21 st Panzer, Normandy

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Brady
Member
Posts: 1321
Joined: 10 Jul 2008 22:02
Location: Oregon

21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Brady » 02 Apr 2021 01:37

I know they had a lot of French equipment that was reconfigured but what I don’t know off the top of my head and I can’t seem to put my finger on is what they had in the way of actual panzers, what was were they operating during Normandy ?

spannermann
Member
Posts: 525
Joined: 23 Aug 2006 20:07
Location: UK

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by spannermann » 02 Apr 2021 13:46

Hi,
During the actual battle of Normandy they had eight companies of PzIV, a very few were the short barrel early versions.
In the months before Normandy there were French tanks in some of the companies, but most if not all had gone by the 6th June 44.

cheers PAUL

arminfreitag
Member
Posts: 365
Joined: 21 Nov 2018 21:30
Location: Germany

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by arminfreitag » 02 Apr 2021 14:09

Hi Brady
here the make up of 21.PzDiv in June 1944.
Source of this chart is Jentz: Panzertruppen 2.

Regards
Armin
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Brady
Member
Posts: 1321
Joined: 10 Jul 2008 22:02
Location: Oregon

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Brady » 02 Apr 2021 19:55

Great Thanks, Looks like Stug's and Panzer IV's :)

Presumably Stug III's ?

Alanmccoubrey
Financial supporter
Posts: 3214
Joined: 19 Sep 2008 13:44

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 02 Apr 2021 20:13

Brady wrote:
02 Apr 2021 19:55
Great Thanks, Looks like Stug's and Panzer IV's :)

Presumably Stug III's ?
21 PD didn't have any StuG IIIs, the Funklenk Company was withdrawn before D Day to become 2./Pz Abt (Fkl) 302.
Alan

Brady
Member
Posts: 1321
Joined: 10 Jul 2008 22:02
Location: Oregon

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Brady » 02 Apr 2021 21:46

Do you know what they were equipped with?

User avatar
Christian Ankerstjerne
Forum Staff
Posts: 13764
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 14:07
Location: Denmark

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 02 Apr 2021 22:44

I had a look at the 1 June 1944 unit report, which has a greater than average amount of detail. I started writing it as a post, but it quickly became messy, so I created this page instead:
https://panzerworld.com/21-panzer-division-june-1944

The summary in the report does not seem to match the Kriegsgliederung, so do use advisedly.

AKahl
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 01 Jul 2012 00:50
Location: California

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by AKahl » 02 Apr 2021 22:44

I have cribbed into one of my books that the division's 200th Sturmgeschutz Battalion had 30 x 10.5 cm leFH18 (SF) auf geschutzwagen 39H (f) and 20 x 7.5cm PaK40 (sf) auf geschutzwagen 39H (f). They were supposed to have been organized into five mixed batteries, each consisting of 4 75mm and 6 105mm self-propelled guns. There's a Deutsche Wochenschau episode showing Rommel reviewing the unit, which shows these vehicles. They were built by Baucommando Becker and were self-propelled conversions of French Hotchkiss tanks.
Remain yourself, in spite of all the mighty do.

Goethe

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3184
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Apr 2021 00:02

Christian Ankerstjerne wrote:
02 Apr 2021 22:44
I had a look at the 1 June 1944 unit report, which has a greater than average amount of detail. I started writing it as a post, but it quickly became messy, so I created this page instead:
https://panzerworld.com/21-panzer-division-june-1944

The summary in the report does not seem to match the Kriegsgliederung, so do use advisedly.
There is a discussion elsewhere on this forum about the organisation of this division. I have a suspicion that the details reported by the division may not match reality. After all this was the only formation that had its own factory turning out AFVs and was commanded by a deceitful character.

User avatar
Christian Ankerstjerne
Forum Staff
Posts: 13764
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 14:07
Location: Denmark

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 03 Apr 2021 00:22

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Apr 2021 00:02
There is a discussion elsewhere on this forum about the organisation of this division. I have a suspicion that the details reported by the division may not match reality. After all this was the only formation that had its own factory turning out AFVs and was commanded by a deceitful character.
I found a couple of old discussions using the search engine but nothing recent. Do you happen to have a link?

I'm curious about your suspicion. It is certainly possible that the numbers are not correct but I can't think of a reason to believe that they were not reported in good faith. After all, 21. Panzer-Division was authorized to have a special table of organization and equipment, and it seems unlikely that they would have been asked to hand over some of their converted French equipment to other units.

Brady
Member
Posts: 1321
Joined: 10 Jul 2008 22:02
Location: Oregon

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Brady » 03 Apr 2021 01:31

It’s interesting that they were almost entirely equipped with the PIV

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3184
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Apr 2021 10:27

Christian Ankerstjerne wrote:
03 Apr 2021 00:22
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Apr 2021 00:02
There is a discussion elsewhere on this forum about the organisation of this division. I have a suspicion that the details reported by the division may not match reality. After all this was the only formation that had its own factory turning out AFVs and was commanded by a deceitful character.
I found a couple of old discussions using the search engine but nothing recent. Do you happen to have a link?

I'm curious about your suspicion. It is certainly possible that the numbers are not correct but I can't think of a reason to believe that they were not reported in good faith. After all, 21. Panzer-Division was authorized to have a special table of organization and equipment, and it seems unlikely that they would have been asked to hand over some of their converted French equipment to other units.
There are two discrepancies.

1. The reports for 1st June all report the presence of some SOMUA. There is a consensus among historians that these were not used in combat and an assumption that more Pz IV were received by 6th June. This is an assumption not supported by documentary evidence. I accept and understand the logic, but just want to note that we all know documents don't always tell the whole picture.

2. There is a discrepancy about the size and composition of StuG Bn 200.
Zetterling quotes the status report to Inspector General of Panzer Troops dated 1st June as having four batteries each of four 7.5 cm auf Ho and six 10.5cm auf Ho. This may differ from the KFSTN which IRRC has the proportion of 7.5 cm and 10.5 cm reversed. ASlthough the same status report is given in the annex to Kortenhaus' divisional history, in the text he says the formation had five batteries with a further battery forming and goes on to give names and deployment locations for each battery. i.e. there were 50% more SP guns than reported.

One main reason for accurate reporting of equipment states is that commanders are responsible for the military equipment issued to them by the state. In this case this the equipment has been locally manufactured by Becker, who also is the commander of the unit which will use it. G Panzer Forces had no means of cross referencing the numbers reported by 21 Pz Div. 21 Panzer Div could give whatever numbers they liked, as long as they could show that number of vehicles if Rommel paid a visit.

I don't think we can dismiss concerns that 21st Panzer Division might be told to hand over anti tank guns surplus to its establishment. Half of the original batch of Becker conversions were handed over to be SP batteries for static infantry divisions in 1943. One of the unofficial parts of the military code is to never declare buckshee items Twenty SP Guns in excess of the divisions establishment would provide higher command with opportunity to find a creative use e.g. as additional batteries to reinforce some other formation needing mobile anti tank weapons - perhaps 716 or 352 infantry?

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4354
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Apr 2021 16:59

Christian Ankerstjerne wrote:
02 Apr 2021 22:44
I had a look at the 1 June 1944 unit report, which has a greater than average amount of detail. I started writing it as a post, but it quickly became messy, so I created this page instead:
https://panzerworld.com/21-panzer-division-june-1944

The summary in the report does not seem to match the Kriegsgliederung, so do use advisedly.
It is a mess. Zetterling, using the 1 June report to the IG Panzertruppen,gives the organization as:

Pz.-Regt. 22
Gefechtsstand – Aubigny
Kdr: Oberst Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski
Stabs-Kp. (three Pz.-III (k), five Pz.-IV (l), one Befl.Pz.-III)
Flak-Pz.-Kp (twelve Flak-Pz.-38)
I./Pz.Regt. 22
Gefechtsstand – Jort
Kdr: Major Wilhelm von Gottberg
Stabs-Kp. (one Pz.-III (k), five Pz.-IV (l), one Befl.Pz.-III)
1.-4. Kp. (17 Pz.-IV (l) each)
II./Pz.Regt. 22
Gefechtsstand – Fresné-la-Mère
Kdr: Major Martin Vierzig
Stabs-Kp. (five Pz.-IV (l), three Befhl.Pz.-S35 (f) (Somua))
5. Kp. (five Pz.-IV (l), nine Pz.-S35 (f) (Somua)
6. Kp. (five Pz.-IV (l), thirteen Pz.-S35 (f) (Somua), two Pz.-H38 (f)
(Hotchkiss))
7. Kp. (five Pz.-IV (l), thirteen Pz.-S35 (f) (Somua))
8. Kp. (six Pz.-IV (k))

However, as you note, the divisional report counted nine fewer Somua. I think the answer is that on or about 1 June, 5. Kompanie probably dropped its nine in preparation for exchanging them for nine new Panzer IV from the 14 dispatched 24 May. However, when the 14 arrived and how they were distributed remains unknown to me. I would guess nine would have gone to 6. Kompanie and the remaining five to 8. Kompanie, but that is only a guess.

I also doubt that any of the Somua were used in action, since they were apparently only intended for training and local security. Ditto the two Hotchkiss. The question then is where did the discarded Somua and Hotchkiss go? To Becker for additional conversions? To Mailly as training vehicles? Or to Pz.-Abtl. 100., 205., or 206.?
"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

User avatar
Christian Ankerstjerne
Forum Staff
Posts: 13764
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 14:07
Location: Denmark

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 03 Apr 2021 17:15

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Apr 2021 10:27
1. The reports for 1st June all report the presence of some SOMUA. There is a consensus among historians that these were not used in combat and an assumption that more Pz IV were received by 6th June. This is an assumption not supported by documentary evidence. I accept and understand the logic, but just want to note that we all know documents don't always tell the whole picture.
They definitely received more Pz Kpfw IVs after 1 June. On 10 June, 21. Panzer-Division reported having 112 Pz Kpfw IVs, so they would have received at least 12. They also didn't report any captured tanks other than 33 self-propelled anti-tank guns:
https://panzerworld.com/normandy-1944

21. Panzer-Division were allocated 14 Pz Kpfw IVs in May 1944:
https://panzerworld.com/german-armor-al ... n-may-1944

In the original delivery report, the vehicles are listed as having been dispatched on 24 May. It does not seem completely implausible that these vehicles did not arrive until after 1 June.
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Apr 2021 10:27
2. There is a discrepancy about the size and composition of StuG Bn 200.
Zetterling quotes the status report to Inspector General of Panzer Troops dated 1st June as having four batteries each of four 7.5 cm auf Ho and six 10.5cm auf Ho. This may differ from the KFSTN which IRRC has the proportion of 7.5 cm and 10.5 cm reversed. ASlthough the same status report is given in the annex to Kortenhaus' divisional history, in the text he says the formation had five batteries with a further battery forming and goes on to give names and deployment locations for each battery. i.e. there were 50% more SP guns than reported.

One main reason for accurate reporting of equipment states is that commanders are responsible for the military equipment issued to them by the state. In this case this the equipment has been locally manufactured by Becker, who also is the commander of the unit which will use it. G Panzer Forces had no means of cross referencing the numbers reported by 21 Pz Div. 21 Panzer Div could give whatever numbers they liked, as long as they could show that number of vehicles if Rommel paid a visit.

I don't think we can dismiss concerns that 21st Panzer Division might be told to hand over anti tank guns surplus to its establishment. Half of the original batch of Becker conversions were handed over to be SP batteries for static infantry divisions in 1943. One of the unofficial parts of the military code is to never declare buckshee items Twenty SP Guns in excess of the divisions establishment would provide higher command with opportunity to find a creative use e.g. as additional batteries to reinforce some other formation needing mobile anti tank weapons - perhaps 716 or 352 infantry?
I agree that it is possible that they could have fudged the numbers. They might also have had the motivation to do so, though I would still argue that any allocation of vehicles to other units would most likely only be done if the number of vehicles allocated was of a certain size. Allocating one or two vehicles with which the mechanics of those units were not familiar would not have made much sense. Of course that said, logic was not always the deciding factor when it comes to German armored history.

In either case, it seems that the argument isn't so much that they didn't have the vehicles stated, but rather that they possibly had more? This would not be the first time that this was the case, especially for older equipment that was no longer considered important enough to be reported upon.

User avatar
Christian Ankerstjerne
Forum Staff
Posts: 13764
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 14:07
Location: Denmark

Re: 21 st Panzer, Normandy

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 03 Apr 2021 17:48

I see that you posted while I was writing.
Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Apr 2021 16:59
It is a mess. Zetterling, using the 1 June report to the IG Panzertruppen,gives the organization as:

[...]

However, as you note, the divisional report counted nine fewer Somua. I think the answer is that on or about 1 June, 5. Kompanie probably dropped its nine in preparation for exchanging them for nine new Panzer IV from the 14 dispatched 24 May. However, when the 14 arrived and how they were distributed remains unknown to me. I would guess nine would have gone to 6. Kompanie and the remaining five to 8. Kompanie, but that is only a guess.
Thank you for the additional detail. It does seem like a plausible explanation, especially considering that some of the French tanks appear to have been used as placeholders. I found a site that claims the 1 May 1944 Kriegsgliederung is available in the AOK 7 KTB, though it is not legible on the site:
http://www.spearhead1944.com/gerpg/21ger_rec.htm

If I can find the original, this should at least be able to confirm whether the 14 Pz IV arrived before or after 1 June.
Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Apr 2021 16:59
I also doubt that any of the Somua were used in action, since they were apparently only intended for training and local security. Ditto the two Hotchkiss. The question then is where did the discarded Somua and Hotchkiss go? To Becker for additional conversions? To Mailly as training vehicles? Or to Pz.-Abtl. 100., 205., or 206.?
Agreed, at least not as part of regular armored operations. They would still have been just as useful against infantry as they were in 1940, so it doesn't seem entirely implausible that they would have been used as fire support vehicles.

Return to “The Ron Klages Panzer & other vehicles Section”