Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

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

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 31 Mar 2020 21:44

Hi Michael,

I’ve been looking for StuG III pictures in Normandy with spare wheel stowed there but can’t find any.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Sheldrake » 01 Apr 2020 09:59

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
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.
I think we may been debating a terminological inexactitude on my part. I think I was referring an absence of Stug within the orbat of the 12 SS.

It may well be that the "StuG" were Becker conversions.

Re the equipment of the Abteilungen HQ post #13 says one Hotchkis with PAK. Having written that, there are discrepancies between the organisation , equipment and numbers in Kortenhaus' divisional history and Zetterling's well referenced Normandy 1944.

Kortenhaus (p28-29) says by there were were five companies each of four sturmgeschutz with 7.5 cm PAK and six Panzergeschutz with 10.5 cm FH 16, and a sixth forming. He says there was an HQ staff and staff company, and an armoured engineer platoon= (SPW?), multilple rocker launcher platoon and six 2 cm Flak on SPW , but no PAK in battalion HQ. Kortenhaus was a veteran of the division and had access to other veterans, lists extensive primary sources, but does not cite a specific source for his organisation on pp27-29.

Appendix B is a status report dated 1st June. This lists four batteries each of four sturmgeschutz with 7.5 cm PAK and six Panzergeschutz with 10.5 cm FH 16

Appendix C is a detailed organisation on 5th June, that may have been drawn from the Gerrman diagramatic orbat in Appendix B which gives one 7.5cm PAK and six Uniac SPW with 2 cm, flak and 17 machine guns, but does not mention engineers.

Appendix D is a material state for the division. I have not tried reconciling this with the AFV breakdown in Appendix B & D

Zetterling P370 quotes the 21st Panzer Division equipment in detail, and lists four companies each of six sturmgeschutz with 7.5 cm PAK and four Panzergeschutz with 10.5 cm FH 16, but not the flak and none of the additional flak. No Hotchkiss PAK at Battlaion HQ. Zetterling cites the status report for the Inspector of Armoured Troops dated 1st June. This seems to be Appendix B from Kortenhaus, but with the numbers of 7.5. Pak and 10.5cm FH reversed.

I am not sure what the Pak in Battalion HQ was for. Was it part of the "armoured engineer platoon? It would make more sense to have an armoured OP vehicle as the organisation has more 10.5 cm panzergeschutz than 7.5 sturmgeschutz which gives it a lot of indirect fire capability.

Kortenhaus's text and the maps map book pp 14-18 re Op Goodwood show the deployment of five not four companies. So did Kortenhaus imagine the fifth company? Or was the equipment state 1 June understated to hide a surplus that might be withdrawn, or was the fifth company being formed in the first week of June?

This is a little OT but has been nagging me for a while.

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by spannermann » 01 Apr 2020 13:20

Hi,
There was an operational 5th Batterie for the StuG ABt 200, see photo below, and Kortenhaus was radio operator and bow MG gunner in PzIV 422, lost through bombing on the 18 July 44, start of Op Goodwood.

cheers Paul
7931574722_5c43172017_o - Copy.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 » 01 Apr 2020 19:10

Sheldrake,
I think we may been debating a terminological inexactitude on my part.
Or more likely an overly literal reading on my part, sorry.

It would be interesting to see the primary sources for the strength and types of vehicles used by Assault Gun Bn 200 - I don't recall ever seeing those. I do wonder if amongst all the converted French tanks a couple of cheeky StuG IIIs were snaffled up by 21 Pz Div at some point and have ever since been overlooked. Doubt we'll ever now for sure unless I can find something in one of the British Int Sums that provides an identification of them.

Paul,

Thanks - that's the kind of StuG I was expecting to see at Mouen but the IWM film shows there were a couple of StuG IIIs.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 02 Apr 2020 18:16

I did say five batteries but in fact 5th wasn't in the field until Goodwood in July and wasn't pertinent to question here.
Alan

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by spannermann » 02 Apr 2020 19:47

Hi,
For a better undestanding of the 21st Pz Div and its equipment, from the start the 21st was an odd division, of course it was meant to be "a normal Pz div", following all the regular KStN requirements etc., but due to its location, and the Wehrmacht's overall shortages it never was to be.
Its location, as a French garrison unit, had in addition to this, the presence of Major Becker and his unique modifications to previously captured French vehicles. In amongst the 447 vehicles that he is credited with modifying were 61 Hotchkiss 39 tanks, of which 24 were fitted with 7,5cm Pak 40 and 37 with 10,5cm FH 18 artillery piece.

The eventual recipient unit of these specific vehicles was StuG Abt 200, another part of the 21 Pz div, that did not conform to any known KStN, it first of all arrived in Normandy with 4 batteries, soon to be 5 batteries with a 6th Batterie in the planning.

Each batterie was 4 Hotchkiss Pak 40 and 6 Hotchkiss, their specified equipment was certainy available from Major Becker, as 6 batteries of 10 Hotchkiss guns apiece equals 60 vehicles plus the one extra that is said to be in the Stab of StuG Abt 200.

Consequently the amount of Hotchkiss SP guns made matches the proposed equipment and Batterie strength of the future StuG Abt 200, even if it never quite got there.

The amount of vehicles and their individual types produced by Major Becker is mentioned in detail in Werner Kortenhaus's book.

Attached is another photo of the 5th Batterie vehicle, thanks to Panzerwrecks #17.

cheers Paul
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Sheldrake » 02 Apr 2020 21:11

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
01 Apr 2020 19:10
It would be interesting to see the primary sources for the strength and types of vehicles used by Assault Gun Bn 200 - I don't recall ever seeing those. I do wonder if amongst all the converted French tanks a couple of cheeky StuG IIIs were snaffled up by 21 Pz Div at some point and have ever since been overlooked.
Anything is possible.

I am suspicious of the returns produced by 21 Panzer Division.

In a normal military organisation units account for the equipment because it has been issued on loan from the government who bought it from a supplier. AFV equipment status will reflect the demand on servicing organisations and the logistic chain. Administrative staff can check discrepancies and investigate inefficiency or fraud.

In the case of 21st Panzer Division this was largely untrue. The factory that converted the equipment was run under the direction of Alfred Becker who also commanded Sturm Geschutz Abteilung 200 Their second line repair organisation might also have been the same factory. The numbers were whatever Becker's superior Feuchtinger said they were. There were plenty of places to hide stolen StuG and engineering resources to rebuild written off vehicles or even build one out of spare parts. This was a unique opportunity to bend the system, a true Quartermaster's delight, and under the command of Edgar Feuchtinger, who has gone down in history as a devious and dishonest individual. We are in the world of Gunner Asche meets Allo Allo and Catch 22.

Does anyone know when the 5th Company were formed and what happened to the equipment for the 6th Company? Was 5th Company formed during June 1944 ? Is it possible that it existed, but was left out of the AFV return? If someone higher up worked out that Feuchtinger's Divisional StuG battalion was planned to be 50% larger than a StuG brigade, or anyone else's battalion, there was a risk that the additional guns might be lost to another formation. If you were Feuchtinger would you be tempted to hide the extra companies?

This is idle speculation. However it is based on a cynical outlook and personal experience serving with devious individuals in an army where buckshees were best hidden until you need them. ;)

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 03 Apr 2020 07:47

Has no one else read Perigault's much better history of 21 PD ? Kortenhaus is more a general history of Normandy than a true history of 21 PD. He even has two of the artillerybatteries as horse drawn ! Page 442 for those who doubt me.
Alan

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by jpz4 » 03 Apr 2020 08:48

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Mar 2020 21:28
Pretty much what I think as well Tom. 1. SS and 16. FD are probably the most likely.
Bit late to this thread, but no one seems to have suggested the StuG equipped FKL units. Or did those arrive too late? I seem to recall that one was attached to the 21.Pz.Div. quite early on. There's footage of it somewhere. Wish I could be more helpful, but the British sector isn't really my area of interest.
Still, I do think we should be focusing on division/KG sectors to determine what/who can expected to have been where, before looking for (undocumented) reinforcements send to sectors completely unassociated with their parent formation (incl. elements of KGs). The latter might still hold the answer but, without looking at the former first, can quickly become too speculative for my liking.

For the StuG units typically associated with the US, I think we can safely rule all of those out. To give a brief overview,
LXXXIV.A.K.:
- Stu.Gesch.Brig. 902: no reason to assume any operated outside of the sector of LXXXIV.A.K. in late June (west of the Vire). Deployed along base of the Cotentin.
- 2./Pz.Jg.Abt.243 (a.k.a. Stu.Gesch.Abt.1243): no reason to assume any operated outside of the sector of LXXXIV.A.K. in late June (west of the Vire). Deployed along base of the Cotentin. Probably close to west coast.
- 2./Pz.Jg.Abt.353 (a.k.a. Stu.Gesch.Abt.1353): no reason to assume any operated outside of the sector of LXXXIV.A.K. in late June (west of the Vire). This battalion probably saw its first action there on 19/20 June in the centre of the same front. Quite possibly in reserve with rest of 353.I.D. in late June.
- SS-Pz.Abt.17 (not SS-Stu.Gesch.Abt.17 BTW): no reason to assume any operated outside of the sector of LXXXIV.A.K./II.Fs.K. in late June (west of the Vire).
- SS-Stu.Gesch.Abt.2: I believe this did not see action until early July in the sector of LXXXIV.A.K.

II.Fs.K. (not my expertise but based on what I've seen over the years)
- Fs.Stu.Gesch.Brig.12: no reason to expect them outside of their corps sector (east of the Vire) in late June.
- 2./Pz.Jg.Abt.352 (a.k.a. Stu.Gesch.Abt.1352): no reason to expect them outside of their corps sector (east of the Vire) in late June. Probably in action with remnants of the division just east of the Vire.

IMHO this is what can reasonably be expected to have been the situation in late June, with the usual war time room for surprises ;-) Of course I'm happy to be corrected on any of this, but I'd be really surprised if any of the units from the US sector provided the Mouen StuGs.
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 Apr 2020 09:34

jpz4 wrote:
03 Apr 2020 08:48


Bit late to this thread, but no one seems to have suggested the StuG equipped FKL units. IIRC one was attached to the 21.Pz.Div. quite early on. There's footage of it somewhere.
Die Deutsche Wochenschau 725 of 26-7-44. This film also has footage of 11th AD M4s on Hill 112 and wrecked Cromwells on the railway line above The Odon so it fits with the lag between filming and transmission.

At 2m 45s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meE0qoF ... nbIfzPFWEa
Woch 725 (32) Stug.jpg
Woch 725 (36) Stug.jpg
.




Same type and the wreck has track on bow as well

.
stug Mouen areab.jpg
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by jpz4 » 03 Apr 2020 09:38

Thanks Michael, that's the footage I was thinking of. That first still appears to show a spare road wheel on the side of the superstructure. Not sure about the second still. The guy's legs seem to be in the way.
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Apr 2020 09:44

Alanmccoubrey wrote:
03 Apr 2020 07:47
Has no one else read Perigault's much better history of 21 PD ? Kortenhaus is more a general history of Normandy than a true history of 21 PD. He even has two of the artillerybatteries as horse drawn ! Page 442 for those who doubt me.
Does this have an answer to my cynical speculation?

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Apr 2020 09:50

Michael Kenny wrote:
03 Apr 2020 09:34

Die Deutsche Wochenschau 725 of 26-7-44. This film also has footage of 11th AD M4s on Hill 112 and wrecked Cromwells on the railway line above The Odon so it fits with the lag between filming and transmission.

At 2m 45s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meE0qoF ... nbIfzPFWEa

Woch 725 (32) Stug.jpgWoch 725 (36) Stug.jpg

Same type and the wreck has track on bow as well

stug Mouen areab.jpg
If this film was shot on Hill 112 after 11th Armd Div withdrew, won't those StuG be most likely to be from the Panzer Regiments of 9th SS and 10th SS Panzer Division.. They which operated around 70 StuG and fought in the Hill 112 area from 30th June to late July.

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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 Apr 2020 10:10

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Apr 2020 09:50


If this film was shot on Hill 112 after 11th Armd Div withdrew, won't those StuG be most likely to be from the Panzer Regiments of 9th SS and 10th SS Panzer Division.. They which operated around 70 StuG and fought in the Hill 112 area from 30th June to late July.
The photo above shows the Stug is within feet of the railway line so its north of the odon. 10th SS were south of the Odon 9th SS north of it.

The Daglish EPSOM book has this roofless Stug photo with no useful caption but those signal/power lines are raised because they have to clear an obstacle. Road or railway line?
stug ,,,.jpg
The stug in the OP still has its roof so obviously not the same vehicle.
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Re: Stug III at MOUEN - 29 Jun 44

Post by jpz4 » 03 Apr 2020 10:30

Michael, this photo is also associated with the US sector, so I'd regard it as a random illustration unless more information is provided. (as an example, this type of spare track use matches Stu.Gesch.Brig. 902)

Sheldrake, how do you interpret the footage of the vehicles on that stretch of road? The first still Michael posted already seems to show a Borgward in the background. Can you see anything distinctively SS driving along that road?

Sam Wren already addressed this footage here: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/missing ... 40620.html
It includes:
The English offensive, code-named "Epsom," began west of Caen between Bretteville-sur-Ordon and Tilly-sur-Seulles at 0500 on 25 June. Several times Panzer-Kompanie 315 (Fkl) was committed with other armored elements of the 21. Panzer Division and the 12. SS-Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend". Panzer-Kompanie 315 (Fkl) was committed primarily in the area around Mouen, where radio-controlled demolition-charge carriers were used on 26, 27 and 28 June 1944.
I think this settles the matter: the StuGs are probably from Pz.Kp.315 (Fkl). They were in the area and the footage supports that this unit's use of spare tracks and spare wheels on the side of the superstructure matches that of the wrecks.

FWIW, Sam also notes that Zetterling does not mention this company except once under Panzerabteilung (Fkl) 302, writing simply that the company was supposed to become part of the battalion together with Kp.317 and 4./301. This makes it easy to miss its service under the 21.Pz.Div. Zetterling's book tells very little about actual operations and is not supposed to do so. Something to keep in mind when trying to link units and vehicles to specific battles. ;-)

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