Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

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Tom from Cornwall
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Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 14 Mar 2020 21:11

Hi,

When 43 Div moved forward on the eastern flank of the 'Scottish Corridor' on 29 June 1944 with 1 Worcesters moving towards Mouen a cameraman followed and made the film at the link below:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item ... 1060008150

I'm interested in the two knocked out Stug III assault guns which I think the film captures (not one as per the film's caption on the IWM website):
IWM A70 61-6 - EPSOM Part 16 - Stug - MOUEN - 29 Jun 44.PNG
IWM A70 61-6 - EPSOM Part 16 - Stug (2) - MOUEN - 29 Jun 44.PNG
I think these were probably knocked out by 3rd CLY of 4 Armd Bde on 28 June 1944 during the unsuccessful attempt by 10 HLI of 15 (S) Div to occupy the village:
3 CLY - 28 Jun 44.PNG
The IWM website suggests that the Stug III's belonged to 21 Panzer Division but neither they, nor 12 SS Pz Div, had Stug III's as far as I can work out (from Zetterling's "Normandy 1944").

There are also a couple of knocked out Pz IV's in the footage - which matches up with references to 21 Pz Div:
IWM A70 61-6 - EPSOM Part 16 - 2 x Pz IV - 21 Pz Div - MOUEN - 29 Jun 44.PNG
The infantry involved belonged to the initial elements of 1 SS Pz Div (Kampfgruppe Frey) and there were apparently Tigers about too.

So the question, obviously, is who could the Stug III's have belonged to?

Regards

Tom
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Michael Kenny
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 Mar 2020 22:00

There is a (so far) unpublished photo of a Stug in The Sale Collection that appears to be the same vehicle but no markings are visible. The Stug is angled because it is on the embankment to the railway line.
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Michael Kenny
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 Mar 2020 22:10

The Pz IVs were moved and also photographed by Major Sale and are 21st Pz Div.
Sale Pz IV 100168 VV.jpg
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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 15 Mar 2020 11:20

Michael,

Thanks. I've been doing a search for Mouen on this and WW2Talk and found some more details (Mostly posted up by you - thank you :D ).

I particularly noted the sketch from the II Cdn Corps Int Summary of 31 Jul 44 that you kindly shared. :thumbsup:
Mouen wrecks - II Cdn Corps INT - 31 Jul 44.jpg
Ian Daglish covers events at Mouen in some detail in "Over the Battlefield: Operation EPSOM" but sadly hasn't included any aerial photographs from the 3 July sortie SA 1084 that he uses elsewhere in the book to show AFV casualties. I wonder if photographs from that sortie are easily available somewhere as it would be interesting to check the locations and numbers of tank wrecks around Moeun immediately after EPSOM had finished. I've seen the ones you posted up from the Oct 45 photographs which are brilliant as well.

The term Stuk 40 in the Cdn Int document is a bit baffling as well. Given the visual evidence in the IWM film, there were clearly StuG IIIs there, perhaps in addition to some of 21 Panzer Division's modified assault-guns. Given the losses of Mk IVs, Tigers, and assault guns around Mouen the action there is strangely overlooked in most EPSOM narratives.

Regards

Tom
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Richard Anderson
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Mar 2020 16:56

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
15 Mar 2020 11:20
The term Stuk 40 in the Cdn Int document is a bit baffling as well. Given the visual evidence in the IWM film, there were clearly StuG IIIs there, perhaps in addition to some of 21 Panzer Division's modified assault-guns. Given the losses of Mk IVs, Tigers, and assault guns around Mouen the action there is strangely overlooked in most EPSOM narratives.
That is one of the common bits of miss-identification I've come across Tom. I suspect someone saw a German reference to a StuH 42 and did some assuming. They also get identified simply as 75mm assault guns, 75mm SPAT (which could include Marder and others), as well as StG III.

Anyway, given the jumbled nature of the German OB in June, the two could be from any one of a number of sources. Fs.-Stug.-Brig. 12, 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352, and even Stu.G.-Abtl. 902 might be candidates.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 15 Mar 2020 17:10

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Mar 2020 16:56
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
15 Mar 2020 11:20
The term Stuk 40 in the Cdn Int document is a bit baffling as well. Given the visual evidence in the IWM film, there were clearly StuG IIIs there, perhaps in addition to some of 21 Panzer Division's modified assault-guns. Given the losses of Mk IVs, Tigers, and assault guns around Mouen the action there is strangely overlooked in most EPSOM narratives.
That is one of the common bits of miss-identification I've come across Tom. I suspect someone saw a German reference to a StuH 42 and did some assuming. They also get identified simply as 75mm assault guns, 75mm SPAT (which could include Marder and others), as well as StG III.

Anyway, given the jumbled nature of the German OB in June, the two could be from any one of a number of sources. Fs.-Stug.-Brig. 12, 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352, and even Stu.G.-Abtl. 902 might be candidates.
Hi Rich,

Thanks for the information about likely misidentifications. I'll have a look in a few Int Sums for the relevant British units and see if they add anything.

Wouldn't Fs.-Stug.-Brig. 12 and Stu.G.-Abtl. 902 have been miles away on the American front during this period? I do agree, though, that a few StuG III's from 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352 might have leaked across to the Caen sector or even been in workshops south of Caen and be co-opted by either 21 Pz Div or 1 SS Pz Div to support the counter-attack by Frey.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Mar 2020 19:15

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
15 Mar 2020 17:10
Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Mar 2020 16:56
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
15 Mar 2020 11:20
The term Stuk 40 in the Cdn Int document is a bit baffling as well. Given the visual evidence in the IWM film, there were clearly StuG IIIs there, perhaps in addition to some of 21 Panzer Division's modified assault-guns. Given the losses of Mk IVs, Tigers, and assault guns around Mouen the action there is strangely overlooked in most EPSOM narratives.
That is one of the common bits of miss-identification I've come across Tom. I suspect someone saw a German reference to a StuH 42 and did some assuming. They also get identified simply as 75mm assault guns, 75mm SPAT (which could include Marder and others), as well as StG III.

Anyway, given the jumbled nature of the German OB in June, the two could be from any one of a number of sources. Fs.-Stug.-Brig. 12, 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352, and even Stu.G.-Abtl. 902 might be candidates.
Hi Rich,

Thanks for the information about likely misidentifications. I'll have a look in a few Int Sums for the relevant British units and see if they add anything.

Wouldn't Fs.-Stug.-Brig. 12 and Stu.G.-Abtl. 902 have been miles away on the American front during this period? I do agree, though, that a few StuG III's from 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352 might have leaked across to the Caen sector or even been in workshops south of Caen and be co-opted by either 21 Pz Div or 1 SS Pz Div to support the counter-attack by Frey.

Regards

Tom
Yeah, sorry got interrupted while writing that and absentmindedly posted it. :o

Like 352., 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 243 is a possibility, but probably wiped out by this time.

It might be 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 346 because they began appearing in the Panzerlage of LXXXI A.K. on 18 June, but that is probably too far east.

It is remotely possible it could be from 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. (LW) 16 if they arrived early. Ditto for SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 1.

2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 353 is probably too late and too far west. Ditto SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 2, while SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 17 is almost certainly too far west.

If I were to guess it would be 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 16 Mar 2020 20:49

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Mar 2020 19:15

Yeah, sorry got interrupted while writing that and absentmindedly posted it. :o

Like 352., 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 243 is a possibility, but probably wiped out by this time.

It might be 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 346 because they began appearing in the Panzerlage of LXXXI A.K. on 18 June, but that is probably too far east.

It is remotely possible it could be from 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. (LW) 16 if they arrived early. Ditto for SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 1.

2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 353 is probably too late and too far west. Ditto SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 2, while SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 17 is almost certainly too far west.

If I were to guess it would be 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352.
Thanks Rich, taking them one by one (and according to Zetterling):

2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 243 - probably too far west (although had 3 left on 23 Jul 44)

2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 346 - possible (but still had 9 on 1 Jul 44)

2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. (LW) 16 - hmm, that could be it. It seems it had 2 on hand on 1 June 44 and was sent 8 more on 9 Jul 44. It's first units (2 LW Inf-bns) were recorded as being "already committed" on 2 Jul, so a couple of StuG III's might possibly have been available a couple of days before, but it is close.

SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 1. - same as above really. All sources say only PGR's of 1 SS Pz Div took part in the Frey counterattack and the StuG III numbers on 1 Jul 44 were recorded as 31 combat ready and 14 in Short-term repair (= the 45 that they were issued with).

2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 353, SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 2 and SS-Stu.G.-Abtl. 17 = agree all either too late or too far west, or both.

Of course, they could have been from either 9 or 10 SS Pz Div, but it would seem strange for them to have been sent to the east side of the Scottish Corridor when those two divisions were already in combat.

In summary, and given they took part in a counter-attack with armoured elements of 21 Pz Div and PGR elements of 1 SS Pz Div, I'd take a guess that they were either "found" by elements of 21 Pz Div in workshops around Caen and taken over or early arrivals from either 16 LW Div or 1 SS Pz Div.

And if they were from 2./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352 or any of the units facing the Americans, it would be a perfect example of Monty's "Masterplan" in action. :thumbsup:

I'll see if I can find any particularities about the vehicles which might provide more clues.

All the best.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Mar 2020 21:28

Pretty much what I think as well Tom. 1. SS and 16. FD are probably the most likely.
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Mar 2020 23:58

The history of 21st Panzer Division, by Werner Kortenhaus, covers the story of the attack on 28 June. It mentions I/ & II/ 1st SS PGR, and Pantherr tanks from I/12 SS Panzer Regiment. Kortenhaus says six Pz IV tanks from 4./22 Pz Regt took part in the action. Two were knocked out with turret numbers 434 and 425. I think this was Kortenhaus' own company. He does not mention StuG in this attack.

Nor is there any mention of StuG in the history of 12 SS Panzer Division (H Meyer) No mention of elements of the 16th Lw div either.

It seems unlikely that StUG from the anti tank units of 346 ID or 352 ID would be in the area. Both were the only SP AFVs available to their parent formations which were part of different army corps in different armies. 346 were LXXXI Corps from 15th Army and 352 in LXXXIV cortps of 7th Army.

Is it possible that the StuG were Jagdpanzer IV, Sd.Kfz. 162 KO earlier on 26th or 27th June?? 12 SS had a battle group in the area a few days earlier. Or have we misidentified some of the 21 Panzer Division SPs? If the 21 Panzer Division acquired a StUG where would they find one unattended? I understand German policy was for the driver to stay with the vehicle. If there were spare StUG under repair in the Caen-Falaise area, from which formation might it have come?

Is it possible that the StuG were from attacks on 29-30th June by 9SS or 10SS Panzer Regiments which were both equipped with StUG III? I am not sure any vehicles penetrated as far as Mouen.

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 18 Mar 2020 20:35

I found this snip in WO171/456 - 11 Armd Div HQ.

No mention of StuG III's which was disappointing but mention of 101 Hy Tk Bn of 1 SS Corps.

I think it was describing the action on 29 Jun 44 covered in the IWM film:
Appendix 3H

11 ARMD DIV INT SUMMARY NO. 12

(Based on infm received up to 1200 hrs 30 Jun 44)

During the afternoon an Inf Bde supported by one of our Armd Regts beat the wooded area MOUEN – COLLEVILLE – TOURVILLE, but has possibly left some enemy still to be disposed of North of the river in area 9464. This op looked like providing some good shooting for the Inf Bn on the South side of the river through whose area the German inf were passing. An identification of 101 Hy Tk Bn of 1 SS Corps at 940657 was interesting as providing the probable origin of the Tigers which have been of considerable nuisance value on our left flank.
I like the description of Tigers as being a "considerable nuisance" - that puts them in context amongst all the other dangers of the battlefield.

Sheldrake,

Looking at the mantlets in those photos at the beginning of the thread, I'm pretty sure that they are StuG III's.

Regards

Tom

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 31 Mar 2020 20:07

Sheldrake wrote:
16 Mar 2020 23:58
The history of 21st Panzer Division, by Werner Kortenhaus, covers the story of the attack on 28 June. It mentions I/ & II/ 1st SS PGR, and Pantherr tanks from I/12 SS Panzer Regiment. Kortenhaus says six Pz IV tanks from 4./22 Pz Regt took part in the action. Two were knocked out with turret numbers 434 and 425. I think this was Kortenhaus' own company. He does not mention StuG in this attack.

Nor is there any mention of StuG in the history of 12 SS Panzer Division (H Meyer) No mention of elements of the 16th Lw div either.
Actually, Hubert Meyer does refer to assault guns from 21 Panzer Division being assigned to the action at Mouen.

For example, from Stackpole edition of Vol 1 (Pub. 2005):

p.371: "Later, Brigadeführer Kraemer, chief of staff of 1. Panzerkorps advised that one company each of panzers and assault guns from 21. Panzerdivision would be attached to the "HJ" Division. Their move into the Verson area was requested and promised." [source: Situation Report of 12. SS-Pz.-Div of 26.6.44., F/M, loc.cit.]

p.392: [describing position of "HJ" on the morning of 27 June] "The backbone of the position was formed by the thirty battle-ready Panzer IVs and seventeen Panzer Vs of the Division, together with the Panzer IVs and the assault guns of the two companies of 21. Panzerdivision, whose strength is unknown."

p.419: [describing the composition of KGR Frey on 28 June 44] "Available for this were: SS-Panzergrenadier-regiment 1 (without one battalion), two weak companies of Panzerregiment 22 with Panzer IVs (one of the companies had only five Panzers available), one Patherkompanie of Panzerregiment 12, and a few Tigers (probably no more than three) of the heavy SS-Panzerabteilung 101."

Which has rekindled my interest in the "assault-guns" of 21 Panzer Division. I've seen (in Zetterling) that each Company in Assault Gun Bn 200 had 10 converted assault guns, does anyone know if there is any information available about the equipment of the Bn HQ?

Regards

Tom

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 31 Mar 2020 20:16

Tom, yes the "assault guns" of 200 were the Hotchkiss SPs mounting either the Pak 40 or 10,5cm leFH18. The Abteilung HQ had a single Pak40 armed vehicle and some 6 2cm Flak guns mounted in Unic 107 halftracksUnic while each of the five batteries had 4 x Pak40 and 6 x 10,5cm vehicles but the fifth battery might not have joined the Abteilung by the date you're talking about. This from Perigault's History.
Alan

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 31 Mar 2020 20:53

Alan,

Thanks. Definitely not 21 Pz Div then.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Michael Kenny » 31 Mar 2020 20:58

Track on hull side and spare wheel as well. Also lots stored on rear-deck.
Stug M ...jpg
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