OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

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[EUG]MadMat
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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Mon 27 Aug 2018 15:47

German divisions, after a few months of quiet, were indeed almost all at full or near full strenght, at lest regarding manpower.
Equipment was another thing entirely, with plenty of division missing a battalion sent to Germany for refitting since there was a lull in the fighting. It is especially true with armored recon battalions which, less useful in a static defense, are almost entirely missing from AG Center's division.
5. Panzer only had half an armored recon battalion, 20. Panzer had none and only one out of two armored battalion, and 18. Panzergrenadier had neither recon nor Panzer battalion! FHH Panzergrenadier-Division might have been the only armored division fully equipped.

But the real problem with AG Center was its lack of mobile/armored reserve: only one Panzerdivision for an entire AG, 20. Panzer, and as said above, both its armored recon and Panther battalion were in Germany for refitting. It was basically reduced to an improved Panzergrenadier-Division, and its lone Panzer battalion was of the 1943 model, with still about (from memory) 1/4 of Panzer III or short-barreled Panzer IV. Yet, although not accounted in official record, it should also have some T-34/76: a dozen had been captured during the fighting earlier in the Winter 44 and they had been formed into a reduced tank companies.
But that already tiny armored reserve was wasted uselessly in the first days of Operation Bagration ...

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby RoyalColor » Tue 28 Aug 2018 11:04

[EUG]MadMat wrote:German divisions, after a few months of quiet, were indeed almost all at full or near full strenght, at lest regarding manpower.
Equipment was another thing entirely, with plenty of division missing a battalion sent to Germany for refitting since there was a lull in the fighting. It is especially true with armored recon battalions which, less useful in a static defense, are almost entirely missing from AG Center's division.
5. Panzer only had half an armored recon battalion, 20. Panzer had none and only one out of two armored battalion, and 18. Panzergrenadier had neither recon nor Panzer battalion! FHH Panzergrenadier-Division might have been the only armored division fully equipped.

But the real problem with AG Center was its lack of mobile/armored reserve: only one Panzerdivision for an entire AG, 20. Panzer, and as said above, both its armored recon and Panther battalion were in Germany for refitting. It was basically reduced to an improved Panzergrenadier-Division, and its lone Panzer battalion was of the 1943 model, with still about (from memory) 1/4 of Panzer III or short-barreled Panzer IV. Yet, although not accounted in official record, it should also have some T-34/76: a dozen had been captured during the fighting earlier in the Winter 44 and they had been formed into a reduced tank companies.
But that already tiny armored reserve was wasted uselessly in the first days of Operation Bagration ...


Agree on the fact that HG Mitte didn't have any reserves. I would argue however that the situation with vehicles was that bad. When you take 3rd Army as an example, it had 7 Inf Divisions and it could support these Divisions with 6 armored detachments (H.Stu.Gesch.Brig. 245, H.Stu.Gesch.Brig. 281, H.Stu.Gesch.Brig. 909, H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 519, s.H.Pz.Jg.Abt. 664, A.Pz.Jg.Abt. 742 all of them @ full strength). It won't obviously make an armored division out of them, but my point is that in comparison to what Army/Corps level support Normandy Divisions had - this is luxury.

As for 20.Panzer Divison... Bundesarchiv MA RH 10/157:
Zustandsbericht der 20.Panzer-Division vom 01.06.1944:
5 Pzkpfw III lang
8 Pzkpfw III kurz
4 Pzkpfw IV kurz
52 Pzkpfw IV lang
1 Bef.Pzkpfw

Panzer Regiment 21 stab and Ist abteilung were at Tr.Ub.Pl. Tubingen rearming in Panthers
Panzer Aufklarungs Abteilung 20 - was at that time in Tr.Ub.Pl. Wildflecken for reorganization and reariming
Panzerjager Abteilung 92 - Only 3rd and 4th companies (Marders) were with the division when the Bagration started. It's 1st and 2nd companies were at Tr.Ub.Pl. Mielau where on 19 of June they have received 21 JgPzIVs. Sent back to front on 6th July, entered combat on 8th of July as LV Corps asset in support of 36 Grenadier Division near Zelwa

There is no mention of the use of T-34 anywhere. 2 turretless chasiss were used as prime movers in its artillery regiment, but that's it. The divisional diary gives plenty of information on T-34 use in combat, but that was in 1943, not 1944. I don't think this would get omitted if the T-34s were with the Division. During the breakthrough from Borbruisk, the Division has captured a single T-34/85 and used it with notable success (Divisional diary says it was IS-2, but all other sources explicitly say T-34 with long barrel). So I don't know where you got the information about dozen T-34/76s during Bagration.

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Tue 28 Aug 2018 11:30

RoyalColor wrote:There is no mention of the use of T-34 anywhere.


Image

The board clearly indictes those T-34 belonged to Panzer-Abteilung 21, which was the actual only armored battalion in 20. Panzerdivision.
There were about 10-12 of those captured by the division during the early 1944 Winter battles around Vitebsk.

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby RoyalColor » Tue 28 Aug 2018 22:39

[EUG]MadMat wrote:
RoyalColor wrote:There is no mention of the use of T-34 anywhere.


Image

The board clearly indictes those T-34 belonged to Panzer-Abteilung 21, which was the actual only armored battalion in 20. Panzerdivision.
There were about 10-12 of those captured by the division during the early 1944 Winter battles around Vitebsk.


Thanks for that. I have relatively little knowledge about Moscow-Minsk Highway battles 1943-1944.

But still there are abundant sources both primary and secondary on 20. Panzer during Bagration and none of them mentions the use of entire company of T-34s which is odd. Personally I would assume the Division didn’t have them anymore

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Tue 28 Aug 2018 23:15

20. Panzer's T-34s being repainted for use in German service after the battle of Vitebsk, according to Beutepanzer.ru.
Image
Should be the same.

Besides, I once read (I'll have to find where) that after the battle of Vitebsk they had a reduced "beute" tank company.

Although Beutewaffen (SMG, MG, howitzer, PaK, ...) mentioned in divisional Meldung, Beutepanzer usually aren't. Maybe the divisional commanders didn't want them to be taken away?

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby RoyalColor » Wed 29 Aug 2018 14:05

[EUG]MadMat wrote:20. Panzer's T-34s being repainted for use in German service after the battle of Vitebsk, according to Beutepanzer.ru.
Image
Should be the same.

Besides, I once read (I'll have to find where) that after the battle of Vitebsk they had a reduced "beute" tank company.

Although Beutewaffen (SMG, MG, howitzer, PaK, ...) mentioned in divisional Meldung, Beutepanzer usually aren't. Maybe the divisional commanders didn't want them to be taken away?


But that’s hypothetical. I agree there was a lot of improvisation during the war, but if these tanks weren’t accounted for officially, then the division wouldn’t receive supplies for them. And that’s not only diesel fuel, parts, but also food and pay for 100 troops who maintained those tanks.

Sure there were cases when unit commanders went to great extent in trying to keep the gear (vide 1stSS having almost 50 tanks in it’s stab company early 1943), but hiding almost a company of tanks for 5 months? And again given the amount of very detailed sources about Von Kessels division during Titovka/Bobruisk breakthrough with none of them mentioning T-34s (besides the one they captured during breakthrough) I’d still say it’s highly unlikely.

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby Crotou » Wed 29 Aug 2018 19:27

[EUG]MadMat wrote:
Kagemusha wrote:"Opération Bagration, la revanche de Staline" de Jean Lopez. Excellent livre

En effet, très bon livre, Lopez décrit parfaitement les mécanismes opérationnels de part et d'autres.
Seule critique: sa description des divisions et de leur dotation en équipement est souvent plus théorique qu'effective, comme j'ai pu m'en rendre par la suite.


En effet, il n'est pas toujours tout à fait au jus sur certains aspects (Stéphane Mantoux, qui tient le blog "historicoblog4" avait pointé quelques coquilles) mais ses livres demeurent très bons.

Je cotise actuellement pour acquérir celui-là :
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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Wed 29 Aug 2018 19:36

Oui, malgré qques erreurs dans les détails des OOBs, ses ouvrages sur le front de l'Est sont parmi les meilleurs sur le sujet à l'échelle opérationnelle.
Je recommande vivement. ;)

Crotou wrote:Image


Merci pour la référence, je ne connaissais pas celui-là.

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby Crotou » Wed 29 Aug 2018 20:41

(Au passage, Vincent Bernard, qui a participé à l'ouvrage, a pondu de très bonnes biographies de Grant et de Lee :) )
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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby duro909 » Thu 30 Aug 2018 18:18

speak english pls
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