Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

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Romani
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Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Romani » 14 Aug 2011 11:23

Greetings,

I am translating the book "It never snows in september" by Robert Kershaw into Spanish. On page 147 is described a daylight attack carried by this brigade on Son at 20.09.1944. It says von Maltzahn, the brigade commander took this risk in spite of the overwhelming allied air superiority, because his brigade was bristling with flak guns, totalling about 250 guns and machineguns.

Problem is that I can't figure out the exact composition of the flak vehicles. One thing is theoretical strengths and another actual strenghts. Consulting the TOE of the Panzer-Brigade 107 in the article by Timo Worst in this site left me more confused. Kershaw talks about halftracks with 3.7 cm Flak 43, but these according to this site seem to have been actually Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen. The actual wording is vague and I am confused wether there was only one single platoon (zug) each of 37mm vehicles and 20mm triple mountings in halftracks, or wether each infantry company had a platoon of Sd.Kfz.251/21 "Drilling" halftracks plus the dedicated flak company plus the flak platoons for the staff company.

In short, I am completely lost. I thought Kershaw had made a mistake since two hundred flak guns looks like an insane amount and I thought that was adding up the automatic cannons and the MGs on tanks and halftracks. Now looking around in the internet, it seems a Panzer-Brigade could really have around so many automatic cannon. 8O

Somebody can please help me with this? Thanks in advance!

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Christoph Awender » 14 Aug 2011 11:47

Hello,

There is a foreign military study with the memories of the commander. When I am at home I think I can give you some details about the actual organisation.

/Christoph

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Re: Panzer -Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Harro » 14 Aug 2011 16:00

http://forum.axishistory.com/posting.ph ... 0&p=198640
Timo wrote:On 24.07.1944, following the order of OKH/Gen.Insp.d.Pz.Tr./Abt.Org./Nr. 2100/44 g.Kdos. of 18.07.1944, formation of Panzer-Brigade 107 is ordered.

Formation of Panzer-Brigade 107 starts on 28.07.1944 at Truppenübungsplatz Mielau (Wehrkreis I) from the remnants of the 25.Panzergrenadier-Division. This division had been virtually destroyed earlier that summer in the Minsk area as part of Heeresgruppe Mitte. Major Berndt-Joachim Freiherr von Maltzahn (Grimmen/Vorpommern, 09.02.1903 - Oldenburg, 27.12.1964) is assigned as commander with Hauptmann Spiegel as his adjutant.

The Stab for Panzer-Brigade 107, its Stabskompanie, Aufklärungszug and Nachrichtenzug are formed from remnants of the 25. Panzergrenadier-Division. They are supposed to receive 18x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 12x leichte Pkw, gl. (4-sitzig), 1x mittlerer Pkw, gl., 1x Lkw 2t, offen, gl., 3x Lkw 3t, offen, 7x Lkw 3t, offen, gl., 1x Lkw 3t, geschlossen, gl., 1x Zgkw 8t (Sd.Kfz. 7), 3x Sd.Kfz. 251/1, 6x Sd.Kfz. 251/3, 4x Sd.Kfz. 251/5 and 3x Sd.Kfz. 251/11. However, the Brigade-Stabskompanie received commercial cars instead of Kettenkräder.

Panzer-Abteilung 2107 is created from remnants of 25.Panzergrenadier-Division and replacement troops from Wehrkreis V. Commander of the Panzer-Abteilung is Major Hans-Albrecht von Plüskow (26.10.1909 - 23.09.1944). The Abteilung is organized with:

Stab with 3x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl. (4-sitzig), 2x mittlere Pkw, gl., 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/8, 4x Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV (3,7cm Flak 43)(Sd.Kfz. 161/3) and 3x Panzerbefehlswagen "Panther" (Sd.Kfz. 267)

1., 2., and 3.Panzer-Kompanie, each with 2x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl. (4-sitzig) and 11x "Panther" Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 171)

4. (Panzerjäger-)Kompanie with 2x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl. (4-sitzig) and 11x Panzerjäger IV L/70 (Sd.Kfz. 162/1)

The Versorgungskompanie is to receive 2x le Krad. 350ccm, 10x leichte Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 1x Lkw 2t, offen, 4x Lkw 2t, offen, gl., 2x Lkw 2t, geschlossen, gl. (of which 1 is an ambulance), 16x Lkw 3t, offen, gl., 39x Lkw 4,5t, offen, gl., 3x Werkstattkraftwagen, 1x Lkw 4,5t, gl., als Drehkrankraftwagen (Kfz. 100), 1x Gleisketten-Lkw 2t, offen, (Sd.Kfz. 3), 9x Zgkw 1t (Sd.Kfz. 10) and 1x Anhänger

Panzergrenadier-Batallion 2107 is created with five Kompanien (Sd.Kfz.251) from remnants of 25. Panzergrenadier-Division and Hauptmann Kurt Wild (06.04.1914 - 23.09.1944) is given as its commander.

Stab with 4x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 4x Sd.Kfz. 251/3, 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/8 and 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/11

1. and 2.Kompanie with 5x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 9x Sd.Kfz. 251/1, 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/2, 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/3, 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/9 and 6x Sd.Kfz. 251/21

3. Kompanie with 5x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 8x Sd.Kfz. 251/1, 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/3 and 12x Sd.Kfz. 251/21

4. Kompanie with 6x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/3 and 18x Sd.Kfz. 251/21

5. (schw.) Kompanie with 7x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 2x Lkw 3t, offen, gl., 15x Sd.Kfz. 251/1, 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/3, 6x Sd.Kfz. 251/9 and 1x Sd.Kfz. 251/11.

Versorgungskompanie with 3x Kettenkraftrad (SdKfz 2), 5x leichte Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 6x Lkw 2t, offen, gl., 1x Lkw 2t, geschlossen (Krankenkraftwagen), 5x Lkw 3t, offen, 33x Lkw 3t, offen, gl., 1x Lkw 3t, geschlossen, gl., 3x Werkstattkraftwagen, 5x Gleisketten-Lkw 2t, offen, 7x Zgkw 8t (SdKfz 7) and 3x Anhänger.

Creation of Panzer-Pionier-Kompanie 2107 from 3./25. Panzer-Pionier-Batallion is also ordered, with 3x le Krad. 350ccm, 4x Krad. mit Seitenwagen, 3x Kettenkraftrad (SdKfz 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 1x mittlerer Pkw, gl., 1x Lkw 2t, offen, gl., 2x Lkw 3t, offen, 8x Lkw 3t, offen, gl., 1x mittlerer Zgkw 8t (SdKfz 7) 2x SdKfz 251/1, 1x SdKfz 251/3, 14x SdKfz 251/7 and 6x SdKfz 251/16.

A leichte Panzer-Kompanie is to be formed with men from PaK-Ersatz-und-Ausbildungs-Bataillon 33

The Panzer-Werkstatt-Kompanie is to be formed with men from 25. Panzergrenadier-Division with 2x le Krad. 350ccm, 3x Krad. mit Seitenwagen, 2x leichter Pkw, 4x leichter Pkw, gl., (4-sitzig), 1x Lkw 2t, offen, gl., 1x Lkw 2t, geschlossen, 3x Lkw 3t, offen, 4x Lkw 3t, offen, gl., 11x Lkw 4,5t, offen 3x Werkstattkraftwagen, 1x Lkw 4,5t, offen, gl. (Kfz. 100), 3x SdKfz 9, 1x SdKfz 9/1, 3x Bergepanther (SdKfz 179) and 6x Anhänger. But the maintenance units of the Panzer-Abteilung and the Panzergrenadier-Batallion were never actually formed. This has very serious consequences, because all vehicles needing repair now have to be send to the Tank Maintenance Detachment, which was normally far behind the front.

In total, the Brigade is given six weeks for formation and training, including a week for vehicle familiarization. This wasn't much time, but much more than was afforded the other Brigades raised during the same period.

During the following weeks the equipment for the Panzer-Brigade arrives at the Truppenübungsplatz in Mielau:
- 20x m.SPW (Sd.Kfz. 251) are assigned on 14.08.1944 (transported to Mielau on 19.08.1944)
- 21x m.SPW on 20.08.1944 (15.08 and 26.08.1944)
- 11x Pz.Kpfw. V (Panther) and 2x Bergepanther on 21.08.1944 (24.08.1944)
- 8x Pz.Kpfw. V on 23.08.1944 (27.08.1944)
- 32x m.SPW on 23.08.1944 (30.08.1944)
- 16x m.SPW on 24.08.1944 (30.08.1944)
- 17x Pz.Kpfw.V on 25.08.1944 (28.08.1944)
- 42x m.SPW on 26.08.1944 (30.08.1944)
- 22x m.SPW on 27.08.1944 ( 01.09.1944)
- 4x m.SPW on 29.08.1944 (01.09.1944)
- 11x Pz.Kpfw.IV/70(V)) on 30.08.1944 (08.09.1944)

On 30.08.1944 creation starts of a Panzer-FlaK-Zug for Panzer-Abteilung 2107, 4x Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV (3,7cm Flak 43)(Sd.Kfz. 161/3) from 3./Panzer-Ersatz-und-Ausbildungs-Abteilung 204 and personnel from Wehrkreis XII, as well as a Panzer-FlaK-Zug with Sd.Kfz.251/21 "Drilling" for the Brigade-Stab, also from men from Wehrkreis XII.

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Christoph Awender » 14 Aug 2011 16:08

Thanks "Harro"

I guess the question is answered?

/Christoph

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Romani » 14 Aug 2011 16:50

No, sorry, because I cannot add up . One thing is the theoretical TOE, and another the equipment actually delivered, I know units seldom are up to their stablishment strenght, particularly in the German army this late in the war. I am thick today so please bear with me. I see below the TOE dates of units delivered, and there's only mention of SPW: Schutzenpanzerwagen, without specifying type.

So I am asking if I am reading this right, did the Brigade really have 36 Sd.Kfz. 251/21 armed with triple mountings of 2,0 cm guns? I am assuming these were MG151 2,0 cm, don't think many 1,5 cm gun vehicles were produced.

In addition to those 36 halftracks:

4x Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV (3,7cm Flak 43)(Sd.Kfz. 161/3) (flak tanks Möbelwagen) on the Stab

And on 30 August on top of all that they added

4 Flakpanzer IV more plus a Zug of (four? six? ) halftracks with triple 2,0 cm guns?

So in total: 40-42 halftracks with 3 x 2,0 cm and 8 tanks with 3,7 cm guns?

That's 120 + 8 , and staggering total of 130 antiaircraft automatic cannons. 8O Incredible!


Still, Kershaw did make mistakes in writing that phrase, and the 250 figure is way off unles one started adding up the MGs on hatches on the tanks and on the infantry halftracks.

Did I get the math right, and really they had that awesome amount of firepower? Is mind boggling.


On the other hand, wasn't the Drilling 2,0 cm gun a stopgap improvisation and less effective than a proper flak gun? It looks that it relied more in a huge volume of fire for intimidation rather than accuracy of range. Besides, 2,0 cm rounds were barely enough for downing enemy fighter bombers, hence the shift to the larger 3,7 cm.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Harro » 14 Aug 2011 17:02

Timo wrote:Panzer-Abteilung 2107 is created from remnants of 25. Panzergrenadier-Division and replacement troops from Wehrkreis V. Commander of the Panzer-Abteilung is Major Hans-Albrecht von Plüskow (26.10.1909 - 23.09.1944). The Abteilung is organized with: Stab with 3x Kettenkraftrad (Sd.Kfz. 2), 2x leichte Pkw, gl. (4-sitzig), 2x mittlere Pkw, gl., 2x Sd.Kfz. 251/8, 4x Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV (3,7cm Flak 43)(Sd.Kfz. 161/3) and 3x Panzerbefehlswagen "Panther" (Sd.Kfz. 267)
[...]
On 30.08.1944 creation starts of a Panzer-FlaK-Zug for Panzer-Abteilung 2107, 4x Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV (3,7cm Flak 43)(Sd.Kfz. 161/3) from 3./Panzer-Ersatz-und-Ausbildungs-Abteilung 204 and personnel from Wehrkreis XII, as well as a Panzer-FlaK-Zug with Sd.Kfz.251/21 "Drilling" for the Brigade-Stab, also from men from Wehrkreis XII.
That's clearly the same unit.

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Christoph Awender » 14 Aug 2011 17:43

Hello,

Additionally to Harros post.

The commander gives the OOB during the battle as follows:
- Stabskompanie with 1 Aufkl.Zug auf SPW, 1 Erkunderzug auf Kettenkrad and Volkswagen, 1 le.Flakzug, 1 Nachrichtenzug auf SPW
- Panzer-Abteilung with Führungsgruppe mit Stabskompanie and Flakzug
3 Pz.Kpien. with 11 Pz.V each
1 Sturmgeschützkompanie with 11 Stg.
- Pz.Gren.Btl. with Führungsgruppe with Stabskompanie (gp)
5 Schützenkp.(gep.)
- Pz.Pi.Kp. with 2 Pionierzüge (gep.), 1 Flammenwerferzug (gep.)

In another memory of Kpfgr.Walther were the Pz.Brig.107 was attached for the battle around Veghel and Venray it says that the "Brigade was well equipped with about 250 AA guns and AA-machineguns with 3,7 cm AA-tanks in the tank-companies and each APC with 1,5 cm triple machineguns."
A little but further it says that after bad experiences the enemy fighter bombers stayed away from Kampfgruppe Walther which is an indication that the AA-defense was quite efficient.

/Christoph

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by gjkennedy » 14 Aug 2011 17:51

From the description given in the third post, the Bde was of the second type, with a very heavy emphasis on halftrack mounted AA pieces in the Pz Gren Bn. The SdKfz 251/21 was the 'drilling' variant, with a triple 1.5 cm or 2 cm MG 151 armament. These units had a very different organisation to other Armd Pz-Gren-Btl.s; effectively one Coy equipped with 18 x 251/21s, a mixed Coy with 12 x 251/21s and two Rifle Pls, and two Coys, each with a single 251/21 Pl of six guns, a Heavy Pl (8 cm mortars and 7,5 cm guns on halftracks), and two Rifle Pls, both slated to be armed entirely with Stg44 assault rifles. Overall authorised strength of the 251/21 for just the single Pz Gren Bn was forty-two (42). That is pretty boggling I know, but there you go! Another odd feature of the Bn was that it possessed no dedicated HMGs. Now in practice they could slap an MG 34/42 on a tripod and they've got an HMG, but there were no HMGs sections in any of the Coys as was normal practice. The concentration of MG 151s was intended to provide ground support, as well as AA defence.

The single Panzer-Btl. had its own Flak Panzer Pl with 4 x 3,7 cm weapons, and they added on, for some reason I've never been sure of, a Pl with three more drilling mounted on trucks.

To save myself plodding through all the KStN, Jentz gives the Gliederung of the Pz-Brigades in part two of Panzer Truppen. That gives a total of forty-five (45) drilling (including three on trucks), four (4) 3,7 cm Flak and seventy-four (74) LMGs with the Pz-Gren.Btl.. The Pio Coy had a further thirty-seven (37) LMGs, the Panzer Bn fifteen (15), which excludes tank mounted weapons, and the Bde Staff Coy thirty (30). Sum total of LMGs an impressive one-hundred and fifty-six (156) LMGs, the bulk of which were mounted on halftracks.

I know Martin block has posted numerous threads giving delivery numbers of SdKfz 251s to units, and while others will know better, I seem to recall that until quite late on the actual type of halftrack wasn't specified? I also have a rough date of Sep 1944 from when that information begins to appear in delivery reports? Anyway, the delivery of 42 SdKfz 251s at the end of Aug 1944 detailed may well tie in with the authorised unit strength.

Gary

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Christoph Awender
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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Christoph Awender » 14 Aug 2011 18:21

To add to the confusion (or not) the strength report from 1.Nov.1944:

Soll/Operational/short term repair
Pz .IV 15/8/2
Pz. V 38/11/5
SPW 157/134/2
Kett.Krad 69/14/3
Krad m. Beiwg. 8/1/2
other mc 10/7/3
Pkw gl. 62/23/4
Pkw o 3/91/6
Maultier 8/12/2
gl. Lkw 134/50/-
o Lkw 47/130/5
MG 237/186/-
MG 42 165/160/-
MG Drilling 45/38/-

/Christoph

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Martin Block » 14 Aug 2011 22:03

Quote: "On 30.08.1944 creation starts of a Panzer-FlaK-Zug for Panzer-Abteilung 2107, 4x Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV (3,7cm Flak 43)(Sd.Kfz. 161/3) from 3./Panzer-Esatz-und-Ausbildungs-Abteilung 204 and personnel from Wehrkreis XII, as well as a Panzer-FlaK-Zug with Sd.Kfz.251/21 "Drilling" for the Brigade-Stab, also from men from Wehrkreis XII."

That is unfortunately not quite correct:
a) Actually the formation of both platoons was ordered on 30.7.1944, not 30.8.1944.
b) The order actually called for a Pz.Fla-Zug 2 cm with 3x Sd.Kfz. 7/1 (2 cm Vierl.), not Sd.Kfz. 251/21
c) The Pz.Fla-Zug (3x 2 cm) was authorized for the Versorg.Kp. Pz.Abt. 2107, not the Pz.Brig.Stab.
d) On 6.8.1944 the Pz.Fla-Zug (3x 2 cm Vierl.) for the Versorg.Kp. was reduced to Fla-Zug (3x Drilling) mounted on trucks.

So actually available Flak (machine guns not counted) were:
4 Flak-Pz. IV 'Möbelwagen' with Stab/Pz.Abt. 2107
3 Drillinge on trucks with Versorg.Kp./Pz.Abt. 2107 (status report 1.11.1944 shows 2 cm caliber)
6 Sd.Kfz. 251/21 in 1./Pz.Gren.Btl. 2107 (status report 1.11.1944 shows 1,5 cm caliber)
6 Sd.Kfz. 251/21 in 2./Pz.Gren.Btl. 2107 (status report 1.11.1944 shows 1,5 cm caliber)
12 Sd.Kfz. 251/21 in 3./Pz.Gren.Btl. 2107 (status report 1.11.1944 shows 1,5 cm caliber)
18 Sd.Kfz. 251/21 in 4./Pz.Gren.Btl. 2107 (status report 1.11.1944 shows 1,5 cm caliber)
And that was it!

Martin Block

BTW:
15 Pz. IV (Soll) = 11 Pz. IV/70(V) + 4 Flakpz. IV
38 Pz. V (Soll) = 36 Pz. V + 2 Berge-Pz. V

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by gjkennedy » 14 Aug 2011 23:22

Ah, the drilling on trucks were for the Supply Coy, well that makes more sense, thank you!

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Romani » 15 Aug 2011 09:54

That's amazing detective work, thank you all, and specially Martin Block.

Interesting to note that the drilling guns were nearly all MG151 of the 15mm caliber. Actually, from what I read, seems like their ballistic performance was better for an AA gun than the later 20mm version. Either a lot of these guns were salvaged and stored or they were kept in production. I didn't think the Luftwaffe used the MG151/15 very extensively since I can only recall it being used in the F series Messerchmitts as their main armament. Come to think of it, several thousands of scrapped Bf109Fs as they were replaced in service would have yielded a lot of spare guns with no inmediate use until someone thought of recycicling them as flak guns.

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Christoph Awender » 15 Aug 2011 11:28

Hello Romani,

There was just one problem... all units equipped with the guns reported constant lack of this ammunition which was coming from Air force stocks.

/Christoph

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Re: Panzer-Brigade 107: Flak strength?

Post by Romani » 15 Aug 2011 15:29

That's one thing I wondered, on paper the firepower is awesome, but the ammo consumption would be a problem. Cannon ammo of that caliber is bulky and not much could be carried on the cargo space of halftracks. Interesting to know ammo came from surplus stocks and its production was discontinued. Of course, from a logistics viewpoint, it would have been better to standardize on the MG151/20mm round. Thanks to you.

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