Flak Units during GOODWOOD

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Michael Kenny
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Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Michael Kenny » 05 Oct 2023 20:10

In The Becker Folder at The IWM there is a map showing the positions of two Heer 8.8cm Flak Units. One is from 21st Pz Div (Flak Abt 305?)with 8 guns but another is just captioned 'Heer' with 12 guns


At 12:00 hr the unnamed Heer Unit is at La Hogue

S 578.jpg

and by 23:59 has moved back to Secquiville Campagne

July 18 23-45 hrs. (1).jpg

The blue circle below is the area where a single 8.8cm Flak gun was left behind on the battlefield. All the other 8.8cm guns found were pak.
The green line is the final front line on July 22nd.
GOODWOOD map fvdde.jpg
Anyone know which Unit it could be?
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Richard Anderson
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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 Oct 2023 23:08

The only possibilities I see are Heeres-Flak-Abteilung 291. or 294. Both were motorized and both had 8.8cm guns, albeit only 3./294 was a schwere batterie, so only had four 8.8cm Flak. They were both assigned to Art.Regt.-Stab z.b.V. 958 as of 6 June 1944, protecting V-weapon sites. The others were all assigned to Panzer divisions, so would not be candidates. Then there was 316., but it was bodenständiges, and 281., but it had no guns and was sent to Germany to equip and was reportedly not engaged in France.

Based on that I would guess it was 291. It had four batterien, 1.-3. were schwere and 4.was leichte as far as I can tell.
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Delta Tank
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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Delta Tank » 28 Oct 2023 18:02

Richard Anderson wrote:
05 Oct 2023 23:08
The only possibilities I see are Heeres-Flak-Abteilung 291. or 294. Both were motorized and both had 8.8cm guns, albeit only 3./294 was a schwere batterie, so only had four 8.8cm Flak. They were both assigned to Art.Regt.-Stab z.b.V. 958 as of 6 June 1944, protecting V-weapon sites. The others were all assigned to Panzer divisions, so would not be candidates. Then there was 316., but it was bodenständiges, and 281., but it had no guns and was sent to Germany to equip and was reportedly not engaged in France.

Based on that I would guess it was 291. It had four batterien, 1.-3. were schwere and 4.was leichte as far as I can tell.
I was under the impression that all FLAK batteries were in the Luftwaffe. The German Army had FLAK units?

Mike

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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Oct 2023 18:43

Delta Tank wrote:
28 Oct 2023 18:02
...I was under the impression that all FLAK batteries were in the Luftwaffe. The German Army had FLAK units?

Mike

Each ground combat division had a anti aircraft unit of some type. Composition varied, for a armored division a small group of up to eight of the 8.8cm Flak, and a dozen or more of the 2 & 3.7 cm cannon. I don't remember the details of any 'Army' independent anti air battalions. The Navy had its antiaircraft cannon units as well.

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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Delta Tank » 29 Oct 2023 00:41

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
28 Oct 2023 18:43
Delta Tank wrote:
28 Oct 2023 18:02
...I was under the impression that all FLAK batteries were in the Luftwaffe. The German Army had FLAK units?

Mike

Each ground combat division had a anti aircraft unit of some type. Composition varied, for a armored division a small group of up to eight of the 8.8cm Flak, and a dozen or more of the 2 & 3.7 cm cannon. I don't remember the details of any 'Army' independent anti air battalions. The Navy had its antiaircraft cannon units as well.
Carl,

We’re the AAA Batteries Heer? Or Luftwaffe? Or did each branch have their own AAA units?

Mike

Richard Anderson
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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Oct 2023 01:07

Delta Tank wrote:
29 Oct 2023 00:41
We’re the AAA Batteries Heer? Or Luftwaffe? Or did each branch have their own AAA units?

Mike
Mike,

The prewar and early wartime Heeres Flak were liechte 2cm battalion. They started adding schwere battalions in 1943, mostly as divisional assets but some were army-level and assigned as needed. All were Heer personnel.

The Luftwaffe and KM Flak units were also manned by personnel from their respective services.
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Larry D.
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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Larry D. » 29 Oct 2023 16:29

Lexikon der Wehrmacht lists:
10 Heeres-Flak-Brigaden
5 Heeres-Flak-Regimenter
52 Heeres-Flak-Abteilungen

These were independent GHQ units and not components of any divisions. To find the others that were components of divisions, you will have to look up each division. These, perhaps with a few exceptions, carry the number or name of the division it belonged to.

The Luftwaffe, on the other hand, had hundreds and hundreds of Flak-Abteilungen. I counted them up at one time for a month and year I thought they might be at peak and the number was an estimated 800+ Flak-Abt. of all types. Flak personnel represented nearly half the total strength of the Luftwaffe, although a large minority of these were teenage Luftwaffen-Flakhelfer, foreign volunteers (Croatians, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, etc.), and Russian POWs.

L. deZ.

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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Michael Kenny » 29 Oct 2023 16:45

von Luck states it was a Luftwaffe Unit he encountered on 18/7/44. A central part of his story is that the Flak commander would not do as he was ordered and had to be forced at gunpoint to obey. An Army Unit (I presume) would present no such command problems to von Luck.

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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Oct 2023 19:19

Larry D. wrote:
29 Oct 2023 16:29
Lexikon der Wehrmacht lists:
10 Heeres-Flak-Brigaden
5 Heeres-Flak-Regimenter
52 Heeres-Flak-Abteilungen

These were independent GHQ units and not components of any divisions. To find the others that were components of divisions, you will have to look up each division. These, perhaps with a few exceptions, carry the number or name of the division it belonged to.
Not exactly Larry. The addition of Flak-Abteilungen to divisions began in summer 1942 when the 20. (Flak) Kompanie Grossdeutschland was expanded into Heers-Flakartillerie-Abteilung 285 when the Regiment was expanded to a division. Later it was renamed Heeres-Flakartillerie-Abteilung Großdeutschland. The following spring, Heeres-Flakartillerie Abteilungen began organizing for attachment to the Panzer divisionen,

299. Heeres-Flak to 1. Panzer
273. to 2. Panzer
314. to 3. Panzer
290. to 4. Panzer
288. to 5. Panzer
298. to 6 Panzer
296 to 7. Panzer
286. to 8. Panzer
287. to 9. Panzer
302. to 10. Panzer (reformed in Naples from Flak-KG Vesuv)
277. to 11. Panzer
303. to 12. Panzer
271. to 13. Panzer
276. to 14. Panzer
274. to 16. Panzer
297. to 17. Panzer
292. to 18. Panzer
272. to 19. Panzer
295. to 20. Panzer
305. to 21. Panzer
289. to 22. Panzer
278. to 23. Panzer
283. to 24. Panzer
279. to 25. Panzer
304. to 26. Panzer
281. to 116. Panzer
311. to Panzer-Lehr

312. to 3. Infanterie-Division (mot) then destroyed at Stalingrad and rebuilt for 3. Panzergrenadier-Division
315. to 15. Panzergeandier-Division
284. to 20. Panzergenadier-Division
313. to 29. Infanterie-Division (mot) then destroyed at Stalingrad and rebuilt for 29. Panzergrenadier-Division
282. to 60. Infanterie-Division (mot) then destroyed at Stalingrad and rebuilt for Panzergrenadier-Division-Feldherrnhalle

293. to 78 Sturm-Division

308. to 118. Jäger-Division
309. to 117. Jäager-Division

275,. 280., 291., 294,. 300., 301., 306., 307., 310., 316., were also organized as Heerestruppen, although I suspect two of them may have been intended initially for 15. and 27. Panzer.

317. and 318. were organized in August 1944

144., 319., 320., and 321. were organized in 1945.

Then there were the eight six-Kompanie Flak-Batallionen (31., 46. 47., 48., 52., 55., 59. and 66.) that were broken up in late 1940 and assigned to other units, some ending up as parts of the twenty four-Kompanie Flak-Batallionen (mot) (601.-620.), which were actually Sfl. 501. was organized in Italy and 960. was organized in France in 1943. Late-war Fla-Btl as Heerestruppen were 276. and I./103. and II./103., which later reorganized as 958. and 959.

They also included Flak-Batallion 22., which was organized for 22. Infanterie-Division (Luftlande).

So 34 of those, of which one was assigned to a division.
The Luftwaffe, on the other hand, had hundreds and hundreds of Flak-Abteilungen. I counted them up at one time for a month and year I thought they might be at peak and the number was an estimated 800+ Flak-Abt. of all types. Flak personnel represented nearly half the total strength of the Luftwaffe, although a large minority of these were teenage Luftwaffen-Flakhelfer, foreign volunteers (Croatians, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, etc.), and Russian POWs.
Yeah, the numbers are rather incredible. Don't forget the part-time units manned by RAD personnel - seven in France alone - and the Alarm-Flak too. I tried once to track all those in France as of 1 June 1944 and ended up with at least 127 Abteilungen plus at least 64 Alarm-Flak Batterien.
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Larry D.
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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Larry D. » 30 Oct 2023 15:36

Richard -

Right you are..............that's what I get for jumping the gun without my reference material. My house caught fire on 26 March due to shoddy pre-code wiring and burned out. All salvageable possessions, including 3,200 books, microfilms, card files, folders of photocopies from NARA, BNA, BA-MA, etc. and written notes currently sit in a warehouse owned by the general contractor who will not release them to me until the reconstruction of my house is completed and ready to be reoccupied. I quick look in Koch or Tessin Band I would have brought me to a halt before writing that e-mail as they both cover Luftwaffen-Flak as well as Heeres-Flak.

Koch, Horst-Adalbert, Flak: Die Geschichte der deutschen Flakartillerie und der Einsatz der Luftwaffenhelfer. Podzun Verlag: Bad Nauheim, 1965). 682p.

However, there is one caveat: the website below has much if not most of the KTB'er u. Anlagen of the I. Flakkorps in Ukraine and South Russia from April 1942 to the end of the war in Silesia. There is quite a bit here about the Heeres-Flakeinheiten as these Abteilungen were frequently subordinated to the Luftwaffe for operational purposes, even though they remained under the Heer for administrative, disciplinary and housekeeping (supply) purposes. It was their employment in Normandy that I was thinking about where they operated shoulder-to-shoulder with the much more numerous Luftwaffe Flak units.

https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... estand-500
Findbuch 12476 - Flakkorps und Flakdivisionen

In sum, I'm a Luftwaffe guy and I should have driven right on by this thread.

L. deZ.

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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Richard Anderson » 30 Oct 2023 15:43

Jeez Larry, I'm so sorry to hear that. I have nightmares of that happening sometime to us.

I am not surprised that the Heeres-Flak ended up subordinated to the Luftwaffe, since the vice versa happened too.
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Sean Oliver
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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Sean Oliver » 11 Nov 2023 02:44

Michael Kenney!
Did you photograph those Becker maps at IWM yourself?
If so, did you get the complete maps? Getting everything might provide important tidbits.
Also, if you did look at the file, can you describe the contents? Size? Subjects? Dates? Just a general description would be great.
Becker's material would be valuable enough simply because of his role in creating Feuchtinger's Funnies. But it also seems to be the only wartime records of a German unit involved with Goodwood, and almost the only docs from 21.Pz.Div in Normandy to survive. Yet few people seem to know of its existence or exploit its potential value.
The IWM collection online search says it contains 500+ "images", whatever that means, probably microfilm (?). IWM also holds a bunch of film clips of Stug 200 before the invasion, and I’ve seen some other similar clips online as well. Tantalizing and unique material. Someone in England ought to copy it all and upload it.

The Flak Units:
One of the two Flak units has H-Flak Abt 305 indicated, but neither unit symbol indicates any specific type or caliber of Flak, only the quantity of guns.
I’d think the simplest and most obvious explanation is that both units are ‘batteries’ of Heeres-Flak-Abt.305, belonging to 21.Pz.Div.
The 305th TO+E specified 3 batteries; Nos. 1 + 2 with 4x88mm and 3x20mm, and No.3 with 9x20mm and 2x20mm Quad.
Since the map is Becker's it would be unlikely to include units other than 21.Pz.Div., unless Becker had been explicitly tasked to cooperate with such a unit. As we see, the only other units depicted by name on the map are all part of 21.Pz.Div.
The two batteries are placed several thousand meters SW of Cagny, which makes them unlikely – but possible – contenders as the Cagny ‘LW’ 88s. There were probably not any other Heeres Flak units in the area just those from 305/21.Pz.
Luck’s Cagny 88s:
However, there were almost certainly several LW batteries in the general area. Pickert’s US Army FMS paper B-597 basically confirms there probably was a LW battery in Cagny on July 18th, and other batteries among the surrounding villages.
According to Pickert, the LW III. Flak Korps had most of its Flak to the south southeast of Bourguebus Ridge. But there were some 20mm + 88mm Flak groups placed closer to the front on July 18th. He first says 'around Roquancourt’ and behind the “front zone AT” barrier, protecting the Caen-Falaise Road. Roquancourt is about 10 KM southwest of Cagny.
But then he mentions reports from these light and heavy Flak guns engaged in ground combat during Goodwood, in the main combat zone, not south of it, and mentions some guns which were the only forces available to fight the enemy tanks and infantry. (Paraphrase)
If these guns formed in a line following close behind the July 16-17th front and conformed to its shape as it curved toward the northeast, then some LW Flak would very likely end up at Cagny. They would also be deployed astride the equally important Caen- –Lisieux -- Paris highway which passes Cagny.
Based on the agreement/confirmation of both Pickert's and Luck's accounts, this is probably the most likely scenario, w/some speculation, but not much: The 88s in Cagny survive the bombing, and, from 0800 to 0900 (approx) things there become quieter. Perhaps they prepare to relocate or pack up their equipment etc. After 0900, the battery notices British tanks on the horizon, and nervously hopes it can tow its guns away in time. Suddenly out of nowhere, a pistol waving lunatic in a panzer officer’s full dress uniform appears and orders them to open fire on the enemy tanks - or else. They reluctantly comply. After a few minutes of shooting at British tanks from the edge of Cagny, German reinforcements have arrived, but the lunatic officer has thankfully departed. The LW battery decides to leave Cagny’s defences in the hands of more suitable German ground forces, and disappears.
Least likely of all is that Luck simply fabricated the story in his memoirs so he could brag and boast about his role in defeating Goodwood and humiliate British participants during battlefield tours. This characterization of Luck seems motivated by petulance and without tangible and compelling evidence cannot be taken seriously.
Luck returned to Germany after 10 years in a Soviet POW camp, but wasn’t persuaded to write his war memoirs until the 1970’s, possibly because he needed the money. He apparently did not wish to dwell on his years as an officer, and I think it is clear from his memoirs that he was not especially proud of his war service. nor did he focus attention on his ‘performance’ as a ‘brilliant German Panzer commander’. He turned down a post-war military career with the new Bundeswehr. As far as I can tell, the only wartime accounts he gave to anybody were for Alexander McKee’s early 1960’s book about Normandy, which includes quite a number of other 21.Pz.D interviews. Luck’s name does appear frequently in the book, but mostly as ‘Battle Group Luck’ and his own contributions are almost non-existent. Luck apparently did not describe the Flak incident to McKee at all, since this didn’t appear in McKe’s book. This is hardly the behavior of a glory seeker.
I'm uncertain exactly when Luck joined the Goodwood tours, but it seems this happened about the time his memoirs were published in German only, sometime in the later 1970's, and this was when the MOD Goodwood documentary was produced. Maybe others can clarify this. I have not examined the BAOR ‘Goodwood’ Tour books, or read any transcripts of those presentations other than the MOD film.
His presentation in the film is serious and somber, and does not show much enthusiasm discussing the battle or boasting about his role, especially regarding Cagny. He seems almost depressed thinking about it. Maybe he grew more comfortable talking about his career in WW2 later on, when he became a minor celebrity among young NATO officers, but he first wrote his account of Cagny years earlier when he had tried to put the war behind him, but was persuaded to write his memoirs. At least this is my impression of the man.
We have seen enough pompous military leaders who have inflated their abilities and even lied about their wartime leadership in order to glorify themselves, but Luck does not seem like one of them.
Last edited by Sean Oliver on 11 Nov 2023 15:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Michael Kenny » 11 Nov 2023 05:24

There are two British sources for Flak AA guns just south of Cagny. The first is a map reference for a single flak gun found just SW of Cagny and north of the railway line in the green circle
Caen to Troarn 1-50.000 . (2).jpg
This is almost certainly that gun
flak 88 kl (1).jpg
There is also an account by a soldier in Welsh Guards who mentions digging in south of Cagny and noted a group of 4 abandoned 88's left standing by a line of trees '50 yards away'.

If the Flak guns did exist then it is very unlikely they were in Cagny.

There are also two photos of senior Luftwaffe Officers sitting/standing in some shallow trenches which is captioned Cagny but to my eye it looks very open ground and more likely Bourguebus. Despite looking I have been unable to find any emplacements in the air views.
Post-war there was a lot of communication between the officers from both sides and some adjustments made to the existing German accounts. In particular the claim there was a Flak battery at Cagny allowed von Rosen to change his 1944 version of his advance north of Cagny being stopped by an 'unknown British gun' knocking out 3 of his Tigers and to substitute the claim it must have been this 'Flak Unit' that knocked out his Tigers 'by mistake'.
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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Sean Oliver » 11 Nov 2023 16:38

The postwar adjustments to Rosen's account only establishes that his tanks must've been hit by 88s in/near Cagny, not necessarily Flak guns. This is obvious.
Post-battle photos of a weapon only proves that it was there when the photo was taken. Nothing more.
4 88s found 50 yds away is certainly close enough to qualify them as part of Cagny's defenders.

Here's a fascinating presentation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za8VGtbppHA

Michael, here's a great suggestion; At the NA GB examine the intelligence files from each of the British HQ involved in Goodwood (the 3 arm divs, VIII Corps, 2nd Army, 21 AG) these should include compilation lists or summaries of German POWs and their units taken on July 18-21. These should provide a very good idea of exactly which German units fought on the Goodwood battlefield July 18-19.
Also
From BAMA, III.Flak Korps Gliederung July 15 1944:
Clipboard01.jpg
The Cagny Flak if it exists are presumably included in one of these
Pickert's FMS report seems to indicate all but one Flak Rgt was deployed from Caen to the south/southeast. His was the only LW Flak authority along the French coast W of the Seine (IIRC). The very bottom row with the numerous mobile "Le" Flak battalions labeled 'Strassenjagd' must be some kind of SP Flak patrol along major roads, and do not include 88s. The other 3 regiments constitute an awful lot of mixed (g.) LW Flak, each battalion with about a dozen 88s and 15-20 20mm.
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Re: Flak Units during GOODWOOD

Post by Sean Oliver » 11 Nov 2023 16:48

PS: The lack of visible German Flak emplacements from the air is hardly surprising, and is largely irrelevant.

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