Snipers in the Kriegsmarine

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Kriegsmarine except those dealing with the U-Boat forces.
Edward L. Hsiao
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Snipers in the Kriegsmarine

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 19 Aug 2005 04:04

Gentlemen,

Can you find any known actions of the Kriegsmarine sailors trained as snipers during the last few months of the Third Reich. If the Heer,Luftwaffe,and the Waffen-SS has snipers in their ground ranks,why not the ground-based sailors of the German Navy?

Sincerely,

Edward

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Hoover
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Post by Hoover » 20 Sep 2005 13:25

Hi Edward,
just have seen your question :wink:

Yes, the Kriegsmarine had snipers. I am working on the history an the battles of the 2nd Marineinfantriedivision, which fought in April 1945 between the Aller-River and Hamburg in Northern Germany. You won´t believe that, but the division was well equipped with weapons and field radios etc. There are a lot of reports of snipers armed with K43-scoped rifles especially during the battle of Rethem from April, 10th to 12th 1945. The newborn infantrymen were trained by Army instructors for a few days before moving into their combat areas.

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Battle of Rethem

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 24 Sep 2005 22:21

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your reply. I never heard of that particular battle that took place in Rethem. Where in Germany is Rethem located at? Sometimes I wondered how well the Kriegsmarine snipers performed. I guess we will really never know the name of these snipers that scored high kills against enemy soldiers.

Sincerely,

Edward :|

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philipp0408
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Post by philipp0408 » 24 Sep 2005 22:49

Hoover wrote:Hi Edward,
just have seen your question :wink:

Yes, the Kriegsmarine had snipers. I am working on the history an the battles of the 2nd Marineinfantriedivision, which fought in April 1945 between the Aller-River and Hamburg in Northern Germany. You won´t believe that, but the division was well equipped with weapons and field radios etc. There are a lot of reports of snipers armed with K43-scoped rifles especially during the battle of Rethem from April, 10th to 12th 1945. The newborn infantrymen were trained by Army instructors for a few days before moving into their combat areas.


Hello Hoover,

that seems to be a very interesting work, on what you are working now. Are you going to publish it?

Regards Philipp

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Hoover
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Post by Hoover » 28 Sep 2005 22:54

Rethem is a small village at the River Aller, about 35 kilometers south of Bremen.
The importance of Rethem made the heavy bridge crossing the river.
In April 1945 one batallion of the 2. Marineinfanteriedivsion, newly formes a month ago with only minor ground comabt experiences was ordered to defend the village.

The Marinedivison lacked of antitank capabilities, due to this a mixed Flak-combat group was attached.

On April, 10th 1945 the first Britsh attack made by the 7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers was stopped at a road junktion in front of Rethem. Another part of the Regiment advanced across a still foggy meadow, but in front of a German strongpoint the fog disappeared. Of the 150 British soldiers only 24 returned to their lines. in the afternoon parts of the British 4th ArmdBrig arrived and the Shermans supported the attacks. But all of them were beaten off by the fanatic sailors. On April, 12th 1945 the Brits saw that the Germans retreated from Rethem, the bridge was blown off during the battle.

In the 3 days of fighting 279 British and 79 German soldiers were killed, 9 civilians died, too.
Of the around 200 buildings in Rethem 64 were totally, 60 partially destroyed. 66 were damaged. 18 british tanks were destroyed or demobilised.

The battle was the bloodiest battle for the 53rd after the Normandy and more extreme than the Reichswald-clearing.

Edward L. Hsiao
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Thank You Hoover!

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 29 Sep 2005 05:59

Dear Sir,

Thank you for sharing this short action report on this forum. It goes to show you that the Kriegsmarine sailors were brave fighters even if their training on ground warfare was limited! I'm interested in the fighting qualities of the Wehrmacht and the individual feats of its soldiers,airmen,and sailors. :) Welcome to the Forum! :)


Sincerely,

Edward :wink:

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boko123
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Post by boko123 » 20 Mar 2006 16:35

I wonder if it is possible that their were snipers that accually operated on board ships sniping the enemy sailors during close quarter ship fighting..
I mean wouldnt it be handy to be able to pick of the enemy captain or did the ship fihting never get that close..?

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PPoS
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Post by PPoS » 20 Mar 2006 17:24

I wonder if it is possible that their were snipers that accually operated on board ships sniping the enemy sailors during close quarter ship fighting..
I mean wouldnt it be handy to be able to pick of the enemy captain or did the ship fihting never get that close..?


No, the ships weren't so close to each other during combat and I don't believe that they had sniper rifles on the ships.

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Xavier
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Post by Xavier » 20 Mar 2006 18:42

interesting topic, and info, thanks to you all, specially Hoover.
I have seen a picture of a Km sailor shooting from aboard a ship to a floating mine, sadly, I do not recall the website where is located. I guess all Km ships had at least one sniper for this purpose.
is there a sniper or KM marksman qualification badge in existence?

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Vulcan64
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Post by Vulcan64 » 17 Nov 2006 21:07

In the 3 days of fighting 279 British and 79 German soldiers were killed, 9 civilians died, too.
Of the around 200 buildings in Rethem 64 were totally, 60 partially destroyed. 66 were damaged. 18 british tanks were destroyed or demobilised.


It is remarkable that a division of hastily-trained Kriegsmarine sailors fighting as infantry could inflict these kind of casualties on British army units which were specifically trained and experienced in mechanized land warfare and other forms of ground warfare. I would hate to think what would have happened to the Western Allies had they not had the Soviet army wearing down the German army on the Eastern front, the massive Anglo-American preponderance in war material and technical resources, and the Western Allies' air forces attaining air superiority over the battlefield. The fighting qualities of so many of the German armed forces, and clearly the navy in this instance, were really quite astonishing.

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Re: Snipers in the Kriegsmarine

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 21 Jul 2019 11:35

I wonder who was the name of that one German battalion leader of the 2nd Marine Infantry Division who led the defense of Rethem and had inflicted heavy losses on the British forces? He should had gotten the Knight's Cross!


Edward L. Hsiao

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Hoover
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Re: Snipers in the Kriegsmarine

Post by Hoover » 04 Aug 2019 10:54

The CO of the Marine-Grenadier-Regiment 5 was Kapitän zur See Herrmann Jordan. He was in Rethem during the battle. Born in 1900 he was first Kriegsmarine, Kapitän of the Torpedo Boat "Möwe" from 1932-1934. Then he was transferred to the Luftwaffe as a Commander of the Küstenfliegergruppe 106 (Luftwaffe coastal flight command 106 on the island of Sylt). in 1944 he was back transferred to the Kriegsmarine and promotin to Kapitän zur See. 1944-1945 he was member of the Luftwaffenlehrstab der Kriegsmarine.
In February 1945 he took over command of the MGR 5.
He was captured in the small town of Visselhövede, some 50 Miles north of Rethem. He was killed during his escape on 20.04.1945.

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Re: Snipers in the Kriegsmarine

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 25 Aug 2019 04:44

I know that in late 1944 the snipers in the Kriegsmarine were qualified to be awarded the Sniper's badge grade 1 to 3.
Edward L. Hsiao

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Sheldrake
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Re: Snipers in the Kriegsmarine - 279 British dead ?

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Aug 2019 17:04

Vulcan64 wrote:
17 Nov 2006 21:07
In the 3 days of fighting 279 British and 79 German soldiers were killed, 9 civilians died, too.
Of the around 200 buildings in Rethem 64 were totally, 60 partially destroyed. 66 were damaged. 18 british tanks were destroyed or demobilised.
It is remarkable that a division of hastily-trained Kriegsmarine sailors fighting as infantry could inflict these kind of casualties on British army units which were specifically trained and experienced in mechanized land warfare and other forms of ground warfare. I would hate to think what would have happened to the Western Allies had they not had the Soviet army wearing down the German army on the Eastern front, the massive Anglo-American preponderance in war material and technical resources, and the Western Allies' air forces attaining air superiority over the battlefield. The fighting qualities of so many of the German armed forces, and clearly the navy in this instance, were really quite astonishing.

Sorry to puncture the picture of German supremacy, but the figure of 279 British dead looks far to high. Has someone compared fatalities with total casualties? The Commonwealth War Graves lists around 75 dead on these dates from the infantry battalions that served with the 53 Welsh division the Aller crossings at Verden and Rethem. Addm in 3.5 x that number and we have around 280. High enough among depleted infantry battalions with a rifle strength of some 270 on rifle platoons.

Where do the 79 German dead come from? Do they include the casualties of the Hungarian battalion that also fought in the engagement?

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Hoover
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Re: Snipers in the Kriegsmarine

Post by Hoover » 09 Sep 2019 22:23

Edit: You are right, it is the amount with the wounded and missing.

The Hungarians only had a few (4 or 5) dead at Otersen and Wittlohe. They surrendered very fast. I have a list somewhere with the names of the graves. The 77 (or 79, I have to look into my names list) Marines in the Rethem cemetery were all found in Rethem and surrounding area. There are no SS or Hungarian dead in Rethem.

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