Osprey book about Salerno?

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Larso
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Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Larso » 06 Jul 2019 07:07

Hi, I'm wondering if the Osprey campaign series book is any good? It has the usual 96 pages, which isn't much, so I'm specifically wondering if it gives proper strength details for the German divisions involved.
Thanks
John

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by DrG » 06 Jul 2019 16:41

I have this booklet, don't expect any numeric detail about the opposing forces. There are the German and Allied OOBs, but no data about the actual strengths of the units involved.

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Larso » 06 Jul 2019 18:18

Thanks for that. I've found a few mentions on the net - 16th Pz had about 4,000 men. Another of the Pz Divs had no tanks apparently. I was looking for more of the same and hoped it would be in this book. Oh well, perhaps a future edition will flesh that out.

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 06 Jul 2019 21:15

Larso,

Search this site - I’m sure there are a couple of threads that go into the OOB of the German formations - there are also details on the Dupuy Forum.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Dili » 06 Jul 2019 22:39

That is the problem with Osprey when the conflict/battle is too big/complex for their standard size. You can't do nothing useful with them.

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 Jul 2019 06:50

Larso wrote:
06 Jul 2019 18:18
Thanks for that. I've found a few mentions on the net - 16th Pz had about 4,000 men. Another of the Pz Divs had no tanks apparently. I was looking for more of the same and hoped it would be in this book. Oh well, perhaps a future edition will flesh that out.
Oh good grief...16. Panzerdivision reported an Ist of 15,680 on 1 September 1943...I doubt it misplaced 11,680 men in the intervening 8 days.
"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

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 08 Jul 2019 00:29

Depends on what you define as 'misplaced' Rich :)

I've not a detailed description of the deployment of the 16th PzDiv, but fragments from Hugh Ponds 'Salerno' WGF Jacksons 'The Battle for Italy', and Atkinsons more recent 'Day of Battle' leave me with the impression the 16thPzD was dispersed very widely. ie: Ponds mentions reinforcements for the defense on D+2 & then describes how these fresh inf battalions of the division came up from the south. Theres remarks about the 16th being located near Foggia a week earlier & moving in increments to the western coast, remarks about the "Panzer Regiment" Being enroute to Salerno & its tanks arriving in smaller groups over several days.

My wild guess is the 'battle group' covering the Gatea gulf could have been as few as 4,000 men. With the other 11,680 men guarding beaches not invaded or something else thought necessary. Which is misplaced in a way...

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Larso » 10 Jul 2019 14:21

Thanks guys.

I read the 4,000 number in two places but one could've been the 'source' for the other. I seem to remember the figure being linked to the 4,000 that had moved out of Stalingrad before the disaster there? But even so - surely a significant number of those 4,000 (if that figure is correct) were lost in subsequent actions in the following emergency? Also, by Salerno there was time for replacements to be received. Given everything that was going on, it's seemed to me the German divisions involved were more like brigade strength.

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Jul 2019 04:17

Larso wrote:
10 Jul 2019 14:21
... Also, by Salerno there was time for replacements to be received. Given everything that was going on, it's seemed to me the German divisions involved were more like brigade strength.
I'd not picked that up in the histories of the Italian campaign. The new formed SS division on Corsica/Sardinia seems to have been a bit understrength. But the other motor & mech units are not described as badly understrength. After the Tunisia disaster a mass of replacements had been sent rebuild the units lost of wrecked there & in the Sicilian campaign. As I mentioned before the descriptions indicate many divisions were widely scattered south of Naples, so smaller brigade size 'kampfgruppen' were the norm.

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Jul 2019 19:22

Sorry for being so late getting back to you in reply Carl, but life and other threads intervene...and your question made me do some serious digging, complicated by the fact that many of the Italian Campaign files I had available when working at TDI are now, in my retirement, 2,700 miles away. :(
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
08 Jul 2019 00:29
Depends on what you define as 'misplaced' Rich :)
I would mean as "outside its area of operations and outside of contact with its superiors.
I've not a detailed description of the deployment of the 16th PzDiv, but fragments from Hugh Ponds 'Salerno' WGF Jacksons 'The Battle for Italy', and Atkinsons more recent 'Day of Battle' leave me with the impression the 16thPzD was dispersed very widely. ie: Ponds mentions reinforcements for the defense on D+2 & then describes how these fresh inf battalions of the division came up from the south. Theres remarks about the 16th being located near Foggia a week earlier & moving in increments to the western coast, remarks about the "Panzer Regiment" Being enroute to Salerno & its tanks arriving in smaller groups over several days.
XIV. Panzerkorps was deployed to guard against a possible allied amphibious assault directed against the Gulf of Naples or the Gulf of Salerno that could cut off the retreat of German elements retreating from Calabria, Apulia, and Basilicata. HG Division was deployed along the coast west and northwest of Naples with attached elements in Naples. 15. Panzergrenadier Division was deployed from Gaeta to Castel Volturno. 16. Panzer Division was deployed from Salerno to Agropoli. Various weak outposts drawn from HG and 16. Panzer were along the Amalfi coast. No need was seen for forces along the coast further south, since by 4 September, LXXVI. Panzerkorps center of gravity was Castrovillari in northern Calabria and 1. FJD had already withdrawn from Taranto into Apulia.
My wild guess is the 'battle group' covering the Gatea gulf could have been as few as 4,000 men. With the other 11,680 men guarding beaches not invaded or something else thought necessary. Which is misplaced in a way...
The situation was somewhat confused by ACHSE, six hours prior to H-Hour at Salerno. 16. Panzer Division took over some dozens of Italian coastal positions in the early morning hours of 9 September. There were eight platoon-sized beach defense positions along the 36th ID front at Paestum and it may be inferred there were approximately 30-40 such along the coast of the Gulf of Salerno. Nevertheless, the whole of 16. Panzer Division was concentrated there by the evening of 8 September, before the allied attack began.

Defending the port of Salerno and the passes at Vietri was Kampfgruppe Dörnemann built around Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 16. Defending the coast further south were three IIRC, fairly equal-size kampfgruppen. One, built around Panzergrenadier Regiment 64, Kampfgruppe Stempel, was north of the Sele headquartered at Battipaglia, one, built around Panzergrenadier Regiment 79., Kampfgruppe Döring, was south of the Sele at Paestum. A small reserve force, Kampfgruppe Holting, comprising the headquarters of Panzer Regiment 2. and other elements, was at Eboli.

The reference to "4,000 men" may actually have been to the kampfstärke of the forces engaging the allies, which was a routine error made by allied intelligence and later historians.

The reinforcing elements that Ponds, Jackson, and Atkinson refer to were not from 16. Panzer Division, they were from 15. Panzergrenadier and HG Division moved from their northern positions and from LXXVI. Panzerkorps, mostly elements of 26. Panzer and 29. Panzergrenadier divisions, but also some odds and sods of Fallschirmjäger who seemed to be everywhere in Italy...in this case I think it was III./FJR 6.
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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Jul 2019 19:30

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Jul 2019 04:17
I'd not picked that up in the histories of the Italian campaign. The new formed SS division on Corsica/Sardinia seems to have been a bit understrength.
It was actually a brigade. 16. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Reichsführer SS" was not officially organized until 23 September 1943, after it was evacuated to Livorno from Corsica. It had fewer than 5,200 men with a Panzer Abteilung consisting of a reinforced company of 21 StuG.
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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Jul 2019 21:19

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Jul 2019 19:22
...
The reinforcing elements that Ponds, Jackson, and Atkinson refer to were not from 16. Panzer Division, they were from 15. Panzergrenadier and HG Division moved from their northern positions
Those are clearly identified in the aforementioned books.
...and from LXXVI. Panzerkorps, mostly elements of 26. Panzer and 29. Panzergrenadier divisions, but also some odds and sods of Fallschirmjäger who seemed to be everywhere in Italy...in this case I think it was III./FJR 6.
Its these from the south that are more ambigious, not clearly identified.

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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by von thoma » 16 Jul 2019 21:55

An old 1972 Ballantine's books "Salerno: Foothold in Europe" by David Mason is avaible
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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Jul 2019 03:13

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Jul 2019 21:19
Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Jul 2019 19:22
...
The reinforcing elements that Ponds, Jackson, and Atkinson refer to were not from 16. Panzer Division, they were from 15. Panzergrenadier and HG Division moved from their northern positions
Those are clearly identified in the aforementioned books.
I'm sorry, but what are? I've just given you the AOR of the division as it was established on 8 September and its dispositions. Where it was a week earlier is kind of irrelevant to where it was a week later.
...and from LXXVI. Panzerkorps, mostly elements of 26. Panzer and 29. Panzergrenadier divisions, but also some odds and sods of Fallschirmjäger who seemed to be everywhere in Italy...in this case I think it was III./FJR 6.
Its these from the south that are more ambigious, not clearly identified.
Actually, they are identified pretty clearly, they were from 29. Panzergrenadier Division (IIRC a couple of battalions attached to 16. Panzer) and 26. Panzerdivision (again IIRC elements attached to HG and 16. Panzerdivision). I suppose I can dig again and get better identification for you if you wish, but the fact simply remains, 16. Panzerdivision at Salerno was not "4,000 men". It was a nearly complete panzer division with three battalions of tanks and assault guns, four battalions of infantry, and the usual reconnaissance, pioneer, and artillery assets.
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Re: Osprey book about Salerno?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Jul 2019 04:06

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Jul 2019 03:13
...

Actually, they are identified pretty clearly, ...
I was referring to the books I'd previously mentioned. The several authors identify the reinforcements from the north, but are weaker about those from the south. I was not referring to the information you provided, (and thanks for that btw).

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