Roles of Different German Supply and Transport Bttns

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gregorianchant
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Roles of Different German Supply and Transport Bttns

Post by gregorianchant » 15 Sep 2022 17:53

I am trying to better understand the different roles of the different types of German transport and supply battalions, in particular Supply Column Battalions (Nachschub-Kolonnen-Abteilungen), and possibly how it changed later in the war. First, to save responders time and to help someone searching for information in the future, what I have found/understand so far (and then some specific questions):

• Supply Column Battalions (Nachschub-Kolonnen-Abteilungen) were GHQ units assigned to field armies where they served as the primary means of moving supplies for a field army from the field army’s rail supply head to the field army’s supply dumps. This Lexicon der Wehrmacht website lists these battalions and there history here: https://www-lexikon--der--wehrmacht-de. ... _tr_pto=sc

• There were also Nachschub-Kolonnen-Abteilungen zbV staffs that would be assigned to a field army or army group and would control a number of independent Supply Columns. My impression is that these HQs along with the independent columns they were controlling performed the same/similar role as the Supply Column Battalions, but just with a more flexible structure?

• Supply Battalions (Nachschub Batallione) were also GHQ units. According to the German Order of Battle 1944 (a directory prepared by Allied intelligence during the war), the 1-200 series are normally OKH controlled and non-motorized while the 500-700 are motorized and assigned to field armies. It characterizes at least the 1-200 series as “low quality” and often employing POWs. Looking at Niehorster’s book and the summary of the KStN for the semi-motorized Nachschub Battalion, it has one motorized 30-ton supply column and two “supply companies”.

• There were also transport regiments and battalions (Kraftwagentransport Regiment or Abteilung) which are the frequently discussed Grosstransportraum. The German Order of Battle book states their primary purpose was to “lift non-motorized fighting units; they may also be used, however, for the tran[/list][/list]sport of supplies.” I have primarily read about the Grosstransportraum for moving supplies (in Russia primarily) and not for motorizing non-motorized fighting units; Niehorster characterizes them as providing an initial strategic transportation capability by road in Russia while the railway engineers converted the gauge for the railway lines; and other posts on this site describe them as providing longer range transport: https://www.forum.axishistory.com/viewt ... p?t=214721 (On a side note, I am wondering if the initial role was intended to be for temporarily motorizing non-motorized combat units (similar to the French personnel transport groups organized specifically to motorize the French “motorized” divisions for their initial planned march into Belgium), or if this was simply Allied intelligence assuming the role of the Grosstransportraum was similar to what would be envisioned under Allied military doctrine?)

My questions (in addition to any reaction to whether the above is accurate):

• It appears that in early-late 1943 many/most of the Supply Column Battalions that hadn’t earlier been disbanded or reorganized were reorganized as “Kraftfahr Abteilungs”. Where Kraftfahr Abteilungs (Motor Battalions) just a new name/organization for the same role? Or did responsibility for transporting supplies from the army rail supply head to the army supply dumps get taken over by the Motor Transport Battalions (Grosstransportraum)?

• What was the role of the Nachschub Batalliones? Given their organization with only one 30-ton supply column, it would seem to be organized for a different purpose than moving supplies, but wasn’t sure what that purpose was or what role its two supply companies filled?

• Vey random and specific question: Niehorster notes that certain Supply Column Battalions were using Dutch trucks (901 – 905 Supply Column Battalions)—does anyone know what the likely truck model was given should have probably been 3-ton payload/medium trucks? I did some online searches re: Dutch trucks in WW2 used by the Germans, and I see reference to a Trado truck, but this does not appear to me to be a 3-ton medium truck but rather more of light truck for personnel or towing, so left me wondering what Dutch trucks? I knew the Germans used many many captured vehicles (as well as weapons, etc.), but hadn’t heard about Dutch trucks so was curious. (He also references certain other Supply Column Battalions as using French trucks, but that was not a surprise for me and I am guessing may have included Citroen T45 Lorries?)

Thanks!

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DirkAH
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Re: Roles of Different German Supply and Transport Bttns

Post by DirkAH » 18 Sep 2022 21:54

gregorianchant wrote:
15 Sep 2022 17:53
• There were also transport regiments and battalions (Kraftwagentransport Regiment or Abteilung) which are the frequently discussed Grosstransportraum. The German Order of Battle book states their primary purpose was to “lift non-motorized fighting units; they may also be used, however, for the tran[/list][/list]sport of supplies.” I have primarily read about the Grosstransportraum for moving supplies (in Russia primarily) and not for motorizing non-motorized fighting units; Niehorster characterizes them as providing an initial strategic transportation capability by road in Russia while the railway engineers converted the gauge for the railway lines; and other posts on this site describe them as providing longer range transport: https://www.forum.axishistory.com/viewt ... p?t=214721 (On a side note, I am wondering if the initial role was intended to be for temporarily motorizing non-motorized combat units (similar to the French personnel transport groups organized specifically to motorize the French “motorized” divisions for their initial planned march into Belgium), or if this was simply Allied intelligence assuming the role of the Grosstransportraum was similar to what would be envisioned under Allied military doctrine?)
While skimming through the files of H.Gr. Nord (& A.O.K. 16 and 18) i got the impression that they were often employed to transport non-motorized combat units in 1942/44 from sector to sector. I think together with the NSKK-Transportkorps Speer. But I never paid attention to any details as it wasn't my area of interest.
Ciao

gregorianchant
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Re: Roles of Different German Supply and Transport Bttns

Post by gregorianchant » 23 Sep 2022 06:10

Hi DirkAH, thank you, that is helpful/consistent with what the German Order of Battle book states. Consistent with that, in 1941 there was one Grosstransportraum battalion comprised solely of busses (while others were comprised generally of trucks which could be used to transport equipment/material/men), so seems clear that was part of the mission/design. Best regards, Greg

shamirnewell
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Re: Roles of Different German Supply and Transport Bttns

Post by shamirnewell » 23 Sep 2022 11:32

gregorianchant wrote:
15 Sep 2022 17:53
I am trying to better understand the different roles of the different types of German transport and supply battalions, in particular Supply Column Battalions (Nachschub-Kolonnen-Abteilungen), and possibly how it changed later in the war. First, to save responders time and to help someone searching for information in the future, what I have found/understand so far (and then some specific questions):

• Supply Column Battalions (Nachschub-Kolonnen-Abteilungen) were GHQ units assigned to field armies where they served as the primary means of moving supplies for a field army from the field army’s rail supply head to the field army’s supply dumps. This Lexicon der Wehrmacht website lists these battalions and there history here: https://www-lexikon--der--wehrmacht-de. ... _tr_pto=sc

• There were also Nachschub-Kolonnen-Abteilungen zbV staffs that would be assigned to a field army or army group and would control a number of independent Supply Columns. My impression is that these HQs along with the independent columns they were controlling performed the same/similar role as the Supply Column Battalions, but just with a more flexible structure?

• Supply Battalions (Nachschub Batallione) were also GHQ units. According to the German Order of Battle 1944 (a directory prepared by Allied intelligence during the war), the 1-200 series are normally OKH controlled and non-motorized while the 500-700 are motorized and assigned to field armies. It characterizes at least the 1-200 series as “low quality” and often employing POWs. Looking at Niehorster’s book and the summary of the KStN for the semi-motorized Nachschub Battalion, it has one motorized 30-ton supply column and two “supply companies”.

• There were also transport regiments and battalions (Kraftwagentransport Regiment or Abteilung) which are the frequently discussed Grosstransportraum. The German Order of Battle book states their primary purpose was to “lift non-motorized fighting units; they may also be used, however, for the tran[/list][/list]sport of supplies.” I have primarily read about the Grosstransportraum for moving supplies (in Russia primarily) and not for motorizing non-motorized fighting units; Niehorster characterizes them as providing an initial strategic transportation capability by road in Russia while the railway engineers converted the gauge for the railway lines; and other posts on this site describe them as providing longer range transport: https://www.forum.axishistory.com/viewt ... p?t=214721 (On a side note, I am wondering if the initial role was intended to be for temporarily motorizing non-motorized combat units (similar to the French personnel transport groups organized specifically to motorize the French “motorized” divisions for their initial planned march into Belgium), or if this was simply Allied intelligence assuming the role of the Grosstransportraum was similar to what would be envisioned under Allied military doctrine?)

My questions (in addition to any reaction to whether the above is accurate):

• It appears that in early-late 1943 many/most of the Supply Column Battalions that hadn’t earlier been disbanded or reorganized were reorganized as “Kraftfahr Abteilungs”. Where Kraftfahr Abteilungs (Motor Battalions) just a new name/organization for the same role? Or did responsibility for transporting supplies from the army rail supply head to the army supply dumps get taken over by the Motor Transport Battalions (Grosstransportraum)?

• What was the role of the Nachschub Batalliones? Given their organization with only one 30-ton supply column, it would seem to be organized for a different purpose than moving supplies, but wasn’t sure what that purpose was or what role its two supply companies filled?

• Vey random and specific question: Niehorster notes that certain Supply Column Battalions were using Dutch trucks (901 – 905 Supply Column Battalions)—does anyone know what the likely truck model was given should have probably been 3-ton payload/medium trucks? I did some online searches re: Dutch trucks in WW2 used by the Germans, and I see reference to a Trado truck, but this does not appear to me to be a 3-ton medium truck but rather more of light truck for personnel or towing, so left me wondering what Dutch trucks? I knew the Germans used many many captured vehicles (as well as weapons, etc.), but hadn’t heard about Dutch trucks so was curious. (He also references certain other Supply Column Battalions as using French trucks, but that was not a surprise for me and I am guessing may have included Citroen T45 Lorries?)

Thanks!
On the Dutch DAF Trado truck question Ford V8 51. They converted Ford and Chevrolet trucks various bodies etc.
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gregorianchant
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Re: Roles of Different German Supply and Transport Bttns

Post by gregorianchant » 24 Sep 2022 14:36

[/quote]
On the Dutch DAF Trado truck question Ford V8 51. They converted Ford and Chevrolet trucks various bodies etc.
[/quote]

Thanks! That makes sense as I have read that the Ford trucks, including the Ford G917T, was one of the commercial trucks the Germans used both from domestic pre-war production and captured from conquered countries.

shamirnewell
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Re: Roles of Different German Supply and Transport Bttns

Post by shamirnewell » 26 Sep 2022 16:33

You are welcome. On the supply company questions see https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstnnachschubmain.htm
It breaks down the type of personnel assigned to a supply company.
Handbook of German Military forces has a good English rough out of the functioning of the supply system. Chapter 2 breaks down TO&E and Chapter VI the supply flow. Not sure if they will answer all questions but worth a look.

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Germany/HB/index.html

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