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Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe ground forces such as the Fallschirmjäger, Feld-Divisions and Hermann Göring units.

Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby oblt muller on 08 Feb 2006 11:54

Hi there as anyone got any good phots they could post here of the HG is Sicily?

Thanks

Dan.
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Re: Hermann Göring Divsion in Sicily

Postby Peter H on 01 Apr 2008 02:14

Gela

http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/De ... manng.html

Hermann Göring Attack
July 11, 1943

At 6:15 AM on July 11, 1943 General Conrath, commander of the German Hermann Göring Panzer Division, started moving his attacking panzer and panzer grenadier columns, toward the port of Gela. The previous day's attacks had been uncoordinated and repulsed by the American troops of the 1stU.S. Infantry Division and the elite 1st and 4th Ranger Battalions. Now, however, after having regrouped Conrath,was ready. He had a powerful panzer force including seventeen of the Tiger I tanks (2/504 Heavy Panzer Battalion). They were almost unbeatable in battle, if they could get to the enemy front lines (they kept on constantly breaking down).
In addition the Italians the day before had severely damaged the Gela pier and do to the poor beaches and wind, no U.S. armor had yet arrived in the Gela beachhead. Patton would need the help from his tanks and naval gunfire support to be able to repel Conrath's counterattack. The German/Italian attack on the 10th was broken up by infantry/anti-tank guns and naval gunfire, which had proved to be invaluable.
On the German right flank the sixty medium tanks of the reinforced IInd Battalion of the HG Panzer Regiment overran the 2nd Battalion of the U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment/1st Infantry Division. General Conrath himself led the column of the 1st Battalion of the HG Panzer Regiment with twenty-one medium panzers and with heavy artillery support. The U.S. 2nd Battalion, most of which were recent replacements, partly broke and ran when confronted by the panzer force. The remaining 50% of the battalion stayed put and put up a fierce firefight, but to no avail. The 1st Division's center was now caved in and was in serious trouble. The 26th Infantry's anti-tank guns had not arrived being sunk on a LST. On the German left flank, Kampfgruppe Links pierced the front line breaking through the remnants of the 180th RCT. Here were the Tiger tanks and they continued on toward Gela driving the Americans to Biazzo Ridge and later penetrated the regimental command post. The Tigers were now about only two miles from Gela.
By 9:30 AM the U.S. positions were being pushed back in all sectors. General Patton had come ashore and gave much encouragement to the engineers attempting to repair the pier so his tanks could land. The U.S. 7th Army formed its final defensive positions on the sand dunes south of the coastal road almost on top of the invasion beaches. The 32nd Field Artillery deployed rapidly after just arriving on shore. In addition the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment and the 18th RCT took up these final positions awaiting the German thrust. The Shermans finally made it ashore but got stuck in the soft sand. The German forces were nearing Gela. Patton needed his tanks desperately.
Casualties, however, were mounting in the HG Panzer Division as it continued to fight toward Gela. The U.S. cruisers Savannah and Boise with the destroyer Glennonpoured round after round into the German ranks. At 11:00 AM the battle reached its climax. The navy could do no more due to the fact that both sides were too close for naval gunfire. The battle was a free for all with combat at close quarters. The U.S. 16th Infantry had been badly mauled with only 2 of 9 anti-tank guns left and had retreated into the U.S. final defensive line. The other units of the 1st Infantry and elements of the 82nd Airborne still held some of the positions in the hills.
Conrath was within 2000 yards of the beach and his gunfire had raked supply dumps and landing craft already. Victory seemed within his reach very shortly and he would push the Big Red One into the sea. The German attack, however, was halted just in front of the final defense line by the combined firepower of the U.S. 32nd Field Artillery Battalion, the 16th Cannon Company, the heavier weapons of the 18th RCT and the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, plus four Shermans which had finally gotten off the beach. After 10 panzers were knocked out and others damaged, the German tankers hesitated and then slowly retreated. Now there was breathing room for naval gunfire and the Boise opened up on the German forces with its 6" guns. The Germans retreated faster. The American forces did not pursue so at 2:00 PM General Conrath, after failing to get his troops reorganized sufficiently to launch another attack, called off the battle retreating to his original starting positions.



Conrath's rebuke to his division afterwards:

"During the past few days, I have had the bitter experience of watching scenes which are not worthy of a German soldier, particularly not of a soldier of the Hermann Göring Division.

Men came running to the rear, hysterically crying because they had heard the detonation of a single shot fired somewhere in the distance. Others, deceived by false rumors, moved whole columns to the rear. In one instance, supplies were senselessly distributed to soldiers and civilians by a supply unit which had fallen victim to a rumor. I wish to state that not only the younger soldiers, but also noncoms and warrant officers, were guilty of panic-stricken behavior.

Panic, "Panzer fear," and the spreading of rumors are to be eliminated by the strongest possible measures. Cowardice and withdrawal without orders are to be punished on the spot, and, if necessary, by the use of weapons. I shall apply the severest measures of court-martial against such saboteurs of the fight to free our nation, and I shall not hesitate to pronounce death sentences in serious cases. I expect all officers to use their influence in suppressing this undignified attitude throughout the Hermann Göring Division."
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Re: Hermann Göring Divsion in Sicily

Postby Peter H on 01 Apr 2008 02:44

Schw Panzer Abt 504 photos:

http://forum.panzer-archiv.de/viewtopic ... b8dbee6dcb

Image


http://www.lonesentry.com/panzer/tiger-tank-sicily.html

Seventeen Tiger I tanks from German schwere Panzer Abteilung 504 (s.Pz.Abt. 504) fought in Sicily in 1943 against the Allied invasion forces.

When the first elements of s.Pz.Abt. 504 were sent to North Africa, the 2nd Ko. remained on Sicily with 9 Tiger I tanks. With the surrender of German forces in North Africa, the 9 Tigers of s.Pz.Abt. 504 were never shipped, but instead stayed on Sicily. Eight additional Tiger I were shipped to the unit during the summer. By the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily, s.Pz.Abt. 504 was attached to the Panzer Division Hermann Göring with 17 Tigers.

During the attack on the Allied beachhead near Gela, s.Pz.Abt. 504 lost approximately 10 Tigers on July 11-12. Further Tigers were lost in action or abandoned during July and August as German forces retreated. In August, the unit's last Tiger, tactical number 222 from photographs, was ferried across the Straits of Messina to Italy.
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Peter H on 01 Apr 2008 03:25

US photos taken from the rooftop of Gela of the HG panzers coming in.They were repulsed by naval fire.HGD lost 600 men and around 30 tanks.

Photo from Time-Life The Southern front.
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Fallschirmjäger on 01 Apr 2008 04:45

Thanks Peter for this info on the HGD in sicily,and do you know the the total losses in men they suffered there,like KIA etc...
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Peter H on 01 Apr 2008 06:26

I have seen a figure of TOTAL German losses in Sicily of 29,000 men,all divisions and units.The Germans evacuated around 40,000 men.

I think the casualty figure is overstated.This is around a 40% loss rate.

Samuel Mitcham's The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies Lost Their Chance for Total Victory gives around 12,000 Germans killed or captured,add wounded and the figure is around 20,000.This would work out to be around 4,000 killed,missing,8,000 wounded,8,000 captured. With around the equivalent of 4 German divisions involved this would mean losses of 5,000 men per division on average.

Italian losses are given as 140,000(mainly prisoners).Allied losses around 24,000 men.
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Peter H on 01 Apr 2008 07:08

http://www.comandosupremo.com/Sicily.html

HG OOB Sicily:

Hermann Göring Division
Generalleutnant Paul Conrath

Division HQ
Brigade HQ (for special employment)
1 Panzer Grenadier Regiment
Panzer Regiment HG
Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion
Panzer Pioneer (Engineer) Battalion
Panzer Artillery Regiment HG
Flak Regiment HG(-)
Anti-tank company
Supply and Service units

Attached units:
115th PzG Regiment - (Schmalz)
2 infantry battalions (Arrived on 11 July)
3rd Parachute Regiment (1st Parachute Division) - (Schmalz)
4th Parachute Regiment (1st Parachute Division) - (Schmalz)
remnants Fallschirm Engineer and MG Battalions, Signal company (1st Parachute Division) - (Schmalz)
Tiger tank company, 215th Tank Battalion
Fortress Battalion 904 - (Schmalz)
Fortress Battalion 923 - (Schmalz)
Fortress Battalion ‘Reggio’ - (Schmalz)
Flak Catania


Wilhelm Schmatz commanded Brigade Schmatz at Gela.Its said that the Allied navies expended 5,000 naval shells in repulsing the Gela attack.
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby RichTO90 on 01 Apr 2008 16:16

Peter H wrote:I have seen a figure of TOTAL German losses in Sicily of 29,000 men,all divisions and units.The Germans evacuated around 40,000 men.

I think the casualty figure is overstated.This is around a 40% loss rate.

Samuel Mitcham's The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies Lost Their Chance for Total Victory gives around 12,000 Germans killed or captured,add wounded and the figure is around 20,000.This would work out to be around 4,000 killed,missing,8,000 wounded,8,000 captured. With around the equivalent of 4 German divisions involved this would mean losses of 5,000 men per division on average.

Italian losses are given as 140,000(mainly prisoners).Allied losses around 24,000 men.


It is somewhat overstated.

US losses to Seventh Army (II Corps, 2nd AD, and 82nd AbnD) were reported as 1,171 KIA, 3,909 WIA, and 1,813 MIA (of which t least 203 RTD). II Corps (not including 2nd AD and the 82nd AbnD) reported 6,079 sick and 1,373 injured.

UK losses were 2,062 KIA, 7,137 WIA, and 2,644 MIA.

Between 15 and 31 July at least 7,803 German wounded were evacuated to the mainland. Full German evacuation began on 11 August, prior to then at least 8,615 able troops and 4,489 wounded were transported to Italy. Between 11 and 17 August 25,669 able troops and 1,240 wounded were evacuated. German casualties in Sicily totaled about 4,561 KIA (the number buried there, less some unknown number lost and buried during the preceeding years), 13,532 WIA (the number evacuated), and 6,623 captured (including wounded and sick), so a maximum of about 24,716. That also implies that total German strength committed was about 59,000.

The Italians evacuated 7,000 men 3 - 9 August and 52,000 troops, 3,000 sailors, 227 vehicles, and 41 artillery pieces 10 - 16 August. Battle casualties can only be estimated, perhaps 2,000 KIA, 5,000 WIA, and at least 118,844 Italians were captured, implying that total Italian strength committed was about 185,000?
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Peter H on 02 Apr 2008 13:26

Thanks Rich.

Excellent info!

Peter
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Fallschirmjäger on 04 Apr 2008 08:52

Thanks Peter and RichTO90 for the info.
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Peter H on 12 Apr 2008 01:54

Officers of Pz Regt HG in Sicily or southern Italy 1943.

From Bruce Quarrie's Fallschirmpanzedivision Hermann Göring.
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby f-wolf on 13 Jul 2008 10:23

My father was part of the HG unit ( II Panzeraufklärung- Abteilung ) Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion. He was sent there on the 10 July 1943 and took part in the fighting till he got wounded on 22 July 1943. Due to his injuries, he was sent back to Germany and after he recovered was then sent to the " Reserve Regiment " in Holland. By November 1943 he was back in Italy at Monte-Camino and later at Monte-Casino. The unit he was with at Casino ( over 120 men ) he was one of less than 10 to come out alive. For the time he spend in Sicily he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class.He was 18 years old at the time.

After the Italian campaign his unit was send to the Russian front where he lost his left ankle in November 1944 spending some time in a hospital in Radom / Poland. When the Russians started to close in, he was then shipped back to Germany where he then spent a short time as a POW. In 1949 he got married and had 1 son and 3 daughters. In 1988 he died aged 62 of cancer.

PS. He was called up for Service in October 1942 aged 17 and did his training with a Unit of the Herman Göring Division in Holland and after that spent some time at Carin Hall in Berlin with the Wachregiment before being send to Sicily.
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Peter H on 13 Jul 2008 11:22

Hi f-wolf.Welcome to the forum and thanks for the great post.

Peter
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby f-wolf on 13 Jul 2008 23:55

Hi Peter

Thank you for having me here. Some very nice stuff to read and look at.

I still got the " Old Man's " Knochensack.

Regards
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Re: Hermann Göring Division in Sicily

Postby Fallschirmjäger on 15 Jul 2008 11:39

Thanks for the story and pictures f-wolf,that eagle on the smock is new right or from WW2 times?.
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