Saar Offensive OoB

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
User avatar
Baltasar
Financial supporter
Posts: 4610
Joined: 21 Feb 2003 15:56
Location: Germany

Saar Offensive OoB

Post by Baltasar » 31 Aug 2010 01:07

Dear Forum members,
I've been wondering for a while what units or how many men actually participated in the abortive French Saar offensive. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find information on the net. Is this information actually available on the net (or elsewhere) and if it is, could we also find the opposing German formations in said offensive?

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by RichTO90 » 31 Aug 2010 04:34

Baltasar wrote:Dear Forum members,
I've been wondering for a while what units or how many men actually participated in the abortive French Saar offensive. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find information on the net. Is this information actually available on the net (or elsewhere) and if it is, could we also find the opposing German formations in said offensive?
German dispositions on the western frontier as of 26 August 1939 from north to south (numbers in parenthesis are the divisional Welle) (courtesy AHF and Lexikon d. Wehrmacht)

HG C – Generalfeldmarschal Ritter von Leeb
*Heersgruppen-Nachrichten-Regiment 639 (Army Group Signals Regiment)
*Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 652 (AT Battalion)
*schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 620 (Heavy Artillery Battalion) (one battery 15cm sFK and one battery 21cm Mrs)
*schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 649 (three batteries 15cm sFH)

Armee-Abteilung A – Generaloberst der Reserve Kurt Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord (Army Detachment A, Niederrhein, covering the Dutch Border from Emden to Kleve)

Kommandantur der Befestigungen Niederrhein (Fortress Command Lower Rhine)
*Grenzwacht-Regiment 76 (Border Regiment) (two battalions with 12 companies)

XXVII. Armeekorps (AK) – General der Infanterie Karl Ritter von Prager
*ARKO 130
*Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 427
*Korps-Nachschubtruppen 427
*schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 408 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 427 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*16. ID (1.) (Infantry Division of the 1st Wave)
*69. ID (2.) (Infantry Division of the 2nd Wave)
*211 ID. (3.) (Infantry Division of the 3rd Wave)
*216. ID (3.)

XXX. AK – General der Artillerie Otto Hartmann
*ARKO 19
*Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 430 (three batteries 10cm sFK)
*Korps-Nachschubtruppen 435
*schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 430 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 446 (three batteries 15cm sFH)
*Grenzschutz-Abschnitts-Kommando 9 (Border Sector Command)
**Grenzwacht-Regiment 6 (two battalions with six companies)
** Grenzwacht-Regiment 16 (three battalions with seven companies)

5. Armee – General der Infanterie Curt Liebmann (covering the Dutch-Belgian frontier)
*Korück 560 (Commander Army Rear Area)
*Armee-Nachschubführer 561 (Army Supply Command)
*Armee-Nachrichten-Regiment 563 (Army Signals Regiment)
*Vermessungs-Abteilung 624 (Artillery Survey Battalion)
*II/Flak-Regiment 14 (gem)
*Pionier-Regiments-Stab 504 (Engineer Regiment HQ)
**Brücken-Bau-Bataillon 550 (Bridging Battalion)
**Pionier-Bataillon 666 (Engineer Battalion)
**Pionier-Bataillon 46
*Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 543
**Oberbaustab 16 (Construction HQ)
**Bau-Bataillon 42 (Construction Battalion)
**Bau-Bataillon 41
**Bau-Bataillon 26
**Bau-Bataillon 25
**Bau-Bataillon 83
*58. ID (2.)
*76. ID (2.)
*87. ID (2.)

V. AK– Generaloberst Richard Ruoff (Army Corps, covering the Dutch border Kleve-Aachen)
*Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 45 (Corps Signals Battalion)
*Korps-Nachschubtruppen 405 (Corps Supply Troops)
*ARKO 41
*II.schwere Artillerie-Regiment 61 (three batteries, probably two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*II.schwere Artillerie-Regiment 71 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*I/Flak-Regiment 361
*22. ID (1.)
*225. ID (3.)

Kommandantur der Befestigungen Aachen (total 16 MG and 12 AT companies)
Grenzwacht-Regiment 26 (three battalions)
Grenzwacht-Regiment 36 (nine companies)
Grenzwacht-Regiment 46
Grenzwacht-Regiment 56 (two battalions with seven companies)
Grenzwacht-Regiment 66

VI. AK – General der Pioniere Otto-Wilhelm Förster (from the Belgian to the Luxembourg border (HQ Trier)):
*ARKO 6 (Artillery Commander)
*Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 46
*Korps-Kartenstelle (mot) 406
*Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 406
*Korps-Nachschubtruppen 406
*General-Kommando der Grenztruppen Eifel (later XXIII AK) (Belgian border)
**26. ID (1.)
**227. ID (3.)
**86. ID (2.) (opposite Perl, northwest of Merzig)
**II/Flak-Regiment 14 (gem)
**Leichte Flak-Abteilung-84 (Light AAA Battalion)
**Stab Artilerie-Regiment z.b.V. 613 (Artillery Regiment HQ for Special Purpose)
**II/schwere Artillerie-Regiment 52 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
**schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 621(two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
**schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 631 (two batteries “heaviest” artillery, probably 21cm Mrs)
**Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 643
*Grenzschutzverband Trier (became 72. ID on 19 September)
**Grenz Infanterie Regiment Stab 124 (three battalions with three MG and four AT companies, two artillery and one flak batteries)
**Grenzwacht-Regiment 112 (three battalions)
**Grenzwacht-Regiment 122
**MG Batallion 1.
**MG Batallion 2.
**MG Batallion 3

En route – 251., 253., 254., 263., 267., 269. ID (all 4.)

1. Armee – Generalfeldmarschal Erwin von Witzleben (Saarpfalz, from the Luxembourg border south to the Rhine bend)
*Armee-Nachschubführer 591
*Armee-Nachrichten-Regiment 596
*Korück 590
*I/Flak-Regiment 4 (gem)
*I/Flak-Regiment 24 (gem)
*II/Flak-Regiment 24 (gem)
*Panzer-Abwehr-Abteilung 525

XII. AK General der Infanterie Walter Schroth
*Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 52
*Korps-Nachschubtruppen 412
*Korps-Kartenstelle 412
*Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 412
*Arko 69
*II/schwere-Artillerie-Regiment 69 (three batteries 10cm sFK, motorized)
*II/schwere-Artillerie-Regiment 70 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*79. ID (2.) (Merzig)
*34. ID (1.)
*15. ID (1.)
*52. ID (2.) (Saarbrücken)

Generalkommando der Grenzrtruppen Saarpfalz – General der Pioniere Walter Kuntze (as of 17 September XXIV. AK)
*ARKO 112
*Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 424
*Korps-Nachschubtruppen 424
*Korps-Kartenstelle 424
*Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 424
*6. ID (1.)
*36. ID (1.) (Zeebeiden)
*9. ID (1.)
*Grenz-Kommandantur Saarpfalz (total of 26 infantry, 9 MG, 6 engineer, and 10 AT companies, 29 artillery and five flak batteries)
**Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment 125 (two battalions with 6 companies)
**Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment 127 (two battalions with 6 companies)
**Stellungs-Abschnitt 128 (6 infantry and 1 MG company)
**Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment 129 (one battalion with 6 companies)
**Grenzwacht-Regiment 132
**Grenzwacht-Regiment 142
**Grenzwacht-Regiment 152
**I./Artillerie-Regiment 105 (three batteries 15cm sFH, motorized)
**I./Artillerie-Regiment 106 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
**I./Artillerie-Regiment 108 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
**I./Artillerie-Regiment 109 (three batteries 15cm sFH, motorized)
**MG Batallion 10
**MG Batallion 13
**MG Batallion 14
**Grenz-Pionier Batallion 73
**Grenz-Pionier Batallion 74
**Grenz-Nachrichten Batallion 74

IX. AK – ? (probably under the temporary command of the Chef des Generalstabes Generalmajor Carl Hilpert until General der Infantry Hermann Geyer assumed command on 25 October)
*Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 49
*Korps-Nachschubtruppen 409
*Korps-Kartenstelle 409
*Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 409
*ARKO 15
*II/schwere Artillerie-Regiment 45 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*II/schwere Artillerie-Regiment 51 (two batteries 15cm SFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*71. ID (2.)
*25. ID (1.)
*33. ID (1.)

En route – 75. ID (2.), 209., 214., 223., 231., 246. ID (all 3.), 268. ID (4.) (Infantry Division of the 4th Wave)

7. Armee – General der Artillerie Friedrich Dollman (from the Rhine bend, inclusive of Karlsruhe, south to the Swiss border)
*Armee-Nachschubführer 558
*Armee-Nachrichten-Regiment 558
*I/Flak-Regiment 491 (gem)
*ARKO 35
*II/Artillerie-Regiment 77 (three batteries 10.5cm leFH)
*leichte Artillerie Regiment 697 (-)
**I/Artillerie-Regiment 697 (three batteries 10.5cm leFH)
**III/Artillerie-Regiment 697 (three batteries 10.5cm leFH)
*schwere Stellungs-Artillerie-Abteilung 215 (Heavy Fortress Artillery Battalion HQ)
*schwere Stellungs-Artillerie-Abteilung 216
**Stellungs-Artillerie-Batterien 217, 224, 227 and 230 (Fortress Artillery Battery)
*Panzer-Abwehr-Abteilung 559
*5. ID (1.) (Stuttgart? Later to XII. AK)
*78. ID (2.) (Karlsruhe with one regiment opposite Colmar)
*212. ID (3.) (southwest of Stuttgart)
*215. ID (3.) (southeast of Mannheim)

Generalkommando der Grenztruppen Oberrhein (17 September XXV AK) – General der Infanterie Alfred Wäger
*Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 425
*Korps-Nachschubführer 3
*I/Flak-Regiment 5 (gem)
*Leichte Flak-Abteilung 75
*II/schwere Artillerie-Regiment 41 (two batteries 15cm sFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*II/schwere Artillerie-Regiment 65 (two batteries 15cm sFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*II/schwere Artillerie-Regiment 72 (two batteries 15cm sFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 616 (one battery 15cm sFK and one battery 21cm Mrs, motorized)
*schwere Artillerie-Abteilung 626 (two batteries 15cm sFH and one battery 10cm sFK, motorized)
*35 (ID) (1.) (Strasburg)
*14. Landwehr Division (205. ID as of 1 January 1940) (opposite Muhlhausen)
**MG Batallion 4
**leichte Artillerie-Regiment 697 (part, probably two batteries)
**I/Artillerie-Regiment 77 (three batteries 10.5cm leFH)
*SS-Regiment "Der Führer"
*MG Batallion 5
*MG Batallion 11

En route – 260., 262. ID (both 4.)

Total – 28 divisions plus 3 division-size fortress commands in place; 15 divisions assembling or en route

The movement of divisions from Poland is harder to pin down. The earliest appears to be 62. ID on 19 September and 30. ID on 28 September. By 10 October the following had arrived from Poland: 4. Armee, III. AK, VIII. AK, XXII. AK, 3. ID, 17. ID, 23. ID, 56. ID, and 3. GebID, while 6. Armee had been formed and was placed under HG-B, which was formed 12 October. HG-B and 6. Armee, along with 4. Armee, took over the Neiderrhein from Army-Abteilung A, which was disbanded. By the end of October 2., 8., 14., 18. (on 25 October, after a two day train trip from Poland), and 28. ID. Also by the end of October 20. ID had moved back to Germany from Poland, but not onto the frontier.

Thus, by the end of October 1939, 59 divisions were in place to defend the west German frontier.

Mobilization Strength of the German Divisions

1. Welle http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Zus ... vision.htm
Personnel: 534 officers, 102 warrants, 2,701 NCOs, 14,397 EM, total 17,734
Transport: 4,842 horse, 919 horse-drawn vehicles, 394 motorized personnel vehicles, 615 cargo trucks (including half-tracked), 3 armored cars
Weapons: 312 submachine guns, 90 antitank rifles, 435 LMG, 110 HMG, 12 2cm Flak, 84 5cm mortars, 54 8cm mortars, 75 3.7cm Pak, 20 7.5cm leIG, 6 15cm sIG, 36 10.5cm leFH, 12 15cm sFH, 9 flamethrowers

2. Welle http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Zus ... ision2.htm
Personnel: 491 officers, 98 warrants, 2,273 NCOs, 12,411 EM, total 15,273
Transport: 4,854 horses, 823 horse-drawn vehicles, 393 motorized personnel vehicles, 509 cargo trucks (including half-tracked), 3 armored cars
Weapons: 90 antitank rifles, 345 LMG, 114 HMG, most divisions had few to no 5cm or 8cm mortars, 75 3.7cm Pak, 26 7.5cm leIG, 36 10.5cm leFH, 12 15cm sFH, 9 flamethrowers

3. Welle http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Zus ... ision3.htm
Personnel: 578 officers, 94 warrants, 2,722 NCOs, 14,507 EM, total 17,901
Transport: 6.033 horses, 1,529 horse-drawn vehicles, 330 motorized personnel vehicles, 248 cargo trucks, 415 motorcycles
Weapons: 90 antitank rifles, 559 LMG, 150 HMG (most MG were older MG 08/15 and MG 13), 75 3.7cm Pak, 26 7.5cm leIG, 36 10.5cm leFH, 12 15cm sFH, (artillery were usually older models, leFH 16, leFH 16 n.A., and sFH 13), 9 flamethrowers

4. Welle http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Zus ... ision4.htm
Personnel: 491 officers, 99 warrants, 2,165 NCOs, 12,264 EM, total 15,019
Transport: 4,077 horses, 926 horse-drawn vehicles, 359 motorized personnel vehicles, 618 cargo trucks, 329 motorcycles
Weapons: 90 antitank rifles, 343 LMG, 114 HMG, 75 3.7cm Pak, 26 7.5cm leIG, 36 10.5cm leFH, 12 15cm sFH, 9 flamethrowers

Note: the 4. Welle were formed mainly by mobilizing reservists and Landwehr and adding them to existing auxiliary units of the standing army. As a result they had older personnel, but generally modern equipment, albeit they were not equipped with 5cm and 8cm mortars.

French forces in the Saarland as of circa 8 September was:
(courtesy David Lehmann and Louis Capdebosq)

IIIème Armée (3rd Army)
Corps d'Armée Colonial (CAC) (Colonial Army Corps)
12ème Division d'Infanterie Motorisée (DIM) (12th Motorized Infantry Division)
3ème Division d'Infanterie Nord-Africaine (DINA) (3rd North African Infantry Division)

1er Corps d'Armée (CA) (1st Army Corps)
2ème DINA
42ème Division d'Infanterie (DI) (42nd Infantry Division)

IVème Armée
9ème CA
6ème Division d'Infanterie Coloniale (DIC) (6th Colonial Infantry Division)
4ème DINA

20ème CA
11ème DI
21ème DI
9ème DIM
23ème DI

5ème CA
15ème DIM
3ème DIC

Total of 12 active divisions: 4 DI, 3 DIM, 3 DINA, 2 DIC

French Mobilization
Active Metropolitan Army consisted of 33 divisions and 2 Spahis brigades:

In Metropolitan France (including Algeria and Tunisia)
7 Motorized Infantry Divisions: 1e, 3e, 5e, 9e, 12e, 15e, 25e DIM
10 Infantry Divisions: 10e, 11e, 13e, 14e, 19e, 21e, 23e, 36e, 42e, 43e DI
3 Mountain Infantry Divisions: 27e, 29e, 31e DI
3 Cavalry Divisions: 1e, 2e, 3e DC
2 Light Mechanized Divisions: 1e, 2e DLM
4 North-African Infantry Divisions: 1e, 2e, 3e, 4e DINA
4 Colonial Infantry Divisions: 1e, 2e, 3e, 4e DIC
2 Spahis Brigades: 1e, 2e BS

Of those, VIe Armée (Alps), was 6 divisions and 1 Spahis brigade:
23e, 27e, 29e, 31e DI, 1e DINA, 2e DIC and 1e BS
All others units were covering the North-East from Switzerland to Belgium.

Mobilization consisted of 39 réserve infantry divisions:
15 Infantry Divisions (série A): 2e, 4e, 6e, 7e, 16e, 18e, 20e, 22e, 24e, 26e, 32e, 35e, 41e, 45e, 47e DI
2 Mountain Infantry Divisions (Série A): 28e, 30e DI
1 North-African Infantry Division (Série A): 5e DINA
3 Colonial Infantry Divisions (Série A): 5e, 6e, 7e DIC
16 Infantry Divisions (Série B): 51e, 52e, 53e, 54e, 55e, 56e, 57e, 58e, 60e, 61e, 62e, 63e, 66e, 67e, 70e, 71e DI
2 Mountain Infantry Divisions (Série B): 64e, 65e DI

Scheduled mobilization plan (France, North Africa & Levant):

Mobilization Day (M) was 2 September at 00.00 Hrs

1) M+7: 41 divisions ("couverture")
36 DI
3 DC
2 DLM

2) M+12: 63 divisions
58 DI
3 DC
2 DLM

3) M+17: 83 divisions
78 DI
3 DC
2 DLM

4) M+22: 86 divisions
81 DI
3 DC
2 DLM

Situation planned as of M+22 (24 September)

North-East and Jura: 56 divisions
23 DI Active (17 DI, 3 DINA, 3 DIC)
19 DI Série A (15 DI, 1 DINA, 3 DIC)
9 DI Série B
2 DLM
3 DC
1 BS

South-East: 9 divisions
5 DI Active (3 DI Mtn, 1 DINA, 1 DIC)
2 DI Série A Mtn
2 DI Série B Mtn
1 BS

Interior: 7 divisions
7 DI Série B

North-Africa: 14 divisions
10 DI (81e, 82e, 83e, 84e, 85e, 86e, 87e, 88e DIA*, 1e & 3e DM*)
4 DI "Protection" (181e, 182e, 183e DIA, 2e DM)
5 Cavalry Brigades
DIA = Division d'Infanterie d'Afrique (mountain type)
DM = Division d'Infanterie Marocaine (mountain type)

Levant (Syria-Lebanon): 2 mixed Brigades

Total: 86 Divisions + 9 Brigades
(+ equivalent of 15 Fortress divisions)
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

User avatar
Baltasar
Financial supporter
Posts: 4610
Joined: 21 Feb 2003 15:56
Location: Germany

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by Baltasar » 31 Aug 2010 08:33

Thanks for the elaborate answer, Rich. Any numbers on the actual men participating in the Saar Offensive, especially on the French side?

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by RichTO90 » 31 Aug 2010 13:33

Baltasar wrote:Thanks for the elaborate answer, Rich. Any numbers on the actual men participating in the Saar Offensive, especially on the French side?
Not offhand, but you should be able to reconstruct based upon assuming the divisions were more or less full strength when mobilized.
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

User avatar
Baltasar
Financial supporter
Posts: 4610
Joined: 21 Feb 2003 15:56
Location: Germany

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by Baltasar » 31 Aug 2010 14:48

Question still being whether or not they were commited in full strength, which is something I'm not entirely sure about. The area of operation was rather confined, fielding 11 full divisions would result in upwards of 150,000 men in a small-ish area.

User avatar
IvanSR
Member
Posts: 380
Joined: 22 Apr 2006 01:54
Location: Europe

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by IvanSR » 02 Sep 2010 03:18

Haven't the Germans deployed 17. SS Division as well?

User avatar
Baltasar
Financial supporter
Posts: 4610
Joined: 21 Feb 2003 15:56
Location: Germany

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by Baltasar » 02 Sep 2010 03:34

17th SS Panzergrenadiers was funded in late 1943...

Paul_Atreides
Member
Posts: 543
Joined: 09 Sep 2008 08:05
Location: Russia, St. Petersburg

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by Paul_Atreides » 02 Sep 2010 08:12

RichTO90 wrote: Note: the 4. Welle were formed mainly by mobilizing reservists and Landwehr and adding them to existing auxiliary units of the standing army. As a result they had older personnel, but generally modern equipment, albeit they were not equipped with 5cm and 8cm mortars.
In 3rd Wave divisions were 12% 1st rate reservists, 46% 2nd rate reservists and 42% 1st rate Landwehr. In 4th Wave divisions were 9% actives, 21% 1st rate reservists, 46% 2nd rate reservists and 24% 1st rate Landwehr.
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of the German Army in World Wars)

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6799
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 03 Oct 2010 13:19

Paul_Atreides wrote:
RichTO90 wrote: Note: the 4. Welle were formed mainly by mobilizing reservists and Landwehr and adding them to existing auxiliary units of the standing army. As a result they had older personnel, but generally modern equipment, albeit they were not equipped with 5cm and 8cm mortars.
In 3rd Wave divisions were 12% 1st rate reservists, 46% 2nd rate reservists and 42% 1st rate Landwehr. In 4th Wave divisions were 9% actives, 21% 1st rate reservists, 46% 2nd rate reservists and 24% 1st rate Landwehr.
Were there many transferes between the different 'waves'? Siegfreid Knappe, a artillery officer, referes to 10% of his battery being swapped with a similar number of personnel with a battery of a division just starting mobilisation in August 1939. Was that a common practice in the German Army in 1939-40?

User avatar
Baltasar
Financial supporter
Posts: 4610
Joined: 21 Feb 2003 15:56
Location: Germany

Re: Saar Offensive OoB

Post by Baltasar » 03 Oct 2010 20:30

Carl, I believe that is a common way throughout different armed forces if said force is expanding. Have a core of professionals who show the new guys how to do things.

Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”