Experience report schwerer Panzer jager Abteilung 519

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Aida1
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Experience report schwerer Panzer jager Abteilung 519

Post by Aida1 » 13 Sep 2022 18:20

"On the deployment in the period 19/12/1943 to 24/02/1944 in the area of the 3.Pz army
....
2.Tactical experiences
a) the nature of the undulating and intersected terrain offer everywhere favorable possibilities for the attack of small tank units and for the achieving of tactical objectives. For the breakthrough of massed tank units however there were difficulties. The terrain offered a massed tank deployment only a few kilometers breadth. An eventual armored breakthrough necessarily would lead to a canalisation. These bottlenecks were paid special attention in the preparation of the mobile units of the Abteilung and reserves.
The infantry demanded as always the deployment of the heavy antitank weapons in the immediate neighborhood of the main line of defense and in the first days of the deployment even ordered the stay of the Hornisse in or directly behind the main main line of defense. The correct deployment was then settled by a corresponding order after talking to the Panzer army. "

To be continued

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Re: Experience report schwerer Panzer jager Abteilung 519

Post by Aida1 » 14 Sep 2022 15:11

" b) The strength of the Hornisse is the range of its gun and its agility. This advantage is the least known. For this reason a promising use of the companies is often prevented by unacceptable orders .
Explanation:
1. The company commander for example gets no mission but an order about where to position his Hornisse
2. The remaining of the Hornisse in their positions is even then ordered when these can only be occupied or left in darkness
3.Despite sufficicient own antitank defenses Hornisse are in addition ordered into positions which are far from each other and their firepower is fragmented unnecessarily.
4. Again and again the use of the Hornisse as tanks or Sturmgeschutze is ordered.
The Hornisse company has to remain the main weapon of the tactical commander and is in a certain sense the fire brigade of the higher command as mobile antitank defense.
The following principles should be the basis for the use of a Hornisse company:
The deployment only is done by the company commander on the basis of his mission and his reconnaissance of the terrain. . He determines the fire and deployment positions and according to the situation orders individual Hornisse in alternate positions, from which they can monitor the terrain. One must always stick to keeping the Hornisse company mobile in hand.
The use of Hornisse as Sturmgeschutze or tanks is however as a matterr of principle to be rejected because the russian always brings antitank with the point of his attack. The only two Hornisse that broke down through enemy fire were lost to the Abteilung in such a use. "

To be continued

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Re: Experience report schwerer Panzer jager Abteilung 519

Post by Aida1 » 14 Sep 2022 19:13

".......
4)Deployment of the Hornisse
The deployment of the Hornisse was mostly done by company in the sector of a division. In case of building a center of gravity the Abteilung staff was immediately deployed with 2 companies.
a) Deployment of the companies.
The companies as a whole were subordinated to a division and deployed under the command of its company commanders. They were instructed to collaborate with the regiments in the center of gravity. This deployment was proven to be correct. In the subordination to divisions it is again and again found that the company commanders seldomly got an overall mission to secure the divisional sector. More often orders are only given by the map at which points how many Hornisse have to be positioned. Hence the Hornisse were often deployed impractically and massed unnecessarily. Neither the range nor the outstanding penetration power of the weapon were sufficiently taken into account and by massing the Hornisse were unnecessarily exposed to enemy artillery and mortar fire. The possibility to make ready Hornisse behind troublespots and make them advance surprisingly into prepared positions using their mobility was not used much. Proposals by the chefs on the basis of own reconnaissance were seldomly agreed to. "

To be continued

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Re: Experience report schwerer Panzer jager Abteilung 519

Post by Aida1 » 15 Sep 2022 18:55

"Under the influence of the general tanks nervosity one rather demanded as a matter of principle an immediate getting into position, before tanks were even reported or the command had recognized the tactical movements of the enemy tanks. Through this the Hornisse were fixed for a long time in a specific position in difficult terrain circonstances and so withdrawn from other concentrated possibilities of deployment. In the execution of these pure security missions, the necessary technical maintenance could not be taken into account. The Hornisse were kept for days at hot spots where 10 or 20 tanks attacked which were successfully destroyed, in positions which were partially only to be occupied at night.
With the mobile conduct of the Russian tank weapon, this deployment of the Hornisse as position PAK is to be declined as a matter of principle. It prevents the fast and surprising use and the shifting to other centers of gravity. The Hornisse must after finishing their mission, be pulled out of their positions fastest and ordered in preparatory positions. This only makes sure the use of our mobile focused antitank weapon for the higher command.
The deployment of all Hornisse, which is again and demanded is also wrong. At least 1 platoon needs to remain mobile in the hands of the company commander. It happened that on temporary centers of gravity of a divisional sector which resulted from attacks by 10 or 15 enemy tanks, suddenly 8 Hornisse and more were ordered to the defense. In reality the terrain sector only offered positions for at most 4 Hornisse, which could manage this mission on their own.

Example:from 47 attacking tanks 22 were killed in 27 minutes without own losses. One Hornisse killed 14 ,the second 6 and the third 2 tanks.

Especially, the flanking deployment of a half platoon has proven itself from firing positions, which were in majority in neighbouring sectors. Through this the Hornisse were mostly not in sight of the enemy tanks, secondly they were not in the range of the enemy artillery fire. "

To be continued

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Re: Experience report schwerer Panzer jager Abteilung 519

Post by Aida1 » 17 Sep 2022 15:05

"The deployment of the Hornisse mainly requires a thorough recce of the terrain. This often results in favorable fire and lurking positions being outside the concerning regimental and divisional sectors. For this necessity the needed understanding is not mustered. The frequent position changes of the Hornisse must again and again be requested to b make it difficult for the enemy to fight them and hide from him the center of gravity of the defense.
It is remarkable that the Russian until now does not use the name 'Hornisse'. All prisoners only talk of Ferdinand and tanks and mean Hornisse.
b) The deployment of the Abteilung took place in 4 centers of gravity in one divisional sector each under the command of the Abteilung commander. The deployment with 2 companies until now always led to the breaking of the massed enemy tank attacks. The demand by the infantry to break the attacks before the main defense line could not be fulfilled sometimes because of terrain difficulties, but all broken through enemy tanks were destroyed in the main defense zone and by this any successful breakthrough was thwarted. The Commanding of the Abteilung was done exclusively by radio from the APC and from partially good observer positions.
In the divisional sectors there was a lack of unified command of the AT defense. PAK of all caliber often stood in heaps together on the centers of gravity. Heavy PAK immediately behind, medium far behind the main defense line. Heavy PAK was used in sectors with short range of fire, medium in such with longe range of fire.
On the centers of gravity, where Tiger, Hornisse and Sturmgeschutze were deployed, the commanders of these heavy weapons were not brought together and through this an effective teamwork of the defense and best possible effect for the execution the mission were neglected. It happened often that neither Tiger, nor Hornisse and Sturmgeschutze knew from their common deployment. Such deployments are very dangerous because the uninformed Hornisse who were monitoring from long range and flanking often took own tanks for enemy tanks in the early morning and dusk and in several cases kills were prevented at the last moment. "

To be continued

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Re: Experience report schwerer Panzer jager Abteilung 519

Post by Aida1 » 18 Sep 2022 15:34

"The uniting of the whole antitank defense under the command of an energetic Panzer jager commander on the points of gravity must be ensured as first and immediately. The coordinating of the antitank defense and the deployed tanks and Sturmgeschutze, the personal making contact of commanders are to be stimulated as a matter of principle. The radio links necessary for this is to be secured by timely connecting the radios. In this many times the diversity of the radio equipment interferes, which can be overcome by the agility of the commanders(swapping radios) . It is wrong to fix commanders with divisions or regiments. They belong in the terrain and command from their command vehicles and good observation points. "

To be continued

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Re: Experience report schwerer Panzer jager Abteilung 519

Post by Aida1 » 18 Sep 2022 15:51

"The panzer combating officers of the divisions must get the execution of the antitankdefense solidly in their hands, include in their antitank plan the possibility of the use of Hornisse and for this make the necessary reconnaissance. The deployment of the Mot Z PAK of the inf div must be done through the officer for the combatting of tanks, in which the deployment of the light, medium and heavy PAK should not take place according to its belonging to any 14.company or divisional panzer jager Abt, but according to the necessary tactical requirements for the antitank defense
The general tank warning service has consistently functioned without problems. Accumulations of tanks and advances of individual tanks were always reported timely. The partially exaggerated accounts concerning the number of attacking tanks could be corrected after checking back with several warning points. In one case 84 tanks were reported by radio. The checking back resulted in a writing error. It was 4-8 tanks. "

Concluded.

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