25. Panzer Division on the Ostfront, November 1943-April 1944

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25. Panzer Division on the Ostfront, November 1943-April 1944

Post by 2KILFA » 03 Sep 2021 14:22

I'm looking for information regarding the state of the personnel of the 25. Panzer Division and its losses for the given period. In the course of a nearly 6 month campaign in the Ukraine, the division was shattered and then withdrawn to Denmark for extensive refits.
I have collected a lot of info about this unit, but there are still some aspects that are missing.
Specifically, I'm interested to know what was the monthly authorized personnel strength of the division and what was it strength, depending on the terms used, such as Iststärke Gefechtsstärke, Kampfstärke etc. Similarly what was the status of its combat battalions, what was the division's combat value etc. All for the given months.
Similarly, I want to know the personnel losses of the division for the given period, which include both combat losses, as well as sick and other non-combat losses.
Here's a brief history of the division for the given period. A lot of info below was provided to me by Gregory Liedtke.
November 1943
The inexperienced 25. Pz. Div. was transferred from France to the Ostfront in the Ukraine, west of Kiev, in November 1943, despite the protests of Guderian. It participated in the failed attempt to recapture Kiev in November. The division gets badly mauled at Fastov and there was notorious case when the demoralized elements of the division fled from the battlefield, before being relieved by veteran panzer divisions. Mellenthin wrote about that in his memoirs too. During November 1943 the division suffered 1,699 casualties (280 killed, 790 wounded, 290 missing, 185 sick, and 154 transferred, for which it received 427 replacements).
December 1943- February 1944
On 1 December 1943 division was authorized 14,648 men and was already short 2,646. Throughout December 1943 division participated in local operations to reduce the Soviet Kiev bridgehead. The beginning of the end for the division began on the Christmas Eve of 1943, 24 December, when Red Army launched the Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive, which started with the Zhitomir-Berdichev Offensive west of Kiev. German positions began to collapse and the 25. Pz. Div. began its retreat as well. It was around this time, late 1943-early 1944, that its combat elements had been detached from the division and attached to other elements, where they suffered heavy losses again.
By 1 February 1944 the division only retained the divisional HQ under its control and non-combat elements, the rest had been assigned to other units. For example, its 146. Panzergrenadier Regiment was attached to the 20. Panzergrenadier Division. From its authorized strength of 2,462 men, the regiment was short 1,134 men. The 147. Panzergrenadier Regiment was attached to the 168. Infanterie Division and from its authorized strength of 2,284 men, was short 1,531.
According to Lexikon der Wehrmacht, most of the divisions combat units were largely destroyed by the end of February 1944. Thus, by the start of the March 1944, the 25. Pz. Div. was categorized as "remnants" (reste).
March-April 1944
On 4 March, during the second stage of the Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive in the intense spring mud, the Red Army launched the Proskurov-Chernvotsy Offensive. By late March 1944, the offensive succeeded in encircling the 1. Panzerarmee in the Kamenets-Podolsky Pocket. As part of the army, the remnants of the 25. Pz. Div. were also encircled. However, at this point, as it was already said, the division was merely a unit on paper.
The remaining combat elements, attached to other divisions, broke out from the pocket, but were further depleted. As was the case with nearly all the units, the division in the pocket lost a colossal amount of tanks, assault guns, motor vehicles of all types, various pieces of artillery and other equipment, with most of them being abandoned in the spring mud or rasputitsa. Many to most of AFV's and motor vehicles at this point were in workshops where they were in short-term and long-term repairs and were lost during the breakout.
Thus, by the end of April 1944, the heavily decimated, broken up and badly worn 25. Panzer Division was shattered as a cohesive fighting formation and became non-operational. In the first half of May 1944, the remnants of the division were withdrawn to Denmark for extensive refits. The process of rebuilding the division was not complete, since elements assigned to rebuilt it were instead used to create other units. The 25. Pz. Div. returned to the Ostfront in late August 1944 in response to Operation Bagration as a brigade-sized kampfgruppe.

In addition to the questions that I asked, I'm wondering what was the strength of the division in May 1944 at the time of its withdrawal from the Ukraine. My estimate is that its ration strength was in the range of 7,000 personnel or below. Of course the ration strength is the upper limit of men and is by no way indicative of the divisions combat abilities, but just shows how many personnel in total were belonging to the division. The term ration strength (Verpflegungsstärke) includes everyone, such as sick and wounded personnel, PoW's, Hiwis (Soviet auxiliaries), non-military manpower, and personnel attached from other military organizations, HQ, all combat elements etc. The actual combat strength (Kampfstärke) was probably no more than 1,000 personnel or just a fraction of its authorized strength.

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Re: 25. Panzer Division on the Ostfront, November 1943-April 1944

Post by FORBIN Yves » 09 Sep 2021 18:11

Look Kiev 1943 topic you have infos...

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