Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

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AKahl
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Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by AKahl » 07 Aug 2019 16:32

I was wondering what thoughts were regarding the structure of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung, and how it could or should have been improved. I think Harro will have a lot of wisdom to share here.

First off, lets acknowledge that there were finite resources, and the PzAA role was generally not to assault through strongly defended targets or to hold a section of the line for any extended period. Late war realities for the Germans were that both of these missions did occur. I tend to agree with Heer criticism of the Waffen-SS divisions, that they tended to misuse their recon battalions, and use them like panzer grenadiers. I think it might be an interesting contrast to see how 5. Panzer-Armee's use of its recon battalions during the Ardennes counter offensive differed from that of the 6. Panzer-Armee. I also know, from reading content here, that pretty much all late 1944 recon battalions were different, due to equipment availability and shifting structures.

Harro has also said that the PzAA (LAH's in that instance, but I think it would apply to all of them) lacked the strength to tackle some missions and in some cases to even defend itself, particularly against tanks or U.S. infantry leavened with armor, AT guns, .50 cal HMGs and bazookas. As he points out, most of the German armored vehicles were only armored to withstand rifle fire, and were very vulnerable to .50 cal HMG's. In Normandy, 12. SS Recon battalion crews, had to be instructed to stop firing on Fighter/Bombers with their 2cm cannon, since, once drawing attention to themselves, .50 cal strafing alone was found to riddle their armored cars and gun halftracks.

Still, if you were drawing up the PzAA structure, in 1944, how would you change it? In wargaming, these units tend to be somewhat vulnerable, particularly against enemy armor and artillery. A handful of PaK 40 plus lots of panzerfausts just don't provide enough self-defense capability against armor. I'm aware that the "Stummels" had a limited anti-armor capability, using heat rounds, but generally they are best kept out of the line of fire. I'm largely considering the late-war Western front here, but it's worth discussing what deficiencies they were found to have, or what further refinements were probably needed on the Eastern front.

I tend to think these units needed at least a platoon of 5 "Hetzer" Jagdpanzer 38(t)'s (approx. 16 1/2 tons for bridge usage, Pz 38(t) chassis already serviced within panzer divisions ["Grille", "Bison"]) and a platoon of Panzershreck AT infantry (18 two man RPzB 54 launcher teams) in SpW's. According to what I've read, RPzB 54's were not "officially" issued to panzer divisions.

Obviously, this means these resources are taken from other units, mainly infantry divisions, who probably need them even more (!?). And, please, let's restrain ourselves from fatalistic comments, like "nothing would matter", "that's not their job" and "you're trying to turn them into something they are not", etc.. Rather, please put yourself in the position of designing a German armored recon battalion in 1944. What would it look like?
Last edited by AKahl on 07 Aug 2019 22:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by kfbr392 » 07 Aug 2019 17:18

are you aware of the Grundgliederung der Panzer-Division 45?
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by kfbr392 » 07 Aug 2019 17:21

the Pz.Aufkl.Abt therein is a compact and nimble unit. Just three fighting companies, no heavy company. Plus a Versorgungskompanie.

SdKfz 250 and 251 only in 1.Kp., with 7,5cm Stummel, 2cm KwK and 1,5cm Drilling. No wheeled or fully tracked armored recon vehicles.
Volkswagen in 2.-3.Kp. Could well have been Schwimmwagen. Plenty of radios, 4 s.MG, 2 m.GrW, and 3 Panzerschreck (the latter is however not picured in the Gliederung) per company.
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 07 Aug 2019 18:45

Just a small point but the Drilling are clearly marked as 2cm not 1,5cm.
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by kfbr392 » 07 Aug 2019 20:51

This must be the final Gliederung; dated 11th of May 1945 (yes, I know):
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by kfbr392 » 07 Aug 2019 20:58

so I need to revise my earlier post.

Stab/Pz.Aufkl.Abt had:
234/1: 1

1./ had:
251/3: 3
251/21: 3
251/22: 3
234/1: 8
234/3 and/or 234/4: 7

2./ had:
Volkswagen, 2 s.MG, 2 m.GrW, and 3 Panzerschreck
detailled KStN: https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn1113a1apr45.htm

3./ same as 2.
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by AKahl » 07 Aug 2019 21:11

Thank you, KfBr. Good info.

I need to learn how to read these.

Is there a go-by or "cheat sheet" that explains all the symbols and modifications used?

Interesting that they finally gave the recon battalion some Panzershrecks. So would the 10 x 75mm gun equipped halftracks (?) on the first chart be a possible mixture of both Sd.Kfz 251/9 and Sd.Kfz 251/22 plus Sd.Kfz 234/3 and Sd.Kfz 234/4 armored cars?
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by kfbr392 » 07 Aug 2019 22:03

1./ was in both cases mixed („gem.“ = „gemischt“). halftracks and wheeled in this case. but one could not deduce more without the big strength table.

in general, if you had a Stummel, then it would count and you would receive one less 251/22.


guide to symbols:
http://niehorster.org/011_germany/symbo ... ls_43.html
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by AKahl » 07 Aug 2019 22:05

Got it.

And thanks for the link, friend.
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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by kfbr392 » 07 Aug 2019 22:20

thanks, and you wrote a good OP. lets hear others respond to it.

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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by Piet Duits » 07 Aug 2019 23:37

Hi,

Nice topic. How to improve or tweak the Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 44. I have some ideas about that.
First of all, let's assume the unit was being used in the role they were build for. Being the eyes and ears of the division.

Change the Panzerspähkompanie c back to the Panzerspähkompanie equipped with the Sd.Kfz. 222 and 223, but without the 231's and 232's.
Why do I want to change the Pz.Sp.Kp. into the older version. The 222's had the same gun, and almost the same speed. But, and that is a vital thing if you are a scout, the 222 made less noise compared to the halftracked 250/9. The 231's were already found in the Stabskompanie (disguised as 234's), so you don't need another platoon here.

Change the Panzeraufklärungs-Kompanie (gp.) with the Panzeraufklärungs-Kompanie (VW). Or, to use the correct KStN, 1114 c (gp.) (f.G.) as of 1.4.1944 with the 1113 (f.G.) as of 1.4.1944. I am not 100% sure this 1113 (f.G.) as of 1.4.1944 KStN really excisted, but it must have been close to the 1.11.1944 version.
Why do I want to change a halftracked unit into a VW unit? Again, noise. The VW company is much better suited for the role as Aufklärer; smaller teams, more flexible than the 251/1's et cetera.

The schwere Kompanie perhaps could have used the 12cm Gr.W. platoon instead of the 8cm Gr.W. platoon, otherwise, it was good as it was. No Pak-Zug in that one, as it will only slow the company down.
The Versorgungskompanie could have been trimmed down here and there, but that's it.

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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by AKahl » 08 Aug 2019 04:23

Good points, Piet.

It seems that I'm at the other end of the spectrum, trying to create more of a heavier, combined arms team (no doubt colored by my wargaming and gear fascination) while Guderian and you are moving towards a leaner, more mission-focused force.

I like the 12cm Mortar idea, but would still want Sd.Kfz 250/7's or 251/2's, since I like their mobility and ease of displacement.
Remain yourself, in spite of all the mighty do.

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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by Cult Icon » 08 Aug 2019 05:06

The puma?

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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by AKahl » 08 Aug 2019 05:10

Must ... have ... Pumas ...
Remain yourself, in spite of all the mighty do.

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Re: Tweaking the TO & E of the mid/late 1944 Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung

Post by kfbr392 » 08 Aug 2019 22:30

there is this 1961 book by Ferdinand von Senger und Etterlin:
„Die Panzergrenadiere. Geschichte und Gestalt der mechanisierten Infanterie 1930-1960“

it is totally fascinating if you are into TO&E of armored units. he has two chapters on the ideal Pz.Aufkl.Abt.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdina ... d_Etterlin

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