Manuferey wrote:Hi Rich,
There is a reference to "stationary smoke-shell mortars [in the original German text: “bodenständige nebelwerfer"], manned by infantry" near Utah Beach in the debriefing of Lt-Col. Keil, CO of the 919. Gren,-Regt. Keil's text makes it clear that it is different from the I./101 S.Werf.Regt [mistakenly referenced as I./100. S. Werf. Regt. by Keil]:
I also found the following in a US post D-Day intelligence report but it's a little bit confusing:
"Rockets were located several hundred yards behind both beaches [i.e. Omaha & Utah] in hedgerows. They occurred in groups of 38 firing pits with 4 rockets to a pit.
UTAH BEACH: 0 rocket pits, bearing on the beach".
So I'm curious to find out if Wurfgerät 40, manned by infantry, were standard beach defenses or not in Normandy.
SWORD: Inland near Tailleville was WN 23, which was the headquarters of II./Gren.-Regt. 736, commanding K.V.U.-Gr. Seulles. A few hundred meters to the west was a small antiaircraft gun position, with six ex-French 7.5cm antiaircraft guns, manned by personnel of 3. (Flak)/Panzerjäger-Abteilung 716 (3./Pz.Jg.-Abtl. 716). Nearby was a multiple rocket launcher battery, consisting of about twenty 32cm Wurfgerät.
JUNO: Opposite WN 66 was WN 68, another “two-tiered” position with a 4.7cm Pak 181 (f) in an open pit and a machinegun casemate that covered the draw from the bluff. On the beach was a 5cm gun in an open pit, and two 7.5cm turreted guns mounted on casemates that had been taken from a tank prototype, the VK3001, that had never been put into full production. [edited to fix the redundent redundency]
OMAHA: WN 67 was at the head of the Moulins Draw where it split into two narrower valleys. It was a simple position designed to accommodate the firing position of a multiple rocket launcher battery and was similar to that near Tailleville in WN 23 on JUNO. It was armed with 38 32cm Wurfgerät.
UTAH: inland was a Wurfgerät position with reportedly six to eight six-barrel launchers.
I suspect there was another at GOLD, but haven't confirmed it. Werfer-Brigade 7 prior to D-Day provided personnel detachments to man fixed multiple rocket launcher (4-barrel 32cm Wurfgerät) positions along the coast. It is known that men from Werf.-Regt. 84 manned such a position at OMAHA and other, similar, positions are known to have existed on SWORD and JUNO, and, probably, GOLD. The brigade was ordered to Normandy, probably on 6 June. By 11 June it was south of Caen and in action by 16 June.
That's all I've been able to find to date on their existance and how they were possibly manned.