s.SS.PzAbt 503 action on the 19/04/45

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Aps
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s.SS.PzAbt 503 action on the 19/04/45

Post by Aps » 30 Apr 2004 13:46

Hello,

After the first wave of tanks, the Soviets attacked again, around 1400 hours, across a broad front. By 1600 hours the attacked had failed. Without a single loss, 4 Königstiger managed to destroy 105 of over 400 Soviet tanks. By 1600, supply vehicles brought fuel and ammunition. Two Tigers were then deployed about 800 meters back within the forest while 2 Tigers remained in position for security. Shortly thereafter, the forest was hit by a heavy rocket barrage. Both tanks and crews, execpt for 2 men, were lost. Ostuf.Müller was among the dead.


http://www.stengerhistorica.com/History ... Kausch.htm

According to this article, 4 Tigers B of the s.SS.PzAbt 503 positionned in the main axe of the 2nd Guard Tank Army thrust toward Strausberg on the 19/04/45 were credited of 105 kills on a single action beetween 1400H and 1600H.

These loses account for 14% of the overall losses (743 tanks and SPG) for the 1st Bielorussian Front in the first 4 days of the Berlin Operation, this for only 4 tanks and in a 2 hours fight.If I'm not wrong, that would be around one kill (Burned-out tank, I supposed) per 2 minutes for every tank to reach this amount, this, at an average range of 300-400 meters.

It seems pretty amazing, so, I would like to have a confirmation of the statements of the article and, possibly, a little more information regarding this engagement.

Thank you in advance,

Aps

Aps
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Post by Aps » 03 May 2004 16:36

Sorry. Bumping! :)

1- http://www.stengerhistorica.com/History ... Kausch.htm

2- http://www.lexikon-derwehrmacht.de/Glie ... t103-R.htm

3- http://www.achtungpanzer.com/gen10.htm

After trying to patch up informations from those links, I met several problems.
In the first article, author state of 4 Tigers including SS-Hauptscharführer Körner who fired from a defensive position to some attacking Soviet tank units achieving 105 destructions. In the third article, SS-Hauptscharführer Körner was supposed to support infantry troops during a local counter-attack and took out a refuelling Soviet tank unit between Bollersdorf and Grunow. Destruction credited for Körner's Tiger (51) account for half the 105 destructions of the 4 Tigers.
Overall destructions for the 4 Tigers, according to the three articles would go that way:

*Körner: 51 (11 destructions +39 hits according to the third article)
*Müller:23 (According to the second article)
= 74
*Diers's Tiger and 4th Tiger
= 31

Except for Körner estimated destructions, all these numbers seems pretty reasonable for Tigers B acting in a defensive position. So, I have several questions regarding Körner action:

1) Did Körner is known, as stated in the first article, to have fought with SS-Obersturmführer Müller platoon on the 19/04/45?

2) Did this statement was an official one (Specified in any kind of german documents) or does it came from a testifie of a soldier who was able either to see the engagement or take part in it?

3) Except from some infantry elements Körner tank was supposed to support, was there any others known troops in the exact area who might have took part in the action?

4) Does anybody have an the number of losses suffered by the 2nd Guard Tank Army during the 19/04/45, or during the first four days of the Berlin Operation?

It seems that there is a report of this action in Tigers in Combat 2 by Wolfgang Schneider, page 373.

In advance, thanks you very much for your answers,

Regards,

Thomas

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 04 May 2004 01:24

Hi Thomas, PM me your e-mail address and I'll send you a scan of the page from "Tigers in Combat II".

I wonder when the Germans got the time to count all those kills?

Best Regards,

Commissar D, the EviL

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Georg_S
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Post by Georg_S » 11 May 2004 08:38

Hello,

I attach 3 photos from Karl Bromman
One is on his richtschütze SS-Uscha Emil Reideil
the other two is with Herzig and and his crew.

Hope this something new to you.

Best reg.

Georg

Aps
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Post by Aps » 14 May 2004 17:45

Hello,

Thank you Georg for those nices pictures.

I posted all I've got for this action. Any comments or adds are very welcome. I especially seek for informations reagarding Soviet strenght and losses in the area for the following units:

- 11th Tank Corps
- 12th Guards Tank Corps
- 1st Mechanized Corps
- 220th Tank Brigade

Any informations regarding the 2 Tigers groups (Müller and Körner ones), names of the tank commanders especially are also very welcome.

Thank you advance,

Thomas


Sources:

(Heavy files)

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/para-bella/Tiger.BMP

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/para-bella/Faithful1.BMP

Provided by David C. Clarke

Internet sources:

1- http://www.stengerhistorica.com/History ... Kausch.htm

2- http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... t103-R.htm

3- http://www.achtungpanzer.com/gen10.htm


Map of the area:

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/para-bella/SS503.jpg

I don't have any scale for this map. There is 3 kilometers between Strausberg and Klosterdorf. It gives a little estimation.


Short summary of the day:


The s.SS.PzAbt.503: 11 Tigers in all.

Tank commanders acting on the area:

Obersturmführer Boostman (Bromman?)

Körner's group:
Hauptscharführer Karl Körner
Hauptscharführer Harrer

+ 1 Unknown tank commanders.

Müller's group:
Obersturmführer Müller
Unterscharführer Georg Diers
Untersturmführer Schäfer

+ 2 Unknown tank commanders.


1st Action:

Date:
19/04/45 Begining of the day

Forces:
1 PzVI B + 1 another one(Diers + Boostman(Bromman?)).

Localisation et action:
North-East of Klosterdorf, on a height. Numbers that could be read on the map seem to be heights. Not sure of that. First article give a position near Klosterdorf, with a fire aiming at Prötzel and Grunow. If the numbers are actually heights it MAYBE "Hill 116", hightest hill in the area and in the North-East of the town. Grey area refers to wooded area.

Conclusion of the action:
Retreat to West. Halt and movement to East. Bootsmann's Tiger (Bromman?) was left on the field. Diers joined Müller group.

Credited destructions:
13 Tanks for Diers's Tiger.

Sources:

Scan of TIC II

http://www.stengerhistorica.com/History ... Kausch.htm


2nd action:

Date:
19/04/45 Autour de 10H00.

Forces:
Müller - 5 PzVI B and,later, Körner- 3 PzVI B in reserve at the beginning of the action.

Localisation et action:

Heights around Grunow (Seems there is 3 Heights, 73, 84 and 88). Soviet attack came from the Ihlow- Grunlow axe. Fire is open at 400 meters by Müller group, reinforced later by Körner group. Tieke mentioned that Müller group leaved it positions due to the lack of amnunitions and met Körner group which was in reserve, between Grunow and Klosterdorf.

Conclusion of the action:

Körner group leaved Müller group and was ordered to counter-attack on Bollersdorf. It was supposed to help elements of the "Norge" Regiment of the "Nordland" division. Müller group stood in position.

Estimated and credited destructions:

Between 40-50 tanks. Schneider talk about 70 tanks Müller is credited of 23 tanks.


Sources:

Scan of TIC II

Scan of ToF

http://www.stengerhistorica.com/History ... Kausch.htm

http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... t103-R.htm


3rd action: Körner's Action

Date:
19/04/45 Around 1300H.

Forces:
Körner- 3 PzVI

Localisation and action:

Körner group counter helped for a counter attack on Bollersdorf. Action took place on the road to Strausberg, the one which cross Bollersdorf in fact. Körner took a Soviet Tank Brigade while it was refuelling in the woods east of the village and inside Bollersdorf. Unit was lacking of proper protection. Körner team met 2 T-34 covering the resupply. Those are destroyed before Körner group engaged an IS-2 Compagny stationned one beside another on the road. Körner destroyed the first and the last tank before engaging the Tank Brigade. After numerous shots to the T-34, the 3 tanks destroted the IS-2 compagny. Short of ammo, the Tigers then returned to Müller group position.

Conclusion of the action:

Körner group returned on Müller position.

Credited and estimated destruction:

Körner was credited of 39 Tanks.
Harrer, one of Körner tank leader, was redited of 25 tanks.
Schneider speak about an 100 estimated destruction.

Sources:

Scan of TIC II

http://www.stengerhistorica.com/History ... Kausch.htm


4th Engagement:

Date:
19/04/45 Between 14H and 16H.

Forces:
Müller-5 PzVI B, then Körner- 3 PzVI B.

Localisation and action:
Same position as the 2nd action. Ammunitions seems to have been brought to both groups around 1600H.

Conclusion of the action:

Müller's Tiger and another one from his group are destroyed by a rocket fire. Müller is killed. The rocket fire seems to had aimed to a wood (Hill 116?). The 3 remaining Tigers from Müller group retreated on Werneuchen.

Credited and estimated destructions:

Unknown.

Sources:

Scan of TIC II

Scan of ToF

http://www.stengerhistorica.com/History ... Kausch.htm

http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... t103-R.htm

http://www.achtungpanzer.com/gen10.htm


5th engagement:

Date:
19/04/45 Around 17H00.

Forces:
Körner- 3 PzVI B and Schäfer- 1 PzVI B

Localisation et action:
East of Bollersdorf. Ex-Position of Müller's group? The attack was launched with 30 T-34.

Conclusion of the action:

Retraite of Körner on Strausberg.

Estimated destructions:

At least 30 Tanks.

Sources:

Scan of TIC II

Scan of ToF

http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... t103-R.htm


Regarding Soviet units and formations in the area:

A large formation" for Tieke, an Tank Brigade (63 Tanks at full strenght) and an IS-2 compagny (11 IS-2?, cf achtungpanzer) for Schneider. Overall strenght is given at more than 100 T-34 and an IS-2 compagny by Schneider. Around 120-150 tanks for Achtungpanzer site. Elements of 3 Soviet Corps are in the area at the time. The Soviet push toward Strausberg was assigned to elements of the 11th Tank Corps (2nd.GTA) and 12th Guards Tank Corps (1st.GTA). 1st Mechanized Corps (2nd GTA) was also in the area.

Here is part of a map provided by Glynwed:

Two SP units (?), 1050 and 1054 are located in the area around 1800H.I don't have them in my orders of battle.
The 220th Tank Brigade (230th Infantry Division/ 5th SA) is also in the area at this time.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/para-bella/Bollersdorf.JPG


A bit of stats:

Destruction credited for the s.SS.PzAbt.503 during the course of the 19/04/45.

Exept for Körner destructions:
- 100 estimated destructions (Hightest estimation), including:
- 36 credited destructions
Losses for one engagement involving Müller group (between 1400H and 1600H) are unknown.

Körner group destructions between 1300H and 1600H:

- 100 estimated destruction, including:
- 64 credited destructions

= 200 estimated destruction, including
= 100 credited destructions

Estimated destructions in the area for the whole day are:

- 70 for Tieke
- Around 200 for Schneider ( 13+more than 70+100+30). (Losses for one engagement involving Müller group are unknown.)

Number given by Tieke are the same Schneider gave for one engagement involving Müller and Körner group. Exept for Körner "coup d'éclat", it was the main action of the day. Informations regarding the actions of 3 of the 11 Tigers of the schwere abteilung is not known. Soviet losses may include destructions from other German units ("Hermann Von Salza" StuG, "Norge" infantry). No informations regarding Soviet formations and units from Army echelon (1st Bielorussian Front suffered 743 losses for the first four days of the operation.).
Credited destructions are of 100 tanks for the whole day. 64% of these destructions are done by Körner group.
Credited destructions goes for 13,45% of the 1st Bielorussian Front for the first four days of the Berlin Operation, for the abteilung.
Estimated destructions are 200 for the whole days, highest estimation, 55,5% of these destructions are done by Körner group.
Estimated destructions goes for 37,1% of the 1st Bielorussian Front for the first four days of the Berlin Operation, for the abteilung.
According to both credited and estimated destructions, the abteilung action for the 19/04/45 would account for betwwen 13% and 23% of the 1st Bielorussian Front losses for the first four days of the Berlin Operation.

Edit: links corrected
Last edited by Aps on 14 May 2004 23:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Georg_S
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Post by Georg_S » 14 May 2004 19:43

Hello,

Schäffer = SS-Ustuf Oskar Schäfer (not two F´s).
Was badly wounded in the battle of Berlin (burns)
meet his wife in the hospital even when his face was off.
Schäfer recieved RK, and was healthy and well some years
ago.

Best reg.

Georg

Ps. I have some more photos of Bromman and Schäfer somewhere
even signed by all of them incl. Körner.

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Post by Michael Kenny » 14 May 2004 20:10

What methods were used to confirm the number of Russian tanks lost?
Perhaps we are dealing with a simple crew claim and these were always on the high side. Examples I have seen in Russia seem to confirm that further up the reporting chain these claims were simply halved.
Is there any indication if this is the adjusted claim or the initial crew claim?

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Post by Aps » 14 May 2004 23:08

Hello,

Georg,

Thank you for the correction. You seem to have quite some knowledge about the unit and soldiers who fought in it, may I ask you what do you think about this action?


Michael,

I have no ideas of that. Thats why I try to get informations on losses suffered by Soviet units. Still, one author, Schneider,allow himself to state of some credited and estimated losses.

We have to keep in mind that the bulk of the destructions credited for the abteilung relied on an action (Körner's action) which is really an exeption (Very favourable conditions). As David C. Clarke mentioned in a mail,there were also enought targets in the area to fulfill such an amount (Concentration of all-arms formations in the Berlin Operation were quite outstanding). Körner achevied also his 76 kill this day (RK for his 101th on May, 2nd), this from roughly the beginning of the year. Those 39 Kills mentioned by Schneider and achtungpanzer seems pretty reasonnable regarding this fact.

On the other side Körner kills are much more close to hits regarding theorical dotation of AP rounds for Tiger B and the fact that the team wasn't supply after it first engagement, during the morning of the April 19th.

There is also strange differences between Tieke (2001), Le Tissier (1996) and Schneider (1988). First talk abour an overall 70 kills for the day and Le Tissier didn't even mentioned the action.

Best Regards,

Thomas

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Post by Michael Kenny » 14 May 2004 23:54

Well the destruction of the Russian 'Tank Brigade' does seem highly unlikely. The details (i.e. the first ansd last tank knocked out trapping the others) seem awfuly similar to the Wittmann myth of Villers Bocage. It can be shown Wittmann did no such thing and so I think this case also needs verification before we accept it. By my reckoning tanks in a wood would have plenty of places to hide and thus escape.

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Georg_S
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Post by Georg_S » 15 May 2004 13:34

Hello,

I have some witness accounts from some of the members in the
s.SS-Pz.Abt 503 and SS-Pz.Abt 11 "HvS" and those combat was
hevy and terrible, Bromman once told me when they was in Pommern
in a open terrain, the whole Btl. was standing side by side, and a
hole Rgt. of T34 was approaching, the order was to hold fire until they was 800m away, because the T34 couldn´t hurt them until 400m.
When they then opened fire, he told me how the T34 just tipped around or just vanished when they hit them.
The attack was halted and he told me that a lot of T34 was destroyd.
How many is unknown because of bad memory and age but atleast 40-50
was destroyd.

Best reg.

Georg

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Georg_S
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Post by Georg_S » 15 May 2004 14:10

Hello.

Here is a photo of Georg Diers,

I am sorry that the quality is bad, I couldn´t find the one in better
quality, but when I find it will come.

Best regards,

Georg

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 16 May 2004 01:35

Thomas--Great Job!!!

Micheal wrote:

Well the destruction of the Russian 'Tank Brigade' does seem highly unlikely. The details (i.e. the first ansd last tank knocked out trapping the others) seem awfuly similar to the Wittmann myth of Villers Bocage. It can be shown Wittmann did no such thing and so I think this case also needs verification before we accept it. By my reckoning tanks in a wood would have plenty of places to hide and thus escape.


Destroying the first and the last tanks was pretty much standard German anti-tank policy, used on both fronts in restricted areas. Off the top of my head, I can tell you that a sub-unit of the U.S. 761st Tank Battalion ran into such a fire trap on the Western Front and Feldwebel Hermann Bix used in on the Eastern Front, so I don't think the tactic is unusual at all.

About loss claims--my belief is that the Russians only reported tanks that were total combat losses, that is, that couldn't be rebuilt or repaired. Unless a tank is burned out (and its armor integrity thus destroyed) or a hit deforms its turret ring, a majority of tanks hit by APC can be repaired if the Army has the motivation and opportunity.

Just a few random comments.

Best Regards,
David

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Post by Brotherhood of the Cross » 16 May 2004 09:34

Destroying the first and the last tanks was pretty much standard German anti-tank policy, used on both fronts in restricted areas. Off the top of my head, I can tell you that a sub-unit of the U.S. 761st Tank Battalion ran into such a fire trap on the Western Front and Feldwebel Hermann Bix used in on the Eastern Front, so I don't think the tactic is unusual at all.


Sven Hassel mentions as well this antitank approach repeatedly in his books.

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Georg_S
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Post by Georg_S » 16 May 2004 13:15

Hello,

Sven Hassel is just fiction, many of his "stories" comes
from "Erich Maria Remarque´s" book ... don´t know the
title in English, but it´s a about a German Infantryman during
WWI. In Swedish, "På Västfronten intet nytt!"

//Georg

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Post by Aps » 17 May 2004 22:12

Thank you again, Georg, for those pictures.

Michael,

By my reckoning tanks in a wood would have plenty of places to hide and thus escape.


Fact that Körner tanks were able to engage Soviet armored concentration while refuelling mean that defenses were either non-existant or had been neglected (2 T-34 have been destroyed by Körner during the action and before the engagement with the concentration). Could be a lucky approach too. Luck is obviously for much in this action. Schneider and Tieke insist on the fact the russian unit(s) were taken completly by surprise. I actually thought that Körner may even shot at tanks which crew had already abandonned,in the hypothesis that the crew were outside while refuelling. German infantry was also close to the Tigers.

The only fact which may bring a kind of back up for this destruction claim is that the Tiger fired all, or close to all their ammunitions during the action without suffering a losse. Not enought to stated of a decisive proof but still enought to consider those destructions claims may be considered as probable, in my opignion.

The only numbers I could find regarding Soviet losses are for the whole Operation and they don't bring any usefull informations.

http://www.battlefield.ru/library/books ... sses3.html

Best Regards,

Thomas

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