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Panzer-Abteilung 51 and 52

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Freikorps, Reichswehr, Austrian Bundesheer, Heer, Waffen-SS and Volkssturm.
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Panzer-Abteilung 51 and 52

Postby Bob Forczyk on 12 Jan 2006 01:06

Does anyone have information on battalion commanders and company commanders for these units?

All I have so far is that MAJ Karl von Sivers was CO of 51st but was sick at start of Zitadelle and was replaced by two different temporary CO. MAJ Julius Pfeffer didn't take over until 13 September 1943. Who commanded battalion in late July - August? No info on Company Commanders.

On 52nd Abteilung, CPT Georg Baumunk commanded from 6-24 July 43, but he relieved the initial commander (whose name is unclear). I know Oberleutnant Erdmann Gabriel was commander of 4th company, but don't know other three.

Also, looking for information on Oberfeldwebel Gerhard Brehme, who was in 1st Company of 52nd Abteilung. Anyone know what exactly he did to get the Knights Cross for his actions during Zitadelle?
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Postby jmark on 12 Jan 2006 01:44

Hi Bob,

Here some info on Brehme from the Biblio book "Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939-1945. Teil VIIIa: Panzertruppe Band 1: A-E", pages 185-186:

Oberfeldwebel Gerhard Brehme
Born 07.09.1912 Reinswalde
Died 17.07.1943 Achtyrka / Sumy / Ukraine

Ritterkreuz (2015) am 23.08.1943 as Oberfeldwebel in 1./Pz.Abt. 52 / XXXXVIII. Pz.Korps / 4. Panzer-Armee / Heeresgruppe Süd

Der Vorschlag ging am 18.08.1943 beim Heerespersonal-Amt ein. Oberfeldwebel Gerhard Brehme hatte sich schon bei den Kämpfen um Welikije Luki im Januar 1943 durch besondere Tapferkeit und Entschlußkraft ausgezeichnet. Er vernichtete damals 8 Panzer und 5 Geschütze. Beim Stoß in die feindlichen Bereitstellungen südlich Bjelgorod hatte er erneut mehrmals bedeutenden Anteil am Erfolg der deutschen Truppen, insbesondere an der Einschließung und Vernichtung einer stärkeren sowjetischen Kräftegruppe. Insgesamt erbeutete oder vernichtete er 51 feindliche Panzer und 44 Geschütze. Bei einem aus eigenem Entschluß geführten Stoß gegen eine starke Panzerbereitstellung der Sowjets wurde Oberfeldwebel Brehme schwer verwundet und erlag wenige Tage später dieser Verwundung.

Here's some additional info about his wounding:
06.07.1943 südlich Bjelgorod bei Dubrowka schwer verwundet (lt. WASt am 14.07.1943)
17.07.1943 im Kriegslazarett 610 Charkow an den schweren Verbrennungen gestorben

06.09.1940 Iron Cross Second Class
06.08.1941 Iron Cross First Class
12.08.1942 German Cross in Gold (162/13) als Oberfeldwebel und Zugführer in der 1./Pz.Rgt. 15 / 11. Pz.Div.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Jason Mark
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Postby jmark on 12 Jan 2006 02:13

Hi Bob,

Checking through my files, I've also got an 11-page report called "Fighting Withdrawal of 'Kampfgruppe von Sivers' as a 'Floating Bubble' in the Worskla Valley from Tomarowka via Borissowka-Graiworon-Pirasewka-Kirowka as far as Achtyrka in August, 1943". Whew, quite a title! As the title says, this report is about the unit's actions in August 1943, so it does not cover Kursk. It does, however, say this about the commanders:
"Rittmeister von Sivers, Commander of Pz.Abt. 52, who had fallen ill at Grafenwöhr [the training area where the battalions first received their vehicles - JM], did not resume his command functions until the offensive operation [meaning Kursk - JM] had been broken off, in which his detachment had sustained heavy losses. After the dissolution of Pz.Rgt. von Lauchert and after having taken over the scarce remnant of tanks from Pz.Abt. 51 ready for use, but primarily those awaiting repair, Pz.Abt. 52 was directly attached to XXXXVIII. Panzerkorps as an independent combat group."
This seems to imply that von Sivers took command of Pz.Abt. 52 very soon after the Zitadelle offensive was broken off on 13 July 1943. The report states that von Sivers was in command when the unit was pulled back to its original positions.

Unfortunately, throughout the report, there are absolutely no mention of names of company commanders. Sorry. However, the report was compiled by Walter Rahn, in August 1943 Leutnant and Ordonanzoffizier of Pz.Abt. 52, and Klaus Groeger, in August 1943 Leutnant and Adjutant of Kampfgruppe von Sivers. Apart from von Sivers', they're the only names I can find.

I was in contact with Walter Rahn in mid-2000 and he was a very helpful old chap. I believe he is still alive, so if you're interested in contacting him, send me a PM and I'll give you his details. I don't believe Groeger is still alive.

I know that a member of this forum, Didier Lodieu, has written two absolutely excellent articles about these Panzer-Abteilungen (hopefully he will read this thread). In fact, they were published in the French "Magazine 39-45". Didier was kind enough to send me copies of each magazine, but unfortunately, I've loaned them out to someone and don't have access to them at the moment. From memory, I think those two articles can answer most of your questions. I suggest you track them down.

Best wishes,
Jason
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Re: Panzer-Abteilung 51 and 52

Postby Bob Forczyk on 12 Jan 2006 02:33

Jason,
Thanks very much. I would be interested in getting a copy of that Kampfgruppe von Sivers paper if possible, as well as Walter Rahn's contact info. However, I've read the notes posted earlier in this forum by those two vets and I believe they were mixing and matching some names and dates. They claimed that MAJ Julius Pfeffer took over the 51st at Kursk, but he didn't command until September and I looked at his records at NARA and found that he was still at Erlangen during Zitadelle. Furthermore, the MAJ Teebe they mentioned is probably a misspelling, since I believe it was another officer with a similar name. I have a hard time remembering my company commanders after 20 years, so I bet its a lot harder after 50. Anyway, I'ld like to ask him some questions about the Panthers that weren't asked before.

Thanks very much
Bob
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Postby jmark on 12 Jan 2006 04:34

Hi Bob,

Give me your email address and I'll scan that report for you and send you Rahn's contact details.

Zitadelle and Panzer-Abteilungen 51 & 52 are definitely not my area of expertise, so I can't offer any concrete information regarding the commanders. One thing I will say about the dates in officer's Personalakten is that there is sometimes a lag of several weeks from when a man was officially transferred to a new unit/position and when he actually arrived. Perhaps Pfeffer was still officially at Erlangen but unofficially commanding Pz.Abt.51? Just a theory! :-)

Regading Major Teebe: I've found a Major Rudolf Tebbe (DKiG 08.12.1943 as Kdr. Pz.Abt.116). Probably the 'officer with a similar name' that you mentioned.

One other thing, I was in contact with von Sivers' widow and his daughter in 2000 (regarding 24. Panzer-Division, not Pz.Abt.52). I am fairly certain the widow has passed away but the daughter will still be alive. I'm not certain if she could help but I can send you her address.

Best wishes,
Jason
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Request for Contact INfo

Postby Bob Forczyk on 12 Jan 2006 13:25

Jason,
Thanks again. My e-mail is:

forczyk_robert@bah.com

Please send both addresses you mentioned. Yes, you may be correct about Pfeffer and I've noticed some odd things about the men who first went to the Panther battalions - I think it may have been a "career killing" assignment for quite a few of them.

Yes, I also suspect MAJ Tebbe was the fellow that Rahn was referring to.

I live only 7 miles from NARA archives, so if I can do you a favor, let me know.
Thanks
Bob
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Postby Panzeralex on 13 Jan 2006 17:03

Hi, Bob, hi all.
As to a summer of 1943, here that is known to me:
-Pz.Abt. 51
Kdr. (CO) Pz.Abt. 51 - Hauptman Heinrich Meyer 13.01.43-19.08.43
St.Kp. - Oberleutnant Artur Meyer 18.04-28.12.43
1 Kp. - Oberleutnant Rudolf Köhler 08.01.43-07.08.43, then Oberleutnant Giessen (08.08.43-?), then Oberleutnant Hans Günther (? - 31.03.44).
2.Kp. - Oberleutnant Alfred Karcher 26.05.43-07.07.43.
3 Kp. - Oberleutnant Hans Joachim Winkler 08.01.43- 06.03.44
4 Kp. - Oberleutnant Helmuth Langhammer 03.02.43-05.07.43, then Oberleutnant Rudolf Watzel 06.07.43-07.07.43, then Oberleutnant August Meyer 08.07.43-10.07.43, then Leutnant Weinmeyer 11.07.43-09.08.43, then Dr. Anton 10.08.43-30.01.44.
Source: article Didier Lodieu
- Pz.Abt. 52
Names of commanders Pz.Abt. 52 to me are unknown.

best regards,
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Postby jmark on 14 Jan 2006 01:59

Now that Alex has supplied the names, it allows additional research to be done on some of them. Here's what I found:

Hauptmann Heinrich Meyer, born 27.04.1913, killed 19.08.1943 Kaplunowka as Commander of Pz.Abt.51. He earlier belonged to Pz.Rgt.4. His Hptm. RDA is 01.04.1942 (1486). He was posthumously promoted to Major with RDA 01.08.1943. A Hauptmann Heinrich Ernst Meyer received the German Cross in Gold on 25.09.1942 as Hptm. in II./Pz.Rgt.33, but I'm not 100% sure it's the same man.

Oberleutnant Giessen is more than likely Oberleutnant Hans-Günther Giessen, born 30.05.1915, died of wounds 5.10.1944 in Italy as a member of Pz.Rgt.26. He earlier belonged to Pz.Rgt.4 (same as the commander Hptm. Meyer), which is why I believe this is the Oblt. Giessen who belonged to Pz.Abt.51. His Hptm. RDA is 01.03.1944 (34b).

Oberleutnant d.R. Rudolf Watzel, born 18.04.1913, killed 07.07.43 Dubrowa.

An Oberleutnant Rudolf Köhler received the German Cross in Gold on 02.10.1942 as an Oblt. in II./Pz.Rgt.33. Not sure if its the same man.

Oberleutnant Hansjoachim Winkler received the German Cross in Gold on 20.09.1943 as an Oblt. in I./Pz.Rgt."v.Lauchert".

One thing I noticed: For 1 Kp., the commanders are listed as Oberleutnant Rudolf Köhler 08.01.43-07.08.43, then Oberleutnant Giessen (08.08.43-?), then Oberleutnant Hans Günther (? - 31.03.44). I believe the last two are in fact the same man because Giessen's christian name was Hans-Günther.

Hope that helps. Bob, I'll send you an email today.

Best wishes,
Jason
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Officers of Pz Abteilung 51

Postby Bob Forczyk on 14 Jan 2006 06:00

Thanks very much Jason. I plan on looking up their files at NARA within the next week (of course, the ones who died before VE Day may not have files at NARA).

Bob
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Postby Panzeralex on 14 Jan 2006 06:57

jmark wrote:One thing I noticed: For 1 Kp., the commanders are listed as Oberleutnant Rudolf Köhler 08.01.43-07.08.43, then Oberleutnant Giessen (08.08.43-?), then Oberleutnant Hans Günther (? - 31.03.44). I believe the last two are in fact the same man because Giessen's christian name was Hans-Günther.
Jason

Yes I was mistaken, 08.08.43-31.03.44 1 Kp. commander was Oberleutnant Giessen Hans Günter.

Best regards,
Panzeralex.
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Postby Gastolli on 09 Feb 2008 20:36

Hi all,

have seen this old thread, after seeing another report from the above mentioned Werner Rahn at the german Archive, I can add the following with regard to Pz.Abt. 52:

06.07.43 Panther of commander of 4./Pz.Abt. 52, Olt. Gabriel, knocked out by PAK, he and his gunner severly burned.
10.07.43 Hptm. Baumunk was appointed Führer of Pz.Abt. 52
12.07.43 Panther of Ofw. Brehme (Zugf. 1./Pz.Abt. 52) knocked out, gunner Uffz. Moltke dead, Brehme died some days later
14.07.43 Chef of 1./Pz.Abt. 52, Oblt. d.R. Walter, wounded
22.07.43 Rittmeister von Sivers returns to take over command of Pz.Abt. 52
07.08.43 remainig 27 Panther breakout from Tomorowka, mentioned are Rittm. von Sivers (driving in an Kübelwagen), Adjudant Olt. Groeger. The Ordonanz-Offizier Olt. Werner Rahn was responsible for blowing up over 30 damaged Panthers at Graiworon.

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Re: Panther Battalions 51 and 52

Postby AlifRafikKhan on 07 Nov 2011 22:22

Short biography of Karl von Sivers. Source: Book "Panther vs T-34 Ukraine 1943 (Duel)" by Robert A. Forczyk
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Re: Panzer-Abteilung 51 and 52

Postby edwinvonsierstorff on 14 Jul 2013 12:55

the company commanders of Panzer-Abteilung 52 during operation "Zitadelle" were besides the above mentioned officers Gabriel and Walter the first lieutenants von WALLENBERG and KÜSPERTH.
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