SdKfz 234 series

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Alanmccoubrey
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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 31 Dec 2019 11:24

Harro, excellent information.
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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 01 Jan 2020 11:51

In the afternoon of the 17th of December 1944, the Stabskompanie of the Aufklärungsabteilung was photographed by SS PK-Berichter Büschel between Honsfeld and Born The column of Sd.Kfz. 234/1 and /3 from the remaining Panzerspähzug is visible behind the NCO's.
71173635_10220450258952347_1353582084618190848_n.jpg
Born, he 18th of December 1944: members of SS-Untersturmführer Kollatschny’s bicycle platoon hitch a ride on the engine deck of one of the eight-wheeled Sd.Kfz. 234/1 armoured cars from the Stabskompanie. Helmut Merscher identified himself third from the left (wearing a side cap) and identified the vehicle commander as SS-Oberscharführer Eugen Henn. In front of Henn the unidentified SS-Rottenführer who was also photographed between Recht and Poteau. Photo by SS PK-Berichter Max Büschel.
59797982_10219357427232237_6228825494104571904_o.jpg
See chapter 4.3 of my Knittel biography.
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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 01 Jan 2020 11:56

68827733_10220274502278540_2593968235976065024_n.jpg
An Sd.Kfz. 234/2 'Puma' from Stabskompanie, SS-PzAA1, in front of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon after the retreat from Normandy. SS-Oberscharführer Jupp Steinbüchel was in charge of an Sd.Kfz. 251/3 armoured radio halftrack in Knittel's staff and recalled:

"In Fleury we found the first guide marker: assembly area for the Waffen-SS in Beauvais. Finally first contact with the Leibstandarte, which had shrunken to a shambles. I came across the Aufklärungsabteilung on the Laon-Marle area and reported to Knittel. Unfortunately I had to hand over the armoured radio halftrack which I had saved from the pocket.”

Knittel and the remains of his staff were in the Laon-Marle area on the 24th of August 1944 where he remained for a couple of days to regroup his dispersed battalion. Thanks to his aide SS-Obersturmführer Hans-Martin Leidreiter we also know that Knittel left the reconnaissance battalion at that time:

“Knittel was sent home after Falaise and Argentan. Whether it was to the Officers Reserve or the replacement battalion, I don’t know. Don’t forget, the division was virtually non-existent! Böttcher led the pitiful remnants of the Aufklärungsabteilung back to Germany.”

Whilst SS-Hauptsturmführer Böttcher was leading the Aufklärungsabteilung through Belgium back to Germany in September 1944, Knittel was back in Neu-Ulm on home leave. But by the end of that month he returned to his staff, which was by then based in Nettelstedt in the Minden-Lübbecke area.

This photo of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon with the same "Splitterschutz" (protection against shrapnel) was taken only days later by an American war photographer.
68869539_10220274502078535_4080406058630119424_o.jpg
See chapter 3.8
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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 01 Jan 2020 12:06

40083538_10217306667004513_8541449062677741568_n.jpg
Screenshot from ‘Wochenschau’ newsreel of an Sd.Kfz. 234/2 ‘Puma’ from SS-Hauptsturmführer Böttcher’s ‘Vorausabteilung’ of the Leibstandarte filmed in Normandy.

“On the 6th of June 1944 the Allied invasion troops landed in Normandy. The landing beaches were not – as had been assumed on the German side – at the narrowest point of the Channel, so we were situated in the wrong place and could not take part in the crucial initial fighting.”

That was how SS-Oberscharführer Jupp Steinbüchel described the main problem the Leibstandarte encountered immediately after the news came that instead of crossing via the Straits of Dover to Calais, the enemy had crossed the English Channel to beaches west of Caen. Not only was the Leibstandarte situated over 550 kilometres from Caen, the division was also far from combat-ready. In order to provide at least some support for the 12. SS-Panzer-Division ‘Hitlerjugend’, which was in position northwest of Caen, a ‘Vorausabteilung’ (advance battalion) was formed from several combat ready subunits including the Schwimmwagen-equipped ‘Sonderzug Lindenhahn’ and a platoon of Sd.Kfz. 234/2 ‘Puma’ armoured cars both from the Aufklärungsabteilung. SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Böttcher, who had attended a Battalion Commander Course in Paris the previous January, was assigned as its commanding officer, with orders to reach the invasion front as quick as possible. Wolfgang Venohr wrote:

“The Leibstandarte, in the midst of reorganisation, was not even remotely operational. Only in four or five weeks would the personnel for the two Panzergrenadier-Regiments be ready and re-equipment with vehicles and heavy weapons would only be completed in three to four months. Nevertheless everybody was eager to go into action. In next to no time the news spread that our sister-division, the 12. SS-Panzer-Division ‘Hitlerjugend’ was already at the invasion front in combat against the Anglo-Saxons. [SS-]Hauptsturmführer Böttcher […] formed a Vorausabteilung to which all available Schwimmwagen were assigned. Lindenhahn and I were present.”

The Vorausabteilung was loaded on trains and left Turnhout for Paris on the 13th of June. The Allied air force had pre-empted the invasion by bombing the main railway junctions in Western France. Only after nightfall did Böttcher’s battalion reach the eastern outskirts of the French capital. The next morning they moved out to cover the 240 kilometres to Caen by road. Every vehicle had one man assigned to search the sky for enemy aircraft. In the late evening they arrived at the Château de la Bagotière, a Norman castle in the municipality of Les Moutiers-en-Cinglais, twenty kilometres south of Caen. The next morning, the 15th of June, the Vorausabteilung reached the ‘Hitlerjugend’ division.

The rest of the Aufklärungsabteilung left Turnhout on the 17th of June with the remaining units of the Leibstandarte following on during the next three days.

The actions of the Aufklärungsabteilung during the opening stages of the battle for Normandy are detailed in chapter 3.6
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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by yantaylor » 01 Jan 2020 21:07

Hi everyone, so is there not K.St.N which shows how the six 234/4s were used in the late war Panzeraufklarungs?

Yan.

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by yantaylor » 03 Jan 2020 01:18

I noticed among the K.St.N posted by Harro, that the sd.kfz 222 does not appear till 1943, which is strange because this vehicle was knocking around before the war, why is it not in any K.St.N earlier?

Yan

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Tanker Mike » 03 Jan 2020 16:55

yantaylor wrote:
01 Jan 2020 21:07
Hi everyone, so is there not K.St.N which shows how the six 234/4s were used in the late war Panzeraufklarungs?
Check out this link below for the only KStN I know of that specifically lists the 234/4. However, I doubt it was ever used due the late date that it was published.

http://battlebornbooks.com/wp-content/u ... ebar-3.pdf

By January 1945 234/3 production was ending and 234/4 production had started in December 1944. Although, I can't offer proof, I suspect the 234/4 was used to replace the 234/3. I say this because the 234/4 was often issued in three's and KStN 1109(gp)(fG) had three 234/3 in it's heavy gun group.
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it."
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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Cult Icon » 03 Jan 2020 17:04

Harro, are you referring to your Knittel book or this new book of yours?

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 03 Jan 2020 17:46

Reference is to my Knittel biography! :idea:

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Cult Icon » 03 Jan 2020 17:48

thanks!

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Tanker Mike » 03 Jan 2020 18:45

yantaylor wrote:
03 Jan 2020 01:18
I noticed among the K.St.N posted by Harro, that the sd.kfz 222 does not appear till 1943, which is strange because this vehicle was knocking around before the war, why is it not in any K.St.N earlier?
The SdKfz 222, which started production in 1937, was first used in KStN 1162 dated 1936. Four cars were allocated and remained that way through February 1941. After that twelve cars were allocated starting in November 1941 KStN through the November 1943 KStN.

Check out the website below for more 1162 KStNs

http://www.wwiidaybyday.com/
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it."
— General Robert E. Lee

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 03 Jan 2020 20:10

Tanker Mike wrote:
03 Jan 2020 18:45
yantaylor wrote:
03 Jan 2020 01:18
I noticed among the K.St.N posted by Harro, that the sd.kfz 222 does not appear till 1943, which is strange because this vehicle was knocking around before the war, why is it not in any K.St.N earlier?
The SdKfz 222, which started production in 1937, was first used in KStN 1162 dated 1936. Four cars were allocated and remained that way through February 1941. After that twelve cars were allocated starting in November 1941 KStN through the November 1943 KStN.

Check out the website below for more 1162 KStNs

http://www.wwiidaybyday.com/
The very first URL I posted refers to 1938 and includes several 222's alongside 221's and 223's. "Yantaylor" spcifically asked for KstN still in use in February 1941

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 04 Jan 2020 11:56

Sorry, just catching up here, I would agree with Tanker Mike that the SdKfz 234/4 just replaced the SdKfz 234/3 in the relevant KStN ? It certainly replaced it on the production lines. In the same way did the SdKfz 251/22 not just replace the SdKfz 251/9 in the units ?
Alan

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by yantaylor » 04 Jan 2020 21:52

Great stuff everyone, I wonder if both the 234/3 and 234/4, ever served together in the same platoon.

Yan

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Алексей » 06 Jan 2020 11:15

Let me add data about the presence of Pz.Späh-Wagen(s.5cm).

30.12.44
20 Pz.Div.–13(all combat ready)

30.12.44
13 Pz.Div.–1(combat ready)

30.12.44
7 Pz.Div.–5(all combat ready)

30.12.44
2 Pz.Div.–4/3(combat ready/under repair)

Source:Lage der gep. Kfz. vom 24.1.45

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