Grenadier-Regimenter 726 and 352 at Omaha

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Snafu
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Grenadier-Regimenter 726 and 352 at Omaha

Post by Snafu » 13 Apr 2002 22:16

Hello to all WWII buffs!
For several reasons, I need to get info on unit composition at Omaha beach. Regarding the actual beach defenses, many sources refer to the Grenadier-Regiment 916 of the 352. Infanteriedivision, others to the Grenadier-Regiment 726 of the
716. Infanteriedivision and some to both.
Does anybody know where one could acquire low-echelon unit deployments web-wise, for instance what units manned which individual resistence points, company level areas etc? Any medium, documentation, maps etc will do.
Hints are gratefully recieved!

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Apr 2002 23:11

352. Infanterie Division

The division was formed in November 1943 as part of Wehrkreis XI (military district 11), headquartered in the city of Hannover. The division cadre were survivors of the following units:

268th Infantry Division
Home stationed at Munich, Wehrkreis VII
Contained the 468th, 488th, and 499th Grenadier Regiments.
1939: Reserve unit, activated; 1939-1940: Saar Front; 1941-1943: Eastern Front, fought in the battle of Yelna Bend before Moscow, then at Rzhev and Kursk. Elements fought at Cholm and Demyansk

321st Infantry Division
Home stationed at Hannover,WehrkreisXI.
Contained the 588th, 589th, and 590th Grenadier Regiments.
1940: Activated at Abbeville; Dec. 1942: Eastern Front, part
of Army Group Center, fought at Kursk, suffered heavy losses.

546th Grenadier Regiment
Part of the 389th Inf Div, home stationed at Hesse, Wehrkreis XII. 1941-1942: Eastern Front, fought in the winter drive to and across the Don River, fought at the Volga River, then at Stalingrad. The survivors from Stalingrad formed the cadre for the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 916th Grenadier Regiment.

Soldiers down to the rank of even Obergrenadier (i.e., PFC) were hardened Eastern Front veterans. They were then transferred to France, and assigned large numbers of Volksdeutsch recruits: Polish- and Czech-Germans, Alsatians (French-Germans), and Russian volunteers (so-called White Russians, or POA). Covering a wide frontage, they effectively formed the backbone of Army Group B, commanded by none other than the famed Desert Fox, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Rommel placed the 352. Infantriedivision at Normandy, between the 709. Infantriedivision at Cherbourg and the 716. Infantriedivision at Caen. Both of these units were so-called fortress divisions, with large contingents of Ostbattalions (far-eastern troops captured earlier in the war during the invasion of Russia, then drafted to help man the Atlantic Wall); they would quickly crumble during the initial Allied assault. The group's armoured reserve was the 21. Panzerdivision, also in the area of Caen.

Once the campaign got under way, the 352.Infantriedivision immediately absorbed all troops within its sector, including Luftwaffe Flak troops and Labor Service personnel (RAD). Still, it was not enough to stop the onslaught. The division suffered heavy losses, both killed and taken prisoner, from the enormous Allied ground attack. An even more deadly fate was the constant, terrifying threat of Jabos... Allied fighter-bombers, who attacked any daylight movement, even individual men, unfortunate enough to be caught out in the open.


Image


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The 352. Infantriedivision, commanded by Lt. Gen. Dietrich Kraiss, then consisted of the following:


Image


5th Kompanie of the 916th was manning the defenses at Omaha Beach when the U.S. 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions struck on June 6, 1944... D-Day!

All infantry battalions had 60 light machine guns, three heavy machine guns and twelve 8 cm mortars. The Füs.Btl. had identical equipment. The 1. Company of the Füs.Btl. was bicycle mounted. The infantry regiments had one infantry gun company. In the 914. and 915. Regiments the IG company had two 15 cm and six 7,5 cm infantry howitzers, while the company was only equipped with two 15 cm and two 7,5 cm infantry howitzers in 916. Regiment. Each regiment had an AT company with three 7,5 cm Pak 40 AT guns.

Batteries 1 - 9 of the artillery regiment had four 10,5 cm howitzers each, while batteries 10 - 12 had four 15 cm howitzer each. None of the batteries were motorized.

The artillery had available one basic load of ammunition. For the 10,5 cm howitzers this meant 225 rounds per gun, while the 15 cm howitzers had 150 rounds each. Altogether this meant 301 tons of ammunition. This does not include artillery subordinated from other units than 352. Inf.Div.

The Panzerjäger Abteilung had 14 Marder 38 and 10 StuG III. These had been received in March. Also the battalion had a company with nine motorized 3,7 cm Flak guns.

The Pioniere Btl. had three companies. Its equipment included 37 machine guns, 20 flame throwers, plus six mortars.

The field replacement battalion had five companies with a total of 62 machine guns, six 8 cm mortars, one 5 cm AT gun, one 7,5 cm AT gun, one 10,5 cm howitzer, one infantry howitzer and two flame throwers.

Parts of the 916. Regiment was located close to the Omaha beaches on D-Day. Also one battalion from 716. Division was subordinated to 916. Infantry Regiment. The 915. Regiment was in reserve south east of Bayeux, while 914. Regiment was deployed around Isigny.

The chief of staff of 352. Inf.Div., Ziegelmann, stated in his postwar manuscript that the losses suffered by the division during 6 June amounted to about 200 killed, 500 wounded and 500 missing. This is supported by wartime documents, which show that the division suffered losses exceeding 1 000 men. The division remained in the area south east of Isigny.

On 16 June it was reported that the division had about 3 000 casualties. This probably included subordinated units. Casualties 6 - 24 June amounted to 5 407 officers and men. Despite these severe losses the division remained in action. Its losses mounted and by 11 July the division had incurred a further 2 479 casualties. During the period 1 July - 25 July, the division had 123 officers and men killed in action while 464 were wounded and 110 missing.

The division was in very poor shape on 30 July, when all its battalions were classified as "abgekämpft", which meant that the unit was no longer combat worthy and that the battalion had less than 100 combat ready men left. It had four heavy AT guns and two StuG combat ready and four artillery batteries. Also it had the following units subordinated :

Three battalions from 266. Inf.Div.
Two battalions from 353. Inf.Div.
One battalion from 30. Brigade
One battalion from 275. Inf.Div.
One battalion from 343. Inf.Div.
One artillery battery from 343. Inf.Div.
One artillery battery from "Autun" artillery battalion

Few of these were in better condition than the divisions organic units.

At the beginning of August the division was withdrawn for refitting in the area south-east of Alençon. The division only spent about a week here before US forces closed in. Elements of the division subsequently became engaged in rear guard actions along the axis Le Mans - Dreux.

Acquitting themselves well, they were pulled back and sent to Denmark for refitting. When the British 1st Airborne Division landed at Arnhem, Holland, they helped stop the Allied XXX Corps from linking up with the 1st Airborne Division. Elements of the 352nd then engaged the U.S.101st Airborne Division at Nijmegen. The remnants of the division were merged with 581. Volks-Gren.Div. on 21 September 1944 to form the 352. Volks-Gren.Div. Refitted again after, they were assigned the southern flank of the failed Ardennes Offensive (the Battle of the Bulge) in December, 1944. By 1945, the division was engaged in the Rhineland campaign south of Remagen, and ended the war defending Trier. They surrendered to American forces near Nuremburg.

http://w1.183.telia.com/~u18313395/norm ... gerob.html

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Apr 2002 23:15

also look at these maps ... perhaps it can help :

german OoB
http://w1.183.telia.com/~u18313395/norm ... 5_6_44.jpg

352nd ID movements
http://w1.183.telia.com/~u18313395/norm ... d_dday.jpg

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 13 Apr 2002 23:24

elements of the 352. ID (artillery, part of 914. and 916. regiments) and of the 716. ID (726. regiment) seem to be mixed ... but I have no map of the detailed level you are looking for, sorry.

David - "Panzermeyer"

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Snafu
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Post by Snafu » 14 Apr 2002 00:35

This is great! Thanks a lot Panzermeyer! :D

Now I know there was only one Company of the 916th down at the beach! Yes, “mixed in” with the 726th has also been my impression. In fact a wargame released in 1999 placed 3rd Bn/726th at a Grancamp les Bains (just like your map) and 1st Bn/726th at Port en Bessin, where Omaha borders on the British sectors.
That leaves the 2nd Bn plus the aforementioned Co of the 916th to cover the entire stretch of Omaha!

Just think about how that thin line of poles, russians and 2nd line reservists managed to give Uncle Sam's finest such a hard time! :)
(O.K they did have a few guns and mortars and excellent fields of fire)

P.S: The map showing 2nd Bn/916th at Vierville doesn't strike me as totally correct. According to my sources the battalion started out at Formigny and only was only gradually commited to near beach villages like Vierville, St Laurent and Colleville. Most of the Bn should have ended up around Vierville, however.

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Post by Andy H » 14 Apr 2002 16:09

http://w1.183.telia.com/~u18313395/normandy/index.html

Try the above link for info concerning the Normandy Campaign.

Hi Ho Silver Away :D

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Snafu
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Post by Snafu » 15 Apr 2002 09:22

A mighty fine regiment you have there, Sir! :)

Please let me thank you for the link as well. It was valuable.

And I was wrong too. According to the Armeeoberkommando dispositions of the 7. Army, 2nd Bn/726 is located far away below Juno Beach area.

There is one Bn of the 726th not showing however, and that's the fourth, or the regiment's Ostbattalion. Could this have held the pillboxes along Omaha? Looking at the map one gets the impression though the beach was doubtlessly held by 2nd Bn/916th/352nd div. Which in turn is contradicted by the testimony of a certain Franz Gockel who was a soldier in the 726th, manning an MG in Widerstandsnest 62.

http://normandy.eb.com/normandy/pri/Q00316.html

http://www.britannica.com/normandy/week2/Omaha_Beach.html


The contradictictions are deepening...
I'll write Niklas Zetterling and ask him directly what's his opinion on who really did defend Omaha beach.

Regards,
Snafu

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352's StugIII's and Marders

Post by carolwmahs » 15 Feb 2006 21:50

The 352's Panzerjäger Abteilung had 14 Marder 38 and 10 StuG III along with a company of nine motorized 37 mm Flak (assume these were unarmored half tracks). While 352 certainly wasn't a Panzer division, 24 SPs was very good for a 1944 infantry division.

I've wondered why this unit, which could have made a powerful local counterattack, never made a decisive impact on D-Day. It's my understanding that it was inactive, or frittered away in local actions against Allied paratroopers.

Kraiss's mishandling of his armor aside, I think that his inability to get even his division's integral armored vehicles into action against the beach landings on 6 June demonstrates that having the Panzer Lehr and 12 SS closer to the coast would not have made any difference.

Comments?

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Post by Nicodemus » 15 Feb 2006 21:59

No unit of 352. Infanterie was comitted to fighting paratroopers, because that was in another sector (Utah) :wink: .

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Post by JonS » 16 Feb 2006 03:34

No, but one of the regiments (915th) spent a fair part of 6th June marching hither and yon after imaginary paras.

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Re: Grenadier-Regimenter 726 and 352 at Omaha

Post by RichTO90 » 16 Feb 2006 05:45

Snafu wrote:Hello to all WWII buffs!

Hints are gratefully recieved!


I believe I have posted the dispositions before from my work in progress. They are mostly taken from the extant 7. AOK KTB and were as follows (I hope the loss of the original MS Word indents doesn't make this too confusing):

352. Inf.-Div. (7 K.V.A.-H2 "K.V.A. Bayeux")
Gefechtsstand – northeast of St. Lô (Littry)
Kdr: Generalmajor Dietrich Kraiss
Ia: Oberstleutnant i.G. Fritz Ziegelmann
Ib: Major i.G. Weller
Ic: Oberleutnant Meyer-Estner
IIa: Major Paul Block
Inf.-Div.-Nachr.-Abtl. 352
Gefechtsstand – Castillon (southwest of Bayeux)
Nachschub-Btl. 352
Verwaltungs-Btl. 352
Sanitäts.-Btl. 352
Gefechtsstand – Mestry
Veterinär-Kp. 352
Feldpost 352
Gren.-Regt. 914
Gefechtsstand – Neuilly
Kdr: Oberstleutnant Ernst Heyna
I. Btl.
Gefechtsstand – Osmanville
1.-4. Kp.
II. Btl.
Gefechtsstand – Catz
5.-8. Kp.
13. (IG) Kp. (six 7.5cm le.IG and two 15cm s.IG)
14. (Pz.Jg.) Kp. (three 7.5cm s.Pak)
Gren.-Regt. 915
Gefechtsstand – St. Paul du Vernay
Kdr: Oberstleutnant Karl Meyer
I. Btl.
Gefechtsstand – Juaye, south of Bayeux
1.-4. Kp.
II. Btl.
Gefechtsstand – St. Gabriel (9 kilometers east of Bayeux)
5.-8. Kp.
13. (IG) Kp. (six 7.5cm le.IG and two 15cm s.IG)
14. (Pz.Jg.) Kp. (three 7.5cm s.Pak)
Gren.-Regt. 916
Gefechtsstand – Trévieres
Kdr: Oberst Ernst Goth
I. Btl.
Gefechtsstand – Ryes
1.-4. Kp.
2 Kpn. – on the coast from Arromanches to le Hamel
2 Kpn. – in reserve west of Meuvaines
II. Btl.
Gefechtsstand – Formigny
5. Kp. – St. Laurent sur Mer
6. Kp. – Formigny
7. Kp. – Surrain
8. Kp. – Colleville sur Mer
13. (IG) Kp. (two 7.5cm le.IG and two 15cm s.IG)
14. (Pz.Jg.) Kp. (three 7.5cm s.Pak)
Art.-Regt. 352
Gefechtsstand – Moulagny(?)
I. Abtl.
Gefechtsstand – Etreham
1. Bttr. – Houtteville (between Surrain and Etreham) (four 10.5cm
le.FH)
2. Bttr. – Hill 29 and Hill 61 (near Montigny, two 10.5cm l.F.H. in each
position)
3. Bttr. – northeast of Formigny (four 10.5cm le.FH)
II. Abtl.
Gefechtsstand – St. Clément
4.-6. Bttr. (four 10.5cm le.FH each)
III. Abtl.
Gefechtsstand – La Rosière (north of Bayeux)
7.-9. Bttr. (four 10.5cm le.FH each)
? Bttr. – Vaux-sur-Aure
? Bttr. – split between Pierre Solain and la Tringale
IV. Abtl.
Gefechtsstand – Asnières en Bessin
10.-12. Bttr. (four 15cm s.FH each)
? Bttr. – Longueville
Füs.-Btl. 352
Gefechtsstand – le Parc de la Mace (near la Butte, south of Tilly)
1.-4. Kp.
Pi.-Btl. 352
Gefechtsstand – St. Martin de Blagny
1.-3. Kp.
Feld-Ers.-Btl. 352 (one 5cm m.Pak, one 7.5cm s.Pak, one 7.5cm le.IH, and one 10.5cm
le.FH)
Gefechtsstand – Caumont
1.-5. Kp.
Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 352
Gefechtsstand – Mestry
1. (Sfl.) Kp. – Bricqueville (14 7.5cm s.Pak (Sfl.))
2. (Stu.G.) Kp. – Chateau Colombieres (ten Stu.G.)
3.(Flak) Kp. – Pont l’Abbe (15 kilometers south of Valognes) (nine 3.7cm Flak)
Gren.-Regt. 726 (attached from 716. Inf.-Div.)
Gefechtsstand – Château de Sully
Kdr.: Oberst Walter Korfes
I. Btl.
Gefechtsstand – Maissons
1. Kp. – Port en Bessin
2. Kp. – St. Honorine des Pertes
3. Kp. – Colleville sur Mer
4. Kp. – Longues-sur-Mer (on the coast northwest of Monvieux)
III. Btl.
Gefechtsstand – Château du Jucoville
9. Kp. – Château Englesqueville
10. Kp. – St. Laurent sur Mer
11. Kp. – Vierville
12. Kp. – Grandcamp
Ost-Btl. 439 (IV./Gren.-Regt. 726)
Gefechtsstand – les Veys (vicinity of Isigny)
1.-4. Kp.
Züg/14. (Pz.Jg.) Kp. (three 5cm m.Pak)
III./Art.-Regt. 1716
Gefechtsstand – Maisy
8. Bttr. – (four 10cm le.F.H. 14/19 (t))
9. Bttr. – (four 10cm le.F.H. 14/19 (t))
10. Bttr. – 4 kilometers northeast of Bayeux (four 15cm s.F.H. 414 (f))
2./Pi.-Abtl. 716 – Mathieu
2./H.K.A.-Abtl.1260 – Pointe du Hoc (six 15.5cm K 420 (f))

Hope that helps answer your question.
:wink:

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915th's counterattack

Post by carolwmahs » 17 Feb 2006 17:56

At least according to Ziegelmann, turns out the 352's assault guns were brought up to Esquay as part of an abortive counterattack that the 915th regiment tried to make against Omaha at 1200 hours on D-Day. The attack was mostly broken up by Allied fighter-bombers. He reports that casualties amounted to 50% of the unit.

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Re: 915th's counterattack

Post by Kingfish » 17 Feb 2006 20:01

carolwmahs wrote:At least according to Ziegelmann, turns out the 352's assault guns were brought up to Esquay as part of an abortive counterattack that the 915th regiment tried to make against Omaha at 1200 hours on D-Day. The attack was mostly broken up by Allied fighter-bombers. He reports that casualties amounted to 50% of the unit.


Assault guns or Panzerjagers? Zetterling shows the Marders being sent to Omaha, while the StuGs followed the Korp reserve towards Bayeux.

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Post by jopaerya » 17 Feb 2006 20:36

06-06-1944

8.35

General Kraiss schlägt vor, die Pz.Jg.Abt. 352 zum Gegenangriff anzusetzen ,
um den auf der rechter Flanke eingebrochen Inf- und Panzer-Feind an die Küste
und ins Meer zurückzuwerfen .

9.30

Sfl.Kp. der Pz.Jg.Abt. 352 wird G.R. 916 unterstellt . selbst noch in Engreville
II/G.R. 916 ist zum Gegenstoss auf W.N. 65-69 anzusetzen .

Source = Normandie 6 Juni 1944 Biblio Verlag

Regards Jos

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Re: 915th's counterattack

Post by carolwmahs » 17 Feb 2006 20:46

Kingfish wrote:
carolwmahs wrote:At least according to Ziegelmann, turns out the 352's assault guns were brought up to Esquay as part of an abortive counterattack that the 915th regiment tried to make against Omaha at 1200 hours on D-Day. The attack was mostly broken up by Allied fighter-bombers. He reports that casualties amounted to 50% of the unit.


Assault guns or Panzerjagers? Zetterling shows the Marders being sent to Omaha, while the StuGs followed the Korp reserve towards Bayeux.


Yes... it may have been the Marders. The translated version I have refers to the "assault gun battalion", but he also calls them "mobile antitank guns". In any event, it's good to see that a solid unit like the 352 tried to follow doctrine and put in an armored supported counterattack. He attributes some of the units heavy losses to Allied tanks - apparently some of the Shermans that had survived and gotten off the beach. In attack, I think the Marders, with their thin armor, would have been easy meat. Breaking up their already limited armored assets seems odd. Why send the StuGs back into reserve when 12 SS and Lehr are on the way?

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