21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

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yantaylor
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21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by yantaylor » 25 Jun 2017 14:22

Hi every one.
I have been putting together the three Kampfgruppen formed by the 21. Panzer-Division on the morning of June 6.

Here is what I have so far, please feel free to tell me if this is right or wrong;

Kampfgruppe Rauch
I./192. & II./192 Panzer-Grenadier Battalions
II./220 Pioneer Company
200. Panzerjäger Battalion
21. Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung
II/155. Panzer Artillery Battalion
Kampfgruppe Rauch attacked south east in an effort to try and reach Lion-sur-Mer, which it did and relieved elements of 736 Infantry Regiment. But due to the lack of armour halted and waited for reinforcements.

Kampfgruppe Oppeln
I/100. Panzer Battalion [Minus IV Panzer Company]
I/125 Panzer Grenadier Battalion [Minus III Panzer Grenadier Company]
I/220 Pioneer Company
III/155. Panzer Artillery Battalion
Kampfgruppe Oppeln operated east of the Orne River and launched a counter attack between the British and Canadian beaches of Sword and Juno, with some elements reaching the coast before being forced to retire by parachute drops to its rear.

Kampfgruppe Luck
4/100. Panzer Company
II/125. Panzer Grenadier Battalion
III/125. Panzer Grenadier Battalion
III/220 Pioneer Company
200. Sturmgeschutz Battalion
I/155. Panzer Artillery Battalion
Kampfgruppe Luck attacked east of the Orne in an effort to secure the bridges of Ranville and Bénouville from British paratroopers but was stopped a combination of stubborn defense and naval gun fire.

Regards
Yan.

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Re: 21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Jun 2017 15:56

I think the organisation was a bit messier than this.

Some units had already been deployed North of Caen in the 716. Infantry Division area. These included two PG battalions, Pz Bn 200 and at least one battalion of Pz.Art.Rgt. 155. Their command status on 6th June was ambiguous, as under German doctrine, 716 had command authority over them, and other units from "counter attack formations" engaged in operations in their sector. I am not sure at what point these units rejoined 21. Pz.Div. Feuchtinger complained that most of Pz J bn 200 was lost on 6th June before it could rejoin the division.

I also suspect that by 6th June the Pz regiment had been renamed Pz.Rgt. 22 to avoid confusion with Pz-Bataillon 100 also operating within 7th Army.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 25 Jun 2017 20:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 25 Jun 2017 18:23

Yan, to save confusion it is worth noting that Kompanie numbers were Arabic not Roman, for example in KG Lock you have listed II and III./125 which actually means the 2. and 3. Abteilung of the Regiment which of course only had the two Abteilung. What you should use here is 2./125 and 3./125.
Alan

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Re: 21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by yantaylor » 25 Jun 2017 19:10

Blast I forgot about the Arabic numbering system, thanks Alan.

Sheldrake, every site and book that I have seen says that each of these kampfgruppen has a artillery battalion, which is the missing one are referring to mate?

I have read somewhere this morning about two PG battalions being detached, but I thought that they could have been attached to another kampfgruppen.

I thank you both for your answers and help.
Yan.

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Re: 21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Jun 2017 20:47

yantaylor wrote:Blast I forgot about the Arabic numbering system, thanks Alan.

Sheldrake, every site and book that I have seen says that each of these kampfgruppen has a artillery battalion, which is the missing one are referring to mate?

I have read somewhere this morning about two PG battalions being detached, but I thought that they could have been attached to another kampfgruppen.

I thank you both for your answers and help.
Yan.
I/155 was headquartered in Cazelle with 1./155 & 2./155 deployed around Periers-sur-le-Dan, and 3./155 at Colomby-sur-Thaorn and it is possible that 10./155 was deployed at Les Buissons as some of their unique equipment was captured by Canadian forces there. I have the following locations for II/192. HQ at Le Mesnil 7./192 1000 yds north of Periers-sur-le-Dan and 8./192 PGR at Cairon. HQ 5./125 PGR at Traorn, 6./125 PGR Banneville-la-campagne, 8./125 PGR 1000m S St Honourine la Chardonerette.

I also think at least part of Flak Abteilung 305 was north of Caen.

Do you know when the Kampfgruppen were formed? There may have been contingency plans but the decision to deploy three KG, and their exact composition can't have been taken before D Day itself. The Division had originally been deployed entirely against the airborne troops in the Orne bridgehead, and then was ordered to recross the Orne to attack the seaborne landings.

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Re: 21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by yantaylor » 26 Jun 2017 14:59

They do seem to have some planned structure as each one has a detachment of pioneers and they have given two of them the self-propelled armour with Rauch getting the Panzerjäger Battalion and Luck receiving the Sturmgeschutz Battalion. It looks like Oppeln got 90% of the armour with Luck getting a single company. It also looks like they kept the Aufklärungs Abteilung together as a whole and Rauch has this in his group. Each group also has armoured infantry with Oppeln only receiving a weakened battalion. So if they did manage to add an artillery battalion to each group then I would guess that they must have had some pre-planned idea on how these three groups would be formed, but their missions were not clear until the invasion.

Yan.

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Re: 21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by Ste » 08 Feb 2018 14:34

Sheldrake wrote:
I have the following locations for II/192. HQ at Le Mesnil 7./192 1000 yds north of Periers-sur-le-Dan and 8./192 PGR at Cairon. HQ 5./125 PGR at Traorn, 6./125 PGR Banneville-la-campagne, 8./125 PGR 1000m S St Honourine la Chardonerette.
Which units were in Vieux-Cairon in the timeframe 7-11 June 1944? According to the war diary of 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade it was german-held until occupied almost without a fight on 11 June, but I can't find informations on which unit held it.

Thanks in advance

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Re: 21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 04 Jun 2021 21:01

This part of the front was held by remnants of 716.Inf.Div (II./Gr.Rgt.726, few members of II./Gr.Rgt.736, stragglers of the II./Art.Rgt.1716 and s.Art.Abt.989).
Regards
Romain

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Re: 21. Panzer-Kampfgruppe

Post by Simon Trew 1 » 05 Jun 2021 05:41

Probably incomplete though it is, here (below) is the relevant set of entries from the panzertruppen chapter of my forthcoming bibliography of sources on the German perspective on the Normandy campaign. Note that US 82nd Airborne Div's G-2 report confirms the re-naming of 100 as 22 Pz Regt on 4 June (from a captured and translated document).

Grateful to be informed about items I have missed from my list. I need to add some references to entries elsewhere in this forum where contributors discuss sub-units (notably the assault gun battalion's composition). But there are probably other things missing too.

I haven't yet accessed the surviving files in BA-MA. Happy to exchange contents of those (if anybody has them) for other stuff on the list below. Likewise Becker's diary.

Note also that there is more stuff in corps- and army-level documents, but I haven't yet clarified the chapter sub-headings in those chapters, which is why they appear as '0.0.0.' in each case.

Note also that a thread starting a couple of weeks ago contains my list of sources for 716th ID and 989th Arty Bn - which as posts above clarify were also in the area and thoroughly mixed up with 21st Pz Div as it moved forward on D-Day.

Good luck with your research.

Simon

2.9. 21st Panzer Division (21. Panzer-Division):

The 21st Panzer Division was formed in France in mid-1943, partly by absorbing motorised forces that were already in the area. In theory, the division was a replacement for the first 21st Panzer Division, which had been destroyed in north Africa. But it contained only a small number of veterans from that division. On D-Day, 21st Panzer Division was the only formation of its kind immediately present in the invasion area. It fought throughout the entire campaign, mostly in the Caen sector. The division suffered very heavy losses, although it replaced some of them with personnel from 16th Luftwaffe Field Division when the latter was disbanded in July. At the end of August its remnants retreated across the River Seine. The division was reformed and continued to fight in the West until early 1945. Later it was transferred to the Eastern Front, where it was annihilated during the Battle of Berlin.

For additional sources, see Chapter X, sections 0.0.0. (I SS Panzer Corps), 0.0.0. (II SS Panzer Corps), 0.0.0. (LXXIV Corps) and 0.0.0. (LXXXVI Corps).

2.9a. Primary sources:

2.9a.(i). Archival sources:

There are extensive records covering operations by the original 21st Panzer Division in North Africa from 1941-43 in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv, but little that casts light on its successor’s activities in Normandy. Those files that appear to contain some relevant material include:

• RH 27-21/41: Divisional supply arrangements, 23 September 1943 – 12 August 1944.
• RH 27-21/42: Divisional quartermaster records, 19 June 1943 – 8 August 1944.
• RH 27-21/44: Divisional orders, 8 March 1943 – 5 August 1944.
• RH 27-21/48: Divisional loss reports, 1944.
• RH 27-21/51: Divisional supply arrangements, March – July 1944.

• RH 39/674: 200th Anti-tank Battalion war diary and appendices, 3 June – 20 July 1944.

• RH 82/62: 192nd Panzergrenadier Regiment supply records, December 1943 – May 1944.

Quite a substantial quantity of original documents relating to 21st Panzer Division’s activities in Normandy were captured by the Russians in 1945 and have become accessible to researchers via the ‘German documents in Russia’ website. They are described below. It is possible that additional material is in Russian hands and may become available after this bibliography is completed. Researchers should consult https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... estand-500 and its various sub-categories for further information.

A small file relating to the division’s organisation and equipment before D-Day is accessible at https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... ect/zoom/4.

The war diary of the division’s field replacement battalion, covering the entire campaign, is at https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... rid/zoom/1.

The war diary of the division’s signals battalion for 14-31 August 1944 is accessible at https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... rid/zoom/1. For the battalion’s strength and losses in Normandy, see https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... rid/zoom/1.

The war diary of one of the division’s motor ambulance platoons is accessible at https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... rid/zoom/1. The diary of the other platoon is at https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... rid/zoom/1. Both journals cover the entire Normandy campaign.

An after-action report for the division’s engineer battalion is accessible at https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... ect/zoom/4. The report covers the period from 31 July – 7 August 1944

During the opening phase of the Normandy campaign, a battle group from 21st Panzer Division fought east of the River Orne, under the overall direction of LXXXI Corps. The corps’ war diary and telephone log for June 1944 contains many references to its activities. See IWM Duxford archive, box E 494, folders AL 1537/1 and 1537/2 for details. Additional references appear in LXXXI Corps’ papers in box E 495, folders AL 1537/5, AL 1537/6 and AL 1537/7. Fifteenth Army’s war diary and other papers for June 1944 also contain some useful material (IWM Duxford, box E 491, folders AL 1535/3 and AL 1535/5, and box E 492, folder AL 1535/14).

A folder of Army Group B records in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv (RH 19 IX/2) contains a series of 21st Panzer Division situation reports from mid-June 1944. These provide quite granular detail about the division’s activities, its personnel strength and losses, and the formation’s equipment holdings from 17-22 June inclusive (see frames 79-82, 100-03, 108-10, 114-17, 128-34).

There are occasional references to operations by a 21st Panzer Division battle group during late August in the records of LXXXI Corps (to which 21st Panzer was temporarily subordinated). Probably the most interesting document is a detailed order of battle dated 23 August, which can be found in the IWM Duxford archive, box E 496, folder AL 1538/5.

One document which I was unable to see before completing this bibliography is the diary of Major Alfred Becker, who commanded 21st Panzer Division’s assault gun battalion (Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 200) in Normandy. From published sources, it is evident that this journal survived the war and became available to one or two researchers. Unfortunately, I was unable to gain access to a copy. Judging by material included in Ian Daglish’s Over the Battlefield: Operation Goodwood (Pen & Sword Books Ltd., Barnsley 2005), the diary casts considerable light on the organisation and activities of this important unit during the 1944 campaign.

2.9a.(ii). Translated documents in Allied intelligence records:

Some interesting items can be found in Allied intelligence records. Organised chronologically, they include:

‘Personalities – 21 Pz Div’. This report reproduces the contents of a captured document. It includes the names, appointments and dates of birth of 51 officers who belonged to 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment. The list was dated 5 December 1943, so was rather out of date when the invasion began. See Appendix A to Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.11, issued 15 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/220).

‘Renaming of the Panzer Regiment 100 to Panzer Regiment 22’. This translated order of 4 June 1944 instructs that henceforward, 21st Panzer Division’s tank regiment will be numbered ‘22’ instead of ‘100’. See Annex to U.S. 82nd Airborne Division’s G-2 Periodic Report No.65, issued 14 June 1944 (U.S. National Archives, RG 407, Box 1396, 101-2.2 FUSA G-2 Journal and File, 14 June 1944).

The German-language text of ten signals sent by 21st Panzer Division units on 6-7 June, which were intercepted by the British, are in the UK National Archives, HW 13/144.

‘Enemy documents’. This report summarises the content of various German documents captured by 51st (Highland) Division on 16 June 1944. Information is provided about gallantry awards to members of 21st Panzer Division and also about the division’s vehicle and weapons status reports. Data for the fighting strength of 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment’s 8th Company on 15 June is also included. See Part II of 51st (Highland) Division’s Intelligence Summary No.189, issued 16 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/527).

‘Order for defensive measures in the sector of the reinforced I Bn, 125 P.G.R.’. This is an English-language translation of a detailed order issued by Kampfgruppe von Luck on 19 June, specifying defensive measures to be taken east of the River Orne. It is in Appendix A to 51st (Highland) Division’s Intelligence Summary No.196, issued 25 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/527).

‘Reflections in a funkhole’. This is a translated extract from a notebook taken from a captured member of 192nd Panzergrenadier Regiment’s 6th Company. The writer complains about the effects of British artillery and describes heavy casualties among his own company. See Appendix B to British XXX Corps’ Intelligence Summary No.429, issued 26 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/337).

An English-language translation of a diary kept by Leutnant Ranzinger, 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment, for the period 21 June – 17 July, is in Appendix A to Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.48, issued 23 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).

Translations of two interesting orders relating to 21st Panzer Division defensive deployments east of the Orne, dated 9-10 July, are in Appendix B to Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.46, issued 21 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).

A translation of a divisional operation order, apparently issued on 20 August 1944, is in Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.79, issued 23 August (UK National Archives, WO 171/222). The document describes the employment of Battle Group von Luck (with elements of 12th SS Panzer Division under command) in an attempt to close a gap in the front near Vimoutiers.

A couple of divisional situation reports were translated after the war:

‘Divisional Situation Reports, 24. – 26.6.44’ (5pp.). This is an English-language translation of reports issued by several German units during a three-day period in June 1944. The translation was produced in May 1957 and is in the UK National Archives, CAB 146/332, document 55. The material includes 21st Panzer Division’s situation reports for 24 and 25 June.

2.9a.(iii). Published documents:

Beyond material contained in sources mentioned below (see sections 2.9b.(i)., 2.9b.(ii). and 2.9b.(iii).), nothing that falls into this category appears to have been published.

2.9b. Divisional histories and order of battle:

2.9b.(i). Gliederungen:

Gliederungen and status reports for 21st Panzer Division from 1943 to 1945 are in the Inspector of Panzer Troops’ files in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv (RH 10/158).

See also section 2.9b.(iii). below.

2.9b.(ii). Divisional histories:

Kortenhaus, Werner (trans. & edited by Steinhardt, Frederick): The Combat History of the 21. Panzer Division (Helion & Company Ltd., Solihull 2014; 494pp., maps, illustrations). This is a revised, English-language edition of the author’s 21. Panzerdivision 1943-1945 (Schneider Armour Research, 2007). The book covers the period from the division’s reconstitution in France (following the destruction of the original 21st Panzer Division in Tunisia) to its annihilation during the battle for Berlin. Much of the text (pp.35-302) is concerned with the Normandy campaign. There are several appendices, covering officer appointments, unit organisation, and personnel and equipment strengths. There is also a useful glossary of military terminology. The author served as a tank crewman in the division’s panzer regiment. He makes extensive use of primary sources and published accounts, as well as his own reminiscences, to produce a detailed divisional history.

Kortenhaus, Werner (trans. & edited by Steinhardt, Frederick): The Combat History of the 21. Panzer Division: Map Book (Helion & Company Ltd., Solihull 2014; 23pp., maps). This is a companion pamphlet to Kortenhaus’s divisional history (see above), containing fourteen maps illustrating 21st Panzer Division’s activities in Normandy.

Perrigault, Jean-Claude: 21. Panzerdivision (Editions Heimdal, Bayeux 2002; 527pp., maps, illustrations). This French-language history of 21st Panzer Division begins by describing the original formation’s activities in North Africa from 1941-3. Part 2 of the book deals with the division’s reconstitution in occupied France (pp.214-21) and its transfer to Lower Normandy at the end of April 1944 (pp.230-7). There is a substantial section covering its experiences on D-Day (pp.238-59) and during the rest of June (pp.260-341). Subsequent chapters describe the division’s activities during July (pp.344-417) and August (pp.418-30), up to its withdrawal across the River Seine. The rest of the book takes the story to the end of the war. There is a detailed English-language summary of the book’s content on pp.493-524. The text is supported by hundreds of photographs from official archives and private collections.

2.9b.(iii). Other sources:

Verwicht, Alain: “La 21.Panzer-Division”, in Panzer Voran! Number 6, 2000, pp.24-36. This French-language article describes 21st Panzer Division’s condition on the eve of the invasion. The author provides a gliederung for 1 June 1944, plus lists of vehicles and equipment used by the formation. He describes the organisation of some of the division’s main fighting components, including its tank regiment, its two panzergrenadier regiments and its reconnaissance and anti-tank battalions.

Verwicht, Alain: “La 21.Panzer-Division”, in Panzer Voran! Number 7, 2000, pp.3-9. This French-language article describes the organisation and armament of 21st Panzer Division’s artillery regiment and some other divisional units at the start of June 1944. There are several photographs of self-propelled guns used by the artillery regiment.

Verwicht, Alain: “La Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 200, 1 Juin 1944 (21.Panzer-Division)”, in Panzer Voran! Number 3, 1999, pp.24-5. This French-language article discusses the organisation and equipment of 200th Assault Gun Battalion, which fought in Normandy as part of 21st Panzer Division. The author also discusses several types of armoured fighting vehicle that belonged to the division’s two panzergrenadier regiments.

Verwicht, Alain: “La 5./Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 200 (21. Panzer-Division)”, in Panzer Voran! Number 12, 2001, pp.18-19. This short French-language article seeks to clarify the number of batteries that existed within 21st Panzer Division’s assault gun battalion during summer 1944. The author concludes that it is not especially important to establish whether there were four or five batteries; rather, what mattered was the total number of available weapons.

Verwicht, Alain: “La Sturm-Panzer-Abteilung 200 (21.Panzer-Division) Juin – Juillet 1944”, in Panzer Voran! Number 24, 2004, pp.8-19. In this French-language article the author attempts to clarify the organisation and armament of 21st Panzer Division’s assault gun battalion in Normandy. The unit was equipped with vehicles captured from the French in 1940 and adapted for German use under the direction of Major Alfred Becker, who commanded the battalion during 1944. The article also seeks to establish how many of Becker’s vehicles were destroyed on the first day of Operation ‘Goodwood’ (18 July).

‘Summary of information derived from captured documents belonging to 2 Coy 192 PGR’. This report collates information found in papers taken from one of 192nd Panzergrenadier Regiment’s rifle companies. It describes the organisation of the regiment’s 1st Battalion, the composition of Battle Group Rauch and the official war establishment of a panzergrenadier company. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.5, issued 9 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/220).

‘Battle Group von Luck’. This report is based on a captured document dated 19 June (probably the order mentioned in section 2.9a.(ii). above). It describes the composition of Kampfgruppe von Luck and locates its headquarters. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.23, issued 28 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/220).

‘Enemy Order of Battle’. This detailed intelligence report was produced by 51st (Highland) Division on 20 June 1944. It was based on captured documents, prisoner interrogations and intelligence gathered by several different British formations. The report provides a detailed summary of the composition and locations of 21st Panzer Division up to the evening of 20 June. See 51st (Highland) Division’s Intelligence Summary I/2/d, issued 21 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/527).

‘Reihenwerfer’. This report is based on captured documents, prisoner interrogations and inspection of a knocked-out vehicle. It describes the features of a multi-barrel mortar which was used by 125th and 192nd Panzergrenadier Regiments. The mortar was of French origin, electrically-fired and fitted to half-tracks to provide mobile firepower (16 barrels per vehicle) for the panzergrenadiers. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary (ISUM) No.17, issued 22 June 1944. A more detailed description, based on a test firing from a captured example, is in Part II of British Second Army’s ISUM No.16, issued the following day. A third report, in Part II of British Second Army’s ISUM No.24, issued 29 June, provides additional technical information. (All these ISUMs are in the UK National Archives, WO 171/220.) See also section 2.9c.(ii). below, entry under ’21 Panzer Division’.

‘Pz Engr battalions’. This intelligence report describes the organisation and equipment of 21st Panzer Division’s engineer battalion. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.52, issued 27 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).

Verwicht, Alain: “La 21. Panzer-Division, Juillet et Août 1944”, in Panzer Voran! Number 12, 2001, pp.20-33. This French-language article describes 21st Panzer Division’s condition on 1 July and 1 August 1944. Gliederungen for both dates are provided, along with information about the division’s losses during June and July. Close attention is paid to an unusual piece of equipment (i.e. a multiple mortar system mounted on an old French half-track) which was used by the formation’s panzergrenadier regiments. There are six photographs of this vehicle, plus a line drawing.

‘200 Assault Gun Bn’. This report is based partly on captured documents and describes 200th Assault Gun Battalion’s organisation and equipment. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.48, issued 23 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).

For further details of the organisation and equipment of 21st Panzer Division’s assault gun battalion see this chapter, section 4.1.1., entries under ‘Sturm Geschütz Abt (Sturm Geschütz Brigade) – Assault Gun Battalion (Assault Gun Brigade)’ and ‘Tactics of 200 Assault Gun Battalion’.

2.9c. Foreign Military Studies (FMS) manuscripts and interrogation reports:

2.9c.(i). FMS manuscripts:

Feuchtinger, Edgar (trans. Abraham, Doris): ‘History of the 21st Panzer Division from the time of its formation until the beginning of the invasion’ (51pp.; FMS B-441). This document was written from memory in 1946-7 by the officer who commanded 21st Panzer Division throughout the Normandy campaign. The first seventeen pages describe the division’s formation and training, as well as its strengths and weaknesses on the eve of D-Day. The remainder of the manuscript covers fighting around Caen from 6 June up to the division’s move west to counter the British ‘Bluecoat’ offensive at the end of July. The title of the report is misleading, since more than half its contents relate to events after the beginning of the invasion. Part of the document is reproduced in David Isby’s The German Army at D-Day: Fighting the Invasion (Greenhill Books, London 2000; pp.114-21, 221-2, 239-41). Other extracts are included in Isby’s Fighting in Normandy; The German Army from D-Day to Villers-Bocage (Greenhill Books, London 2001; pp.33-7, 67, 187).

Feuchtinger, Edgar (no translator identified): ‘History of 21 Pz Div, Normandy Campaign Part II (26 July – 14 September 44)’ (35pp.; FMS B-631). The first twenty pages of this report describe 21st Panzer Division’s role in opposing the British ‘Bluecoat’ offensive at the end of July, and during the battle for the ‘Falaise Pocket’. The next ten pages deal with 21st Panzer Division’s withdrawal to and across the River Seine in late August. The remainder of the document takes the story forward to mid-September.

2.9c.(ii). Interrogation reports:

The Allies knew about 21st Panzer Division’s presence in the eastern sector of the invasion area before D-Day, and took prisoners almost immediately after the landings began. Consequently, reports based on information produced during interrogations appears frequently and regularly in British and other intelligence records. Organised chronologically, some of the more interesting reports are described below.

‘Enemy strength’. This report provides information about the personnel strength and experiences of 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment’s 2nd Battalion during the opening stages of the Normandy campaign. See Part II of 51st (Highland) Division’s Intelligence Summary No.190, issued 17 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/527).

‘Organisation: 200 Fd Ers Bn’. This report describes the organisation of 200th Field Replacement Battalion’s 2nd Company and its use in battle on 23 June 1944. See Part II of 51st (Highland) Division’s Intelligence Summary No.195, issued 24 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/527).

‘Enemy dispositions / organisation’. This report provides additional information about the organisation and activities of 21st Panzer Division’s field replacement battalion. See Part II of 51st (Highland) Division’s Intelligence Summary No.196. issued 25 June 1944 (WO 171/527).

‘Summary of interrogation reports’. This report summarises information provided by two German soldiers who were captured near Caen. It confirms that 21st Panzer Division received reinforcements from 361st Panzergrenadier Training Battalion on about 10 July. See Appendix A to Part II of 2nd Canadian Corps Intelligence Summary No.6, issued 16 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 179/2693).

‘Org of II/22 Pz Regt’. This is quite a detailed summary of the organisation and activity of 22nd Panzer Regiment’s 2nd Battalion, based on prisoner interrogations. The report casts light on various matters, including the unit’s strength and losses during June. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.39, issued 14 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).

‘Org of Supply Coy, II Bn 22 Pz Regt, 21 Pz Div’. This report describes the organisation of 22nd Panzer Regiment’s integral logistics unit. It is based on prisoner interrogations. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.56, issued 31 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).

‘Reinforcements to 125 PGR’. This report is based on the interrogation of seven members of 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment who were captured towards the end of the campaign. It describes the arrival of several batches of reinforcements for their regiment during July 1944. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.60, issued 4 August 1944 (WO 171/222).

‘305 Army AA Bn’. This is a description of the organisation and equipment of 305th Army Flak Battalion, which was attached to 21st Panzer Division throughout the Normandy campaign. The information came from a German prisoner. It is in Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.62, issued 6 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/222).

’21 Panzer Division’. This interrogation report provides details of the ‘Reihenwerfer’ multiple mortar system used by 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment’s 10th Company. Information is provided about the company’s organisation, the weapon and its ammunition, and its use in battle. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary (ISUM) No.61, issued 5 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/222). See also Part II of British Second Army’s ISUM No.21, issued 26 June (WO 171/220), which provides details of the organisation of 192nd Panzergrenadier Regiment’s Reihenwerfer company, and section 2.9b.(iii). above, entry under ‘Reinhenwerfer’.

‘Special Interrogation Report: Genlt Edgar Feuchtinger, Comd 21 Pz Div (6 June 1944 – 25 Aug 1944)’ (Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Section, 25 August 1945; 9pp.). This document was written by a Canadian officer (probably Milton Shulman) following an interview with the man who commanded 21st Panzer Division during the Normandy campaign. It provides information about the division’s formation, its anti-invasion preparations and operations in Normandy (especially on D-Day). A copy can be found in the U.S. National Archives, RG 407, Box 1515. Pages 4-6 of the report are reproduced in a document located in the UK National Archives, WO 223/10.

There are about eighty interrogation reports of members of 21st Panzer Division in the UK National Archives. Many of them are of multiple individuals. All major components of the division are represented. Taken together, the reports provide a large amount of information about the division’s organisation and equipment, the names of its officers, and some of its activities. See WO 208/3590 (SIR 313, 318, 323, 328, 333, 334, 335, 336, 341, 342, 361 and 369), WO 208/3591 (SIR 374), WO 208/3593 (SIR 584), WO 208/3594 (SIR 627), WO 208/3598 (SIR 833), WO 208/3621 (PWIS(H)/14, 17, 23, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 44, 48, 50, 51, 52, 56, 57, 69, 71, 72, 79, 80, 81, 84 and 86), WO 208/3622 (PWIS(H)/103, 105, 108, 111, 114, 153, 157, 189 and 191), WO 208/3623 (KP/24), WO 208/3624 (KP/100, 101 and 146), WO 208/3630 (LF/137, 155 and 166), WO 208/3631 (LF/211, 247, 255, 262 and 277), WO 208/3632 (LF/306, 317 and 331), WO 208/3633 (LF/378, 389, 390 and 394), WO 208/3635 (LF/494 and 506), WO 208/3645 (LDC/48), and WO 208/3646 (LDC/52, 88, 136, 137, 138, 180, 183, 193 and 194).

2.9d. Unit histories, biographies, memoirs:

2.9d.(i). Unit histories:

There do not appear to be any published histories of units that belonged to 21st Panzer Division.

2.9d.(ii). Biographical information, personal accounts:

Bernage, Georges: “John Howard et Hans von Luck sous la protection de Saint Jean”, in Normandie 1944 Magazine, Number 01, 2012, pp.62-76. This article provides short biographies of two well-known officers who participated in the Normandy campaign, one British and one German. The latter, Hans von Luck, served in 21st Panzer Division. The two men became friends after the war. French text.

Bernage, Georges: “Hans von Luck et la 21. Panzer-Division dans la Bataille de Normandie”, in 39/45 Magazine, Number 323, June 2014, pp.18-37. This article provides an account of 21st Panzer Division’s involvement in the early stages of the Normandy campaign (6-14 June), focusing on the role of Battle Group von Luck east of the River Orne. French text.

Halm, Günther and Möbius, Ingo (Ed.): Ein Grenadier entscheidet eine Schlacht (self-published, Chemnitz 2012; 385pp., illustrations). For details of this book’s contents see the entry below with Möbius as first-named author.

Höller, Hans; Reisner, Markus; & Hartinger, Andreas (trans. Cherrier, Paul): Sous les orders de Rommel: Des déserts d’Afrique du Nord aux plages de Normandie (Editions Heimdal, Bayeux 2017; 238pp., maps, illustrations). This is the French-language edition of Unter Rommels Kommando; Von den Wüsten Nordafrikas bis an die Strände der Normandie (see entry below with Reisner as first-named author). The manuscript was written by Hans Höller, who served in Normandy as a 21st Panzer Division officer, and edited by Markus Reisner and Andreas Hartinger. Early chapters describe Höller’s childhood, his military service in North Africa during 1941-2 (where he was wounded twice), and his posting to the ‘Schnelle Division West’ – which later became 21st Panzer Division – in June 1943. Pages 100-12 cover Höller’s experiences during pre-invasion training and pp.113-97 deal with the campaign itself. The remainder of the book takes the story to October 1944, when Höller was captured by U.S. forces, and describes his subsequent experiences in captivity. The text is supported by many maps and other images, some of them from the author’s personal collection.

Höller, Hans and Reisner, Markus (trans. Cherrier, Paul): “’Nach 70 Jahren wieder da’: Le retour du Leutnant Hans Höller en juin 2014”, in Normandie 1944 Magazine, Number 28, 2018, pp.76-87. This article describes the return to Normandy in 2014 of a German veteran from the 1944 campaign, Hans Höller. Höller was a member of 21st Panzer Division and the article includes information about some of the battles in which he was involved (especially at Bénouville on D-Day and during Operation ‘Goodwood’ on 18 July). French text.

Kurowski, Franz: Panzer Aces II – Battle Stories of German Tank Commanders of World War II (Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg 2004 edition; 492pp., illustrations). This is a book of heroic tales about German tank commanders during the Second World War. One of them, Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski, commanded 21st Panzer Division’s tank regiment in Normandy. Pages 421-86 describe his wartime career.

Luck, Hans von: Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck (Praeger Publishers, 1989; ix + 355pp., illustrations). This war memoir was written by a 21st Panzer Division officer who fought in Normandy throughout the campaign. Early chapters describe the author’s pre-war life and his experiences from 1939 to 1943. Chapters 14-17 (pp.156-210) focus on the period 1943 – August 1944, during which the author commanded 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment (and other divisional elements) in combat against Allied forces. The book casts light on 21st Panzer Division’s role on D-Day and during the first week of the campaign, as well as during Operation ‘Goodwood’ (18-20 July).

Möbius, Ingo (Ed.) and Halm, Günther: Ein Grenadier entscheidet eine Schlacht (self-published, Chemnitz 2012; 385pp., maps, illustrations). This is the German-language memoir of Günther Halm, who was awarded the Knight’s Cross when he was only nineteen years old and serving in an anti-tank unit in north Africa. Later, Halm was commissioned and sent to France to join 21st Panzer Division as a staff officer in a panzergrenadier battalion. Pages 282-309 describe his experiences in Normandy. Halm was captured on 19 August 1944 and the rest of the book describes his experiences in captivity and his post-war life. An English-language edition of the book (Desert Knight: The Memoirs of Leutnant Günter Halm, Knight’s Cross Holder, Panzergrenadier: From El Alamein to Normandy, ed. Schafer, Robin and Doyle, Peter) was due to appear in 2019 (Frontline Books). However, at the time this bibliography was finished (2021), it had not yet been published.

Perrigault, Jean-Claude: “Gefreiter Werner Kortenhaus, un de ceux du Panzerregiment 22, 21.Panzerdivision (1944)”, in 39/45 Magazine, Number 289, May 2011, pp.12-17. This article provides biographical information about a soldier who served with 21st Panzer Division in Normandy, and who later wrote a history of the division (see section 2.9b. above.). French text.

Perrigault, Jean-Claude: “Leutnant Hans Höller, veteran du Panzergrenadier-Regiment 192”, in Normandie 1944 Magazine, Number 01, 2012, pp.82-91. This article provides biographical details of a junior officer who served with 21st Panzer Division in Normandy. It is illustrated with photographs from the officer’s personal collection. French text.

Reisner, Markus and Höller, Hans: Unter Rommels Kommando; Von den Wüsten Nordafrikas bis an die Strände der Normandie (Verlagsbuchhandlung Stöhr, Wien 2012; 384pp., maps, illustrations). For details of this book’s contents see the 2017 French-language edition, Sous les orders de Rommel, with Höller as first-named author.

Verwicht, Alain: “Le Major Alfred Becker et la Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 200; rappel”, in Panzer Voran! Number 30, 2006, p.36. This short French-language article provides basic biographical information about Major Alfred Becker, who led 21st Panzer Division’s assault gun battalion in Normandy. It also discusses the organisation and equipment of the unit that he commanded.

2.9e. Battle accounts and other sources:

2.9e.(i). Anti-invasion preparations:

‘Planned Movement of 21 Panzer Division’. This group of maps shows the routes to be taken by a 21st Panzer Division battle group to various destinations in Brittany and Lower Normandy, depending on the precise location of the invasion. The battle group included about half the division’s combat elements. The plans are dated 17 May 1944. See SHAEF Intelligence Notes Number 15 (22 June 1944), UK National Archives, WO 219/5226.

‘Plans and Exercises of 21 Panzer Division.’ This is a short summary of captured documents relating to pre-invasion planning by 21st Panzer Division. The report casts light on the formation’s intentions in the event of Allied airborne and amphibious landings in north-west Europe. See SHAEF Intelligence Notes Number 16 (29 June 1944), UK National Archives, WO 219/5227.

‘21 Pz Div – Battle Group Maempel’. This report is based on a captured document dated 21 May 1944. It identifies the components of Kampfgruppe Maempel and the possible coastal defence role of some 21st Panzer Division units. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.15, issued 20 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/220).

Information about the transfer of fifteen Panzer IV tanks from the Panzer Lehr Division to 21st Panzer Division in late May 1944 can be found in a well-informed and nicely illustrated thread on an internet discussion forum. For details, see http://www.network54.com/Forum/571595/t ... 333+enigma.

For information about the location and capacity of divisional fuel facilities on the eve of the invasion see section 1.2.2.3. above, entry under ‘POL dumps’.

2.9e.(ii). Battles near Caen in June and July:

Details of the post-invasion activities of 192nd Panzergrenadier Regiment’s 2nd Battalion, based on documents captured at Cambes on 15 June, are in 3rd (British) Infantry Division’s Intelligence Summary No.9 of 15 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/410).

Interesting material about 155th Panzer Artillery Regiment’s role in helping to defend the Chateau de la Londe in late June is in an interrogation report contained in 3rd (British) Infantry Division’s Intelligence Summary No.17 of 23 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/410).

Six-figure grid references for the locations of thirty-three Panzer IVs belonging to 21st Panzer Division, which were knocked out by the British during the opening weeks of the Normandy campaign, are in 3rd (British) Infantry Division’s Intelligence Summary No.35 of 12 July 1944 (UK National Archives, record group WO 171, folder 410).

‘German recovery of British equipment and subsequent use’. This British intelligence report quotes from a 21st Panzer Division news sheet dated 16 July, in which members of the division’s assault gun battalion are credited with recovering one British Sherman tank and three seventeen-pounder anti-tank guns after a battle at Colombelles five days earlier. One of the anti-tank guns, and the Sherman, were subsequently put back into an operable condition. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.51, issued 26 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).

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