Let's build Panzer-Division "Müncheberg" !

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David C. Clarke
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Thanks Prit!

Post by David C. Clarke » 02 Jul 2002 00:03

Coming from you Prit, that is high praise and much appreciated. Best Regards, David :D

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Wolfkin
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Hey, David!

Post by Wolfkin » 02 Jul 2002 05:44

Hey, David!

I have been a member for a little while but have yet to read this entire thread! I have been doing research on some Leibstandarte fellows!

I wil read through the thread and see if I can add anything. You guys have been doing an excellent job so far, I don't know if I can add anything that y'all don't already have.

I'll check through some of my books...Panzertruppen etc. and see if there is any good stuff that I can find.

Cheers dude!

Wolfkin

Abel Ravasz
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Post by Abel Ravasz » 06 Jul 2002 22:52

Hi everyone,

as this thread is getting a bit flat I am happy to add any bit which I have acquired. This time, it is an eye witness' (a Soviet one's) reaccount of the German counterattack at Kustrin. Mind my English, please take into consideration that I've translated this one from Czech to English, Hungarian being my native, so this one was a bit tough... took two hours... So, this one is from a book form the socialist era. Its called "For Berlin!", and is a fine collection of reaccounts by various Soviet soldiers.
1953 (!) print from Prague publishing, the original being published by the defense ministry of the USSR. This story is the second half of "For Kustrin", written by sgt. M. Tolstolobov.

"[...]

In Kustrin the fighting was so heavy, that if a house hadn't been wholly destroyed, it wasn't ours yet. But only when Kustrin was our did the tougher fight start. We swam through the Oder without stopping, immediately after the town had fell. We clinged to a small bridgehead. But then the Oder began rising and we could have been easily sunk anytime. So we had to attack to enlargen the bridgehead. But then came the worst of all: counterattack after counterattack.
I particularly remember the one from the 27th of March.
The German tanks were coming in two columns in a chesstable formation,. They were firing under way from their cannon and the machine guns, too. Immediately behind the tanks were armoured cars following with infantry support, which were also firing under way. The fire was so dense that if you held your helmet up, you got more hits at it at once.
The commander of our company, lt. Popelkevich was running around and firing the morale of the soldiers up. It was hot, so he took off his helmet and coat.
"Wait"; he told.
In front of us, at ten or fifteen metres was a minefield.
Their leading tank rolled on the top of the trench in which soldier Kuzmin was standing in. The Germans were no further than twenty metres from our trenches now but Popelkevich didn't yet give us the order to fire. Then the leading tank got on a mine and stopped. For a moment, the German firing stopped, too. That was the moment our commander began our fire, destroying the tank which was nearing the trapped one to help.
The weather was foggy and there was smoke coming out of the damaged vehicles, so it was hard to see what was happening in front of me. But you could see even through the fog that there were many tanks standing in front of the trenches, either on fire or destroyed by a mine.
Because they were only fifteen-twenty metres away from us, the German crew didn't have the courage to crawl out, and they were waiting to be towed away with their vehicles. Tkachenko, from Krasnoarmejsk, took a bundle of straw, and under terrible fire he creeped under a tank. He put the straw under it and he lit the straw with his lighter. When the flames caught the tank, the Germans made a desperate try for survival. One of them jumped out on a mine, which tore him apart to pieces. The other had hardly got of it out but he was already burning like a torch.
Tkachenko got back to the trench and searched for more straw to get another tank out of way. Other soldiers also liked the idea, but Popelkevich prohibited doing it any furhter, since the vehicles were still in the middle of a minefield. Finally the tanks were finished off by our sappers. "


Hope you liked this one, even if it doesn't give much of information. If anyone is interested, i might give it a try and translate the first half, too (about the capture of Kustrin).

Don't give it up, David!
Best wishes

Abel

Abel Ravasz
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Post by Abel Ravasz » 06 Jul 2002 23:17

A next bit of information:

The Battle For The Seelow Heights

Description of a visit to the Battlefield over Easter 2000

Driving past the huge Soviet War Memorial and then around the Brandenburg Gate, we turned into the Unter den Linden and passed the huge edifice of the Soviet Embassy. As we drove on I thought of Von Greim's final dramatic flight into Berlin prior to the fall of the capital to the Russians in April 1945. Hanna Reich taking the controls of a storch, and landing the light aircraft on the road which we were now travelling down. This seemed as good a place as any, to begin our trip to the River Oder to explore the battlefield area of the Seelow heights. So - we sped down Highway 1, past the Orwellian skyline of the Karl Marx Allee and within an hour were in the town of Muncheburg.
I had judged this place to be the Western edge of the area that we were interested in. Travelling through the town and following the highway East, one passes Jahnsfelde where the "Muncheberg" Panzer Division blunted (but failed to stop) the Soviet Advance with a counter attack on April 18th 1945.
Seelow was smaller than we had expected. Entering the town from the West we stop at a small military cemetery and notice a row of small signs, marking the graves of about fifty German personnel, a good number of whom seem to be from the 76th Panzer Grenadier Division. Driving through the town, we reach the Eastern boundary and it is immediately apparent why this spot was so strategically important in the early months of 1945. The town lies at the top of an escarpment with the Oder valley at the foot and beyond. From the Eastern boundary of the town one could have easily observed the Soviet Forces assembling in the Kustrin Bridghead, some five miles in front.
Just beyond the Eastern boundary of the town lies the Soviet War Memorial. A Guardsman standing astride the sculpted turret of an early panzer tank. At the foot of the Seelower Hohen Memorial there is a Soviet War Cemetery which contains about thirty individual graves, each marked with a name and a Soviet star. One grave is adorned with a photograph. Adjacent to this there is a grassed area with several vertical commemorative stones, covered in Russian writing. The view from this spot is impressive. A near vertical drop and then the flat expanse of the Oder Busch. One can't see the River but one can sense it's presence.
Back to the town centre for a beer and then we drive along the Heights to the South, following the line of the Ridge. Evidence of hard fighting is everywhere. Pockmarked buildings and derelict properties. We pass by the ruins of a church at Delgelin and stop briefly to examine a local Memorial, commemorating those lost in an earlier conflict. A "coalscuttle" helmet atop a laurel wreath.
We drop down the Ridge and cross the line delineating the extent of the initial Kustrin Bridgehead. A spot of fieldwalking reveals no signs of the Battle, that took place. The Russians lost about 760 tanks and armoured vehicles in a few days of fighting.
On the right the horizon is dominated by the Reitwein Spur. This was the only piece of high ground held by the Russians prior to the 18th April 1945 and we were keen to find evidence of Russian field works in this strategically important part of their line. On the outskirts of Reitwein Village, at the foot of the spur we find the grave of a lone Wehrmacht soldier, in the shadow of a blooming fruit tree.
Reitwein church is roofless and covered in indentations from artillery and small arms fire. Builders were at work refurbishing the bell tower. A crude sign pointed towards a path - "Shukow - Befehlsstand 1945". We park the hire car next to a large Soviet Cemetery. The stonework on the Memorial is unkempt and decaying but there is evidence that someone is attending to the grounds.
The path leads up towards the Heights and eventually we find the twin entrances of Chuikov's command bunker. I had already discovered (thanks to Tony Le Tissier - Then and Now) that the entrances had been blocked but nevertheless the site is very evident. As we examined this area, we discussed the topography of this part of the Battlefield. We concluded that Chuikov would most certainly have placed observation points on the highest part of the Spur. So - we left the path and climbed up through the woods, heading for the highest point whilst remaining within the area behind the original Russian front line.
At the top we were rewarded with one of the most interesting finds of the day. The ridge of the Heights is reworked into a series of "foxholes". Forward observation posts linked by trenches to larger posts slightly to the rear. Further trenches led down the reverse slope to a series of storage positions. One could discern the whole position, walking via trenches from post to post. The Spur is covered in trees now - saplings growing out of stumps. But one can still see the view below.
The plain spread out in panoramic view with the Heights beyond. I thought about what the view might have looked like at 0530 hours on the 16th April 1945. 140 searchlights backlighting the advancing T34s. the 88s on the Seelow Heights beyond barking the defenders response.
We wanted to see the River so we left Reiwein and headed down into the valley. The River was swollen and as I stood on the Western Bank looking at Poland on the far shore, I reflected on the role that weather often plays in battle. If elements of the 1st Byelorussian front had not managed to pass over the partially frozen River in January 1945, then the Bridgehead would not have been available for the assembly of assault troops as a precursor to the final assault on Berlin.
We drove along the River, crossing the Seelow/Kustrin Road and negotiating the tiny cobblestone roads of the Oder Busch. The terrain was flat and marshy. One could imagine vehicles being easy targets for artillery on the dyke top roads. We drove down to the spot where Koniev's forces first crossed the River.
The first tank to cross the Oder is mounted on a concrete plinth in the market square at Kienitz. The inscription reads "31st January 1945 - Kienitz, the first place in our country to have been liberated from Fascism. Glory and honour to the fighting soldiers of the 5th shock army and the 2nd Guards Army". Travelling out of the village and down to the Riverbank we came to an incongruous steel monument. The inscription is partly defaced but according to Le Tissier it reads "The offensive demands a boundless mass of energy from us in order to bring the Fascist filth to an even quicker end". Not exactly Wilfred Owen !
We drove back to Berlin stopping briefly for a beer at Letshin, Another Soviet cemetery held pride of place in the centre of this large and isolated village. Berlin - well …. my continuing description of our tour can wait for another day.


This one was on the internet, the site is
http://www.curme.co.uk/seelow.htm

Check out the pictures

Abel

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David C. Clarke
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Simply Wonderful...

Post by David C. Clarke » 08 Jul 2002 01:55

Abel, this is simply wonderful, excellent information and I am most appreciative. It adds a different and fresh perspective to the thread, a very welcome one. Thanks much. I haven't really given up on the thread, a little frustrated, but not ready to give up. Very Best Regards, David :D :D :D

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Counterattack

Post by David C. Clarke » 09 Jul 2002 17:36

The German Army was renowned in WWII for it's swift counterattacks. Kustrin was a critical piece of ground, so the Germans counter-attacked nearly immediately. The shape of the counter-attack and its ultimate failure were to have reprecussions though.
Muncheberg was subordinated to General Karl Decker's XXXIXth Panzer Corps headquarters for the operation, in addition to the 20th and 25th Panzergrenadier Divisions, the "Fuhrer" Grenadier Division, the 502nd SS sPz. Abt. and (my personal favorite for exotically-named kampfgruppe) the "1001 Nachtes" Kampfgruppe.
Following the chain of military responsibility up a bit, XXXIXth Panzer Corps was subordinate to General Theodor Busse's 9th Armee which, in turn, was attached to Colonel General Gotthardt Henrici's Armee Gruppe Vistula.
The original plan, which caused considerable consternation to both Guderian and Henrici, was for a counterattack from the Frankfurt bridgehead. This would have required five Divisions to cross the Oder over a single bridge already in sight of Russian observers.
In a visit to Fuhrer headquarters on March 22, Colonel-General Henrici had managed, with much argument, to persuade Hitler to change this plan to one which envisaged a reopening of the recently lost Kustrin corridor. The offensive would take place on March 27th at 0400 hrs.
Best Regards, DCC

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More on Reinefarth

Post by David C. Clarke » 10 Jul 2002 16:33

Hi Guys, this post is reprinted from Feldgrau with the permission of Ken, who contributed it. I believe it provides a most interesting peek into the character of the Commander of Kustrin Fortress:


Reinefarth, who was on active duty in the Wehrmacht rather than the SS from 1939 until 1942, won the KC while serving as a Feldwebel and Zugführer in 14./I.R. 337, the anti-tank company of the regiment. On 19 May 1940, he and his Zug of three 37mm AT guns and one MG 34 had been assigned to provide AT protection for II. Bataillon. Having observed a long column of several batteries of horse-drawn French artillery with their ammunition trains moving along a road some distance away, he and his driver set off at high speed in the platoon car on a road parallel to that of the French column in order to find out its further direction. They arrived in the village of Avecapelle just as the French are entering it. He and his driver, with their Lugers drawn, boldly stepped out in the road. Addressing the French colonel riding at the head of the column, Reinefarth told him in broken school French to surrender immediately because they were surrounded by his regiment! Lucky for him, at that very moment one of his AT guns with its crew comes roaring up to support his demand. The colonel obliges, handing his pistol to Reinefarth. All the other French officers and men also lay down their arms. An incredible accomplishment by a handful of men: Through pure bravado, they captured four batteries, two infantry battalions and dozens of ammo wagons; the number of prisoners taken totalled nearly 3,000 men. I'd say this Ritterkreuz was well deserved.

-- Ken

(In a later post, Ken explained that his source was "Manner und Taten:RitterKreuztrager Erzahlen" edited by Hanns Moller-Witten.) Cheers, David

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Wolfkin
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Just a little something...

Post by Wolfkin » 10 Jul 2002 22:59

I read through this entire thread and wow! You guys have managed to find an amazing amount of material on Panzer Division Muencheberg. I can't find very much in any of my books but I did find this little bit in Panzertruppen Volume Two, page 234-235:

"Orders were issued on 5 March 1945 to create Panzer Division "Muencheberg" with Panzer Abteilung "Kummersdorf". On 12 March 1945, Panzer Abteilung Kummersdorf was ordered to hand over all their Panzers to the I. Abteilung/ Panzer Regiment 29, which had been assigned to Panzer Division "Muencheberg" in their place. The 3.(Tiger) Kompanie/Panzer Abteilung Kummersdorf was renamed and incorporated into the I.Abteilung/Panzer Regiment 29 as the 3. Kompanie. On 16 March 1945, it was requested that a Panther Kompanie (K.St.N.1177(f.G.) dated 1Nov44) be formed by 20 March for Panzer Division "Muencheberg" from a Kompanie of the I.Abteilung/Panzer Regiment 29 in Grafenwoehr. The I.Abteilung was to consist of four Panzer Kompanien with the 1. and 2. Kompanien organized under K.St.N.1177, the 3.Kompanie under K.St.N.1176 and the 4.Kompanie under K.St.N.1177. In addition to those Panzers turned over by Panzer Abteilung "Kummersdorf", 10 Panthers were shipped from the Heeres-Zeugamt on 29 March and 10 Panthers on 5 April 1945. On 7 April 1945, orders were cut to transport one Panther Kompanie/I.Abteilung/Panzer Regiment 29 and one Kompanie/Panzer Grenadier Regiment 25, both with infrared equipment, by rail from Wunsdorf to Heeresgruppe Weichel for incorporation into the I.Abteilung/Panzer Regiment 29 under Panzer Division "Muencheberg"."

Wolfkin

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David C. Clarke
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Hi Wolfkin!

Post by David C. Clarke » 11 Jul 2002 02:49

Hi Wolfkin, welcome back and thanks for the contribution! I like to think that together we are creating one of the very few Divisional Histories in English of a non-SS Panzer Division. It's going a little slower, but the information is out there and I hope to add information about some of the units that fought alongside "Muncheberg".
But just think, a Panzer Division with infra-red equipped Panther G's!!! You don't run into that every day. And, they were a part of the very last bulwark against the advancing Red Army. "Muncheberg" may not have been around for long, but I think we will show in this thread that in its brief existence, "Muncheberg" performed as heroically as many of the better known Panzer Divisions. Cheers, David :D

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Wolfkin
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Post by Wolfkin » 12 Jul 2002 02:59

Hey, David!

Thank you! Hahaa, that is funny how you say that, but it is true! We are writing our own Divisional History right here! Yes, it is surprising to read about the infrared Panthers!

I can't wait to read more about "Muncheberg"! I look forward to the information you are going to add soon. I wish I could add more but I'm afraid that bit from Panzertruppen is all I have on "Muncheberg". I need to buy more books! :)

Wolfkin

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Christoph Awender
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Panther G Müncheberg

Post by Christoph Awender » 25 Jul 2002 18:04

Hello!

From Panther Ausf.G im Detail, VDM.
Thought its a nice image.
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Jan-willem van Wijngen
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where from

Post by Jan-willem van Wijngen » 25 Jul 2002 18:15

nice pic.
where is it from????????

jw

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Christoph Awender
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image

Post by Christoph Awender » 25 Jul 2002 19:47

The image is from a magazine from VDM Verlag called
Panther Ausf.G im Detail
It says that this is a tank of Müncheberg 1945


These magazines are great. Each volume has several line drawings, interior details, photos and paintings.

Image

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David C. Clarke
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Beautiful!

Post by David C. Clarke » 26 Jul 2002 00:48

Simply Beautiful Christoph! Do you think I could get that book through Amazon.de? The only other color profiles of Muncheberg panzers that I can recall are in a Russian booklet. Thanks for sharing, it's great stuff!!
Very Best Regards, David :D

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Christoph Awender
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im Detail magazine...

Post by Christoph Awender » 26 Jul 2002 02:51

Hello David!

Don´t know if they are available through Amazon.de but the magazines Im Detail are available through one of my favorite book sources:

http://www.zinnfigur.com/menue/titel.html

He has a great collection of new and antique books (german and english)
The magazine with the profile I provided is the one of Panther Ausf.G

Christoph

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