8

Fighting between Falaise and Caen, 18 July–21 August 1944

18 July 19441

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The day was spent without notable events. In the morning a march alert was ordered for the Abteilung which was cancelled at 1200 hours but was ordered again at 1600 hours.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Of the anticipated tanks: One tank (a Panzer V) from the workshop Kompanie, which arrived at Paris on 18. 07. 1944. This tank, upon arrival, will be given over to the 1.Kompanie; this way this unit will also have a tank for training purposes.

19 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 was relocated to the area of Vimont on the night of 18. 07. The 3.Kompanie secure north of the Vimont–Caen road, the 2.Kompanie south of the road. In order to strengthen the aforementioned securing line, in the morning the 4 Panzer IVs of the 8.Kompanie were deployed behind the 2. and 3.Kompanien, in the sector of the crossroad 1 km west of the Point 162. The infantry observed major tank grouping southwest of Cagny.

The remaining parts of the 8.Kompanie secured the sector of St. Gabriel, 500 metres north of Point 162. The 9.Kompanie is at the disposal of the Abteilung in the woods 500 metres south of the south-eastern part of Vimont. In the afternoon harassing fire on the securing lines.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On 07. 19. 1944 30 cubic metres of Otto-fuel was allocated to the II.Abteilung which can be transported from Rouen; thus for the present the fuel necessary for training purposes is provided for the II.Abteilung.

After the Kompanien had been set up based on strength of the officers, Unteroffiziere and enlisted men, the Abteilungskommandeur summarized in writing the essential necessities for the arrangement and training of the soldiers. This Abteilung order no. 401/44. geh. (secret) is attached in the Appendix of this report with the corresponding training directives.2

Изображение выглядит как текст, внешний, дерево, старый

A destroyed British Sherman Firefly tank lies on its side on the distinctive Normandy terrain. The “52” above the right back fender indicates that the vehicle was probably belonged to the battalion-sized Staffordshire Yeomanry armoured regiment of the independent British 27th Armoured Brigade. In theory, the British, Canadian and Polish tank troops consisted of one Firefly with increased firepower besides three Shermans, but the shortage of Fireflies available frequently prevented this allocation. (Hungarian Institute and Museum of Military History)

In order to be able to register and bring back the wounded soldiers of the I and II.Abteilung lying in French hospitals, Obersturmführer Dr. Claus Müller (deputy Abteilungsarzt) has been appointed the task of visiting the hospitals in question and visiting the soldiers. At the same time Obersturmführer Dr. Müller has been assigned the task of tending to all of the wounded of the Abteilung.

As a result of these visits to hospitals, 25 officers, NCOs and enlisted men will be returning within 14 days.

20 July 19443

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Reconnaissance sweeps of the enemy with tanks, in front of the line of the 2. and 3.Kompanien. The 2.Kompanie knocked out a Sherman. Early morning the 9 tanks of the 9.Kompanie were relocated to the south-western sector of Vimont, 5 tanks were in the previous attack position. At times heavy artillery harassing fire.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The regimental order attached arrived to the Abteilung on 20. 07. 1944. According to the order, the 7.Kompanie with 15 tanks were to depart immediately and report to the regiment. The prearranged quarters area of the 7.Kompanie was Ouezy–Cesny. The details can be found in the attached order.

The 7.Kompanie, commanded by Obersturmführer Albert Gasch, departed at 0015 hours. The Kompanie reached the assigned aim without any combat activity or any events. The Kompanie for the time being serves as Regimentsreserve.

Together with the order determining the departure of the 7.Kompanie, an order (see Attachment [no.10.]) arrived stating that Hauptsturmführer Dr. Oskar Jordan is, for the time being, reassigned to the Divisionsstab as the Chef of the convalescent Kompanie4 of the division that is to be newly set up. As a substitute for him Stabsarzt Gustav Busse has been appointed. Stabsarzt Busse arrived at the Abteilung at 2200 hours on 20. 07. 1944. He was given the task by the commander of tending primarily to the 1. and 4.Kompanien and he is to establish his quarters in the quarters area of the 4.Kompanie.

War Diary Appendix no. 10.

20. 07. 1944 1600 hours

Arrived at 2110 hours by Untersturmführer Horst Borgsmüller, Ordonnanz Offizier of SS-Panzer Regiment 12

To the commander of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12

1. By the order of the Division the Panzer IV Kompanie is to be directed to the regiment during the night of 20. 07. 1944.

2. The Kompanie is to be drawn forward via Mezidon to the Quecy–Cesny area. Its Chef is to move forward to the regimental command post at Ingouville/Moult. The positioning is to be accurately prearranged.

3. The Regimentskommandeur has ordered that 15 Panzer IVs shall drive forward. 2 Panzer IVs are to be retained for training purposes.

4. The Kampfgruppe is deployed on both sides of the main road west of Bellengreville in order to prevent enemy breakthrough attempts. So far no losses.

5. Major attack is anticipated!

signed Isecke

Hauptsturmführer and Adjutant

Addendum

By the order of the division Hauptsturmführer Dr. Oskar Jordan is, for the time being, reassigned to the Divisionsstab as the Chef of the convalescent Kompanie, that is to be newly created. He is to report on 21. 07. 1944 to Petteville near Laigle (former quarters of the Sanitätsabteilung). Briefing held by Obersturmbannführer Schulz. For this time Stabsarzt Busse is assigned to the II.Abteilung.

signed

Isecke

Изображение выглядит как текст, человек, военная форма, проигрыватель

Arnold Jürgensen in black Panzer uniform while with the “Leibstandarte”. He commanded the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 in Normandy (see Appendix II and throughout text). (Mark C. Yerger)

21 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Abteilung was in its previous sector – at times enemy harassing fire, which intensified during the evening and at night.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On 21. 07. 1944 the Unteroffizier training course (led by Untersturmführer Herbert Walther) and the tank driving school (led by Hauptscharführer Speuser) starts. Coming from Paris, Hauptsturmführer Josef Pezdeuscheg, who had the task of bringing Hauptsturmführer Hans Siegel, some NCOs and enlisted men from the hospitals in Paris, had an accident. Hauptsturmführer Pezdeuscheg broke his knee-cap and went to hospital. According to medical opinions Hauptsturmführer Pezdeuscheg will not be back for at least two months.

At first Untersturmführer Freitag was appointed as the Chef of the Stabskompanie. Hauptsturmführer Siegel has returned to his unit and has taken over the leading of the Unteroffizier training course. Obersturmführer Jürgen Chemnitz from the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 has been assigned to the Unteroffizier training course as training officer and tank expert.

22 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Engineers laid minefields near our lines. The Sturmpanzer IVs5 assigned to the Abteilung6 fired 250–270 (15cm) shells over Frénouville. Artillery activity on both sides in the morning light. Around 1000 hours the enemy placed heavy artillery fire and fire strikes on the sector to be secured. Einheit “Hurdelbrink”7 destroyed the turret of an enemy tank in the afternoon; the vehicle was able to retreat.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On 22. 07. 1944 Obersturmführer Bernhard Meitzel from the command staff of the 12.SS-Panzer Division ”Hitlerjugend”, and Untersturmführer Leopold Spranz from schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 report as being reassigned to the Abteilung8.

During the evening of 22. 07. 1944 those members of the II.Abteilung summarized in the annex attached hereto9 returned from hospital. These wounded soldiers are mostly accommodated in the convalescent quarters of the II.Abteilung in La Saussaye for aftercare. Only after regaining their full readiness for service will they be directed to their respective Kompanien. No observable enemy aircraft activity over the quarters area of the II.Abteilung in the past eight days. Each day some German fighter aircraft fly over the quarters area.

23 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Enemy harassing fire. Yesterday the 2.Kompanie knocked out an enemy tank that appeared at the south-eastern perimetres of Frénouville. The 3.Kompanie deployed three tanks for the first time on the road east of Château de St. Pierre [Oursin].

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On the basis of the directives given by the Abteilungskommandeur the training at the Unteroffizier training course and the tank driving school has started with great enthusiasm from the Kompanien. The training focuses on firing with tank guns and machine guns mounted parallel to the tank guns.

As determined by the regimental order, the reorganization of the II.Abteilung to the new (1944) combat table of organization and equipment as of 01. 04. 1944 is to be accomplished immediately. According to this, the order of battle of the II.Abteilung is formed as follows:

Stab

Stabskompanie

Versorgungskompanie

• 4 medium Kompanien (5., 6., 7., 8.Kompanien)

24 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Heavy artillery activity on both sides. During the night dummy tanks were placed in the frontline sector. The 7.Kompanie was subordinated to the Abteilung with 14 tanks.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

[No entry.]

25 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Heavy artillery fire especially during the disengagement of the 3.Kompanie, the sector of which has been taken over by the 7.Kompanie . Our own aircraft are dropping bombs on our positions, though no losses have been suffered due to this. At 0900 hours fighter–bombers attacked Waldmüller’s10 frontline sector with bombs, especially the new dummy tank positions. Heavy enemy aircraft and artillery activity all day. At 2200 hours concentrated fire strike with all of our heavy weapons at Krause’s 11 frontline sector. The 3.Kompanie stands in the previous attack positions of the 7.Kompanie .

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On 25. 07. 1944 arrival of 12 NCOs and 188 enlisted men from the “LSSAH”. Distribution of these reserves by the Abteilungskommandeur among the Kompanien of the I and II.Abteilung and the Werkstatt Kompanie. More than once enemy fighter and fighter–bomber aircraft units crossed the sky over the quarters area of the II.Abteilung.

26 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

At times heavy enemy artillery fire. The fighter-bomber aircraft knocked out one of the trucks of the 7.Kompanie and it burnt out. No notable events.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

[No entry.]

27 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Heavy enemy artillery activity. Panzerkampfwagen IV no. 537 was hit directly on its turret. Due to this, one man was seriously injured whilst two others were lightly wounded. The artillery fire goes on in the evening and all night. In the hours before and after midnight intensive aircraft activity near us.

Изображение выглядит как текст, человек, мужчина, военная форма

Sturmbannführer Hans Waldmüller, commander of the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 (see Chapter 8 Footnote 10). (Mark C. Yerger)

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

[No entry.]

28 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Due to the heavy artillery fire yesterday, the following tanks were damaged: no. 235 and 335 at the 2.Kompanie, no. 474 at the 8.Kompanie. Otherwise the day was spent quietly.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

At 0940 hours, 28. 07. 1944 visit of the Regimentskommandeur. Inspection of the arrived supplies, the Kompanien, the Unteroffizier training course, and the tank driving school. Discussion of the reorganization of the Abteilung to the new combat table of organization and equipment.

1500 hours: Iron Crosses 1st and 2nd Class were awarded to the soldiers of the II.Abteilung by the Regimentskommandeur. Around 2230 hours the commander travelled back to the regimental command post.

29 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The artillery fire is going on almost ceaselessly. Due to this, the following tanks12 have been damaged: 229 and 13513, and these have been sent to the maintenance unit. At 2200 hours the sector of the 2.Kompanie was taken over by the 9.Kompanie; during the manoeuvre, heavy artillery fire on the sector to be secured.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

At 1100 hours discussion for the commanders at the officers’ quarters. Problems dealt with: reorganization of the II.Abteilung14 according to the combat table of organization and equipment as of 01. 04. 1944. The following will be appointed to commanders of the different units:

• at the 5.Kompanie (former 9.Kompanie) Obersturmführer Wolf Buettner

• at the 6.Kompanie Hauptsturmführer Hermann Tirschler

• at the 7.Kompanie Obersturmführer Albert Gasch

• at the 8.Kompanie Obersturmführer Herbert Höfler

• at the Stabskompanie Untersturmführer Herbert Walther

• at the Versorgungskompanie Hauptsturmführer Götz Großjohann

The NCOs and enlisted men arrived from SS-Feldersatz Bataillon 12 and the SS Panzer-Ausbildungs-und Ersatz Regiment are concentrated into an Ausbildungskompanie under command of Hauptsturmführer Hans Siegel (quarters area: Le Gros-Theil and Le Haye du Theil).

The following are included in the Ausbildungskompanie:

• the Unteroffizier training course

• the tank driving school

As Zugführer the following have been reassigned to the Kompanie:

Obersturmführer Gaspard Gillis

Obersturmführer Fritz Eggers

Untersturmführer Hans-Joachim Boske

Untersturmführer Günther Deutscher

Hauptsturmführer Götz Großjohann, who travelled to Metz and Berlin on 23. 07. 1944 to ascertain allocation of armoured fighting vehicles, returned at 1400 hours on 29. 07. 1944. No one knows about the new allocations, neither in Metz nor in Berlin. All finished weapons have been sent to the Eastern Front until further arrangements.15 Berlin will inform us when new tanks are to arrive for the II.Abteilung.

War Diary Appendix no.12.

12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”

SS-Panzer Regiment 12Regimental command post, 29. 07. 1944

Ia Is.Schm. 13/44. g. Kdos.

10 copies

2nd copy

Copy

Order on the reorganization of Kampfgruppes

1. The I.SS-Panzer Korps “LSSAH” has ordered an intervention group to be set up from the Stab of SS-Panzer Regiment 12, from parts of the 12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend,” and the 1.SS-Panzer-Division “LSSAH,” and from Korps units.

2. Relocation of the Kampfgruppe to the area of Conteville–St. Aignan-de-Cramesnil on the night of 30. 07. 1944 to be available for the I.SS-Panzer Korps “LSSAH.”

3. The foregoing Kampfgruppe has been taken over by the commander of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 as of 30. 07. 1944 with the following composition:

Stab, II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12

III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26

1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217

Kampfgruppe “Prinz” is subordinated to the 12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”.

4. The 2.Kompanie is to be replaced in the securing positions by the 9.Kompanie on the night of 29. 07. 1944.

The 2.Kompanie is to be on alert as intervention reserve in the Moult area.

5. All parts of the Abteilung in the La Saussaye–St. Aubin area are immediately subordinated to Hauptsturmführer Hermann Tirschler.

6. Signals connections:

a. Kampfgruppe “Prinz” will take over the network of Kampfgruppe “Wünsche”.

b. The network in the previous sector is to be dismantled by the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 except for the most necessary connections.

c. The II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 is to hand over 8 field telephones and 12 sets of cables to the Regimentsstab on 30. 07. 1944.

7. Providing maintenance stations:

a. The maintenance group of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 is to finish its work and is to relocate to the sector chosen by the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

b. The workshop Kompanie (without one of its Züge) is to relocate to the area of St. Pierre. The field research is to be commenced immediately.

c. The 1./Werkstattkompanie will relocate to the former sector of the maintenance group of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and is available for the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

8. Supply:

a. The Regimentsstabskompanie will relocate on order to the area of Magny [-le Campagne]–Condé. The field research is to be commenced immediately.

b. All supply units of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 will relocate to the area of Maizières–Soignolles–Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres]. Results of the field research are to be reported!

c. The I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 will return 10 trucks to the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 of the 15 trucks to be handed over.

9. On the morning of 30. 07. 1944 the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 will relocate to the regimental command post with its command and control staff. The Regimentskommandeur is to go forward.

10. On the night of 30. 07. 1944 relocation of parts of the Stabskompanie of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 is necessary for the supply of the Kampfgruppe.

11. Medical treatment:

The II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 will leave a field medical officer in its previous sector. Hauptsturmführer Jordan is again reassigned to the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

12. The Unteroffizier training course is to be continued.

13. The technical supervision of the tank driving school and the in-service training of the maintenance groups within those elements in the La Saussaye area are assigned to Untersturmführer Langreiter.

commander/SS-Panzer Regiment 12

signed

Obersturmbannführer Wünsche

30 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

At 0230 hours order from the regiment for the immediate regrouping of the Abteilung16 with the 2. and 3.Kompanien to the Bray-la-Campagne area. Regrouping accomplished with all elements at 0530 hours. The Kompanien took positions behind dense bushes. The 7., 8. and 9.Kompanien were disengaged from the I.Abteilung, and are now subordinated again to the II.Abteilung.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

At 0400 hours order from the regiment to send 12 tank crews to Linz to take over 12 Panzerkampfwagen IVs. This allocation arrives from the Panzergruppe “West”17 via the division.

Untersturmführer Karl Pucher, Oberscharführer Seiwert and 60 NCOs and enlisted men with two trucks immediately depart to Linz.

Hauptsturmführer Götz Großjohann, who, during his journey to Germany, had precursory discussions with the transport officer (Transportführer) of the SS in Paris, reports that 230 NCOs and enlisted men are on their way from Riga to SS-Panzer Regiment 12 as reinforcements. The transport officer of the SS will inform the II.Abteilung when this supply arrives on the Western Front. The following officers are reassigned to the II.Abteilung:

Obersturmführer Bernhard Meitzel

Obersturmführer Fritz Eggers

Obersturmführer Gaspard Gillis

Untersturmführer Hans-Joachim Boske

Untersturmführer Leopold Spranz

Untersturmführer Hans Deutsch

During the first half of the week only weak enemy and German aircraft activity. During the second half of the week the enemy aircraft activity increased. No fighter-bomber attacks in the quarters area of II.Abteilung are confirmed. Our own aircraft activity in the evening and during the night hours has increased. Twin-engine bombers in the direction of the invasion frontline.

At 0400 hours regimental order according to the attached copy no. 12. The Stab, the Stabskompanie, and the Versorgungskompanie relocated to the sector given in the order during the day and night of 30. 07.

1300 hours: Sturmbannführer Karl-Heinz Prinz takes over Kampfgruppe “Wünsche18. The force, now named Kampfgruppe “Prinz”, consists of the following:

Stab, II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12

• the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 1219

• the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26

• the 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217

• the 12.SS-Panzer Division Sicherungskompanie.

The Stab of the II.Abteilung took over the command post of the Kampfgruppe “Wünsche”. The subordinated units – apart from the 8.Kompanie – remained in their previous positions. The 8.Kompanie received an order to abandon its positions held until then on the night of 30. 07. 1944. The new sector allocated for the 8.Kompanie is a wooded area 1500 metres west from Valmeray.

The Vierling Zug of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 received an order to carry out a changing of positions. The Flak Zug is in a new position 1,000 metres west of the Prinz command post. The change of positions is to commence on the night of 30. 07. 1944. The subordinated units report heavy German aircraft activity during the night of 29. 07. 1944.

Изображение выглядит как текст, внешний, человек, старый

Sturmbannführer Hubert Meyer was the only 1.Generalstabsoffizier (Ia) of the “Hitlerjugend” Division (see Chapter 8 Footnote 24). (Mark C. Yerger)

1330 hours: the Sicherungskompanie arrested an enemy spy behind the positions. The spy is delivered to the Ic-Abteilung of the division20.

1600 hours: heavy enemy artillery fire directly west of Argences. The day is spent without further notable events.

The quarters area of the Stabskompanie, II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12, is directly east of Ingouville. The quarters area of the Versorgungskompanie of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 is at Boissey, east of St. Pierre-sur-Dives.

2300 hours: at the command post of Kampfgruppe “Prinz” the commanders of the subordinated units are informed that Sturmbannführer Karl-Heinz Prinz has taken over the Kampfgruppe. Determination of the directives of coordination within the Kampfgruppe; defining the preparation and sending of the daily Ia reports21.

Weather: dry, warm, slightly cloudy, ideal for fighter-bomber attacks.

31 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Day without notable events. Repairs service and maintenance works at the Kompanien. At 2300 hours fire strike on the quarters area of the Abteilung, no losses.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The 8.Kompanie reported the accomplishment of the withdrawal from the previous positions and the occupation of the new sector. The Vierling Zug of the II.Abteilung reported the changing of positions accomplished.

During the night hours the arrival of the units of the Stabskompanie and the Versorgungskompanie of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 to the sectors given in the order.

In the evening hours and during the night artillery harassing fire on the “Olboeter”22 positions and in its vicinity. During the day artillery harassing fire on the crossroad 150 metres northeast of the train station at Moult and the positions of the II.Abteilung. Light aircraft activity over the sector of the Kampfgruppe.

War Diary Appendix no. 13.

To Kampfgruppe “Prinz”

Because the tank assault positions in the woods near Navarve23 were discovered by Allied forces, the armoured Kompanie “Höfler” is to regroup on the night of 31. 07. 1944 to the sector southwest of Valmeray. Pay attention to the trails! Leave gaps in the line! On 01. 08. 1944 makeshift dummy tanks are to be set up in the woods near Navarve.

1.Generalstabsoffizier

12.SS-Panzer Division “HJ”

signed

Meyer24

War Diary Appendix. no. 14.

12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”

Abt. Ia Tgb. Nr. 912/44 g. Kdos.O.U., 31 July 1944

Copy!

Divisional Order

1. On the night of 31. 07. 1944 the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 will be replaced in its positions by a bataillon of the 711.Infanterie Division. The light infantry guns and the (vehicle-towed) 2cm anti-aircraft machine guns are to be left in the positions.

2. The III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 (without its Pak Zug) will be placed under Kampfgruppe “Wünsche” (Korpsreserve) and on 31. 07., after nightfall, will regroup to the quarters area of Kampfgruppe “Wünsche”. The Pak Zug is to be left in the positions and is subordinated to the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25.

3. After the accomplishment of the replacement the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 will occupy the positions of the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 and will be subordinated to Kampfgruppe “Prinz”. The following are subordinated to the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25: the Divisionsbegleitkompanie and the Pak Zug of the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

4. The replacement to be carried out is to be reported to the division by 0600 hours on 01. 08. 1944.

Erster Generalstabsoffizier

12.SS-Panzer Division “HJ”

signed

Meyer

1 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Further maintenance work by the Kompanien. The day was spent calmly. Another fire strike of the enemy, no losses on our side.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 (without its Pak Zug) regrouped on the night of 31. 07. to the quarters area of Kampfgruppe “Wünsche”. Its subordination to Kampfgruppe “Prinz” ceased.

In the early morning hours of 01. 08. 1944 the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 occupied the positions of the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26. The II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 was immediately subordinated to Kampfgruppe “Prinz”.

During the night of 31. 07. 1944 the 5./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 relocated to the south-western sector of Valmeray.

The 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217 remained in its previous positions. The 8./SS-Panzer Regiment 12, according to the given order, set up three dummy tanks in the woods near Navarve.

Artillery and rocket-launcher-harassing fire on the positions of the 5./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and the 7./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. Due to this, one killed, two severely wounded and two lightly wounded in the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

Strong enemy aircraft formations flew over the sector of Kampfgruppe “Prinz”. Otherwise no notable events during the day.

The 9.Kompanie was immediately renamed the 5.Kompanie.

Изображение выглядит как текст, дерево, внешний, боевая машина

A destroyed British Universal (or Bren Gun) Carrier (on the left side of the photograph). The open-topped 4.2 ton carrier had only 7.5-12mm armour. Its armament usually consisted of only one light machine gun. It could carry two to four crew. It was used mainly to carry out reconnaissance, communication, forward observation and supply lift tasks (Hungarian Institute and Museum of Military History)

War Diary Appendix. no. 15.

12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”

Abt. Ia Tgb. Nr. 914/44 g. Kdos.O.U., 1 August 1944

Divisional order

1. In spite of the disengagement of the enemy armoured divisions we should anticipate the renewal of enemy attacks, especially diversionary attacks and those with limited goals that engage our troops.

2. The division will take over the sector of the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 2 as supplement. Left zone border: St. Sylvain (west)–La Hougue (east).

3. On the night of 01. 08. the II./Grenadier Regiment 731 will replace the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26. The schwere Kompanie of the I.Bataillon, SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26will remain in position and will be subordinated to the II./Grenadier-Regiment 731. The II./Grenadier-Regiment 731 is subordinated to SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26. The I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 will take over the positions of the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25.

The Panzerjäger Zug25 of the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 is subordinated to the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26. The I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26, as Divisionsreserve, is subordinated directly to the division.

The Divisionsbegleitkompanie is subordinated to Kampfgruppe “Prinz” and remains in its present positions.

4. On the night of 01. 08. 1944 the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 replaces the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 2 in its positions held so far. The leichte Infanteriegeschütz Zug of the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 is again subordinated to it (without its two guns). Both platoons are to place fire in front of the sector of the III./Grenadier-Regiment 731.

The 9./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 is to be deployed as moving anti-tank instrument on the sector of the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25. The II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 is subordinated to SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

5. A separate order will be sent in time for SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 12 to deploy the artillery.

6. The 14./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25, SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26, and the operational anti-aircraft gun platoons of the Divisionsbegleitkompanie, as light anti-aircraft batteries, with personnel, armament and vehicles are subordinated to SS-Flak Abteilung 12. Supply lift and deployment to be carried out by the commander of SS-Flak Abteilung 12, in agreement with the commander of SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26. The supply lift is to be provided by the 14./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 or the Batterie as supply unit.

The officers, NCOs and the enlisted men are reassigned to SS-Flak Abteilung 12; in case of reestablishment of the anti-aircraft Kompanien of the regiments, they are to return to these.

7. Telephone and radio connection as before. SS-Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 12 supports the requirements of SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

8. Divisional command post as before.

For accuracy: Signed as draft by:

Meyer Standartenführer Meyer26

2 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Repairs service at the Kompanien. The day is spent calmly. At 1800 hours the 2.Kompanie, commanded by Obersturmführer Gaede, together with elements of the Bataillon “Olboeter27, was deployed in the direction of Vire, in a reconnaissance mission against the enemy that had broken through. During the night the Abteilung sets up dummy tanks again.28

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The subordination of the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 to Kampfgruppe “Prinz” ceased. The II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 occupied the positions held so far by the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 229 on the night of 01. 08. 1944.

The 5./SS-Panzer Regiment 1230 has been deployed as a mobile anti-tank unit on the frontline of the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25. The changing of positions was carried out on the night of 01. 08. 1944.

At 0400 hours the 5.Kompanie occupied the positions given in the order (wooded area east of La Hougue) without any notable events.

The Divisionsbegleitkompanie has been subordinated to Kampfgruppe “Prinz”. The Begleitkompanie remains in its previous positions.

During the night hours heavy artillery and rocket-launcher fire on the positions of the 7./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. Due to this, one man is wounded (remains with his unit).

Artillery direct hit on the anti-aircraft gun; the Vierling [quadruple] gun and the Fu5 [radio] is damaged.

Fighter–bomber attack on the car of the Stabskompanie, II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12, two are wounded (and carried to the central dressing-station).

Only weak enemy aircraft activity.

3 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Light enemy artillery harassing fire, no notable events.31 Gaede’s unit knocked out 5 Shermans and an armoured personnel carrier in the bolt position east of Vire32.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The armoured Kompanien and the subordinated units remain in their positions of the day before. The command post of the 5./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 has been, together with the Schrott33 command post, relocated to the north-western exit of Chicheboville.

Heavy artillery and rocket-launcher fire all day and night on the positions of the 5. and 7./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. Harassing and destructive fire was laid on the positions of the Divisionsbegleitkompanie. Due to this, three were wounded, of which two remained with their units.

During the night hours heavy artillery fire on the quarters area of the 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217; due to this, one man badly wounded.

Aircraft activity: the night was calm, weak activity in the morning, in the afternoon intensive enemy fighter and reconnaissance activity. During the afternoon we observed the shooting down of a British fighter-bomber aircraft.

War Diary Appendix. no. 16.

12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”

Abt. Ia Tgb. Nr. 920/44 g. Kdos.O.U., 3 August 1944

16 copies

5. copy

Copy

Divisional order

1. Renewal of the enemy attacks on the frontline of the I.SS-Panzer Korps“LSSAH” is to be anticipated at all times.

2. The division as Korpsreserve is assembling in the Bissières–St. Sylvain–Sassy– Escures sector and is ready for deployment towards northeast and northwest.

3. In order to be able to carry out the above mentioned manoeuvre, during the night parts of the 272.Infanterie Division will replace it on its frontline. Kampfgruppe “Wünsche” (with parts of the 1.SS-Panzer Division “LSSAH”) has been subordinated to the division again. The II. and III./Grenadier Regiment 731 are assigned to the 272.Infanterie Division. Assignation of schwere Artillerie Abteilung 555 has ceased, its new subordination is to be ordered in time.

4. Regrouping:

a. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 (Regimentsstab, I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 and I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26with the subordinated regimental elements) after dark, and following replacement by parts of the 272.Infanterie Division in the Cures (outside combat sector)–Magny la Campagne (outside combat sector)–Condé (outside combat sector)–Ernes (outside combat sector)–Sassy (inside combat sector) sector;

b. Kampfgruppe “Wünsche” (Stab, SS-Panzer Regiment 12, I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 without one of its Kompanien, II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 without one of its Kompanien, III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 without its Stab and one of its Kompanien, and the 1.Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217 to the Condé-sur-Ifs (inside combat sector)–Vieux-Fumé (outside combat sector)–Bray-la-Campagne (inside combat sector)–St. Sylvain (inside combat sector)–Maizières (outside combat sector)–Ernes (inside combat sector) sector; (Until the night of 04. 08. 1944 the 5./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 will remain in its positions held. The 8.Kompanie and the 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217 will regroup on 03. 08. 1944 after dark. Withdrawal of the 7./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 is to be effected on 04. 08. 1944 so that it will reach its new quarters area before dawn.)

c. Stab, SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 12, the I./SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Abteilung 12 (without its 1. and 2.Batterien) and SS-Werfer Abteilung 12 to the wooded area 1.5 km Ouezy (inside combat sector)–Cauvigny (outside combat sector)–Vaux la Campagne (outside combat sector)–Magny la Campagne (inside combat sector)–Le Rouillis (outside combat sector) sector; (The III.Abteilung will remain in its positions. The 6.Batterie will reture so that it can place fire in front of the previous division frontline. SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 12 is to be ready at all times to support the defensive fight of the 272.Infanterie Division on the previous frontline of the 12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend” if needed.)

d. SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12 (without its 1.Kompanie) to the Maizières (inside combat sector)–Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres] (outside combat sector)– Rouvres (inside combat sector) sector; (The 1.Kompanie is to be withdrawn from its previous positions on the night of 04. 08. 1944.)

e. The Divisionsbegleitkompanie to the western part sector of Vieux-Fumé (its subordination to Kampfgruppe “Prinz” will cease immediately);

f. SS-Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 12 to the eastern part sector of Vieux Fume.

5. SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 12 and the 3./SS-Panzer-Pionier-Abteilung 12 will remain in their positions.

6. SS-Flak Abteilung 12 will remain in its anti-aircraft positions according to the instructions of the Korps Flak Führer of the I.SS-Panzer Korps “LSSAH”.

7. The accomplishment of the replacements and exchange of command is to be reported by SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 to the Ia-Abteilung of the division.

8. The 9./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and the 1./SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12 are ordered to cooperate with Grenadier Regiment 982, while remaining under direct subordination to the division.

9. The cable connections towards the regiments, the independent bataillons/Abteilungs, the Stabsquartier and the 272.Infanterie Division are to be reconditioned and maintained.

Radio alert!

10. Division command post: Cauvigny (1 km southwest of Canon).

For accuracy: Signed as draft by:

signed: Meyer 1.Generalstabsoffizier Standartenführer Meyer

Addendum:

The 1.SS-Panzer Division and parts of the I.SS-Panzer Korps “LSSAH” remain subordinated to Kampfgruppe “Wünsche” in their quarters area for now.

signed

Meyer

4 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Repairs service at the Kompanien. No notable events.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

By the order of the Division the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 (without the 5.Kompanie; with the assigned 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217) relocated on the night of 03. 08. 1944 to the Condé-sur-Ifs (outside combat sector)–Maizières (outside combat sector)–Ernes (outside combat sector) sector. The 5.Kompanie remained in its previous position until the night of 04. 08. 1944.

The withdrawal of the Kompanien from their previous positions and the occupation of the new quarters area continued without any notable events.

The subordination of the Divisionsbegleitkompanie to Kampfgruppe “Prinz” has been suspended.

New command post of the II.Abteilung at the northern exit of Ernes (small mansion on the Condé–Ernes road).

Aircraft activity: our bomber formations were on missions at night from 0030 hours to 0500 hours. During the morning and in the afternoon occasional activity of the enemy air force.

Only weak harassing fire from the enemy artillery.

5 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The 2.Kompanie at Vire; repairs service and maintenance works at the other parts of the Abteilung. An enemy armoured fighting vehicle knocked out a Panzer V of the 2.Kompanie which completely burnt out. The Kompanie knocked out a further four enemy (Sherman) tanks.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The 5.Kompanie was withdrawn from its positions at La Hougue on the night of 04. 08. 1944 and was regrouped into the quarters area of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. Regrouping accomplished without any notable events.

The Stabskompanie and the 7. and 8.Kompanien remain in the quarters area occupied two nights before. The day has been spent without notable events, with repairs service and cleaning of the armament.

Aircraft activity: occasional in the morning, nothing in the afternoon.

6 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The 2.Kompanie at Vire. Repairs service located at other parts of the Abteilung. At times fire strikes on the sector of the Abteilung from large calibre guns.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 with the assigned 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217 remained in the quarters area of the previous day.

The day has been spent repairing service [equipment], cleaning armament and medical examinations. The day was eventless. During the morning and in the afternoon enemy aircraft activity.

7 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

By the order of the regiment, the regrouping of the Abteilung (3.Kompanie, Nachrichtenzug, Kradschützen Aufklärungszug, 3 tanks of the 2.Kompanie and the vehicles of the Stab) 8 km southeast of Grimbosq. Departure from Fierville-Bray and Bray-la-Campagne at 0145 hours via St. Sylvain, Bretteville [-le Rabet], Grainville [Langannerie] and Monlatn34. Regrouping accomplished at 0430 hours.

The 3.Kompanie with ten tanks, commanded by Untersturmführer Rudolf Alban, departed at 0500 hours with the task to report to a bataillon command post at Château-le-Montier35 and in cooperation with the forces there, eliminate the enemy bridgehead36 at Grimbosq, east of the Orne.

At 1030 hours parts of the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26, subordinated to the Abteilung, were assigned the task of marching to the area of Le Montier, securing the area and preparing for assault.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On the night of 06. 08. 1944 the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 with the assigned 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217 carried out the regrouping as ordered, into the sector east of Thury Harcourt. Regrouping carried out without any notable events.

New Abteilung command post: Puant, east of Acqueville.

1./Sturmpanzer-Abteilung 217: Fontaine-Halbout;

5.Kompanie: at the La Motte mansion, south of Acqueville

7.Kompanie: Acqueville

8.Kompanie: Bois-Halbout

Stabskompanie: Puant

Enemy reconnaissance and fighter-bomber aircraft activity all day.

Изображение выглядит как человек, военная форма, мужчина, носит

Swords holder Brigadeführer Theodor Wisch, commander of the 1.SS-Panzer Division “Leibstandarte”in Normandy until seriously wounded during the Falaise fighting. (Mark C. Yerger)

8 August 194437

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Heavy enemy artillery fire on the positions all night. At 0400 hours Untersturmführer Kurt Bogensperger replaced the 4 Tigers38 standing at the western exit of Le Bas Brieux with 2 Panthers. A further Panther occupied position around 0700 hours in the crossroad directly east of Le Hout Brieux. Untersturmführer Matthis’s 39 tank was knocked out by four anti-tank gun hits and he burned to death together with his gunner inside the tank.

Untersturmführer Bogensperger was given the task of taking over the positions of the Tigers in Le Hout Brieux, and preventing at all costs the further crossing of the enemy over the bridge thrown by them west of the village.

Oberscharführer Mende stood with his platoon northeast of Grimbosq. His task: to avert enemy attacks from Grimbosq in eastern and north-eastern directions. Heavy enemy artillery fire all day, the first infantry positions were given up again and again by the local infantry commanders. The tanks of the 3.Kompanie stood behind them as counter-bracing; this way the positions were held, often with the help of the personal intervention of the commanders.

Изображение выглядит как текст, внешний, старый

The bomber planes deployed by the Allies for tactical reasons destroyed a number of towns in Normandy (above all, Caen). Most of the time, these attacks caused heavier losses to the French civilians and the attackers themselves than to the German defenders. (Hungarian Institute and Museum of Military History 55577-17)

At 1500 hours Sturmbannführer Arnold Jürgensen received the task from the Regimentskommandeur of holding the positions at Le Hout Brieux with a concentration of all tanks and armoured vehicles.

At noon the same day Untersturmführer Rudolf Alban, with the “Mende” Zug, supported one of the assaults of the Grenadiers, and advancing south of Grimbosq40 smashed the counterattacks of the enemy with high explosive shells and machine guns. Now the assault could gain ground. One tank received an artillery hit, due to which its radio was damaged. On the way back it was driven into a large bomb crater in the heavy artillery fire. It was impossible to salvage the vehicle. After the main battle line was recaptured, following the detachment of the radio and the armament, the wrecked tank was blown up by orders of the commander. Untersturmführer Alban41 was killed standing by the tank of Oberscharführer Mende, when he personally moved to forward a regimental order to the crew of the tank. Untersturmführer Kurt Bogensperger42 was hit by an enemy tank and was killed.

In the evening orders for the Abteilung to relocate to the south-eastern sector of Cintheaux in order to repel the enemy that had broken through. Heavy enemy artillery fire during disengagement.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 has been subordinated to SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26. Regimental command post with the command post of SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 in Urville.

Report regarding enemy movements: the enemy is advancing in the south-eastern direction with strong armoured forces. According to reports given by Wehrmacht soldiers the enemy has already reached Cintheaux and St. Sylvain.

0630 hours: departure of the 5.Kompanie (with 5 Panzerkampfwagen IVs), the 7.Kompanie (with 12 Panzerkampfwagen IVs)43 and the assigned Tigers44 of the “Wittmann” Abteilung45 via Grainville and Hautmesnil towards Cintheaux.

At 0900 hours report from the Tiger Kompanie (Hauptsturmführer Franz Heurich46): “We have reached Cintheaux, no enemy in the village”.

The Panzer VI tanks47 took up position on the northern outskirts of Cintheaux, adjacent to Einheit “Gasch48 on the right; no radio connection with Einheit “Buettner49. Einheit “Buettner” had to occupy positions left of the Panzer VI Kompanie.

1045 hours: All quiet at Kompanie “Heurich” and Kompanie “Gasch”. Still no radio connection with Einheit “Buettner”. So far nothing notable had been reported about the enemy movements or its possible plans.

Around noon constant assaults from British four-engined bombers. Urville, Hautmesnil and Cauvicourt covered by carpet bombing.50

The radio connection with the Kompanien was interrupted. We collected the retreating infantry of the Wehrmacht51, and they established securing positions south of Hautmesnil; 2 Panzer IVs and 5 Panzer Vs52 also arrived here.

On the basis of the observation of the battlefield the enemy has slipped through from the northeast, between Cintheaux and Hautmesnil, thus there is imminent danger of the encirclement of the armoured Kompanien. Three Panzer VIs were able to retreat from Cintheaux in time.53 No report about the Panzer IV Kompanien.54

On the night of 08. 08. 1944 the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 with the assigned Panzer VI (Tiger) tanks were withdrawn from their positions south of Hautmesnil in order to establish new positions eastwards at Soignolles.

2 km southeast of Soignolles the remnants of the 5. and the 7.Kompanien met parts of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 during the change of positions. The remnants of the 5. and 7.Kompanien succeeded in retreating under cover of darkness in a south-easterly direction, and in establishing communications with the II.Abteilung. During the night the armoured Kompanien were directed to establish positions on the northern outskirts of Soignolles.

New regimental command post in a small wooded area south of the Maizières–le Val road.

9 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On the night of 08. 08 regrouping accomplished with the full strength of the units55. The last five operational tanks were commanded by Untersturmführer Fritz Fiala. One tank remained to secure our positions, the others attacked the enemy tanks in the flank. The (lateral) countershaft on the tank of Unterscharführer Seifert was damaged due to a hit from an armoured fighting vehicle. Three tanks took positions far on the right flank. Untersturmführer Fiala attacked the enemy tanks from an advantageous firing position and destroyed the four Sherman tanks threatening the left flank, but after this an anti-tank gun on the right flank knocked his tank out. Four men were wounded, Untersturmführer Fiala was uninjured. The tank was towed away in the late evening.

The Abteilung, with the assigned Tigers, knocked out more than 30 tanks56 of the enemy on this day. During the briefing of Untersturmführer Fritz Fiala, Sturmbannführer Arnold Jürgensen was wounded in his thigh on Hill 114 at Ouilly [-le-Tesson]. On the night of 09. 08. all fighting units were subordinated to the 2.Kompanie arriving with four tanks from the Vire area, and the latter has been subordinated again to the II.Abteilung. The remaining parts of the 3.Kompanie, the Abteilungsstab, the Stabs and Versorgungskompanien have been regrouped to the Le Neubourg area for reorganization, because the 1. and 4.Kompanien are still there.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

During the night the II.Abteilung and its subordinated units relocated from the Bretteville [-le Rabet] area eastwards to the area of Soignolles.

The “Buettner” and “Gasch” Kompanien, which were almost encircled by the enemy south of St. Aignan-de-Cramesnil, were able to retreat with Bataillon “Waldmüller”57 and reach the Soignolles area without further losses. The Kompanien are deployed on both sides of Soignolles. Command post 200 metres south-southwest of Point 111.

Positions given in the order occupied at 0600 hours. A quick surprise enemy attack in the early morning hours took the command post unawares, therefore it had to retreat westwards in order to retain connections with the units deployed.

The 3 Tigers and 7 Panthers assigned here were subordinated to the Abteilung,58 and Hills 14059 and 132 taken by the enemy were reoccupied with a counterstroke.

The units deployed at Soignolles were threatened from all sides, therefore they could only retreat in the direction of Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres]–Maizières during the night hours after having knocked out 56 tanks60 and many infantrymen.

In the evening hours the enemy holding on at Point 111 was destroyed by two Tigers, two Panthers and two Panzer IVs, while we knocked out a further 22 tanks. We took a lot of prisoners of war (more than 200) who were led off by the infantry. Number of killed counted: 150.

We took a new system of positions with the remaining units and secured along the general line extending from the fringe of the wood north of Hill 140 as far as Point 111.

A further bataillon, Krause’s, 61 II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 was deployed during the night on our left flank.

Weather: dry, clear, warm.

Ammunition expenditure (together with 08. 08. ’44): 450 high explosive shells, 190 armour-piercing shells, 7,000 [machine-gun rounds], 700 anti-aircraft high explosive shells, 500 anti-aircraft armour-piercing shells.

10 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

March of the withdrawn units into the area determined. No notable events.

War Diary Appendix no. 12.

12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”O.U., 25 Sept. 1944

3.[Kompanie]/SS-Panzer Regiment 12

Subject: After Action Report

Reference:

Date: 25 September 1944, 1800 hours

Attachment: -

To the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 Ia

6. 08. 1944:

The Abteilung was stationed in the area of Bray-la-Campagne as Korpsreserve. In the evening the regimental order arrived to relocate the Abteilung to the area of Grimbosq near the Orne in order to prevent the further eastwards advance of the enemy that had already crossed the Orne and with this to secure the left flank of our troops in the Cintheaux area.

7. 08. 1944:

During the night of 06. 08. 1944 the Abteilung marched with the 3.Kompanie via St. Sylvain–Bretteville to Espins. The 3.Kompanie, commanded by Untersturmführer Alban was deployed on both sides of Grimbosq in the following manner:

Zug “Mende” north of Grimbosq;

Züge “Bogensperger” and “Matthis” south of Grimbosq.

The frontline sector was under heavy enemy artillery fire. Untersturmführer Matthis was firing at enemy armoured fighting vehicles from a great distance. One enemy tank was hit and let off smoke but was still able to seek cover on its own in a dense fruit orchard.

8. 08. 1944:

In the evening the Kompanie had the task of launching an attack against the enemy from Grimbosq and destroying the enemy bridgehead at the Orne. During the counterstroke of Bataillon “Krause62, which was supported by Panthers and a Tiger, the tank of Untersturmführer Peter Matthis was hit and caught fire. The crew partly escaped. Untersturmführer Matthis burned in the tank.

Untersturmführer Bogensperger had the task of taking over the positions of the Tiger tanks in Le Hout Brieux; I personally briefed him on the field. The task of the“Bogensperger” Zug was the following: prevent at all costs the further crossing of tanks on the bridge built by the enemy over the Orne west of the village. Oberscharführer Mende stood with his Zug northeast of Grimbosq. His task was to prevent enemy attacks from Grimbosq towards the east and northeast. Extremely heavy enemy artillery fire was raging all day so the first infantry positions were given up again and again by the local infantry commanders. The tanks of the 3.Kompanie stood behind them as counter-bracing, this way the positions were held, often with the help of the personal intervention of the commanders.

Around 1500 hours the commander of the Abteilung received the task from the Regimentskommandeur to hold the positions at Le Hout Brieux with the concentration of all tanks and armoured vehicles. At noon the same day Untersturmführer Alban with the “Mende” Zug supported one of the assaults of the Grenadiers, and advancing north of Grimbosq smashed the counterattacks of the enemy with high explosive shells and machine guns. Thus the assault could gain ground north of Grimbosq. One tank received an artillery hit, due to which its radio was damaged and could not be used. On its way back it drove into a large bomb crater in the heavy artillery fire because its on-board speakers could not be used, and it was impossible to salvage the vehicle for there was no towing equipment on the spot; it was not possible to prevent it from further bogging down and sinking in the soft ground. After the main battle line was recaptured, following the detachment of the radio and the armament, the wrecked tank was blown up on the orders of its commander. Untersturmführer Alban was killed by an artillery direct hit standing by the tank of Oberscharführer Mende, when he personally wanted to forward an Abteilung order to the crews of the tanks. Untersturmführer Kurt Bogensperger was hit by an enemy armoured fighting vehicle and was killed in his tank that afternoon at Le Hout Brieux.

Unterscharführer Freiberg from Zug “Bogensperger” destroyed two enemy anti-tank guns.

On the same morning Unterscharführer Freier destroyed two Churchills, one Sherman and two anti-tank guns near Le Hout Brieux.

In the evening order for the Abteilung to relocate to the southeastern sector of Cintheau in order to repel the enemy advancing southwards.

09. 08. 1944:

On the night of 08. 08 regrouping was accomplished. The Abteilung took over the securing of Hill 114 north of Ouilly [-le-Tesson]. The Abteilungskommandeur was wounded.

On 09. 08. 1944, north of Ouilly [-le-Tesson]

Unterscharführer Freiberg destroyed two anti-tank guns,

Unterscharführer Freier destroyed two Churchills, one Sherman and an anti-tank gun, Unterscharführer Seifert destroyed two Shermans and an anti-tank gun.

10. 08. 1944:

On the night of 09. 08. 1944 all fighting units of the Abteilung were subordinated to the 2.Kompanie, and the latter was again subordinated to the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. The remaining parts of the 3.Kompanie, the Abteilungsstab, the Stabs and Versorgungskompanien went back to Le Neubourg.

(Illegible name)

Hauptsturmführer63 and Kompanie Chef

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The line occupied during the night was held even against the enemy attack and it was strengthened with new forces directed here. Heavy artillery fire, constant fighter– bomber air raids.

We knocked out three enemy armoured fighting vehicles on the right flank north of Point 111.

Kompanie “Buettner” (5.Kompanie) and Kompanie “Gasch” (7.Kompanie) were concentrated because altogether only six of their tanks were operational.

The remaining parts of the I.Abteilung were subordinated to the II.Abteilung. Operational tanks on the evening of 10. 08. 1944: three Panzer VIs, nine Panzer Vs, seven Panzer IVs.

On the previous day Kompanie “Höfler” (8.Kompanie) with five tanks was deployed outside the force of the Abteilung, north of Point 195 and northwest of Fontaine-le-Pin.

11 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Command post of the Abteilung in St. Aubin. The 1.Kompanie in Villez, the 3.Kompanie and the Ausbildungskompanie64 in Le Tremblay, the 4.Kompanie in St. Aubin, the Stabskompanie in Quittebeuf, the Versorgungskompanie in Bernienville, the maintenance unit in Feuguerolles. The 17 crews of the 1.Kompanie in Paris, the 8 crews of the 4.Kompanie in Germany for tanks.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Kompanien and the subordinated units remained in their previous day positions.

0730 hours: report from the regiment that the enemy had broken through the wooded area northwest of Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres]. The Abteilung had to use its three assigned Tigers so that they could prevent the breakthrough towards Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres]. Two Tigers were deployed. Further advance towards Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres] and the breakthrough did not take place.

The day was spent without any notable combat activity.

Heavy artillery fire on both sides. Heavy artillery fire on the command post of the Abteilung, which was in the château near Assy. Due to this considerable damage to the commander’s command tank and to tank no. 784. Both tanks had to be brought to the workshop Kompanie.

12 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Kompanien are trained and reformed: the 4.Kompanie will be operational in its full strength in a few days and received 15 new Panzer Vs, which have already partly arrived at the unit.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The command post of the Abteilung was relocated at 0900 hours on 12. 08. 1944. New command post in Sassy.

The subordination of Einheit “Gaede”65 to Kampfgruppe “Prinz” ceased. The tanks of this Kompanie were withdrawn from their positions on the night of 11. 08. 1944. The strength of the tank destroyers assigned to the Kampfgruppe was strengthened during the night from three to five66 under command of Obersturmführer Wachter. These five vehicles were commanded by Obersturmführer Erich Krauth following the drop out of Obersturmführer Wachter who was seriously wounded on the night of 11. 08.

At 1245 hours, following artillery preparation the enemy launched an attack against Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres] with two armoured fighting vehicles and infantry. The two armoured fighting vehicles were knocked out by one of the Panzer VIs of the Einheit “Wendorff”67, upon which the attack against Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres] stuck.

Heavy artillery fire all day on both sides.

Obersturmführer Gaede was seriously wounded by a shell fragment in his arm at the command post.

Intensive enemy fighter-bomber activity.

Weather: dry, clear, warm.

Ammunition expenditure: 730 high explosive shells; 2,300 normal, 500 steel-core-tracer and 400 steel-core [machine gun ammunition rounds].

War Diary Appendix no.17.

0730 hours

To Kampfgruppe “Prinz”

1. The enemy has penetrated the wooded area northwest of Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres].

2. Kampfgruppe “Prinz” immediately establishes communication with the right side neighbour via the Ordonnanz Offizier and asks for detailed report on the situation.

3. Sturmbannführer Prinz is to dispatch three Tigers drawn forward towards Assy so that the breakthrough towards Le Bû [-sur-Rouvres] can be prevented.

4. Until their arrival Obersturmführer Helmut Wendorff is to immediately depart for the sector of Point 83.

signed

Wünsche

13, 14, 15, 16 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Training and the reorganization of the Kompanien continued.

13 August 1944

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The II.Abteilung and the subordinated units have remained in their previous day positions. With three more Panzer VIs Obersturmführer Wendorff has advanced to the Tigers already in position; thus the Kampfgruppe consists of eight Tigers68.

Heavy enemy artillery harassing fire during the day. Due to artillery direct hit, the car with telephone apparatus has been destroyed.

Intensive enemy fighter-bomber and bomber activity.

1545 hours: order from the regiment. Kampfgruppe “Prinz” (without its subordinated Panzerjäger Kompanie) regroups into the area of Potigny.

The new command post of the Abteilung foreseeably in Glatigny.

Killed:

Unterscharführer Schlug.

Wounded:

Oberscharführer Witzel

Oberscharführer Will

Sturmmann Steinheimer

Sturmmann Zeidler

Sturmmann Ruske

Rottenführer Fritsche (remained with the unit)

Oberschütze Hau

Weather: dry, clear, warm.

Ammunition expenditure: 15 8.8cm high explosive shells.

14 August 194469

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Contraction of the command post of the Abteilung and the regiment in St. Quentin. 1230 hours: the commander70 is killed at Le Torp due to artillery direct hit.

The remaining tanks of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 are commanded further by Obersturmbannführer Wünsche within Kampfgruppe “Wünsche”. The temporary command of the II.Abteilung has been assigned to Hauptsturmführer Hermann Tirschler, Chef of the 6.Kompanie.

During the night of 14. 08. 1944 retreat of Kampfgruppe “Wünsche” from Hills 160 and 165 southwards. New regimental command post between Vérsonville and Damblainville. The enemy is active with strong armoured forces. Kampfgruppe “Wünsche” heavily impedes the advance of these forces. The subsequent fighting has led to the encirclement of Kampfgruppe “Wünsche” with its command post in Fresné-la-Mère.

Before the encirclement was complete Hauptsturmführer Tirschler received the order to assemble its staff and at all costs arrange for the quickest possible despatch of those Panzer IV and V tanks of the Kampfgruppe under command to the spot.

Command post of the II.Abteilung was established in Friardel, on the Vimoutiers– Orbec road, in the quarters area of the Versorgungskompanie of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

In the meantime the circle around the Kampfgruppe has been closed. The Kampfgruppe tried to break through. As can be concluded from the accounts of those officers and men who were able to escape from the encirclement, the Regimentskommandeur, his Adjutant and the Regimentsarzt was captured by the British at Brieux.

Hauptsturmführer Tirschler tried to contract the remnants of the I. and II. Abteilung which are trying to prevent the enemy advancing in various battle groups.

15 and 16 August 1944

[Neither the I. nor the II. Abteilung had any entries.]

17 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The 4.Kompanie received marching orders for Damville, in order to bar the enemy south of that sector advancing from the south, from the direction of Le Mans.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

[No entry.]

18 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Kompanien arranged for their march to reach the eastern bank of the Seine. The march of the Ausbildungskompanie commences.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

[No entry.]

19 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The 4.Kompanie in action (see the battle report attached!).

The 1.Kompanie also relocated to the eastern bank of the Seine into the area of Etrepagny.

Kampfgruppe “Mohnke” has been created. The tanks of the “Jürgensen” Kompanien71, 4 Panzer IVs and 3 Panzer Vs, are assigned here. Command post of the Abteilung in Acquigny–Louviers72. The tanks block the road from the south. They do not meet the enemy.

Изображение выглядит как текст, человек, внешний, старый

Having been created in the prewar SS-Verfügungstruppe period by Hauptsturmführer Dr. Ing. Wilhelm Brandt, camouflaged clothing and helmet covers issued to Waffen-SS troops gave them a decided advantage during the Normandy fighting. (Mark C. Yerger)

War Diary Appendix no.13.

12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”O.U., 19 Sept. 1944

4. [Kompanie]/SS-Panzer Regiment 12

After Action Report from 19 Aug. 1944

The Kompanie secured south of Damville. Around 0300 hours a messenger brought orders according to which the Kompanie was to depart at once and reach Pacy [-sur-Eure-] via Damville–St. André [de l’Eure]. The former was anticipated to be occupied by the enemy. Furthermore, the order informed us that the enemy had cut the main road of Evreux–Mantes east of Pacy [-sur-Eure] and was advancing towards Vernon. The Kompanie was given the task of holding the enemy advancing in the north-western direction, and thus preventing encirclement. The fate of two armies depended on the quickest deployment of the Kompanie.

The Kompanie reached the village of Pacy [-sur-Eure] with ten Panzer Vs around noon; the village was under harassing artillery fire. There the Kompanie was given the task from Kampfgruppe “Fick”73 of securing the north-eastern exit of Pacy [-sur-Eure].

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Jakob Fick as a Hauptsturmführer (see Chapter 8 Footnote 73). (Mark C. Yerger)

When the enemy noticed the deployment of armoured forces, it threw smoke shells over the area and retreated to the hills east of Pacy [-sur-Eure]. It was anticipated that the enemy had advanced further northwards via the Pacy [-sur-Eure]–Vernon road. Thus the Kompanie was assigned the task of advancing on the road to Vernon and establishing positions at La Heunière, which were to be held at all costs. Following preparatory reconnaissance the Kompanie reached the allocated positions around 1700 hours. The lead vehicle encountered light reconnaissance forces on the road. Upon reaching the allocated positions, seven Panzer Vs74 of the 2.SS-Panzer Division “Das Reich” were subordinated to the Kompanie as reinforcements. At 1900 hours the Kompanie received orders from the commander of the Kampfgruppe to launch a retaliatory attack75 towards Blaru, because the terrorists76 had engaged one of our reconnaissance units there. After the eager and well-paced attack was carried out the Kompanie reached the designated positions within the shortest time possible and advanced some 3 km further, thus it was stood directly at the Seine. The enemy was gathering its forces there and defended fiercely. Following the heaviest artillery, tank and anti-tank gun fire the Kompanie retreated towards Maulu. Here one of our tanks was knocked out and it has burnt out. Around 2100 hours the Kompanie reached the point of departure and was secured there from then on. Artillery harassing fire on our positions during the night.

Scores: six trucks destroyed

Losses: One killed, seven wounded

Total loss: One Panzerkampfwagen V

Other losses: none

Pohl

Leutnant and Kompanieführer

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

[No entry.]

20 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

Kampfgruppe “Mohnke” is in its previous positions. During the late night hours the Kampfgruppe relocated to its new sector to Arambrai77 near the Eure. All of the tanks are assigned to the armoured Kampfgruppe “Jürgensen”. Furthermore, three Jagdpanzer IVs78 of the 116.Panzer Division, three self-propelled 7.5cm anti-tank guns, four Panzer IVs of the 2.Panzer Division and [?]79 Panzer Vs of the 9.Panzer Division are also assigned to the Kampfgruppe. So far they have not met the enemy.

Battle report of the 4.Kompanie about the combat activity in the Vernon–Pacy [sur-Eure] area [attached].

War Diary Appendix no.14.

12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”O.U., 19 Sept. 1944

4. [Kompanie]/SS-Panzer Regiment 12

After Action Report from 20 VIII. 1944

The Kompanie was securing at the north-eastern exit of the village of Le Heunière with 17 Panzerkampfwagen Vs with the task of holding the Pacy [-sur-Eure] – Vernon road at all costs. We knew that the enemy had advanced its tank and infantry forces 1,500 metres into the wooded area south of the road during the night. Constant harassing artillery fire on our positions. Around 0900 hours the enemy 80 tried to carry out a surprise attack and break through with tanks and mounted infantry. The attack was immediately discovered and was repulsed by the concentrated fire of the Kompanie, knocking out five enemy tanks81. Following this the Kompanie received the heaviest artillery fire onto its uncovered positions. At the same time enemy tanks broke through the Luftwaffe Feld Division82 on the right to get into the rear of the Kompanie. This assault was again discovered immediately and was repulsed by the Reservezug securing in the south-eastern direction by knocking out four tanks. The enemy assault aircraft83 that discovered the engagement joined the action with bombs, machine gun and cannon fire so that three of our tanks were put out of action. The enemy attempted again and again to break through, but we repulsed them each time fighting fiercely and causing heavy losses. These engagements lasted until the evening.

The enemy succeeded in eliminating the Grenadiers deployed as support for the Kompanie with concentrated heavy artillery and fighter-bomber fire and weakened the Kompanie so much that three of our tanks were burnt out and a further four tanks were rendered out of action for engineering reasons. Despite this the next attack of the enemy was again repulsed under the fiercest of circumstances, knocking out a further three enemy tanks, two anti-tank guns, and a vehicle.

Around 1930 hours the enemy attacked the Kompanie in the rear from the west with strong tank forces. At the same time flanking manoeuvres were launched from the northeast, following a breakthrough on the left flank. Upon this the Kompanie followed the orders given to it and retreated via St. Vincent to St. Marcel, established a new defence line there and during the night retreated further towards St. Pierre.

Scores: 12 tanks, 2 anti-tank guns, 1 cross-country vehicle

Losses: 9 wounded

Total loss Panzerkampwagen V: 3

Other losses [Panzerkampwagen V]: 7

Pohl

Leutnant and Kompanieführer

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

[No entry.]

21 August 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

War Diary Appendix No.15.

After Action Report of the deployment of the 2. and 3.Kompanien in the period 13–21 August 1944

I took over the parts of the 2. and 3.Kompanien contracted into one Kompanie from Obersturmführer Gaede, who suffered serious injuries the day before, on 13 August 194484. This meant there were 15 tanks altogether.

The Kompanie stood, at this time, in attack positions, in a wooded area 2 km north of Ussy, assigned to the Kampfgruppe of Sturmbannführer Erich Olboeter. Standartenoberjunker Ulrich Ahrens (2.Kompanie) and Oberscharführer Richard Mende (3.Kompanie) were available as Zugführer. All was quiet in the morning of 13. 08. ’44; around noon Olboeter‘s command post began receiving alarming news that the Army units85 assigned to Kampfgruppe ”Olboeter” were not holding. Therefore, by order of the Panzer Regiment, around 1400 hours I deployed a Zug of three tanks, commanded by Unterscharführer Helmle, moving from Ussy, southwest of [Clair] Tizon for securing. Around 2000 hours I received an order from the regiment, according to which the Kompanie was to be deployed as follows: five tanks on both sides of Martainville, four tanks on the two sides of the village of La Val [Lègere], and the remaining parts of the Kompanie on both sides of the Ussy–[Clair] Tizon road, directly south of Point 170. The task of the Kompanie was as follows: “Prevention of the anticipated breakthrough of the enemy”. After thorough reconnaissance during the night we occupied the positions for the Züge. At times we experienced heavy enemy artillery fire on the frontline sector. I instructed Zug “Mende” and with this I reconnoitred the extremely broken terrain.

14 August 1944

After this reconnaissance I personally effected communications with Standartenoberjunker Ulrich Ahrens in Martainville and I became familiar with the positions of the different tanks. Heavy artillery fire was lying on the frontline of the Zug of Standartenoberjunker Ahrens. The main battle line was occupied by the weak forces of Bataillon “Olboeter”86. Around 0700 hours I returned to Ussy and heard that the enemy was attacking with infantry in the sector of Oberscharführer Mende. However the attack was repulsed and the breakthrough of the enemy prevented. Around 0800 hours in the morning the enemy attacked with tanks and infantry south of the Ussy–[Clair] Tizon road, from [Clair] Tizon, while the Tigers positioned further to the south knocked out some armoured fighting vehicles. The tank of the Kompanie Chef destroyed an anti-tank gun, which was conducting flanking fire on the Tigers. Around 1100 hours the enemy attacked again with tanks and infantry forces in the sector of Oberscharführer Mende. The attack was repulsed as before. An infantry supported attack was launched immediately and it restored the main battle line lost by the infantry. Unterscharführer Seifert destroyed two enemy tanks here. Oberscharführer Mende’s tank was damaged because of a tank round to its turret; also the tank of Unterscharführer Pietsch was rendered immobile because of a hit to its engine. Two of our tanks were holding the main battle line despite the confused terrain and they almost totally wiped out two attacking Kompanien with high explosive shells and machine gun fire. A unit which was deployed for the reinforcement of the sector and which was prepared again and again to abandon the frontline, was, on my orders, threatened with the necessary measures and was stopped by our tanks and they were forced to occupy the previous main battle line.

Around 1100 hours I was on the radio with Standartenoberjunker Ahrens who had connections again to Unterscharführer Helmle. From 1200 hours onwards there were no connections again with Ahrens, and, as it later turned out, the tank of Standartenoberjunker Ahrens received a direct hit from an artillery shell and its radio system was damaged. Zug “Mende” and the Kompanie Chef ’s unit remained in the previous positions until 1400 hours, when I received an order from the regiment – delivered by an Ordonnanz Offizier– that directed the Kompanie to the area of Olendon, in order to contain the enemy advancing southwards from the north. As the tank of the Kompanie Chef also had to be brought to the repair works with radio and engine damage, altogether three tanks were in operational condition in Zug “Mende” and the Kompanie Chef’s unit, which were withdrawn from their positions and dispatched via Ussy to the location of the new deployment. Around this time the enemy was attacking the area of Ussy–Aubigny– Soulangy–Ouilly–Potigny with extremely strong aircraft forces carpet-bombing the area; thus the three tanks were only able to depart around 1600 hours, in order to prevent early damage from bomb hits. I wanted to establish communications with Züge “Ahrens” and “Helmle” myself and inform the Zugführer of the new situation because there were no longer radio connections. I was only able to reach Krause’s command post, which, in the meantime, had taken over the western sector of the frontline. Sturmbannführer Krause did not let me go further because there was no communication either with our own and Sturmbannführer Erich Olboeter’s forces, nor with Züge “Ahrens” and “Helmle”, because the enemy had succeeded in cutting and encircling these forces with an encircling attack. We were not able to establish communications either by telephone or by radio with either of these encircled forces, so I was unable to communicate with the platoons. According to the information later received, Standartenoberjunker Ahrens was killed around this time by an artillery shell falling close to him, and his platoon was left without a Kommandant. Unterscharführer Helmle’s unit was fighting through the wooded area with infantry, losing two tanks which were bogged down in the terrain. The enemy followed them close behind, and, in the absence of prime movers, the two tanks had to be blown up. One further tank found another way and succeeded in breaking out of the encirclement and advancing as far as our own lines with an infantry unit. A special report87 was sent to the Abteilung (from Unterscharführer Tinnenfeld, Schnartendorff and Nowarra) detailing the deployment, scores and whereabouts of the tanks of Standartenoberjunker Ahrens. The tank of Standartenoberjunker Ahrens was set on fire from a close combat weapon. Around 1900 hours the three tanks of the Kompanie established securing positions on the western outskirts of Olendon and remained there until around 0000 hours.

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Obersturmbannführer Hans Weiss, commander of schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 102, wearing a grey assault gun tunic (see Chapter 8 Footnote 92 and main text). (Mark C. Yerger)

15 August 1944

By orders of the regiment the Kompanie (three tanks) carried out relocation southwards and occupied new positions some 600 metres south of Epancy, on both sides of Point 117. The sector to be secured by the 3 tanks extended almost 2 km through partly broken terrain. The tank of Unterscharführer Zund stood near the farmstead of Le Val […]88 and was engaged in heavy fighting with British 89 infantry and tanks in the morning. Unterscharführer Zund knocked out a truck towing an anti-tank gun, then a Sherman-type tank. After this, Zund, together with his weak infantry support, amidst broken terrain, was encircled by four enemy tanks, of which the latter presumably did not know anything. I ordered Unterscharführer Zund to break out of this encirclement, which he carried out when the four tanks were covered in smoke and were blinding themselves. Following the successful breakthrough Unterscharführer Zund destroyed another enemy tank from a distance of 50–60 metres. The tank of the Kompanie Chef was positioned in the centre of the frontline sector, from which position it could control most of the sector. Heavy artillery fire in this sector all day. A Tiger tank, which was positioned a little to the right of the Kompanie Chef’s tank, retreated in the afternoon without having informed the tank of the Kompanie Chef; thus it became possible that towards the evening my tank was engaged from all sides. After I enquired from the Tiger I was assured that I stood alone in this sector. I asked the Tiger tank to provide fire support, with the help of which I would be able to free myself from the encirclement. However the Tiger had established its new position so far back that this was impossible and I was forced to break out without the fire support of the Tiger. At top speed we broke through the encirclement and moving in zigzag lines, along our main battle line, we were able to reach the protecting woodland, to the utmost amazement of the enemy tanks. An antitank gun which was firing at us from Epancy was put out of action by the first shot of the Tiger tank located far on the right. Following the successful breakthrough I set aflame an enemy tank that was positioned some 2,000 metres away and firing intensively.

The tank of Unterscharführer Seifert stood 1 km to the right from my position, on whose positions heavy fire was laid during the whole day. From the afternoon there were no German infantry on this 2 km long section. This sector was secured by the three tanks of the Kompanie. The previous main battle line was still in our hands in the evening. The regimental command post had not counted on this, on the basis of the enemy positions earlier in the day. The enemy90 advanced all day with strong armoured forces north of Olendon, in the direction of Falaise. These manoeuvres were covered by constant smoke emissions. Two tanks were left behind for the night to secure the main frontline, while the third tank secured on the road, approximately 1,200 metres south of Epancy. The night was quiet.

16. 08. 1944

In the morning of 16. 08. 1944 the enemy covered our positions in heavy artillery fire, while continuing to move its tanks with the same strength as yesterday, though not in the direction of Falaise but eastwards, advancing north of Olendon. Around 1000 hours I received the order from the Regimentskommandeur which assigned me and my three tanks to (Tiger) SS-schwere Panzer Abteilung 10291 (Obersturmbannführer Hans Weiss).92 Two tanks remained on the road to secure approximately 1,200 metres south of Epancy, while the third tank was sent to Versainville, to the Abteilung command post of Obersturmbannführer Weiss. Heavy enemy artillery fire on our positions all day. Around 1800 hours I received the order from the Regimentskommandeur that the Kompanie was to change its positions immediately towards Les Croix and to hold and stop the enemy that was advancing in the afternoon north of Olendon via Jort–Tivos at the north-eastern exit of Beaumais93. The three tanks of the Kompanie departed at once and established positions before midnight in the sector of Hill 65 to prevent the enemy breakthrough towards the south at all costs.

17. 08. 1944

In the early morning hours the enemy advanced in front of our positions, approximately 3,000 metres away with strong forces from the northwest towards the southeast in the direction of Trun. During the manoeuvre the enemy covered its right flank with heavy artillery fire on our positions. We immediately engaged the individual armoured fighting vehicles that were pushing forward in the direction of our securing lines, and in this way set two Shermans and one armoured reconnaissance vehicle aflame during the day. We fired on another tank from 2,600–2,800 metres’ distance and we hit it. The tank emitted smoke but was able to go into shelter in reverse, this way further observation became impossible. The enemy armoured echelons, armoured vehicles and trucks with mounted infantry were ceaselessly processing in front of us, approximately 3,500 metres away, towards Trun. Our right hand neighbour, the Kompanie of Obersturmführer Albert Gasch, knocked out some more armoured fighting vehicles during the day. The enemy turned westwards and tried to cut us off in the direction of Le[s] Moutiers [-en-Auge]; we prevented this by withdrawing Obersturmführer Gasch’s forces and my tanks by order of the regiment during the night, and retreated to the positions on Hill 113, southeast of Fresné-la-Mère.

18. 08. 1944

At dawn the positions were ready and we took over securing in the northern direction in order to hold and eliminate the enemy pushing after us. During the morning a further three tanks were assigned to the Kompanie that arrived from the repair station. The Kompanie then had six tanks available again. Around 1300 hours I received an order on the radio from the Regimentskommandeur that I was to occupy Hill 135 immediately with four tanks and repulse the enemy thrusting into the main battle line there. I departed at once with four tanks via Pertheville [-Ners] and reached the road at Hill 135 without meeting the enemy; there the Regimentskommandeur personally gave me a new attack order. On Hill 143 there was still a Luftwaffe Kampfgruppe containing four 8.8cm anti-aircraft guns and 12 2cm anti-aircraft guns, the crews of which had been partly lost, and had partly retreated from the attack of the enemy tanks and armoured vehicles via Hill 143 to the railway approximately 500 metres west of Pertheville [-Ners]. The Regimentskommandeur’s task for me was the following: “Occupy Hill 143 with four tanks, release our own Kampfgruppe on the Hill and with its armament lead it back to the new main battle line at the railway southwest of Pertheville”. The attack against Hill 143 advanced well in spite of the enemy attempts to contain the manoeuvre from the flanks with armoured reconnaissance vehicles or anti-tank guns. The infantry and the escaped Flak crews were subordinated to me and so we reached Hill 143 where we met some of the men of the Flak Kampfgruppe of the Luftwaffe. Apart from two 8.8cm and two 2cm anti-aircraft guns all armament of the Flak Kampfgruppe was destroyed due either to enemy tanks or being blown up by the men themselves. Withdrawal of the small Kampfgruppe towards the railway was again disturbed by anti-tank gun and artillery fire. In spite of this the Kampfgruppe reached the assigned positions without suffering any losses; along the railway line the tanks also positioned themselves to secure. That night the Kompanie was ordered to change positions via Viqnats–St. Nikolas. The Kompanie marched as far as Bierre and established positions at Hill 117, northwest of Bierre.

19. 08. 1944

That morning the Kompanie received the news that the Regimentskommandeur, the Regimentsadjutant and the Regimentsarzt were missing and were presumably wounded and captured by the British.94 Sturmbannführer Olboeter arrived at the command post of the Kompanie and reported that he had taken over the command of the regiment. In front of us, on our left and to our rear, heavy battle noise during the afternoon. The situation is extremely uncertain and the regiment also cannot provide any further information. At 2000 hours briefing at the regimental command post. The Regimentsführer informs us of the situation and the orders of the division, according to which during the night the division is preparing to break the encirclement at St. Lambert at dawn on 20 August and fight through the lines. Two codewords were given, that is, “if the units in front of us succeed in breaking through, the codeword ‘Freiheit’ [Freedom] is to be used, which means that we will take all elements of the regiment, including the wheeled vehicles”. If the units marching in front of us cannot break through, the codeword ‘Scheisse’ [Shit] is to be used, which means that all non-armoured vehicles are to be blown up, and we have to attempt to fight with the armoured vehicles as far as it is possible considering the enemy situation and the available fuel. If, in case of heavier enemy resistance our weak armoured forces cannot break through, or, for any reason, the armoured fighting vehicles are rendered disabled, then these vehicles are also to be blown up, and the crews are to take as many weapons and ammunition with them as possible and are to break through the enemy lines at night or during the day until Rouen on the Seine, and reach the regrouping point of the division in Fleury, east of Rouen.

The armoured regiment assigned me to the following order of battle for the breakthrough: four tanks of my Kompanie will form the spearhead, behind them the Flak Zug of the regiment, the armoured personnel carrier Bataillon95, the Sturmpanzer Bataillon96, the Panzerjäger Abteilung,97 and the Panzer IV Kompanie.

20. 08. 1944

Gathering of the Regiment accomplished at 0300 hours in the night. After the units emptied the fuel from the trucks of other units and from the other disabled vehicles, their own vehicles were filled up. Two tanks of the Kompanie were blown up, because we were unable to tow them with us; these were reported to the regiment the day before as being damaged and needing to be towed away. The Kampfgruppe of the regiment departed at 0500 hours under command of Sturmbannführer Olboeter via Bailleul – Tournai [-sur-Dives] towards St. Lambert, where we received heavy enemy defensive fire. The Kampfgruppe of the regiment, with three Panthers as the spearhead, together with our forces and those of other divisions following us pushed through St. Lambert to break through the enemy defence along the road leading to Coudehard. Directly northeast of St. Lambert extremely heavy tank–, anti-tank gun–, anti-aircraft-gun-, machine gun and artillery defensive fire hit us, because of this the attack did not succeed despite multiple attempts. During the fighting Unterscharführer Zwangsleitner knocked out a Sherman, but immediately after this he was knocked out by an enemy tank. His tank burnt out.

After this first unsuccessful breakthrough attempt, parts of the regiment regrouped and in a single force, with other SS, and Wehrmacht units, we reorganized ourselves for a renewed second attempt. That time we were able to break through the first enemy cordon. However, we met heavy enemy resistance on the Coudehard–La Coury de Bosy road where they had placed tanks in well-covered positions on a steeply ascending slope in order to prevent us breaking through. Some of the armoured fighting vehicles were disabled by the Fallschirmjägers98 in close combat, so the advance could be continued on the steeply ascending and extremely broken terrain. Our tank drivers especially showed outstanding achievements on the narrow roads ascending steeply, these roads also being full of damaged vehicles. Not far from reaching the hill my tank received an artillery round to its side, though no damage was caused. Around 1700 hours we succeeded at last, our spearhead was over the enemy defence lines, and we reached the first securing forces of the 2.SS-Panzer Division “Das Reich99.

The second tank of Unterscharführer Zund that had departed from St. Lambert was damaged during the advance and due to engine failure caught fire when mounting the steep slope. Because of an enemy infantry attack we were unable to extinguish the fire. The crew was able to get through the enemy securing lines at night and all reached the Kompanie in Le Neubourg. Only one of the four tanks taking part in the manoeuvre got through the enemy positions undamaged, and in the following days reached Le Neubourg via Orbec – Bernay and from there, through the Seine, the I.Abteilung at Poses.

War Diary Appendix no. 16

12. SS-Panzer-Division. “Hitlerjugend”O.U., 19 Sept. 1944

4. [Kompanie]/SS-Panzer Regiment 12

After Action Report from 21. VIII. 1944

Following the retrograde movement from Le Heunière the Kompanie was located in St. Pierre with seven operational and seven mechanically disabled Panzer Vs. Around 1200 hours Sturmbannführer Arnold Jürgensen led the Kompanie with seven Panzer Vs into new positions at Buisson, approximately 6 km south of Gaillon.

It was discovered that the enemy was advancing northwards from the south along the Seine and from La Chapelle into the direction of Gaillon.

The Kompanie secured on a 1.5 km wide line towards the south and southeast, in the direction of St. Pierre, with the task to hold and contain the enemy here, and abandon the position only when ordered. The day and night was spent without any notable events. The Kompanie met no enemy.

Scores: none

Losses: none

Irrevocable tank losses: none

Other losses: none

Pohl

Leutnant and Kompanieführer

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On 21. 08. 1944 the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had the following tanks:

• 6 Panzerkampfwagen IVs

• 3 Panzerkampfwagen Vs

• 1 anti-aircraft armoured fighting vehicle

These armoured fighting vehicles were subordinated to the Kampfgruppe of Sturmbannführer Gustav Knittel100 for a mission against Fervaques. The Kampfgruppe was strengthened further by two assault guns. The tanks were directed to the place of the assault west of Cernay, under command of Obersturmführer Eggers.

1600 hours: relocation of the command post of the Abteilung to the estate 500 metres northeast of the church of Cernay.

1615 hours: the attack positions of the armoured Kampfgruppe are reached. Hauptsturmführer Tirschler, commander of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12, holds a briefing in the attack position. The armoured group has the mission of supporting the attack of the 12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend” and the Grenadiers and Engineers of the 21.Panzer Division.

After a short artillery preparation, at 1630 hours launch of the attack against the enemy east of Fervaques. The enemy is pushed back to Fervaques. However we have difficulties in deploying the tanks because the terrain is extremely unsuitable for armoured vehicles.

At 2200 hours the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 received the order to abandon its positions and move into the assembly positions of the 12.SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend” in La Barre-en-Ouche.

2230 hours: the disengagement of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and the departure to La Barre-en-Ouche occurs. Parts of the Stabskompanie are sent forward to reconnoitre and place signposts on the road.

1 Operation Goodwood, launched by the British VIII Corps began that day, east of Caen, and lasted until 20 July 1944. Three British Armoured Divisions (7th, 11th and Guards) took part in the operation subordinated to the Corps. The objective was to advance east of the Orne river and reach the Bourguébus ridge from the south, which dominated the road to Falaise.

2 This document is not included in this book.

3 Following days of heavy streetfighting the Canadian II Corps occupied the town of Caen that day.

4 The Kompanie was formed from wounded soldiers who were more or less recovered and already discharged from field hospitals.

5 Sturmpanzer IV assault tanks, known my their nickname “Brummbär”, of the Army’s 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217. These armoured fighting vehicles were designed to combat field fortifications and for direct support of the attacking infantry, and not against armoured forces.

6 The I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had 26 operational Panther tanks that day.

7 The 1./SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12 (Kompanie Chef: Obersturmführer Georg Hurdelbrink) with Jagdpanzer IVs. See Appendix XVIII for data on Hurdelbrink.

8 The II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had 43 operational Panzer IV tanks that day. Meitzel had served as Ordonnanz Offizier (O1) on the divisional staff. He survived the war and died on 28 April 1951 in Hamburg. Spranz was killed while still with the II.Abteilung on 18 March 1945.

9 Altogether 26 soldiers returned to the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. The document is not included in this book.

10 Sturmbannführer Hans Waldmüller had been commander of the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 since November 1943. As a Hauptsturmführer leading the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 1 of the “Leibstandarte” he had won the German Cross in Gold on 6 May 1943. Waldmüller was awarded the Knight’s Cross for command of the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 on 27 August 1944 and then killed commanding the same unit on 10 September 1944.

11 Sturmbannführer Bernhard Krause was commander of the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

12 That night 22 Panther tanks were in operational condition with the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

13 The original document provides the number 153, but this was probably a typing error, as no such number had been allocated in the turret number system of SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

14 That night 39 Panzer IV tanks were operational with the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

15 The offensive of the Soviet troops launched on 22 June 1944 had totally disrupted Heeresgruppe „Mitte” by the middle of July. Due to this all available reinforcements were deployed to close the enormous gap opened on the Eastern Front.

16 The I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had 22 operational Panther tanks that day.

17 This Armee level command was created on 24 January 1944 from the Stab of the General der Panzertruppe cooperating with the Oberbefehlshaber “West” (Senior Area Commander “West”). Its commander was General der Panzertruppe Leo Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg until 2 July 1944, then General der Panzertruppen Heinrich Eberbach from 3 July 1944 until 5 August 1944. On 5 August 1944 the command was renamed Staff Panzerarmee 5.

18 SS-Panzergruppe “Wünsche” was the reserve for I. SS-Panzer Korps. It consisted of the Stab of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and the operational parts of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. The “Leibstandarte” provided the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 1 and the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 2 with the I.SS-Panzer Korps attaching schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101.

19 The II.Abteilung reported having 39 operational Panzer IV tanks on that day.

20 This Abteilung of the Divisionsstab was concerned with intelligence gathering and its interpetation in the field was to include interrogation of prisoners.

21 These were daily reports describing operational/tactical events.

22 Sturmbannführer Erich Olboeter was commander of the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 equipped with armoured personnel carriers. See entry for 28 June 1944.

23 It has not been possible to establish this location.

24 Hubert Meyer was the only 1.Generalstabsoffizier (Ia) of „Hitlergugend“. Graduated 1936 Junkerschule Bad Tölz, Untersturmführer November 9, 1938. Posted to III./Leibstandarte and later Kompanie Chef 12./Leibstandarte. After „Leibstandarte“ brigade expanded to division commanded III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 1 and awarded German Cross in Gold 6 May 1943. Attended General Staff training prior to posting with „Hitlerjugend“, promoted Sturmbannführer 20 April 1943 and Obersturmbannführer 9 November 1944. After Kurt Meyer‘s capture on 6 September 1944, Hubert Meyer also commanded the division until the arrival of Standartenführer Hugo Kraas in November. Meyer wrote the official “Hitlerjugend” division history and was also a senior speaker of HIAG.

25 The Pak Zug of the Bataillon.

26 Standartenführer Kurt Meyer was the Divisionsführer of the 12. SS-Panzer Division. He won the Knight’s Cross on 18 May 1941 as a Sturmbannführer commanding the Aufklärungsabteilung of the „Leibstandarte” and the Oakleaves 23 February 1943 commanding the same unit as an Obersturmbannführer. As commander of the 12.SS-Panzer Division „Hitlerjugend” Meyer was awarded the Swords on 27 August 1944. He died in Hagen on 23 December 1961.

27 Reconnaissance Kampfgruppe “Olboeter” commanded by Sturmbannführer Erich Olboeter was formed on that day. The 2./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 with 13 Panthers, the 10./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26, the 1./SS-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 12 (with six “Wespe” self-propelled artillery pieces) and six armoured reconnaissance cars of the 1./SS-Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung 1 with 80 watt radios were subordinated to the Kampfgruppe. It was subordinated to the II. SS-Panzer Korps and was regrouped in the sector east of Vire.

28 According to the KTB of Panzergruppe “West” (later Panzerarmee 5) altogether 65 dummy tanks were set up north and northwest of St. Sylvain.

29 This bataillon was part of the 1.SS-Panzer DivisionLeibstandarte”.

30 New designation for the former 9./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

31 According to the KTB of the PanzergruppeWest”, the Flak Zug of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 shot down a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber southeast of Fierville around 1415 hours.

32 Kampfgruppe “Olboeter” and the independent Pionier Bataillon 600 of the Army were active mostly around Chênedollé. The 2./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 occupied ambush positions on wide frontline south of the Vire–Vassy road, leaning on Viessoix with its left flank. Opposite to them stood most of the British 11th Armoured Division.

33 Hauptsturmführer Heinz Schrott was the Bataillonsführer of the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25. He was killed leading his command on 2 September 1944.

34 There is no village with that mentioned name in Normandy, presumably a typing error.

35 This was probably the command post of the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

36 The bridgehead was held by two battalions of the 176th Infantry Brigade of the British 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division, and two Churchill companies of the battalion-sized 107th Royal Tank Regiment of the 34th Tank Brigade.

37 Operation Totalize of the British–Canadian 21st Army Group began that day and lasted until 11 August 1944. The aim was to break through the German defences and to advance in the direction of Falaise. The Canadian II Corps formed the centre of the assault. Subordinated to this fought the Canadian 2nd and 3rd Infantry Divisions, the Canadian 2nd Armoured Brigade, the newly arrived Canadian 4th (Armoured) Division, the British 51st (Highland) Infantry Division, the British 33rd Armoured Brigade and also the fresh Polish 1st Armoured Division. Some of the supporting infantry followed the tanks on ‘Kangaroo’ armoured carrier vehicles that were created by disarming M7 Priest self-propelled guns.

38 Tiger I Ausf E heavy tanks of the 2. Kompanie, a component of the „Leibstandarte“. See Wolfgang Schneider, Tiger im Kampf Band II, Uelzen: Schneider Armour Research, 2001, p.273.

39 Untersturmführer Peter Matthis was born in 1921 and had served with the 8./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

40 The After Action Report attached to the KTB as Appendix no. 12 states that the tanks of the 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 advanced north of the village.

41 Untersturmführer Rudolf August Berthold Alban was born in 1922. His date of death is given as 7 August 1944 both by the history of the 12.SS-Panzer Division and the database of the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge).

42 Untersturmführer Kurt Bogensperger was born in 1924 and came to “Hitlerjugend” having previously served with SS-Panzer Regiment 1.

43 This meant only 17 operational Panzer IV tanks altogether. In most works however – because the KTB of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had not at that time been made available – the 39 operational Panzer IVs in the armoured-situation report of 6 August 1944 are taken as the number of tanks available and this number is given as the number of tanks still operational on 8 August 1944. For example see, among others: Patrick Agte, Michael Wittmann und die Tiger der Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. Rosenheim: Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1995, p.258 (hereafter cited as Agte), and Reynolds, p.276.

44 Ten Tiger I Ausf E heavy tanks of the 3./SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 were subordinated to the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 under command of Hauptsturmführer Franz Heurich. Only eight Tiger tanks set off on the actual mission together with the Panzer IVs.

45 Kampfgruppe of schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 commanded by Hauptsturmführer Michael Wittmann. He had served with the original “Leibstandarte” Sturmgeschütz Batterie in 1941 then the 13./SS-Panzer Regiment 1 of the same division. He then led the 2./schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 before leading the Abteilung. Wittmann won the Knight’s Cross on 14 January 1944, the Oakleaves on 30 January 1944, and the Swords on 22 June 1944. See throughout text for Normandy period details of this highest scoring Waffen-SS tank ace. Wittmann did not join the Kommando in his own Tiger (turret number 205, under repair) but in the 007 of the Abteilungskommandeur, around 1100 hours in the morning in Cintheaux. The Abteilungsführer of schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 at that time was Obersturmbannführer Heinz von Westernhagen. Previously the commander of SS-Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 1 of the „Leibstandarte“, he later returned to command of schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 (later 501) and was killed on 20 March 1945 in Veszprém as an Obersturmbannführer.

46 In the original the name of the officer was mistyped as “Heurig”.

47 In the original German text the tanks of the Tiger Kompanie were marked as Panzer IVs instead of Panzer VIs.

48 The 7. SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

49 The 5./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

50 According to some sources, Kurt Meyer (promoted to Oberführer as of 1 August 1944) ordered the immediate launch of the attack otherwise scheduled for 1230 hours for KampfgruppeWaldmüller” (in it the Tigers of schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 and Panzer IVs as well as the subordinated Panthers of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12) before the air attack, because a lone Allied targeting bomber aircraft appeared in the air. He wanted to remove his forces from the area of the anticipated destruction. The plan of the attack was approved on the same morning by General der Panzertruppen Heinrich Eberbach, Oberbefehlshaber of Panzerarmee 5 who arrived in Urville. See also Meyer, p.304.

51 Presumably parts of the Grenadier Regiment 1055 of the 89.Infanterie Division.

52 These tanks arrived back from the workshop Kompanie of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 after having been repaired.

53 In the original German text the tanks of the Tiger Kompanie were marked again as Panzer IVs instead of Panzer VIs. These three Tigers remained from the eight, five of which, commanded by Hauptsturmführer Wittmann, ran into the ambush position of the parts of the British 33rd Armoured Brigade around 1239 hours. Between 1240 hours and 1252 hours a Firefly tank from 3rd Troop/A Squadron/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry (an armoured regiment) with turret number 12 – according to some sources its name was “Velikye Luki” – knocked out three Tiger I Ausf Es from a distance of approximately 730-800 metres by fire directed towards their side armour. At the same time, the German heavy tanks were also attacked by the Firefly tanks of the British 144th Royal Tank Regiment (a battalion-sized unit) from Hill 122 (approximately 1,300 metres distance), and the Firefly tanks of the 27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusiliers) of the Canadian 2nd Armoured Brigade from their firing positions west of the road to Cintheaux, in the area of Gaumesnil (from approximately 450 metres distance), through loopholes carved into a stone wall. See also Stephen A. Hart, Sherman Firefly vs. Tiger, Normandy 1944, Oxford, 2007, pp.62–63 (hereafter cited as S.A. Hart). At about 1300 hours the Firefly tanks of A Squadron 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry hit two Panzer IVs of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12, not far from the Tigers that had already been knocked out. According to this, our opinion is that the Firefly tank in 3rd Troop, A Squadron, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry (turret number 12) knocked out three German Tigers, whilst two were knocked out by the Firefly tanks of the Canadian 27th Armoured Regiment. One of the latter two was probably Wittmann’s “007” which was destroyed at 1248 hours and its turret blown off.

54 The remaining forces of Panzergruppe “Prinz”, subordinated to KampfgruppeWaldmüller” (altogether 20 Panzer IVs, Panthers and Jagdpanzer IVs, with the support of approximately 400 SS-Panzergrenadiers), engaged parts of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry of the British 33rd Armoured Brigade at Le Petit Ravin, around 1255 hours. The battle went on until 1600 hours. According to British reports, 16 out of the attacking 20 German tanks were knocked out (of this, seven by Fireflies): seven Panzer IVs, four Panthers, and four Jagdpanzer IVs. The loss of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry was 13 knocked out Shermans (from this number four were Firefly tanks). See also S.A. Hart, pp.67 and 72. Detailed description of the combat activity of the Jagdpanzer IVs taking part in the engagement can be found in this book, in the study concerning the combat activity of SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12.

55 According to the order given earlier, the regrouping was carried out in the south-eastern area of Cintheaux.

56 Eight Tiger I Ausf E heavy tanks from schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 and seven from schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 102 were deployed in the area. The German tanks knocked out 44 Shermans all together, two Stuarts and one Crusader; most of them belonged to the strength of the Canadian 28th Armoured Regiment. Most of the knocked out Allied tanks were destroyed by the heavy Tiger tanks. See Schneider, Tiger im Kampf, Band II, p.273.

57 Sturmbannführer Hans Waldmüller was commander of the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25.

58 The II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had ten operational Panzer IV tanks of its own on that evening. The subordinated 1./Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217 also had ten operational Sturmpanzer IVs. Eight Tiger I Ausf E heavy tanks from the schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 were also subordinated to the Abteilung.

59 Around Hill 140 parts of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 and the other armoured units subordinated to the Regiment encircled then totally destroyed the Worthington Force Kampfgruppe of the 28th Armored Regiment of the Canadian 4th (Armoured) Division that had broken through earlier. The Canadians lost some 250 killed, wounded or missing soldiers and 47 out of their 52 tanks were destroyed on that day, with a number of their armoured personnel carrier vehicles. In addition, Lieutenant-Colonel Dog G. Worthington, commander of the Kampfgruppe, and all his squadron leaders were killed.

60 These were partly the Sherman and Cromwell tanks of the Canadian 4th Armoured Division, partly the Polish 1st Armoured Division attacking towards Soignolles and la Croix. According to the operational report of the Polish Division it lost 656 soldiers altogether (of these, 121 killed and 36 missing) and 88 tanks between 7-12 August 1944. Furthermore, the Polish lost five tank destroyers and a self-propelled gun. The knocked out armoured fighting vehicles, apart from 10 tanks, were almost immediately replaced.

61 Sturmbannführer Bernhard Krause was commander of the I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26. It is possible that he might have taken over the temporary command of the heavily abated II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 within the framework of Kampfgruppe “Krause”.

62 The I./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

63 Presumably the author of this After Action Report was Hauptsturmführer Kurt Brödel, Chef of the 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. Brödel was an Army transfer having previously served as an Oberleutnant with Panzerjäger Abteilung 743. He was killed on 18 December 1944 in Krinkelt.

64 Unfortunately there is no data concerning the origin of this Kompanie in the KTB. Presumably it was created for the training of the personnel that arrived as replacements during the reorganization of the exhausted I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

65 Name of the 2./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

66 Jagdpanzer IVs of the 2./SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12.

67 Helmut Wendorff was the Kompanie Chef of the 2./schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101. Two days later he was killed. He came to the heavy (Tiger) I.SS-Panzer Korps unit having previously served in the „Leibstandarte” with SS-Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 1 and then the 13./SS-Panzer Regiment 1.

68 These heavy tanks were only subordinated to the Abteilung, they were not part of the strength of the unit.

69 Operation Tractable of the British-Canadian 21st Army Group began that day and lasted until 16 August 1944; it was launched in order to achieve the aims of the less successful Operation Totalize. The Canadian II Corps launched the new attack in the direction of Falaise with the same order of battle as it had possessed some days before.

70 Sturmbannführer Karl-Heinz Prinz, commander of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12. See award holders section.

71 The operational tanks remaining from the original strength of SS-Panzer Regiment 12 under the commander of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

72 Two different villages situated next to each other.

73 The Kampfgruppe of the 17.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Götz von Berlichingen” commanded by Obersturmbannführer Jakob Fick, commander of SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 37. Fick commanded the first SS-Verfügungstruppe anti-aircraft unit and won the Knight’s Cross on 23 April 1943 as a Sturmbannführer. He assumed command of the former I./Langemarck of “Das Reich” in April 1943 just when that Kradschützen Bataillon was absorbed by the Aufklärungsabteilung of “Das Reich”. Fick transferred to “Götz von Berlichingen” when it first formed in command of SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 37. Promoted to Obersturmbannführer on 30 January 1944, he survived the war and died on 22 April 2004.

74 The tanks of the 2. SS-Panzer Division “Das Reich”.

75 In the original: “Vergeltungsangriff”.

76 Members of the French national resistance movement. According to the KTB of Panzerarmee 5, Kampfgruppe “Mohnke” killed 41 “terrorists” (members of the resistance) in the area, between 20 and 24 August 1944. It is possible that the above mentioned mission of the 4./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 was partly in connection with this.

77 There is no village with such name in the area.

78 In the original “Panzerjäger P. 4”.

79 II./Panzerjäger Regiment 33 (9.Panzer Division) on 12 August 1944, had some 25 operational Panther tanks, which were fighting subordinated to the 116.Panzer Division from this time until 20 August. From the text of the KTB we can assume that by that time only one operational Panther was subordinated to Kampfgruppe “Mohnke”.

80 Presumably parts of the ‘A’ Battle Group of the American 5th Armored Division.

81 During this time the ‘A’ Battle Group of the American 5th Armored Division lost three M4 (Sherman) tanks and three subordinated M10 tank destroyers.

82 Presumably parts of the 17. Feld Division of the Luftwaffe.

83 Fighter-bomber aircraft of the Allied forces.

84 Although the battle report is unfortunately not signed, its author is presumably Obersturmführer Kurt Brödel, who was also Kompanie Chef of the 3./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 in September 1944 as a Hauptsturmführer.

85 These were most probably parts of the 85.Infanterie Division.

86 The III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

87 Unfortunately the report was not preserved among the archives of the I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

88 Here the original document is illegible.

89 Units of the Canadian 4th (Armoured) Division, not British forces, were fighting in the area.

90 Forces of the Canadian 4th (Armoured) Division.

91 To schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 102.

92 Hans Weiss commanded the Stabskompanie of Regiment “Deutschland” in the Polish Campaign and was then Nachschubführer of eventual Division “Das Reich” until April 1940. Kompanie Chef of the 4./Aufklärungsabteilung in the 1940 French Campaign, in February 1942 he became commander of the Kradschützen Bataillon. He was deputy commander of Kampfgruppe “SS-Reich” in 1942 and then commander of the “Das Reich” Aufklärungsabteilung from June of that year. In mid-April 1943 he was commander I./Panzer Regiment “Das Reich” with the Knight’s Cross awarded 6 April 1943. On 20 March 1944 he became commander schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 102. Promoted Sturmbannführer 20 April 1943 he won the German Cross in Gold 23 April 1944. He was promoted to Obersturmbannführer 21 June 1944, captured seriously wounded on 19 August 1944 and died of a heart attack on 2 October 1978 while driving home from a veterans’ reunion.

93 There is no village with the name of Tivos in Normandy.

94 Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche, commander of SS-Panzer Regiment 12, and Hauptsturmführer Dr. Rudolf Stiawa (the Regimentsarzt) were wounded. Hauptsturmführer Georg Isecke, Adjutant of SS-Panzer Regiment 12, was unharmed when captured by the Allied forces, though not on 19 August, but on 24 August, after days of hiding and attempts to get through the lines. Wünsche and Stiawa were captured by the Canadians, Isecke by the Americans.

95 The III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26.

96 Parts of Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217.

97 Parts of SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12.

98 Kompanie-strength group of the 3.Fallschirmjäger Division.

99 The 2.SS-Panzer Division “Das Reich” was the early career unit for many officers who led units in conjunction with „Hitlerjugend,” including Jakob Fick and Hans Weiss.

100 Sturmbannführer Gustav Knittel was commander of SS-Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung 1 of the „Leibstandarte“. He had previously served as Kompanie Chef of the 4. and 3.Kompanien of the same unit and was awarded the Knight‘s Cross as commander on 4 June 1944. He survived the war and died in Ulm on 30 June 1976.

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