Joachim Peiper's tactics

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by David Thompson » 22 Aug 2018 19:21

Several posts from offizier1916, containing insulting language and low forms of speech, were removed pursuant to the forum rules, along with some now-unnecessary replies by other posters.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Aug 2018 20:18

Michael Kenny wrote:
22 Aug 2018 19:18
Reynolds has a proven history of ignoring sources when the story does not fit his bias. A common tactic of the SS fanbois. Reynolds was caught doing a 'David Irvine'
Michael,

I certainly got no sense of that from General Reynolds when I provided him the casualty data for Eagles and Bulldogs. He was quite happy to accept and work with the data without question.

WRT GOODWOOD, few really questioned the accepted version until the late Ian Daglish published his groundbreaking study...although I questioned the perception of it being a major British "loss" in an extended series of posts at the old TankNet site c. 2003-ish (unfortunately that exchange has disappeared into the ether and my own copy of my posts suffered from a disk crash a few years ago).

Anyway, who is 'David Irvine' and how was Reynolds "caught" doing him? :lol:
"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: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 22 Aug 2018 21:30

Michael Kenny wrote:
22 Aug 2018 16:55

You can be selective in the sources you use.
One example of where Reynolds does not 'lie' but rather defaults to a less reliable source than the one he should have used (and one he had access to) in order to preserve the myth:

That is a clear example of biased writing.

I never take a source on trust. I always check. Footnotes might look impressive but if you don't check then you can be misled.
What Myth? Reynolds combat history does a poor job of glorifying the SS. Unlike a lot of authors writing on German or allied/Soviet forces, he actually uses British/American sources rather frequently.

How do you know what he was thinking at the time? It's a bit presumptuous to mind read. I have seen German centric authors/posters complain about David M. Glantz (because he is stronger on Soviet than German sources for the most part). They typically do what you are doing, cherry pick a few trivial matters. Glantz and other historians are human, they haven't read everything and don't have access to everything. I don't think that they have the same interest in Allied: Axis muscle flexing contests like forum posters.

The average reader does not care at all about tank kills like you do.

You seem to specialize in finding supposed "bias" but when have you ever focused your efforts on allied bias?

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Michael Kenny » 22 Aug 2018 21:51

Cult Icon wrote:
22 Aug 2018 21:30


You can be selective in the sources you use.
Give the example you have in mind
Cult Icon wrote:
22 Aug 2018 21:30

One example of where Reynolds does not 'lie' but rather defaults to a less reliable source than the one he should have used (and one he had access to) in order to preserve the myth:
Reynolds had all the Regimental War Diaries. He uses them extensively throughout his books. In this case he decided to use one step up from the Unit. We can only speculate as to his motive.



Cult Icon wrote:
22 Aug 2018 21:30
What Myth? Reynolds combat history does a poor job of glorifying the SS. Unlike a lot of authors writing on German or allied/Soviet forces, he actually uses British/American sources rather frequently.
I gave you one example where he clearly got the 'Allied Sources' wrong. You have no means of checking Reynolds sources and are prepared to take him on trust. I can check. I know, you believe.

Cult Icon wrote:
22 Aug 2018 21:30
The average reader does not care at all about tank kills like you do.
On the contrary 'tank kill claims' are a German obsession. I (and many others)just try and get the real numbers into the Overton Window. Not doing too bad at it either even if I say so myself. These 'kill' number are by far the most important thing to fanbois . Battles where the German's lose whole armies are of no import. The important facts are that 'Only 3 Tigers were total losses at Kursk'


Cult Icon wrote:
22 Aug 2018 21:30
You seem to specialize in finding supposed "bias" but when have you ever focused your efforts on allied bias?
I work both sides of the street.

For Allied losses see :

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=225371&hilit=estry

and:
http://www.mapleleafup.net/forums/showt ... hp?t=28282

and:
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/missing ... 03437.html

and:

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/missing ... 03613.html

I am sure a quick Google will find you more examples.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by offizier1916 » 22 Aug 2018 22:18

who claims that germany lost only 3 tigers during Kursk?

Strength and Losses during Zitadelle, 5-16 july 43

Soviet strength:

1.910.361 Soldaten,
4.938 Panzer und Sturmgeschütze,
3.648 Flugzeuge,
ca. 31.415 Geschütze

German strength:
.778.907 Soldaten,
2.465 einsatzbereite Panzer und Sturmgeschütze,
1.372 einsatzbereite Flugzeuge,
ca. 7.417 Geschütze

Soviet Losses:

177.847 Mann[2]
1.614[3] –1.956[3] Panzer und StuG
459[3]–1.961[3] Flugzeuge
3.929 Geschütze

German losses:

54.182 Mann[4]
252[5] –323[6] Panzer und StuG total,
159 Flugzeuge
~ 500 Geschütze


And this is only the ratio from 5-16 july. Numbers vary a little from source to source, but are basically the same.

What an incredible horrible battle. Nobody can imagine what these soldiers had to endure during Operation Zitadelle and the following battles until sep 43.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by offizier1916 » 22 Aug 2018 22:33

And btw: who cares about the Tiger or Panther.
During Kursk only ca 150 (180 according to Hahn) Tiger went in action, so thats just 5% of the german tank and stug forces.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Sheldrake » 23 Aug 2018 13:51

benwi wrote:
22 Aug 2018 07:14
Harro wrote:
21 Aug 2018 21:20
:D A heavy clash with twelve GI's with one bazooka which fired one single shot
The clash in the early morning before the attack of the tanks was more than what you describe.Two platoons of infantry with AT guns were ordered across the bridge and clashed with the Panzergrenadiere between 0500 and 0600 as mentioned in Kampfgruppe Peiper , Wayne Evans and Michael Reynolds's books.
In the evening of the 17th there was only a section of engineers who withdrew. If Peiper's KG had pressed on at night they would have been across the bridge and through Stavelot - unless they stopped to ambush American traffic and have another massacre ;)

Pieper is portrayed as the hardened combat veteran when he bawls out inexperienced commanders of the 9th Parachute Regiment halted at Lanzerath for not checking that the enemy resistance in person. Yet the next night he does exactly the same thing himself, and his fans find excuses for their inactivity, inexcusable the night before.

I suspect that Pieper had switched off because he and all around him had no faith that the operation. Wach am Rein was a gamble predicated on reaching the Meuse in 48 hours, With 12 hours to go and well short of the objective he gave up trying. The mood of the time was to "enjoy the war as the peace will be terrible." The evidence of a US PW of a drinks party at La Gleize supports this. Has anyone a better explanation for Peiper's movements overrnight 17-8th Dec?

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Aug 2018 14:40

Hi Benwi,

You write, "Tanks not advancing in the dark in terrain where tanks can be easily ambushed is very sensible."

Yes, but not when it turns out there is virtually no opposition.

Besides, did Peiper only have tanks?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Aug 2018 17:43

In "Blood and Steel V3", there is a captured diary with a Flak Sgt. from 84. Flak assault battalion attached to KG Peiper.

Dec 18th (pg. 31):

"Marking our route of advance off both sides of the roads are immobile Tigers, Panthers, and even Panther Royals.11 Everywhere a frantic search for petrol; they even approach the Flak with a solicitation for a few gallons of petrol. The gentlemen from above ‘solve the problem’ by merely ordering [them] to capture petrol.
Before Stavelot the masses of SS concentrate. Obviously there is trouble brewing in town. And, yes indeed, our AA outfit receives the honour of being allowed to advance into this purgatory. My vehicle is the last one to be given this dubious honour. There is small arms fire, and mortar barrages aimed directly at us. I miraculously escape being hit by shrapnel. A few splinters got into my eye and I can’t see a thing as we advance into town. A few knocked-out Panthers stand by the road side. It is said that Belgian patriots took care of them by applying Panzerfausts.12"

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Aug 2018 18:20

The diary entries are unsanitized and pretty interesting. The Sgt. considers the SS men to be arrogant bullies that mistreat his Flak battalion. He also makes snide comments about Peiper, saying that he would save his own skin and abandon them if he had the chance. (later diary entry, after the unit is heavily reduced)

KG Peiper starts shooting civilians and POWs very quickly (he personally sees 3 civilians cut down with a SMG burst) which sickens the Austrian Sgt. (a former university student from Vienna before he became a soldier) and colors the rest of the diary.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Harro » 23 Aug 2018 18:53

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Aug 2018 18:20
The diary entries are unsanitized and pretty interesting. The Sgt. considers the SS men to be arrogant bullies that mistreat his Flak battalion. He also makes snide comments about Peiper, saying that he would save his own skin and abandon them if he had the chance. (later diary entry, after the unit is heavily reduced)
And in the end he did exactly that. When his men marched into captivity he sneaked away in an attempt to escape justice.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Aug 2018 22:06

Now on this topic JP's tactics it seem to me that the most important period to evaluate him as a commander is his employment in the fighting in 1943-1944 on the Eastern Front. When he commanded the primary combat group of the SSLAH he commanded in conditions that were more favorable to tactical and operational success (better supplied, trained and equipped troops), grouped under good leadership (Balck), supported by veteran East Front units (48.Panzer Korps) and in mobile warfare on a broad front against infantry and tank units of the Red Army.

I think that his use in dire context of 44-45 is more secondary. However, in the english language it appears that the Ardennes dominates the discussion.

I looked at Westemeir's 2012 book (645 pages of text) and he has only 12 pages on the SSLAH in the Ukraine. And then 20 pages on combat in 1945.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ALJYV3Q/re ... le_ext_tmb

Yet, this is, by far, the most important and impactful of his combat commands. I can see that comprehension of the enormous fighting in the Ukraine was an area of weakness when the Parker and Westemeir books were published. There were no detailed texts about in the english language (not sure about German personally) until the Zhitomir-Berdchev I/II histories and the SSLAH book 3 and a bit on 4/1.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Aug 2018 23:29

Here are some materials on the Nov-Dec 1943 fighting on another forum. I did some of the work; Art should be credited with the important contributions:

https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/foru ... 1943/page4

Balck's report of operations where the 1.Panzer and 1.SSLAH played a leading role (mid Nov- mid Dec 1943). It neatly details the tactical dynamics of the fighting and how difficult it was .

"the experience of “Citadel” was repeated on a lesser scale on every day. " :
Experience of offensive and defensive battles in the region Zhitomir-Berdichev 15.11.43-21.1.44

The Corps played a critical role both in defense and in offensive. It had a varying number of Army panzer divisions, Waffen SS, and infantry divisions under its control

1) Infantry divisions in their present form don’t correspond to modern requirements. Attachment of an assault gun battalion would help to alleviate this problem and return an offensive power to our infantry.
The light machine gun with all its accessories is too heavy. Infantry in the present tank warfare is so engaged in movement that it quickly losses its physical strength, therefore the light machine gun must be discarded as soon as possible. One should try to replace it with a new automatic carbine (MP 43).
Towed anti-tank guns are equally inadequate. Infantry needs the anti-tank gun on a self-propelled chassis.
Close-combat anti-tank weapons (Faustpatrone) should be given to every infantry squad.
From all said above organization of infantry and motorized rifle companies should be as follows:
2 assault platoons, each of three squads. Each squad about 1 NCO/7 privates
Weapons: 5 men with automatic carbines, 2 men with pistols, faustpatrones and hand grenades.
1 heavy platoon with 2 heavy machine guns, 1 heavy mortar and 3 Ofenrohrs.

2) Tank-Destroyer Battalion 473 (mot)
Report on battle experience is in the Appendix 1. The corps holds and opinion that expenditure of personnel and materials (vehicles) don’t correspond to the achieved results. Faustpatrones and Ofenrohrs must be integrated directly into units.

3) Panzer divisions proved their worth. Our tanks are materially absolutely superior to Russian tanks. A review of enemy tanks destroyed by various weapons is given in the Appendix 2.

Problems in battle training.
The Corps owes much of its success to night actions, an attack once begun must continue without any stops under light of the moon. Troops must be accustomed to these battle ruses. However, newly formed panzer units and panzer battalions believed that the tank is not suitable for night actions and discontinued activity with onset of night. That should be corrected by battle training. Russian employed their tanks at night with lights on (strong flashlights with blinding effect) against our retreating columns with good results.
I have already demanded that every soldier must receive training in mine warfare. In the battle at Vel.Derevishchi on 15.-16.1.44 7 Panzer Division and elements of the 19 Panzer Divisions attacked a Russian positions from two sides. Russians undertook counterattacks from all directions with a strong support of offensive mining. Our troops were strongly constrained in their maneuvering area. Mines were promptly installed in every counterattack. On a highway leading to the rear mines were constantly installed in the intervals between vehicles with the help of vegetation and twilight. Out of 6 tanks, 14 assault guns and 28 armored carriers 1 tank, 4 assault guns and 3 armored carriers were knocked out by mines. This offensive mining was one of the principal reasons that forced the 7 Panzer Division to discontinue the attack.
Unfortunately, the instruction of the General of Pioneers of 20.12.43 regarding employment of mines and corresponding battle training wasn’t sufficiently studied thus far. That was probably a reason of a limited number of Russian tanks destroyed by mines. Troops should value destruction of tanks by mines as much as by other weapons.

To block our tank attacks Russians hurl anti-tank brigades and regiments. Breakthrough of these anti-tank positions happened to be especially difficult for us. In some respects troops fear them even more than combat against tanks. Success can be attained by use of terrain, night attacks, cooperation between various arms and also timely and skillful employment of artillery. Also employment of air forces (tank hunting airplanes) is quite effective.

4) Blocking units
Breakthrough of Russian tanks to the rear is mostly opposed by alarm units. Their combat value is small. Following the Russian example (see above) we need to create anti-tank regiments. To avoid excessive expenditure of men and materiel which stems from German pursuit of superior organization, it is recommended to take Russian tables of organization as a basis. These units should be sufficiently compact and mobile to achieve success.
That these units should employ towed anti-tank only is beyond any doubt. Self-propelled guns possess lesser operational mobility and suffer from too high rate of technical breakdowns on marches. Deliveries of towed AT guns should be correspondingly increased.
[then follows a proposal to recover many abandoned Soviet AT guns in the corps area]

5) Luftwaffe
Cooperation is solid especially with tank hunting airplanes. In many instances raiding tank formations were subjected to coordinated attacks of air force in the right time and place. In other cases the Luftwaffe managed to chase tank formations into forests and immobilize them there for duration of days. By the present time there wasn’t a single Russian breakthrough which wasn’t hampered by our countermeasures. Further expansion of Luftwaffe tank hunting forces is urgent.
Conclusions for own tanks: anti-aircraft tanks and strong armor protection from corresponding directions for every tank.
Cooperation between tanks and Luftwaffe tank hunting airplanes must be sufficiently rehearsed. Regarding communications in combat by light signals and target designation by shots see Appendix 3.

6) Command experience
Cavalry-style operations of panzer divisions, that is employment of their high mobility for envelopment of enemy, were repeatedly confirmed by experience and are less expensive than frontal ramming.
For example, the Corps after a 70 km night march from Zhitomir area on 5/6.12.43 managed to deliver s surprise strike against deep flank of the Russian 60 Army and advance in one day 30-40 km deep into the enemy rear. By a cost of small own losses the enemy was fully confused and suffered large casualties.

Russians immediately fortify flanks of their penetrations and bridgeheads so strongly that attacks against them usually bog down, the same applies to frontal attacks. However, an oblique diagonal attack frequently leads to a larger success (Radomyshl bridgehead). The experience of “Citadel” was repeated on a lesser scale on every day. Night is used for attack and pursuit on a larger scale than before. Night marches with lights on should be excluded. Troops reluctance to make night marches should be broken. Tanks can attack under light from the moon and stars. Troops should be taught employment of compass.
As far as possible the breakthrough of enemy positions should be made in one continuous sector of the corps so, that initially all tanks, assault guns and artillery support one of divisions, then artillery prepares with fire an attack of the second division, and tanks of the second divisions, which took part in the initial attack of the first division, break into its sector from flank and rear. This process is necessary in view of a decreasing number of tanks employed in battle.
In defense armored groups are held in reserve under centralized control of the corps. Their cooperative actions with the Luftwaffe are arranged.
In retrograde movement the 7 Panzer Divisions suffered especially heavy losses in motor transport. The Corps, to which the division was not subordinated at that time, didn’t have an opportunity to check this information. However, I believe that the reasons were as follows:
When the Corps assumed control of Zhitomir there were 436 units there. LSSAH and 1 Panzer Divisions had to march through the city. Also the 18 Artillery Division and a flow of retreating trains of XIII and XXXXII Army Corps were moving through it. Only using the most harsh measures from the side of divisional staffs the corps managed to clear this mess. Time and place needed for evacuation of trains were absent. Only a poor and excessively cautious Russian leadership was the reason why the most terrible catastrophe of this war didn’t happen.
Proposal for the future:
Rear services must be prohibited from quartering in certain towns and road centers. They can function in villages just as well. Constant control over garrisons.
Timely organization of alternative roads and bridges
Timely evacuation of trains
Foot columns must be prohibited from entering these points during retreat
Orders to burn towed vehicles when retrograde movement is imminent

The reason for greatly decreasing number of operational tanks, assault guns and self-propelled guns was partly inefficient operation of repair companies and maintenance services. In particular GHQ units perform repair so crudely, that on a long way to the front in 100% cases vehicles need some additional works. Some vehicles break down completely without any combat. Stringent control and constant supervision of repair units and maintenance services from the side of corps and divisions are for this reason more urgent than ever before.

Artillery in its present composition is too immobile, especially apparatus – over several guns were have a superstructure of staffs and service elements. Artillery battalion staffs that in the present moment control not more than 9 barrels can handle twice that number just as well. To achieve mass effect and destruction fire at Schwerpunkt an increase in numbers of mortar and rocket launchers at the expense of artillery is needed. Russians have been going this way for more than a year.
Hence proposals regarding artillery in the panzer corps:
in the tank division organization the same as before, but with 6 guns in a battery instead of 4
a Schwepunkt group is formed under control of the corps Arko, composed of 1 regiment of rocket launchers and mortars and also a 21 cm howitzer battalion

A great importance of correct placing of the corps command point was confirmed one again in the eventful last weeks.
In retrograde actions the command point should not be located to close to the front. As demonstrated by practice in the case the staff would be easily involved in local actions, would be forced to change location, and won’t be able to command. When the corps staff is located at a reasonable distance from the front command becomes more stable, whereas there is still an possibility to maintain contact with troops and divisional staffs and execute stringent control in those critical hours. Corps staff should only change location when the front becomes stable.
For this reason one should avoid road centers and settlements on large highways, for they are the first target of enemy tanks.
Small and isolated settlements are most suitable.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by j keenan » 23 Aug 2018 23:33

The evaluation is he was good Btl. commander but a poor Rgt. and Kampgruppe commander .So if it hadn't been for the Malmedy murders which generated a lot of interest in him rightly or wrongly,I don't think he stands out as any thing special.He wasn't in combat that much compared to other Btl./Rgt. commanders of the Wehrmacht or Waffen SS to say he's one of the old guard.

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Re: Joachim Peiper's tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Aug 2018 03:11

Effectively Peiper was the Panzer KG commander from around Nov 20 onward with the SPW battalion under his jurisdiction.

Based on the achievements of SSLAH, I think that the evidence shows that he was a good but not great Panzer KG commander EXCEPT for his leadership in the Ardennes offensive. He was also over-decorated and should have ended the war with the RK (3rd Kharkov) and with the Oakleaves for the Ukraine.

Even Germany's most efficient tank commanders had severe failures. Bake was successful at the helm of Heavy PR Bake but he failed in the Lorraine, 1944 with the vastly inferior Panzer FHH Brigade. Strachwitz had the most outstanding success with the PR-GD in Kharkov but he underutilized Panzer Regiment G.D. in Citadel. Afterwards. he succeeded quite well in the Strachwitz operations which gave him the Diamonds.

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