The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

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Sid Guttridge
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The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 01 Jan 2021 19:14

I am currently reading (I use the word loosely) J'étais médecin avec les chars by André Soubiran, first published in Vichy France in 1943.

It follows the campaign of the 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses in May-June 1940.

Near the end of the campaign it recounts a successful ambush on 17 June of what seems to have been a German motorised battalion between Carrouges and Ranes in Normandy. The site seems to be a little west of the Orne, south-west of Argentan and west-north-west of Alencon.

Three tanks and some motorised dragoons ambushed some 40 German vehicles (including possibly some half tracks - "camions a demi-blindés"). Two tanks drove down one flank and one down the other destroying all the vehicles, inflicting considerable casualties and blocking the road. The sub-unit of 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses seems to have escaped without loss.

I was wondering if anyone knows the German side of this action? Which division and unit were involved? It would seem, if accurately portrayed by the book, to have been a stand out, if unfortunate, moment for the unit concerned.

Many thanks,

Sid

CNE503
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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by CNE503 » 04 Jan 2021 10:54

If I look at the OKH Lage West maps for June 17th, 1940, the unit that suffered such casualties was probably part of Hoth's XV. Armeekorps (motorisiert). On June 16th, 5. and 7. Panzer-Divisionen as well as 2. Infanterie-Division (motorisiert) were parts of this corps (source: www.wwiidaybyday.com). At this time, the corps was concentrated in the triangle Alençon-Argentan-Laigle. 7. Panzer-Division was heading northwards to reach Cherbourg (where it will be on June 18th evening), 5. Panzer-Division was heading west towards Rennes.

It is not much but maybe you could find something more consistent if you look to the divisional histories?

Regards,
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

Sid Guttridge
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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Jan 2021 14:29

Hi CNE503,

Many thanks.

Unfortunately I don't have any of the relevant German unit histories myself.

Does any one else on AHF?

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. I have since found out that 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses was the oldest cavalry unit in the French Army, tracing its lineage back to the early 1630s, so it was presumably a particularly good unit. It had certainly managed to hold together through six weeks of continuous retreat.

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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 04 Jan 2021 15:30

Verlustmeldungen of 7.Pz.Div. has no entry for this day, the ones for 5.PzDiv. I haven't found so far on GDiR...

Jan-Hendrik

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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by CNE503 » 04 Jan 2021 15:42

Hi Sid,

Actually, several cavalry regiments could trace their lineage to the 1630s (still now, several of them could do this to the year 1651 like 1er chasseurs, formerly Humières cavalerie; 1665 like 2e dragons, formerly Condé dragons; 1668 like 12e cuirassiers, formerly Dauphin cavalerie, or 5e dragons, formerly colonel-général dragons; 1672 like 5e cuirassiers, formerly Royal-Pologne cavalerie; 1675 like 4e chasseurs, formerly Clermont prince...). But I'm curious to know the lineage of the 3e RAM, because for me it was an entirely new unit created in 1933.
The French infantry could trace its roots to 1479 (1er RI, formerly régiment de Picardie).
But I don't think that it made such a difference, because in a general way, all the active units were high-spirited, the reserve série-A units were sometimes very good, sometimes quite poor, and most of the reserve série-B units were just a waste.

I will look whether I could find something about the XV. Armeekorps (motorisiert) divisions tonight.

Cheers,

Loïc (the other one)
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

CNE503
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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by CNE503 » 04 Jan 2021 21:48

I have no archives for 5. Panzer-Division dealing with this episode, but I'm currently digging deeper.
Maybe I'll have something tomorrow.
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by Loïc » 05 Jan 2021 03:36

Hello

for the digression concerning the lineage these Machine-Gun cars units were only a newly raised subdivision in the Cavalry coming from the Navy in 1916 as Groupes d'Automitrailleuses et Autocanons (GAMAC) then Machine-gun cars Cavalry Squadrons in 1922 then Groups in 1933

as many older Cavalry regiments were disbanded (until 49 of the 79 metropolitan at one moment) after the Great War they received the traditions of some them

for the 3e GAM it was the 2e Cuirassiers, indeed a very venerable French Army Regiment

but there is a trouble with still such lineage at this date because the 1st january 1940 the 2e Cuirassiers was raised again... :wink:

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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by CNE503 » 05 Jan 2021 07:47

Thank you Loïc! That's why I was confused about this.

Concerning the XV. Armeekorps (motorisiert) on June 17th, 1940, it appears that it had a fourth subordinated unit: Schützen-Brigade 11.
It could have been the involved unit.

It crossed the Seine river on June 17th:
- 7. Panzer-Division in Poses (16-ton bridge);
- 2. Infanterie-Division (motorisiert) in Les Andelys (8-ton bridge);
- 5. Panzer-Division in Courcelles-sur-Seine (16-ton bridge);
- Schützen-Brigade 11 in Vernon (8-ton bridge).
Source: Regimentsbefehl für den Übergang über die Seine, Befehl für den 17.6.40 emitted on June 15th, 1940, no reference (NARA T315 R257 file 526).
Maybe it could help you to find the relevant unit?

Cheers,

CNE503 (aka Loïc)
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by CNE503 » 05 Jan 2021 12:05

Here is the 5. Panzer-Division Divisionsbefehl for June 17th, 1940. Maybe it could help you to find out what you are seeking?
One last file is coming in a next message.
Cheers,

Loïc
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CNE503
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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by CNE503 » 05 Jan 2021 12:07

The last message (6/6).
Source: NARA T315 R257 files 530 to 536.
CNE503
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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by CNE503 » 05 Jan 2021 13:05

I wasn't able yet to find the division KTB (Ia) for 5. Pz.-Div. but I found this in the Ib part: see attachment.
It was dated June 17th, 1940, and the only reference to a fight in the Ib entry for this day.
CNE503
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Re: The German side of a successful and damaging ambush by 3e Régiment d'auto-mitrailleuses on 17 June 1940?

Post by LAstry2 » 01 Dec 2022 02:49

What does the circled message read?

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