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I have three books- first one covers the proto-Brummbar in Stalingrad, and other two have capsule like content with little tactical detail. However it seems that many PK photos have survived- and they are quite impressive.
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Some reports / tactical insight on the effectiveness of German 150mm infantry guns on stone structures would be help.
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s.Pz.Jäg.Rgt. 656 - integrated into the 9. Armee - was coupled for the attack alongside the 86. Inf.Div.
For the creation of corridors within the supposed minefields, two armored radio-led tank companies ( Pz.Kp. (FKL ) were subordinated to the Regiment .
The very strong artillery fire of the enemy (on the first day 100 heavy guns and 172 light guns took part, 386 salute guns in addition to an indefinite number of grenade launchers) stopped the attack of our infantry.
The Ferdinand and Sturmpanzer, when the infantry was stagnant, could not penetrate quickly between the enemy lines and were spread out on the ground, attracting artillery fire on them. The enemy artillery always had the necessary time to delay, restructure and strengthen their positions. The lack of machine guns in our tanks took its toll.
The casualties were consequently very high.
Total losses :
19 Ferdinand The vast majority due to artillery impacts on the grids, 4 due to short circuits and subsequent fire without having previously received any impact.
10 Sturmpanzer The vast majority were blown up by their crews after being damaged by mines or artillery hits.
Temporary losses caused by mines :
40 Ferdinand, of which up to 11.7 were repaired 20
17 Sturmpanzer, of which up to 11.7 were repaired 9
Generally, a few chain links as well as wheels and swing arms have been damaged.
These severe mine losses occurred despite the performance of two radio-led armored tank companies.
The action of the tanks directed by radio and due to the powerful artillery fire had no effect. A part of these drone tanks was put out of action before they could go into action.
Each company managed to fly 2 corridors.
Due to the massive artillery fire the engineers were unable to mark the corridors, which is why they were not recognized by the Ferdinand crews.
The development and improvement of the armored companies of radio-controlled tanks as well as the construction of mine-sweeping rollers are called for.
Despite the heavy losses, the Ferdinand and Sturmpanzer achieved their intended objectives.
The Sturmpanzer Battalion ( Sturmpanzerabteilung ) bravely advanced 5 km ahead of the Infantry and came to surpass the 3. enemy line.
He had to renounce to take advantage of this success because armored reserves could not be launched and the infantry did not have the strength to continue with the advance.
This fact makes it clear that against an enemy distributed in such a staggered manner and with superior artillery support, it is not possible to achieve definitive success while operating in conjunction with the Infantry.
In case s.Pz.Jäg.Rgt. Had it been coupled to an armored division and the attack had been carried out in a structured way by means of tanks and infantry in half-track armored vehicles, the penetration of enemy lines would undoubtedly have been less costly in casualties.
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Addressed to : Panzer-Offizier beim Gen.St.dH. Lötzen
Due to the relocation of the Brjansk Regiment to Dnjepropetrowsk, the organization of major repairs as well as the immediate entry into combat of a Combat Group, it has not been possible to present a report on the experiences obtained so far.
The move from Brjansk to Dnjepropetrowsk was exceptionally slow as it was not carried out jointly but by individual transports. Each transport lasted up to nine days.
The organization of major repairs at the tank repair and maintenance factory ( K-Werk) or in its proximity it was impossible because it was totally collapsed. For this reason the Regiment organized a large ship, owned by the Dnepro-Steel Society ( Dnepro-Stahlgesselschaft ).
Parallel to the arrival of the Regiment, the immediate entry into action of a Combat Group was ordered. Using all available means, it was possible in seven days to prepare 15 Ferdinand and 25 Sturmpanzer for this operation. All the members of the workshops gave their all to achieve this goal. They worked 12 hours a day. No vehicle was improved but all were more or less operational, most of them with new chains of the first series, new engines, etc.
The consequences of this quick repair were soon apparent: 3 Ferdinand and 2 Sturmpanzer broke down on the way to the transport loading area.
The Combat Group was led by Hauptmann Baumunk, commander of I./Pz.Jg.Rgt.656. The Regiment commander was in the Combat Group.
The Battle Group was to be divided into two parts, one in Ssinelnikowo, the other in Pawlograd.
Before the first transport reached Ssinelnikowo the Ssinelnikowo - Pawlograd railway line had been interrupted. 4 Ferdinand and 12 Sturmpanzer were unloaded and with the support of a reinforced battalion the Ssinelnikowo - Pawlograd route was "cleaned up".
During the 40 km march, under heavy rain and deep mud, there was no contact with the enemy. Not a single shot was fired. The Regiment commander managed to separate the Ferdinand and 3 Stumpanzer after 2 km to prevent them from suffering the consequences of the march.
In the meantime, orders were received to regroup the entire Combat Group in Pawlograd. The remaining Ferdinand and Sturmpanzer were again charged. Of the 8 Sturmpanzer that had started the march, only 4 reached their destination and 4 suffered technical failures, although they could be recovered.
Due to great pressure, four transports set out towards Pawlograd keeping a very short distance between them: one transport train collided with another, destroying a tow truck and two trucks, 1 dead and 1 injured. During the same night, the Combat Group was ordered to take action together with Inf.Reg. 420 with the aim of clearing the Pawlograd - Dmitrijewka route. This march was also 40 km. 8 Ferdinand and 12 Sturmpanzer participated.
During this march there were only small skirmishes with the enemy. An armored reconnaissance vehicle was destroyed and 5 7.62 cm anti-tank guns were captured. The 8 Ferdinands reached their destination and 3 Sturmpanzers were lost. The next day was a day of rest, which allowed for technical maintenance work. At dusk the Ferdinands were ordered to return to Pawlograd to be loaded there and transported to Ssinelnikowo. Thanks to repairs as well as the supply of new vehicles, the number of operational Sturmpanzers rose to 16. The Sturmpanzers were subordinated to the 23rd Panzer-Division, carrying out a march the next day between Wassilkowka - Grijerjewka with intensive enemy contact. Hauptmann Baumunk, commander of I./Pz.Jg.Rgt.656, assumed command of the Combat Group while the Regiment commander headed with the Ferdinands towards Ssinelnikowo. carrying out the following day a march between Wassilkowka - Grijerjewka with intensive enemy contact. Hauptmann Baumunk, commander of I./Pz.Jg.Rgt.656, assumed command of the Combat Group while the Regiment commander headed with the Ferdinands towards Ssinelnikowo. carrying out the following day a march between Wassilkowka - Grijerjewka with intensive enemy contact. Hauptmann Baumunk, commander of I./Pz.Jg.Rgt.656, assumed command of the Combat Group while the Regiment commander headed with the Ferdinands towards Ssinelnikowo.
The Sturmpanzers acted in different operations with the 9. and 23. Panzer-Division while the Ferdinand enjoyed a hiatus. After intense negotiations with the 1. Panzer-Armee it was decided that the entire Combat Group should occupy forward positions at the Dnjepropetrowsk bridgehead until it had been occupied by the troops and that they should then take defensive positions from the other. River bank. For this it was necessary to build a special loading ramp in a small railway station.
When it was dazzled that between the 25th and 30th the front would reach the river bank as well as the fact that all maintenance services were beginning to leave the city, the presence of the Regiment commander in Dnjepropetrowsk was considered necessary. The leadership of the entire Combat Group was assumed by Hauptmann Baumunk; the Regiment commander was in Dnepro.
1. Panzer-Armee's plans for the future foresee the regiment's stationing at the Saporoshje bridgehead, a position that must be maintained at all costs during the winter; subordination to the XVII. Armee-Korps.
In Dnjepropetrowsk, major decisions have had to be made. The Heeresgruppe and the Armee dispose of the entire Regiment, while here we are of the opinion that only a single Combat Group has been made available to the Heeresgruppe, leaving the rest of the Regiment, that is, most of it, as a reserve of the OK H. Until now, no telephone communication has been established either with the 'Inspector General' or with the OKH. Telegrams are only received in a very limited way.
Great repair .
Once the Combat Group was constituted, repair and modernization work began again at 14 Ferdinand. To complete these repair work, different parts were missing. There was news that trains with these pieces had left the Reich; whether these would arrive on time was something that was not clear. In any case, in a period of 5-6 days, these Ferdinands should be able to move on their own.
Repair of the next 14 Sturmpanzers is nearing completion. Since the maintenance services have already planned their withdrawal, these measures should be understood as a quick repair and not as a general repair. The last maintenance services will be withdrawn between the 19th and 20th.
Previously, the search for a suitable place for the realization of the great repair between Kriwoj-Rog and Kirowograd had begun. These localities are completely collapsed, and there are no suitable positions in them to carry out the major repair.
Upon learning of the Heeresgruppe and Pz.AOK1 plans for the Regiment to operate at the Saporoshje bridgehead, the Dnjepropetrowsk War Economy Command (Wehrwitschaftskommando Dnjepropetrowsk ) proposed to broaden the search for suitable facilities towards Nikopol, as ships could be found there. A commission has declared these ships as fit. One of them is owned by the 'Luftgau 25' and is currently being dismantled. Negotiations are currently under way with this body. Other existing ships are used by the Reichsbahn; sharing these ships would be another possible solution. The Wehrwitschaftskommando Dnjepropetrowsk is currently holding negotiations here as well.
In order to clarify the future plans of the OKH and to know if it agrees with what has been done so far, after not having returned to be possible, despite all efforts, to establish telephone communication, it has been sent today the following urgent telegram:
Directed to the Panzer-Offizier beim Gen.St.dH. Lötzen
A quick decision is called for whether the entire regiment is tactically subordinate to the Heeresgruppe Süd as operations have been planned at the Saporoshje bridgehead.
The absolutely necessary and rapid transfer to Nikopol for the realization of the major repair has been planned.
Nr. 357/43 geh.
Transporting the remaining 42 Ferdinand (8 Ferdinand are involved in operations) is going to be difficult as getting the necessary SSyms wagons is apparently not easy. The Dnjepropetrowsk - Saporoshje route has already been explored and the reinforcement of bridges has been discussed with the Chief Engineer of the Navy ( Armee-Pionierführer). In case of danger of delay the entire convoy could therefore travel this route and later be transported by rail from Saporoshje to Nikopol. This would only be done if the special wagons could not be organized in time, thus only being a preventive measure. In addition to the vehicles, a large number of spare parts and components must also be transported. In the entire Navy sector the railroad is totally collapsed, This is why it is seriously doubted whether it will be possible to gather enough wagons in time to carry out the transport of this invaluable cargo. To the west of Saporoshje, in the vicinity of the railway line, various locations have been scouted for warehouses. In this way it would be possible to transport this valuable material in the wagons where the Regiment will be transported. The material could then be transported from here to the repair area by rail or by truck. various locations have been explored in search of warehouse ships. In this way it would be possible to transport this valuable material in the wagons where the Regiment will be transported. The material could then be transported from here to the repair area by rail or by truck. various locations have been explored in search of warehouse ships. In this way it would be possible to transport this valuable material in the wagons where the Regiment will be transported. The material could then be transported from here to the repair area by rail or by truck.
Measures have been taken so that, should Dnjepropetrowsk come within range of enemy artillery, the Regiment could quickly leave this area. At the same time, command posts have been created for the Regiment and the two battalions, as well as at the Saporoshje bridgehead, east of the river, parking areas for companies as well as, in towns west of the river, for companies. non-combatant parties.
The last explorations will be completed until the night of the 19th and it would be desirable that until then the OKH has made a decision regarding whether the Regiment will operate during the winter at the Saporoshje bridgehead. Otherwise, the rapid withdrawal of the Regiment's mass could be initiated and the subsequent transfer of the two Combat Groups ensured.
All these measures have been taken in close cooperation with the Heeresgruppe and Pz.AOK1.
The operations of the Regiment at the bridgehead have been planned as follows: the companies' positions are located 5 - 8 km behind the front and the vehicles will be parked there. In parallel, routes from these positions to the first line should be explored, if necessary. In this way it would be possible, once the area of the attack has been located, to launch the different parts of the Regiment where they are really needed. It is not necessary to comment that, if necessary, Vehicles should be prepared quickly for winter operation to avoid freezing. For this reason alone it is absolutely necessary to know the decision on the use of these vehicles during the winter.
It should be noted that during the coming weeks and months of the entire Regiment, only a single Combat Group may be operating with a greater or lesser number of vehicles, while the rest will be under repair. It must be taken into account that due to the order to operate with the Combat Group as well as the necessary removal of the base to carry out the major repair, not a single Ferdinand has been repaired in a general way nor has it been modernized. Both the first series of 15 Ferdinand as well as the second of 14 Ferdinand repaired are serviceable but none of them has been modernized as intended, that is to say they have yet to go through the workshops. The same can be said of the Sturmpanzers. Since the operation of these vehicles in winter, unlike in summer, is very limited, it should be possible for the entire regiment to carry out the general repair until the beginning of the year. that is, they still have to go through the workshops. The same can be said of the Sturmpanzers. Since the operation of these vehicles in winter, unlike in summer, is very limited, it should be possible for the entire regiment to carry out the general repair until the beginning of the year. that is, they still have to go through the workshops. The same can be said of the Sturmpanzers. Since the operation of these vehicles in winter, unlike in summer, is very limited, it should be possible for the entire regiment to carry out the general repair until the beginning of the year.
The current tank register ( Panzerlage ) of the Regiment is as follows:
8 Ferdinand Fully operational
14 Sturmpanzer The vast majority non-operational, damaged due to the humid climate and bad terrain. Currently and with all available means, his recovery is being carried out. It is expected to be able to save all the vehicles from being captured by the enemy.
42 Ferdinand 7 are under repair and will be operational in 3-4 days. 14 are under repair and will be operational in 6-7 days. The rest operative.
10 Sturmpanzer Probably between 20-21 they will be repaired.
The rest due to the latest operations and damage to the guns are not operational.
Intent of the regiment .
Rapid creation of a Combat Group consisting of 7 Ferdinand and 10 Sturmpanzer to operate at the Saporoshje bridgehead. Once Battle Group Baumunk has returned, dispatch all of its operational components to the Saporoshje bridgehead.
When the basis for the repair in Nikopol has been established:
Carrying out the major repair at 10 Ferdinand (in the warehouses where the repair work is expected to be carried out, it is not possible to work on several vehicles at the same time). After being fully repaired, these vehicles will be assigned to the Saporoshje bridgehead and the next 10 vehicles will be repaired. Once these works have been completed, the Ferdinands that operate on the bridgehead and that have not yet been modernized will be removed to carry out the major repair as well as the modifications.
Once the return of the different Maintenance and Repair Battalions ( Instandsetzungs-Abteilungen) the Armee or the Heeresgruppe must assign a Maintenance and Repair Battalion to carry out the general repair of the Sturmpanzer. Once this decision has been made an entire company of Sturmpanzer will be dispatched to this Battalion; when this company is ready it will be replaced by a new company. This will ensure that as many Sturmpanzers as possible are ready to operate at the bridgehead, that the different units will reorganize themselves and that in three steps the entire Battalion has been repaired.
The Regiment informs in this way about its intentions and awaits orders in the event that these are not to the liking of the higher command.
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https://www.amazon.com/Combat-History-S ... 1908032200
https://www.themodellingnews.com/2020/0 ... ry-of.html
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https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... ect/zoom/5
Very interesting report drawn up on 12.26.1944 by the commander of Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 219 and addressed to the Armeegruppe Balck (AOK 6) where the experiences of this battalion with its Sturmpanzer (Sd.Kfz. 166) during operations in Hungary are collected.
This battalion had been created in September 1944 based on the remains of the Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 237, an assault gun brigade that between August 1943 and July 1944 had managed to destroy more than 400 Soviet battle tanks. In September 1944 the commander of the newly created Stupa.Abt. 219 would request a mixed kit with Jagdpanzer IV and Sturmpanzer, a request that would be rejected. In January 1945, after the setbacks suffered by the battalion and the very serious technical problems suffered by the Sturmpanzer,
Br.B.Nr. 151/44 geh.
Report on the operations of the 'Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 219' in the period 09.12. - 27.12.1944
Between 17.09. and on 03.12.44 and especially at St. Martin in Slovakia, the Battalion had enough time to instruct the crews and familiarize them tactically and technically with the new equipment.
Upon receiving the order to transfer to the front, and from a purely tactical point of view, the Battalion knew it was certain that it would be able to successfully assume the future missions that were to be assigned to it.
Tactical employment .
The Battalion was unloaded on 09.12.1944 in Kisber (south of Komaron, Hungary) and had to travel a distance of 60 km to reach the area of operations.
While the Battalion was employed in combat it was subordinated to armored units but without being incorporated into the armored groups. With the general motivation that it was a very effective heavy armament, the Battalion was employed in attack and defense in the style of assault gun units without the support of other armored vehicles. In one case the Battalion was subordinated for a long period of time to the Hungarian division group Kesseoe assuming defense and counterattack missions.
Employment within the framework of subordinations .
Within the framework of 8. Pz.Div. The Battalion was employed by companies on the Stuhlweisenburg - Budapest highway in locations very close to the front line in collaboration with infantry units of the 271st. Volks-Gren.Div. as well as the Kesseoe Group, units that despite having been informed about the peculiarities of the weapon, saw in the Sturmpanzer what its name defines for those who do not know it, demanding from it the same as from an assault cannon and calling it as such repeatedly.
All the demands of the infantry, also false alarms, had to be met immediately because the front line, due to its insufficient occupation with infantry as well as the poor quality of the soldiers, could be classified as anything but stable. Due to the withdrawal of different battalions as well as daily losses in one case, the front line suffered a dilation of proportions hitherto totally unknown to the Battalion throughout all its operations in the east.
Keeping the companies so close to the front line, unceremoniously in the face of casualties caused by artillery fire and grenade launchers, was carried out on the one hand to directly reinforce the infantry, on the other to avoid losses for technical reasons and that The previous days had been suffered in horrible proportions after short gears in the form of failure of the lateral traction transmissions as well as breakage of the brake bands (see below).
In the framework of counteroffensive as well as planned counterattacks, the commander and his bosses had to use the Sturmpanzer and assault cannons, in most cases ahead of the infantry, otherwise it was not considered capable of carrying out its mission. The mere support with concentrated artillery fire was considered by the infantry as insufficient and required the use of armored vehicles as battle tanks.
It has not happened once but it has been the general rule that the Sturmpanzers have reached the objective of the attack and the infantry that followed them in a very hesitant way have not joined them until they have been confirmed that the area was totally free of enemies, our infantry then occupying the position to abandon it and hand it over to the Russians after the first counterattack.
As protection for armored vehicles, in a few cases, towed anti-tank guns have been assigned to companies, weapons that on the one hand are very delicate and also where the Sturmpanzer operate they cannot necessarily act. In other words, the protection of the Sturmpanzer against tanks has been practically nil. The tanks available in the armored divisions have been used in the framework of the armored groups for missions of greater importance.
Shooting distances and effects .
Due to the reasons listed above as well as to the operations, in practice carried out in the style of assault guns, the firing distances have been from 30 meters. The effects against the infantry, in the case of achieving the objective with the first shot, have been terrible, especially through concentrated fire, and morally a success.
In combat against anti-tank guns, the Sturmpanzer is much inferior due to its slow rate of fire, the curved trajectory and the corresponding long flight of the projectile, as well as the need to fire several shots to achieve a target. Even so, thanks to the skill of the Sturmpanzer crews, successes have been achieved in anti-tank gun combat, although assault guns would have achieved the same but with less difficulty and more quickly.
In combat against tanks, the same circumstances exist as in combat against anti-tank guns. Due to the high casualties caused by technical defects the concentrated attack of tanks has not been possible and therefore a single Sturmpanzer has had to face them. Two tanks have been destroyed at a distance of 2000 meters with the sixth charge thanks to fortuitous impacts on their rear armor; On the other hand, in the combat of two tanks that were protected behind trees at a distance of 1200 meters with the second charge, it was not possible to fully reach them after having fired 22 shots; firing with the sixth charge was also unsuccessful as the grenades got caught in the trees in front of the vehicles. No effect on enemy tanks could be confirmed. firing with the sixth charge was also unsuccessful as the grenades got caught in the trees in front of the vehicles. No effect on enemy tanks could be confirmed. firing with the sixth charge was also unsuccessful as the grenades got caught in the trees in front of the vehicles. No effect on enemy tanks could be confirmed.
Despite repeated indications about the special operational characteristics of the Sturmpanzer, these have only been taken into account insofar as they have only been used on roads and roads. Regarding the support of other weapons, it should be noted that in combat the Sturmpanzer has always found itself alone and has had to undertake its own missions of battle tanks and assault guns. The Sturmpanzer have been employed, as had been planned, in the framework of an armored group only once,
Technical aspect of operations .
In the course of the long instruction, special importance was given to the retraining of the drivers who had driven assault guns in the last years, as well as to their familiarization with the equipment and especially in relation to the handling of the direction and the realization of changes. of direction on highway and field and cross, repair and maintenance. Regarding this aspect, the Battalion was transferred to the front with the positive feeling of having done everything possible during the training of the already good leaders.
Despite everything, technical breakdowns and tactical casualties have been suffered in proportions that have far exceeded what could be expected. Small marches of 2 km, sometimes shorter distances, on a good icy road and at a very low speed have caused breakdowns that have led to the direct total withdrawal of the armored vehicle for the planned operations. This has been the main reason why the commander has been forced to establish the preparation areas of the companies as close as possible to the area of operations or to the front line. That is to say, solely for technical reasons as well as to increase the possibility of acting quickly in the necessary place, it has been necessary to ignore the principle of parking armored vehicles in a backward zone of our defense to carry out counterattacks.
Faults suffered .
The battalion has suffered between 09.12. and the 27.12. on 28 Sturmpanzer the following faults:
On 16 occasions, failures in the lateral traction transmissions.
On 4 occasions epicyclic gear failures.
12 times brake bands break
3 times shearing of the brake housing bolts
10 times shearing the upper bolt of the brake housing plate
4 times the steering brake brake carriage bolt break
On 6 occasions, breakage of the pulley disc joints
3 times engine breakdowns
On 2 occasions gearbox failures
Rolling system levers break on 20 occasions
On 6 occasions, there was a failure in the traction shafts of the fans and their elastic discs.
On 2 occasions belt pulley break
On 2 occasions failure of the disturbance
On 1 occasion fuel tank leak
This means, in the reporting period, a total of 91 repairs to 28 armored vehicles are reported. Additionally, the repairs carried out and not reported by the maintenance groups should be accounted for. The repair of these 91 breakdowns had to be carried out by our own personnel with the support of workshops from other units as we do not have a workshop. Tactical losses suffered:
The reasons for these breakdownsthey reside almost exclusively in the fact that the casemate is too heavy for the Panzer IV chassis and that the front overload leads to the traction not supporting the slightest overload, as evidenced by the breakdowns suffered on firm ground without having previously marched field to through. It has also been found in my Battalion that traction system breakdowns are not limited to common breakdowns but spread to the entire rolling system which, together with the engine power, are insufficient to move the weight of the vehicle. . Modifications to individual components cannot be an overall improvement. The Sturmpanzer will not become an armored vehicle until it is equipped with a chassis capable of actually supporting its weight. All the planned modifications cannot even be considered as emergency solutions and therefore are not proposed. The figures set out above clearly show that the Sturmpanzer chassis does not meet the established requirements. This fact should not deserve any clarification if it is taken into account that this chassis was originally designed for a load of between 17 and 19 tons and that based on experience it should be considered as insufficient even for the tank destroyer on chassis IV (assault gun). . The Sturmpanzer has an operating weight (including fuel, ammunition and crew) of 29 tons.
To improve the Sturmpazer it should be equipped for example with the Panzer V chassis.
Off-road mobility of the SturmpanzerIt is due to the overload of the chassis and the insufficient power of the necessarily bad motor. During the period of mud on the western front of Budapest the Sturmpanzer was unable to leave the roads as this would have condemned it to be immediately completely immobilized. In the period of ice the Sturmpanzer can safely leave the roads to be immobilized but can only move cross country at a very slow speed.
The armored vehicle's chain undergoes rapid and heavy wear due to the front overload as well as the use of rubber-damped metal wheels. Fissures form in the nerves of the chain links and these later break. The useful life of the chain is a maximum of 500 km.
Situation of spare parts and repair difficulties .
Special difficulties in repairing breakdowns caused for example by the inability to locate a single Panzer IV side-drive transmission in any workshop, spare parts squad. Even the intervention of the relevant departments has not been able to solve the problem due to the shortage of these components.
The repair of damaged vehicles could only be carried out by removing the necessary parts from other non-operational vehicles. The remains of the non-operational vehicles have been assigned to the Heeresgruppe maintenance departments in order not to overload our own towing vehicles. Due to this procedure, taking into account the total casualties listed above and counting the damaged vehicles that are currently under repair, the expected equipment of the Battalion will be limited to 8 Sturmpanzer.
Armament and ammunition .
After the firing of approximately 1500 grenades in some vehicles, large leaks have been detected in the closing wedge. Side flares occur after the cartridge is ignited, forcing management officers, radio operators and loaders to abandon their positions to avoid burns. The reason is the poor sealing of the cartridges.
The electric firing has failed many times, the emergency firing after taking a few shots as well. The Battalion is of the opinion that the reason must be found in the loss of force due to the incorrect laying of the cables. The typical motive attributed to dirt must be rejected as they are non-commissioned officers with many years of experience with electric firing systems.
The hollow charge ammunition does not meet the necessary requirements. Almost every second projectile has not detonated.
High explosive ammunition has exceptional effects against infantry and live targets. On average every eighth projectile has not detonated, both with the Kz.Az.1 detonators and with the sIGr.Z.23.
One event has had extraordinarily disastrous consequences for the motivation of the crews and that is the fact that on three occasions in the course of five days high-explosive grenades have detonated in the tube just after the cartridge was ignited. For this reason, the Battalion has lost three complete crews: 4 NCOs and 8 soldiers have died, 1 officer and 2 NCOs (commanders) have been seriously injured. Of the 12 dead, only 4 bodies have been recovered. The bodies of the remaining dead have not been located or have been so seriously mutilated by the impressive detonation that it has been impossible to recover their remains from the vehicles. The interior of these vehicles including the howitzers were totally destroyed and the rest of the traction components so seriously damaged that a recovery of the vehicles, simply due to the tactical situation, was impossible.
The exact reason for these tube detonations cannot be determined as all the magazines have died. Based on the observations made, it must be assumed that at the time of detonation the projectiles had not yet moved in the tube. The recovery of ammunition from the affected vehicles in order to investigate the possible causes, as well as the recovery of the vehicles, has not been possible.
Due to these three events, the confidence of the crews in the effects of the weapon and its ammunition has been shaken to its foundations and in fact practically no one dares to fire the howitzer for fear of being a victim of their own weapon. This does not mean in any case that men are cowards and do not want to fight again. Upside down, At the time when the Battalion was still equipped with assault guns, I have carried out with these men all kinds of impossible missions in the face of an enemy resistance far superior to that which we have experienced in recent days. Death due to the effects of the enemy can be accepted by anyone, after all we are at war, on the other hand, dying for your own weapon is something that not everyone can understand.
Losses and material losses .
In the reporting period, the Battalion has suffered the following personal casualties:
Killed by detonation in the tube: 4 NCOs and 8 soldiers
Dead inside the vehicle: 1 officer and 1 noncommissioned officer
Killed outside the vehicle: 1 noncommissioned officer and 3 soldiers
Injured by detonation in the tube: 1 officer and 2 NCOs
Wounded inside the vehicle: 1 officer and 1 noncommissioned officer
Wounded outside the vehicle: 2 officers, 2 NCOs and 6 soldiers
In the same period of time the Battalion has lost the following armored vehicles:
3 vehicles due to detonations in the tube, all lost in front of the front line in the course of the great Russian offensive.
3 vehicles lost due to technical breakdowns during withdrawal movements.
Vehicles damaged (side-wheel drive transmissions) during withdrawal movements have been blown up. The recovery of these vehicles was not possible because all the available means of recovery were busy day and night towing the battalion's damaged vehicles. Defending these vehicles with the support of other troops until the necessary towing means were available has not been possible either.
Final observation .
As can be seen from the report, the vast majority of the losses have been due to technical inadequacies in the chassis, etc. The losses caused by the enemy as well as by defects of the armament are within the established limits. Despite the orderly and also carried out daily and night service, the Battalion has not managed to achieve the desired tactical objectives. Even if the necessary spare parts had been available, the Battalion would never have managed to keep 50% of the vehicles operational.
It is necessary to once again indicate that the Battalion has excellently trained technical personnel and that they are also fully trained to improvise.
Major and Battalion Commander
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I received a copy of Sturmpanzer 217 and is an outstanding book, full of information and interesting photos. Far superior to the sources in the OP. The same team is going to put out a Sturmtiger book next.