Old 25 Oct 17, 22:16
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This book has the most details about Stug tactics that I've ever seen. I am reading it too.
This brigade was only deployed on the Eastern Front.



https://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-H...8980408&sr=1-4
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  #252  
Old 26 Oct 17, 20:06
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A profound quote about the German Army from "Blitzkrieg: Ground up":

Quote:
This is an example of a decision imbued with offensive spirit, typical for an organization that does not focus on its own problems but instead searches for the enemy’s weaknesses and tries to create difficulties for him.
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  #253  
Old 27 Oct 17, 09:14
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Having scanned the new book: Zetterling's "Blitzkrieg: Ground Up":

-the purpose of the book is to rebalance popular notions that the early victories were based mostly on the Luftwaffe and panzers.

-Zetterling pooh poohs the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe and downgrades the impact of the panzers.

-He discusses Poland, Norway, France, Barbarossa. Notes that the Infantry divisions in poland advanced at the same rate as the Panzer divisions and the Luftwaffe had only marginal role in the victory.

-France was still largely an infantry affair with Panzers and infantry leading Case Yellow

-Russia was where the importance of the tanks and panzer divisions increased dramatically.

-Zetterling considers Luftwaffe CAS to be "abysmal" in 1939-1940. But improved in 1941 and peaking in 1942 (the same view as Hayward's "Stopped at Stalingrad: The Luftwaffe).

-Like Frieser (Blitzkrieg Legend), Zetterling sees the successes as primary centered on German combat doctrine and the infantry (eg. stormtrooper tactics, fast decision cycles, decentralized leadership).

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  #254  
Old 27 Oct 17, 10:30
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From "Blitzkrieg: Ground Up"

Quote:
Compared to their opponents, German infantry divisions were more diverse and composed in such a way that junior commanders could combine different arms.
The German emphasis on combined arms was linked to two other tenets—mission-oriented command and high-quality training. As the weapons systems were often combined very low in the command structure, junior commanders had to be well-trained and eager to take initiative. The emphasis on initiative and adequate training was not only motivated by the desire to attain synergy between various arms; these traits were valuable for many other reasons, and this was repeatedly shown on the battlefield.3
Quote:
It can be argued that the qualities of the German art of war were most prominent at the lower levels in the military organization, but they obviously also had positive effects at the higher levels. The operational level was mainly manifested in the corps and Army levels and benefited greatly from the qualities within the divisions. German generals such as Guderian and Rommel could conduct high-tempo operations with great flexibility because their tools—the combat units—were well trained and manned by individuals willing to take initiative. This allowed the generals to focus on the overall direction and aims rather than working on detailed plans. As always in war, various problems occurred that threatened to upset the ongoing operation, but the Germans usually overcame them thanks to local initiative. The operational commanders were often unaware of the problems that arose before they had already been solved. This was the most important German secret, and it was more difficult to replicate than the introduction of new weapons systems.

This also points at some of the German weaknesses. They focused heavily on the military aspect of conventional warfare. They were not eminent in the political, strategic and economic aspects of war. Non-conventional warfare, such as guerrilla warfare, was poorly handled by the German armed forces.
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  #255  
Old 27 Oct 17, 10:43
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Blitzrkieg: Ground up

Quote:

However, the basics upon which the German art of war rested proved very useful in attrition warfare too. Considering the vastly superior material resources of the Allies, the war dragged out longer than it ought to have done, and the price paid for victory was disproportionally high.

The fact that the German principles of warfare were suited to the kind of defensive war fought from 1942–45 suggests that they were not strictly connected to a particular kind of warfare. This fits well with the notion that the Germans did not develop any particular Blitzkrieg doctrine, but rather focused on developing such characteristics that were advantageous to fighting in general.

Perhaps the most important fundamental aspect of the German Army was that it emphasised war as an activity shaped by human action. Consequently, the role of the individual soldier was seen as decisive, but this did not, of course, mean that that soldiers were free to do whatever suited them. They were encouraged to use their capabilities to increase the combat power of the unit. For this purpose, they would take initiative, make decisions and act. Aims not in line with this overarching goal were unacceptable.5

The penchant for initiative was not only evident in field manuals or memoirs written after the war. The reports that have been the most important source for this book show innumerable examples of initiative. The willingness to take initiative was more distinctive than the practice of giving mission orders. To be sure, the importance of mission is emphasized in German manuals, but it is rather a method than the core of commanding and acting on the battlefield.6

As already emphasized, the German command style was not limited to the armored troops; the style permeated the entire Army, and its roots could be traced far back in time. However, it was not as prominent within the British, French, Soviet or American armies, which may explain why they did not copy the German methods. Interestingly, the Israelis seem to have adopted a style of warfare more similar to the Germans, and this included their style of command.7

The Panzer divisions proved important during the initial campaigns, but they were not out on their own. Infantry divisions were also given attack missions, and they usually accomplished them with merit. However, we can see that the Panzer divisions became ever more important as one campaign followed another. This trend continued after 1941, and it can probably be attributed to the greater firepower, protection and mobility of the tanks. During the last three years of the war, Panzer divisions conducted almost every significant German attack.
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