Regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

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antoniop
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Regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by antoniop » 13 Jun 2005 10:27

Which units of Regiment z.b.v. 800 "Brandenburg" fought in North Africa?

I believe that 13. Kompanie of the Regiment Brandenburg was part of Kampfgruppe Hecker and that one of the companies of Sonderverband 288 (Menton) was from Regiment Brandenburg. This two coys were the same or different ones?

In Tunisia there was also Kampfgruppe von Koenen from Regiment Brandenburg. Can anybody tell me anything more about this unit?

Best regards

Antonio

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David W
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Post by David W » 13 Jun 2005 20:54

I always assumed that the Brandenberger units were one and the same.

Can't help with your other question though.

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PPoS
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Post by PPoS » 15 Jun 2005 07:30

I know that there was an amphibious operation involving Brandenburgers, I'm not sure which unit it was but I can check it out. Maybe you should do a forum search about it, but I believe that I found the information on another forum.

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Brandenburg info

Post by harmel » 16 Jun 2005 00:13

Ihope this helps a bit-First Brandenburg unit arrived N/Africa June 1941 to do Recce and collection of info.

SONDERVERBAND 288-was designated an independant Battle Group(Motorised) and Commanded by
Oberst Otto Menton awarded German Cross in Gold 8/1/43,because of his Special Forces work his
award was given withyout his unit designation.288-was officialy later to become an official unit of the WH.

Oblt Friedrich von Koenen-Born South -West Africa where a lot of the Brandenburgers were brought was Cmdr
111Bn/4th Inf where he won his KC 16/9/43 his unit was hand-picked and spoke different languages.In North
africa was prom Hptm and carried out a lot of raids ,his unit in early 1943 being designated Abteilung von Koenen.
This unit was successful against US Forces new to desert warfare. May 1943 -the unit managed to escape to Italy.
After N/A was in in action with unit in Greece and Yugoslavia where he was killed in a Partisan ambush 20/4/44.
He was brought up in Africa I should say ,and Born Danzig 28/6/1916
Regards Harmel OOPS last rank Obstlt.

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Post by antoniop » 16 Jun 2005 08:26

According to the above information, and from Paul Carell's book "Foxes of the desert", I think that at first there were only small detachments of Brandenburgers with Rommel. (below company size), and only, during Tunisia campaign, did it arrive von Koenen with 13th company.

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Antonio

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Re: Brandenburg regiment in North Africa

Post by Urmel » 07 May 2011 11:22

von Koenen arrived in Nov. 41 in Benghazi with a Brandenburger detachment, referred to as Detachment von Koenen. Does anyone have details on what this consisted of?
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by General » 11 May 2011 18:40

From Kommando by James Lucas:
...
As this move into Africa had been so quickly conceived and executed, Canaris had had no time to prepare for the employment of his agents there. Within Brandenburg were men who had lived or worked in tropical lands. Most of them were from families that had colonised the former German possessions of East and South West Africa. There were also Palestinian Germans and others from South Africa. Volunteers were called for and these former emigrés came forward in such numbers that within weeks more than sixty had been sifted, interviewed, selected and accepted. To the number of those chosen for the 'Afrika Kompanie' were added communication experts. Command of the Company was given to Oberleutnant von Koenen, a man of wide experience with a great knowledge of Africa. He divided the Company into two half-Companies and sent them to Tripoli where the first half-Company arrived in October 1941. The second detachment sailed four months later. Most of the men in 'Africa Kompanie' not only spoke English more or less fluently, but also had command of Arabic and Swahili as main languages, backed up by several of the African dialects.
It was intented that the Brandenburg detachments be used for reconnaissance operations: to penetrate a short distance into the British lines and glean information about the conditions awaiting the Panzer Army. This idea of short, sharp missions was changed during June 1942, when it seemed as if Rommel had defeated the British Eighth Army and was about to drive on to the Nile.
...
From The Brandenburgers - Global Mission by Franz Kurowski:
...
On 3 May 1941, on orders from Oberst Piekenbrock, an agent under cover as a scientist together with two escorts slipped into Frech West Africa via southern Libya. His job was to scout the region for following Brandenburger commandos.
Beginning in mid-1941, the 13th Company of the 800th Special Purpose Construction Training Regiment Brandenburg was readied in Brandenburg as a "catch basin" for the formation of a tropical company. On 28 October 1941 the first half-company under Oblt. Wilhelm von Koenen departed Brandenburg for Tripoli via Naples. It was to be employed as a supply company.
The first live action by the Brandenburgers in North Africa took place during Panzer Group Africa's eastward advance which began on 22 January 1942.
...
So in the first few months their task was gathering information.
Nothing is mentioned about Benghazi.

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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by Urmel » 12 May 2011 08:04

Many thanks. So this company had nothing to do with the Brandenburger company in SV288 then?

What action was it on 22 January?
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by Leo Niehorster » 12 May 2011 10:30

From
Helmuth Spaeter,
"Die Brandenburger – eine Deutsche Kommandotruppe – zbV 800",
Walther Angerer, Munich, 1982,
ISBN 3-922128-05-X
pp. 250

Spaeter mostly "agrees" with Lucas and Kurowski. (Strangely, the texts of both Lucas [published 2007] and Kurowski [published 1997] closely follow that of Spaeter; no comment...
All I can add from here is, that the other half-company was transferred to Lugrino Bagnioli near Naples, Italy, functioning as a holding and replacement unit for its sister unit in Africa.

There is no mention in the chapter of the SdVerb 287 (a reinforced regiment, of which only one battalion was sent to Africa) or SdVerb 288, (a small mixed regiment), which is not surprising, as both of them were raised by the Army, (i.e. not by the Abwehr under Adm. Canaris).

However, the 13. Kompanie and the I. Zug/Leichte Pionier-Kompanie Lehr-Regiment zbV 800 were sent to Africa in November 1942 to join the unit then variously named as "Tropen-Abteilung" or "Abteilung von Koenen". The engineer platoon was a so-called "Küstenjäger" unit, and was upgraded to company size, being designated as the 5. Kompanie aka "Kompanie Kuhlmann". These were Brandenburger units, albeit under Army operational command.

The chapter covering Africa (from pages 250 –273) is mostly quotes from personal recollections, and has little about the organization of the units deployed there.


-------
James Bender & Richard Law
"Uniforms, Organization, and the History of the Afrikakorps"
Bender, Mountain View, CA, 1973
ISBN 0-912138-09-2

I'm hesitant to use this, as he lumps the 287 and 288 units together with the real Brandenburgers. For what it is worth, for the disinformation and rumor mill:
The first small Brandenburger unit arrived in Africa in June 1941, with its basic mission being reconnaissance and the collecting of information on known enemy bases and enemy installations.
I have no record of a Brandenburger unit arriving in Libya at this time, but you never know.

Further ...
On 2 December 1942, two half-companies from I./Brandenburg Regiment 4 were flown to Tunis.
Oh well, ...

Hoping to have further muddied your waters,
Yours cheekily
Leo

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David W
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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by David W » 12 May 2011 10:47

May I quickly butt in here?
There is no mention in the chapter of the SdVerb 287 (a reinforced regiment, of which only one battalion was sent to Africa)
I have no idea which Battalion this is, please could you enlighten me?
Also, when was is sent please?

David.

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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by Leo Niehorster » 12 May 2011 11:55

The battalion sent was the III. (9.–12. Kp).

Cheers
Leo

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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by David W » 12 May 2011 14:04

Thank you Leo.

Any idea when it was sent?

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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by Leo Niehorster » 12 May 2011 15:59

I have no exact date of the arrival of the III./SdVerb 287 in North Afrika.
Certainly does not appear in the 27 October 1942 Kriegsgliederung for North Africa.

So I googled Sonderverband 287:
[Amazing how often the same information is repeated — and how often it is wrong!] 8O
All I really I found is: "... just before the fall of Tunis ..." in 1943. Which is probably pretty accurate.

Guess "you pays your money and takes your chances".

Leo

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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by David W » 12 May 2011 16:31

Thanks Leo.

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Re: regiment "Brandenburg" in North Africa

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 May 2011 17:51

I would urge some caution in accepting what is published about the Brandenburgers. They are not well served by their authors and badly need a new treatment.

Kurowski, Lucas and Konrat contain incidents for which there appears to be no independent evidence at all, spin operational failures into successes, gloss over major debacles and include multiple inaccuracies.

The Brandenburgers were a very innovative and often highly successful organization, but the secret nature of their activities has allowed rather too much scope for authors to embroider their reputation.

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