Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 7273
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Michael Kenny » 11 Jun 2021 20:48

I think it is communications vehicles parked in the open area at the right. They are there on June 12th but gone on June 15th
3068. Sa.jpg
3068. Saint-Germain Venoix ;sd.jpg
400 0240 (3402) Venoix tut.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Jochen S.
Member
Posts: 210
Joined: 16 Apr 2002 15:13
Location: Netherlands

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Jochen S. » 01 Jan 2022 12:16

So gentlemen, what is the conclusion? Did Witt actually die on the 14th (which I believe he did), and what caused his death? In Hubert Meyers document # P-164 it is written "Feuerüberfall der Schiffsartillerie". A doc. in T311-Roll 25 mentions "Kdr. 12. SS-Pz.Div. "HJ" durch Art.-Treffer gefallen". Serveral books, including 'Blood and Honor' repeat the 'Schiffsartillerie' story. Veteran Karl-Heinz Aevers SS-Flak-Abt.12, provided the text of his manuscript called 'Freiwillig' in which he also mentioned "Schiffsartillerie" as cause of death aso. Looking at Michael Kenny's excellent arial photos of Venoix one doesn't see actual large artillerie damages/craters on the 15th of June. In Cazenave's book PZ HJ 1.2 on page 247 there is a pic. by SS-PK Mielke which shows tree branches on the road, assumed to be the road through Venoix on the 14th. I was able to aqcuire a propaganda photo by SS-PK Mielke which, in my opinion, might also show the road through Venoix during the attack - but the text states "Feindliche Tiefflieger im Invasionsraum schießen auf Zivilisten". What do you think; Jabos an option, responsible for Witt's death? Or is the difference between "Schiffsartillerie" or Jabo too obvious, looking at the sources?

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3363
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Sheldrake » 02 Jan 2022 01:49

Without detailed checking of the records it is not clear whether naval or land based artillery fired the bombardment. The German accounts mention an artillery barrage, with an assumption that it was naval guns. That may have been because that was what the Germans feared most and suited the post D Day German military narrative that failure was the fault of the navy and air force.

Jochen S.
Member
Posts: 210
Joined: 16 Apr 2002 15:13
Location: Netherlands

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Jochen S. » 02 Jan 2022 11:23

Hi Sheldrake, thanks. When looking into documents and reading von Rundstedt's reports, it's indeed obvious that the allied naval artillery had a disastrous effect on German moral and losses. What I find curious however is, again looking at the arial photos posted by Michael Kenny, that the damage caused by naval or land based artillery seems to be minimal? - and am wondering if it only was one lucky shot which caused the death of Witt and others or the cause might be an airattack?

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2805
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 02 Jan 2022 20:11

Jochen S. wrote:
02 Jan 2022 11:23
am wondering if it only was one lucky shot which caused the death of Witt and others or the cause might be an airattack?
It might not have been "a lucky shot" but perhaps further evidence of the skilful way the Allies exploited their intelligence advantage. Two ULTRA signals of 12 June 1944 (DEFE3/170) revealed that 12th SS Panzer Division HQ was in VENOIX.

Regards

Tom

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3363
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Jan 2022 00:44

Jochen S. wrote:
02 Jan 2022 11:23
Hi Sheldrake, thanks. When looking into documents and reading von Rundstedt's reports, it's indeed obvious that the allied naval artillery had a disastrous effect on German moral and losses. What I find curious however is, again looking at the arial photos posted by Michael Kenny, that the damage caused by naval or land based artillery seems to be minimal? - and am wondering if it only was one lucky shot which caused the death of Witt and others or the cause might be an air attack?
Please forgive me, but as you might be aware from my avatar and work, I am an artilleryman. My working hypothesis is that the effects of artillery have been under acknowledged by comparison with that of air power. Nicklas Zetterling provided evidence to support that hypothesis in chapter 5 of Nortmandy 1944 "Effects of Allied air power."

WW2 era artillery did not always leave obvious forensic evidence at the crime scene. The invention of the instantaneous/ (British super-quick) fuse in 1915-16 meant that an HE round detonating on hard ground might not leave a crater easily identified from an aerial photograph.

There were several heavy and medium artillery units that could have been responsible. See Post #24. I agree that HMS Ramilies is a possible candidate.

Jochen S.
Member
Posts: 210
Joined: 16 Apr 2002 15:13
Location: Netherlands

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Jochen S. » 03 Jan 2022 09:42

Thank you sheldrake, I have learned somethig. So, in theory one or two well-aimed artl. shots (if these were intended knowing that the HQs of the 12.SS were located in Venoix) would cause the damage but leave virtually no trace visible from the sky? I put it this simple way so it is clear to me what could have happened. A salvo from (naval-)artl. would also leave no trace at all visible from arial photograph? Thanks, I will check post #24 again!

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4822
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Jan 2022 17:51

There is also the possibility that "trees in the road" are evidence of the super-quick fuzing resulting in tree bursts, which would not necessarily appear as damage in the aerial photographs unless it was a sustained bombardment a la World War I reducing the trees to trunks denuded of branches. There was a tree-lined avenue, parks, orchards, and gardens evident in the aerial photograph of Venoit, all of which could have been part of the mechanism of death for Witt.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Jochen S.
Member
Posts: 210
Joined: 16 Apr 2002 15:13
Location: Netherlands

Re: Which Allied warship's barrage killed Fritz Witt--the commander of 12 SS Hitler Jugend?

Post by Jochen S. » 04 Jan 2022 09:37

Thanks Richard for the additional information.

Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”