Aufklärung Abteilung 33

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ClintHardware
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Aufklärung Abteilung 33

Post by ClintHardware » 26 May 2020 06:37

Hi All

I thought the following would be of technical interest. The Comments are those of the interrogator.


Appx. ‘A’ to 7 ARMD DIV INT SUMMARY No. 5.
INTERROGATION of GERMAN P/WS.

Names: Unteroffizier Deppler
Obergefreiter Scheppler.

Unit: 1 Coy 33 Recce Unit 15 Armoured Div. (1. Kompanie Aufklärung Abteilung 33)

Captured: Sidi SULEIMAN 10/6/41.

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The following is a summary of information regarding enemy defences in the frontier area obtained from the two prisoners. In the opinion of the interrogating I.O., this information is trustworthy.

BARDIA.
The anti-tank ditch round the town appears to have been allowed to fill up with sand. In the opinion of Uffz. Deppler it was unserviceable when he passed it about 10 days ago. On the right of the straight stretch of road between CAPUZZO and BARDIA about 300 yds toward towards the sea from the road (Map Ref. approx 51653147) there are 6 – 8 Italian guns of calibre approx 75mm. They are not in emplacements and have been placed in a line, pointing SE. Although this was the only evidence of defence works in BARDIA, further Italian troops, some of them Bersaglieri were seen in BARDIA. It seems likely therefore that the Southern defences are manned. Both prisoners gave as their opinion that there were NO German troops in BARDIA.

SIDI AZEIZ.
This is the HQ of the 33 Recce Unit. The Anti-Tank Platoon of the 3rd Company was stationed about 2 km SE of SIDI AZEIZ. Four 37mm Guns have been placed in a line about 150 yds apart facing SE. Neither prisoner would give more detailed information. Just to the North of the right-hand bend in the SIDI AZEIZ – CAPUZZO road (Map Ref approx 517393) a small number of Mk III Tanks and some MT had been seen.

SIDI SULEIMAN.
This place is completely unoccupied apart from a standing patrol of two or three Armd Cars from 33 Recce Unit. The old Italian semi-permanent camp, North of SIDI SULEIMAN, is empty. In the course of their run from SIDI AZEIZ to SULEIMAN the Armd Cars did not follow the track from Bp 38 but went straight across the desert via BP 41.

FRONTIER WIRE.
Their knowledge of the frontier wire was confined to BP 41. Obergefreiter Scheppler stated that he had seen some Italian Infantry Posts on either side of the wire.

CAPUZZO.
Neither prisoner had any detailed knowledge of CAPUZZO, but both agreed that on the occasion that they had been through, it had been void of any troops or defences. Three weeks ago, however, Unteroffizier Deppler had seen two Italian guns, approx 75 mm. calibre approx. 51353767. Obergefreiter Scheppler had seen a number of 2 cm light AA guns dispersed about 2 km West of CAPUZZO. He could not give exact figures but though that they were about a dozen in number. Neither prisoner had seen any “Dragon’s Teeth” running SE from CAPUZZO.

SIDI OMAR.
There are no troops in SIDI OMAR apart from small standing patrol of 33 Recce Unit as at SIDI SULEIMAN.

MINEFIELDS.
Although closely questioned on the subject, both prisoners denied any knowledge whatsoever of minefields in the frontier area. It is to be noticed, however, that their route from SIDI AZEIZ avoided the track from BP 38 to SIDI SULEIMAN. At the same time, in the neighbourhood of BP 41 the driver stated that he drove through any one of the gaps in the wire. He had not been given any instructions to drive through any particular one. Both men stated that there were no minefields either at SIDI SULEIMAN or at SIDI OMAR. Worthy of note too, is the fact that when they went bathing to BARDIA, their truck drove straight across the desert from SIDI AZEIZ to 518394 area and then followed the asphalt road to BARDIA.

ORGANISATION.
The unit consists of three coys. 1 Company is an AC company, 2 Company is an M/C company and 3 Company a heavy company. The AC Company has 20 four-wheeled Horsch ACs and 4 eight-wheeled Bussing ACs. There are no tanks in the unit. Transport consists of about 10 large lorries. The M/C Coy is armed with LMGs and has the same composition as MC companies in other Recce units. (Interrogators’ comment:- should be armed with 18 LMGs, 2 HMG and 3 Light Mortars).

The heavy company has an Engineer Platoon, an A/Tk Platoon and an Infantry Gun Platoon (comparison with 3 Recce Unit: three 3.7 cm. A/Tk Guns, 2 Infantry Guns, 4 LMGs).

TACTICAL.
Armd Cars go out on patrol in varying numbers from two to five cars together. They are not often accompanied by other arms and are apparently never accompanied by their A/Tk guns. These appear to be used only in the protection of standing camps or when the unit is at rest, they are almost always dug in.

PW formed part of the standing patrol at SIDI OMAR which consisted of four light ACs one of which had wireless.

On the occasion of our attack the unit left from SIDI AZEIZ and travelled WEST all night at a slow pace.

IDENTIFICATIONS.
PWs know only the 5 and 15 Divs in AFRICA. PW Deppler stated that he had seen Mark III Tanks belonging to 5 Tank Regt in the BARDIA area. Although he knew that 8 Tank Regt was part of this Div (15 Div) he thought that they could not yet be here as they were assembled in GERMANY immediately prior to his departure. PW Scheppler states that his comrades told him that they had talked with men of 8 Tank Rgt in the SALUM area. He saw one group of four tanks and one group of two tanks which he says belonged to 8 Tank Regt. PW has seen GERMAN and ITALIAN Infantry and GERMAN 105mm Arty. PW Deppler had seen Italians in BARDIA manning 75 mm guns and has seen German Arty, near the fwd area.

HQ.
HQ of 33 Recce Unit is in the wired-in perimeter camp at SIDI AZEIZ 502388 [using] TOBRUK 1/100,00 [map].

EXPLOSIONS IN HALFAYA AREA.
PW states that the Engineering activity in the HALFAYA area is caused by Italian Arty preparing gun positions.

MORALE.
The morale of the PW Deppler was very low. He said that he and all his comrades of the same class are fed up with the war and particularly they are fed up with the war in AFRICA. They don’t like the heat or the sand or the flies.

Comment:- This is an isolated case of a fall in morale and may be individual. Security of this PW was extraordinarily low he is not a member of the party and is rather bitter about it. Scheppler’s morale and security was much higher – he is a party member.
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ClintHardware
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Re: Aufklärung Abteilung 33

Post by ClintHardware » 27 May 2020 13:08

7th Support Group's War Diary
9th - 10th June. ‘TOGS’ Column under Major C. Consett 1 K.R.R.C. made a well planned capture of a light German Armd Car. One of the crew died, but the other two were brought to Support Group H.Q. and these underwent an examination under an interrogation for 7 ARMD Div: Colonel Campbell himself supplying some of the questions. The N.C.O. an ex [st ? n] trooper did his best, but quite a lot of useful information was discovered.

I havent yet worked out the word in [ ] brackets yet.
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ClintHardware
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Re: Aufklärung Abteilung 33

Post by ClintHardware » 27 May 2020 13:14

The sentence could be:

The N.C.O. an ex storm trooper did his last, but quite a lot of useful information was discovered.
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Re: Aufklärung Abteilung 33

Post by ClintHardware » 31 May 2020 17:45

Their Sd.Kfz 222 was brought in and examined
Appendix “C” to 7 Armd Div Int Summary No. 4
GERMAN 4 WHEELED ARMD CAR
One 20 mm automatic gun
One 7.91 mm SPANDAU MG 34 co-ax.
100 rounds A.P. and 120 rounds H.E. are carried for the 20 mm gun and 8 belts for the L.M.G. Two spare barrels are carried for the 7.91 mm.
In addition 8 smoke candles and 8 grenades are carried.
The gunner has both a telescopic and an AA sight. The telescope is made by E. LEITZ of WETZLAR type TZF. 3a., magnifies very slightly and is sighted up to 1200 metres. There are aim off graticules in the centre of the sight: it is easily detachable and has focussing adjustment. (WO 169/1173)

Note: The same Intelligence Summary noted that in respect of an examined Panzer II the 20 mm rounds were fed into magazines of 16 rounds capacity that were of similar design to those of the Bren. Fourteen magazines had been found in that panzer.
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Dili
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Re: Aufklärung Abteilung 33

Post by Dili » 01 Jun 2020 02:45

So just a small magnification?

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ClintHardware
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Re: Aufklärung Abteilung 33

Post by ClintHardware » 03 Jun 2020 21:19

Apparently.

The Turmzielfernrohr TZF 4, which is proabably closely similar, has a magnification of 2.5x and field of view of 25°. But other than that I have no idea at the moment.
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Urmel
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Re: Aufklärung Abteilung 33

Post by Urmel » 03 Jun 2020 23:30

2.5x seems to have been fairly standard. My understanding is that the graticules enabled targeting quite well even without magnification. https://panzerworld.com/german-armor-optics
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The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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