panzer grenadiers

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yantaylor
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panzer grenadiers

Post by yantaylor » 10 Mar 2020 21:44

Hi everyone.

I have been trying to find the best TO/E for panzer grenadier companies.

For example the platoon only has one officer, who commanded one of the platoons, the other two had NCOs as commanders, but lets start with the company HQ,

Captain/Company Commander/Radio (MP40 + P38 Pistol)
NCO/HQ Section Leader (MP40)
NCO/Vehicles (MP40)
NCO/Radio Operator (P38 Pistol)
NCO/Mechanic (K89k Rifle)
NCO Halftrack Driver (K89k Rifle)
Pvt/Stretcher Bearer (P38 Pistol)
Pvt/Messenger & Radio Operator (K89k Rifle)
2 x Pvts/Radio Operators (K89k Rifles)
5 x Pvts/Messengers (K89k Rifles)
Pvt/Kübelwagen Driver (K89k Rifle)
Pvt/Halftrack Driver (K89k Rifle)
Vehicles;
2 x Motorcycle + Sidecars (Messengers)
3 x Sd.Kfz. 2 Kettenkrads<br>
Kübelwagen
2 x Armoured Halftracks (Sd.Kfz. 251/3)

Now that looks very top heavy with NCOs, so who out of this unit would actually be a fighter?

The same as the platoons;

Platoon HQ

Platoon Headquarters:
Platoon Leader & Radio Operator (MP40 + P38 Pistol)
NCO/HQ Platoon Leader & Radio Operator (K89k Rifle + Scope)
NCO/Halftrack Driver (K89k Rifle)
2 x Pvts/Messengers (K89k Rifles)
Pvt/Stretcher Bearer (P38 Pistol)
Pvt/Halftrack Gunner (K89k Rifle)
Vehicles;
Armoured Halftrack (Sd.Kfz. 251/17)

3 x Platoons each containing;

3 x Rifle Squads Each Containing:
NCO/Squad Leader & Radio Operator (MP40)
NCO/Assistant Squad Leader (K89k Rifle)
2 x Pvts/MG Gunners (P38 Pistols)
2 x Pvts/MG Assistant Gunners (P38 Pistols)
2 x Pvts/Riflemen (K89k Rifles)
Pvt/Halftrack Driver (K89k Rifle)
Pvt/Halftrack MG Gunner (K89k Rifle)
2 x MG34s or MG42s (Bi-Pod Mounted)
Panzerbüchse 54
Armoured Halftrack (Sd.Kfz. 251/1)

Now if you take out the crew of the halftrack, that platoon has 24 combat troops and 12 of them are MG men, which gives you a lot of fire power but no real manouvre element.
Would the halftrack itself have only one MG and would the rear mount be left empty and used mainly by one of the squad MGs?.
Many sites give a total of 18 LMGs for this platoon, but why do they not add the other four from the halftracks?

As you see I have quite a few questions still to go, so I will leave it for tomorrow.

Regards
Ian

Gary Kennedy
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by Gary Kennedy » 15 Mar 2020 15:37

Hi Ian,

This is quite a broad subject and does depend on whether you're looking at armoured units with halftracks or those with wheeled vehicles, and what period of the war you're looking at.

I can't tie the description you've posted above directly to a specific KStN, I'll take it though that you're looking at the halftrack equipped Company from late 1943ish? Most of the PzGren Company KStN are available on Christoph's WWIIdaybyday site, so just click on the link in the forum page header. The Nov43 Platoon KStN set the tone for the remaining war years.

Platoon commander (P, MP)
Platoon NCO (R)
Driver (R)
2 Messengers (R)
Gunner (R)
Stretcher-bearer (P)
SdKfz 251/17 (with on board MP, LMG and 2-cm)

Three Squads each;

Squad leader (MP)
Assistant leader (R)
2 LMG gunners (P, LMG)
2 Asst gunners (P)
2 Riflemen (R)
Driver (R)
Asst driver (R)
SdKfz 251/1 (with on board MP and LMG) and also provision for an RPzB54

Each halftrack was to carry an LMG as either its main or secondary weapon. That did mean three LMGs per Squad, two for use dismounted and one remaining with the vehicle, operated by the assistant driver.

The next KStN was issued Apr44.

Platoon commander (MP)
Platoon NCO (R)
Driver (*)
2 Messengers (R)
Gunner (R)
Stretcher-bearer (P)
SdKfz 251/17 (with on board MP and 2-cm)

Three Squads each;

Squad leader (MP)
Assistant leader (R)
2 LMG gunners (P, LMG)
2 Asst gunners (P)
2 Riflemen (R)
Driver (*)
Asst driver (R)
SdKfz 251/1 (with on board MP and LMG)

Secondary weapons were largely deleted and the halftrack drivers now counted the board MP40 as their personal weapon. The last relevant KStN of Jul44 added an asst gunner with rifle to Platoon HQ. The key issue with all the above is that KStNs routinely showed the SdKfz 251/17 armed with a 2-cm cannon as the standard Platoon HQ vehicle from Nov43 onwards (and discounting the somewhat optimistic final KStN of Apr45). The actual incidence of 2-cm armed vehicles appears to be up for debate still, and a substitute could be a standard 251/1 or the older 251/10.

As you say, there was very little left in terms of riflemen with the Nov43 KStN and onwards. Previously the Squad had been 12 men, with a leader and assistant, two LMG teams, four riflemen and two vehicle crewmen, with an LMG/MP on the halftrack. That was trimmed back by two riflemen with the contraction of unit sizes beginning in late 1943 (and cut deeper into the Infantry, which lost a Squad per Platoon and a man per Squad remaining).

Gary

yantaylor
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by yantaylor » 16 Mar 2020 13:17

Thanks Gary, I was beginning to think that this thread was a mistake but you have come good as usual.

I have had problems with the SdKfz/17 myself and I can’t find any figures for this vehicle, some of the pictures that the posters have put up, look like a lot of the 2cm vehicles were field conversions. I suppose many of the platoon commanders still had some SdKfz/10s. I guess that the idea of mounting a 2cm, would counter the US way of mounting .50 cals to their half-tracks.

You have helped me a lot with your post, because most of the charts I see show that panzer grenadiers have 18 x LMGs, 2 x HMGs + 2 x 8cm Mortars, so the LMGs would be split for nine to the platoons and nine for the halftracks, but they all counted in the same total for 18 for the company as a whole.
Can you help me out with some small unit data please, as I am trying to find how the two 8cm mortars work in a standard Infantry company, things like would the commander of the two mortar sections be in radio contact with the company HQ.

There are other questions for anti-tank rifles, would every infantry company have a couple of these and would they be kept at the HQ. I guess that the members of this small section would not be needed unless they were attacked by armour, so would these men have other duties if they had no armour to fight.

When they brought in the Panzerschreck, would this unit just swap the ATS for the Panzerschreck?

Going back to companies, I was looking at the Afrika Korps during their ‘many weapons, few men’ stage and the amount of weaponry a company had with the usual 18 x LMGs, 2 x HMGs + 2 x 8cm Mortars plus a couple of 5cm or 7.6cm anti-tank guns and even a 2.8cm heavy ATR. Would the 2.8cm be kept at company HQ? would it be vehicle mounted?

Phew, I am glad I got that off my chest.

Thanks again and stay safe my friend!
Ian

BTW; Great work on your new Red Army organization, I will enjoy reading and learning from it.

Gary Kennedy
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by Gary Kennedy » 17 Mar 2020 12:04

Ian,

Quite a few different queries in there! This is my understanding for some of them.

I think from the work done by Martin Block (?) it seems that units only reported halftracks by sub-type from around September 1944. Prior to that I think they just gave a grand total for halftracks, so finding out how many 2-cm armed variants may have been around seems pretty difficult. As you mentioned, a lot of 2-cm armed vehicles look to have been provided by field conversions as well.

When you say charts showing the PzGren Company with 18 LMGs, are you referring to the Company in trucks or in halftracks? By early 1941 the Motorised PzGren Company was based on three Platoons, each of three Rifle Squads, with two LMGs per Squad, plus a 5-cm mortar in Platoon HQ. There was also a Section at Company level with two HMGs, but no 8-cm mortars. They were found in the Battalion's MG Company, which had a Platoon of six 8-cm mortars and two Platoons with four HMGs each. Finally the Battalion had a Heavy Company, with two 7.5-cm infantry guns, three 3.7-cm/5-cm anti-tank guns, and a Pioneer Platoon.

At the end of 1941 that organisation was altered in the Motorised PzGren Battalion. Each Rifle Platoon deleted the 5-cm mortar and now showed an anti-tank rifle; the MG Company was broken up, and a Heavy Platoon was added to each Rifle Company, with four HMGs and two 8-cm mortars; the Heavy Company, in theory, added a second 7.5-cm infantry gun Platoon (following the break-up of the previous Regimental Gun Company). I can't offhand think of an official PzGren Rifle Company organisation that had two HMGs and two 8-cm mortars. German organisation charts normally show the LMGs (and anything else) mounted on halftracks as part of the authorised support weapons total.

I think the queries on 8-cm mortars and anti-tank rifles/Panzerschreck issue refer to normal Rifle Companies (in Infantry Divs not Panzer Divs)? I've put everything I know on those matters in the PDFs on my site. Afrika Korps is not something I've spent much time on I'm afraid.

Gary

yantaylor
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by yantaylor » 17 Mar 2020 21:29

Hi Gary and thank you.

I have confused you as well as myself, I kept swapping from Infantry to grenadiers, sorry its just that I am working on both at the moment.
Was there a difference to companies riding in trucks to those in half-tracks?
I would really like to break down the two motorized from early 1941 to late 41, do you know the K.St.N for both these companies, is so that would be a great help.

Regards
Ian

yantaylor
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by yantaylor » 18 Mar 2020 15:56

Gary, I have noticed that some of the early war German Infantry companies have two different set ups, for example;

9 x LMGs, 2 x HMGs & 2 x 5cm Mortars
12 x LMGs & 2 x 5cm Mortars

Both these configurations still have an HMG company with around 12 x HMGs and 6 x 8cm Mortars at battalion level, so would this be down to availability or was there two different set ups here, with the nine LMGs being augmented by two extra MGs due to a lack of LMGs?

Regards
Ian

Max104740
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by Max104740 » 18 Mar 2020 16:43

Hi to everybody,
the KStN you are interested for the rifle companies motorised or armoured of 1941 are:
• for the motorized units of Pz Division the KStN is 1114, we have a November 41 version, that was used in 42 offensive but probably it was not implemented in 1941 yet, the previous version was of February 1941, it should be the version in use at the start of Barbarossa but it is possible that in many units was still in use the previous, October 37, version;
• for the armored units of Pz Division the KStN is 1114 gp, here too we have a November 41, a February 1941, and the previous, December 39 in this case, version, with the same warnings of the motorized KStN;
• we have also the motorized units of Infantry Motorized Division (that only in 42-43 were renamed Panzer-Grenadier-Divisions, using the same KStN of the infantry units of the Panzer-Divisions), the KStN is 138c here too we have a November 41, a February 1941, and the previous, August 40 in this case, version, with the same warnings of the Pz-Divisions KStN;
We have the three KStN versions on WW2 Day by Day site,
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstnmain.htm
you find the two 1114 KStN in the Panzertruppen section and the 138 c in the Infanterie section.
I have never seen a February 41 or previous edition for these KStN, in germandocsinrussia site, akte 12530 A 77, you find two papers at page 400 and 408, https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... ect/zoom/4
that give detail about these three types of units that seem to be a version (February 41??) slightly sooner of the November 41 that we know, but I cannot be sure of that.
I hope this was useful for you,
Regards
Max

Max104740
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by Max104740 » 18 Mar 2020 17:24

Hi again,
I saw Yan’s last post only after sending my answer, in this case we have only a format for each KStN, they change only when changes the version:
The last version, November 41, of 1114 KStN 1114 has 5 commissioned officer, 38 NCO, 185 enlisted with 18 light machine guns (6 for platoons, two in each of the three gruppen), 4 heavy MG, 2 80 mm mortars and 3 antitank rifles. The armoured versions has less manpower, 5-38-169, but the same heavy weapons to which add the ones in the half track: 16 251/1 with 1 light MG each and 3 251/10 with 1 37 mm AT gun each.
The 138c organization in November 41 has 4-28-177 as manpower, 18 light machine guns (6 for platoons, but one in each of the four gruppen and two in reserve), no heavy MG, 3 50 mm light mortars, 3 antitank rifles and one heavy one (S.Pz.B. 41).
The organizations in germandocsinrussia 12530 A 77 seems a sooner version because:
• the 138 c has 1 less NCO and 5 less enlisted, only 12 light MG (no reserve one) and no S.Pz. B. 41, the rest is the same,
• the 1114 misses 1 officer, 6 NCO and 2 enlisted, only two heavy MG, no 80 mm mortar but three 50 mm ones, the rest is the same.
• the 1114 gp has the same manpower of the contemporary 1114 here upon, the same heavy weapon men borne but 23 251/1 and no 251/10, with 23 light MG upon them, this is rather strange.
I hope this was useful,
Regards
Max

yantaylor
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by yantaylor » 18 Mar 2020 22:00

It is really helpful max and thanks.
I have just got in from work now, so I will go through your post and give them the attention they need tomorrow.

Regards
Ian

yantaylor
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by yantaylor » 20 Mar 2020 22:09

Ah, now I get it, we are missing a KStN for Feb 1941, which could have been similar to one from 1937, have I got that right?
I am sure that Gary has mentioned this missing document a few years ago on another thread on this board.
Did the 13 man section see action, or take part in invasions of Poland, France, Denmark, Norway and low countries + France?
I did a version of an early war company on my site, I hope it is accurate as Gary and Max plus Leo, know their stuff.

https://www.quartermastersection.com/ge ... any1939-40

Regards
Ian

yantaylor
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by yantaylor » 21 Mar 2020 12:48

I noticed in Nafzeigers book 'German Panzer Divisions' that the Motorized Divisions circa 1940, had companies with the usual nine LMGs, two HMGs and three 5cm mortars.
I was hoping that it would have mentioned rifles or give a strength in officers, NCOs and other ranks, but alas no.

Ian

Gary Kennedy
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by Gary Kennedy » 21 Mar 2020 19:42

Ian,

We are at a bit of a loss for detailed KStN for 1939-41. The Infantry Regiment for 1939-41 is largely complete, thanks to germandocsinrussia filling in a a fair few of the previous holes. However, as indicated above, the 1939-41 issued tables for the Panzer-Grenadier and Motorised Infantry are largely missing. It does seem that in 1939-40 at least they were very closely based on the 1937-38 KStN for the Infantry Regiment proper, hence you seeing that same outline of 9 LMGs, 2 HMGs and 3 5-cm mortars in the motorised Rifle Companies. Filling in all the personnel and individual weapons, and all the transport, that's where it gets a bit too much to do. Occasionally you can find a target figure and try to fill in the blanks to reach it, but it's still largely guessing. From my understanding the earliest you can start to rebuild the KStN of something like a Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment is November 1941. Before that, the guy working the shredder evidently never took a day off.

Gary

Max104740
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by Max104740 » 21 Mar 2020 23:07

Hi Yan,
I gave a look at your site and I found it very interesting, in particular can you tell me what is the Gebirsjager Company version you show? Is it the November 41 one?
The infantry company 39-40 in your site is correctly a KStN 131 b of October 37 organization, used in first and fourth welle divisions in 39, in effect we had two versions of this organization the “Reich”, this one, the most common, and the “Ost”, for Divisions in East Prussia, with a different baggage trains: 5 men, 2 two horse wagon and no truck.
This KStN had three gruppen of 13 men for each platoon, total manpower 190 men, no MP and no ATR, 9 LMG and 2 HMG, 3 50 mm mortars, as in yuor site.
In October 39 was issued a new organization, 131 c of October 39, that in my opinion was not used in the Polish campaign but was standard in French Invasion, it introduced a platoon with four 10 men gruppen, for a total of 12 LMG, total manpower was 186 men, it had 16 MP, 3 ATR, lost the 2 HMG and maintained the 3 light mortars.
In February 41, but perhaps not in widespread use in Barbarossa, the 131 c of February 41 was issued, with minor variations in the HQs and trains, the gruppen did not change, as the heavy weapons, manpower was again at 190 men. This organization remained standard until 43, you can find all this story with much more detail in Gary’s site, http://www.bayonetstrength.uk/GermanArm ... aderpg.htm
I hope this was useful for you,
Max

yantaylor
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by yantaylor » 22 Mar 2020 21:17

Hi Max and thank you.

Your data is always usful and of high quality.

I have had a look at my notes and the Gebirsjager Company is dated as 1941. I have had a good look to see if I still have the source of that TO/E, but I can't find it.

I must say your site is great, your work along with Gary's site and Leo's too is brilliant. I am adding a new addition to my site and it is the six Norwegian division from 1940. I ran into a Norwegian chap on an American site about the battle of the little big horn, and he is a great fellow. He spent time in the Norwegian army and loves his military history. He is a big Manchester Utd fan which is fascinating since he lives in Trondheim. Anyway we have complied the six divisions along with officers and when it is done, we feel that it will be the only data around on the net which covers these units, so I will keep you all posted.

Regards
Ian

Max104740
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Re: panzer grenadiers

Post by Max104740 » 23 Mar 2020 18:48

Hi to everybody,
I wanted to complete my last post giving some information on the evolution of Motorized Infantry (KStN 138 c) and Schutzen (KStN 1114 and, for armoured units,1114 gp).
In any case these are information on the overall data, as Gary wrote in his last post, we have no KStN available for that period and we have no detailed information.
The principal sources are the Gliederung of the divisions, as the ones in Niehorster site, here you find the 39 ones http://www.niehorster.org/011_germany/3 ... _army.html
As you can see both the companies in motorized division (KStN 138 of October 38) and the ones in Panzer Divisions (KStN 1114 of October 37) had 9 LMG, 2 HMG and 3 light mortars, as the companies in standard non motorized Infantry Divisions, I think that they used the same 13 men gruppen, probably with the addition of one or two drivers (in November 41 each gruppen travelled in one truck in infantry companies, whereas schutzen companies used two trucks for each gruppen).
In may 1940 gliederung http://www.niehorster.org/011_germany/4 ... _army.html, the heavy weapons don’t change, in the meantime we have found no new KStN for schutzen companies (the next one is the February 41 one) and for motorised infantry (the next one is of August 40).
But it is certainly possible that we have lost some KStN at all, and now we don’t know of its existence: it is strange that for French campaign the non motorized Infantry had in use MP while the motorized units had not. It is possible that they were issued to the troops without no new KStN, but this does not seem to me coherent with the German Army standard behaviour.
I have found no information on armoured schutzen companies organization in 39-40 Gliederung
I hope this was useful for you,
Regards
Max

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