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Eastern Front 1943-45 some details

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by Kai-Petri, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In Kursk a number ( 100?) of T-34s were about to escaape in the early offensive days. However the Germans had a Hs 129 tank destroyer planes in the area and the Soviet tanks were destroyed. So Rudel was not needed.( Sorrry Back to Bagration next. Zaloga is great ).

    Hs 129 B-3
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    A closeup of the Bordkanone BK 7,5 75 mm cannon.
    It was decided that the 7.5 cm (2.95 in) semi-automatic Rheinmetall PaK 40 anti-tank gun, which had already been adapted for use in the Junkers Ju 88P-1, would be further modified for use in the Hs 129. This resulted in the BK 7,5 (Bordkanone 7,5), which, even though it weighed 1,200 kg (2,600 lb), was lighter than the PaK 40. Fully automatic, it featured a new, hydraulic recoil-dampening system and a new, more aerodynamic muzzle brake. An autoloader system, with 12 rounds in a rotary magazine, was fitted in the empty space behind the cockpit, within the rear half of the wing root area. The gun and its recoil mechanism occupied a substantial gun pod under the fuselage, and a circular port at the rear of the pod allowed rearwards ejection of spent cartridges immediately after firing. While this new variant, the Hs 129 B-3, was theoretically capable of destroying any tank in the world, the added weight worsened the aircraft's general performance and it was inferior to previous variants.[2]

    The Bordkanone 7,5 was the heaviest and most powerful forward-firing weapon fitted to a production military aircraft during World War II. The only other aircraft to be factory-equipped with similar-calibre guns were the 1,420 examples of the North American B-25G and B-25H Mitchell, which mounted either a 75 mm (2.95 in) M4 cannon, or lightweight T13E1 or M5 versions of the same gun.

    From June 1944, only 25 examples of the Hs 129 B-3 arrived at frontline units before the production line was shut down in September (a small number were reportedly also created by converting B-2 aircraft). In the field the B-3 proved effective, but its small numbers had little effect on the war effort.

    Henschel Hs 129 - Wikipedia
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Luftwaffe had been building up a strategic bomber force of the new Heinkel He-177 Greif bombers in anticipation of of raids of major Soviet industral centres. One of these, Kampffgeswader I Hinderburg, with some 40 He-177s, was committted to the Byelorussian campaign. It took part in some ineffective raids against Soviet railway marshalling yards. In early July it was ordered by the head of the Luftwaffe, Göring, to take part in low-level attacks against Soviet tanks approaching Minsk. Ar low altitude these ungainly aircraft were horribly vulnerable to Soviet fighters and AA fire. After a quarter of the force was shot down by Fighters, the bombers were finally allowed to resume high-altitude missions.

    Bagration 1944 by Zaloga
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The heaviest tank fighting took place to the north-west of Minsk. The main tank strength of the 5th Panzer division, supported by Tiger tanks of sPzAbt 505, fought a costly series of battles on 1 and 2 July against element´s of Rotmistrov´s 5th Guards Army trying to envelope the city from the north. The stubborn defence was intended to keep the Soviets away from the railway lines being used for evacuation. In a week of fighting, the 5th Pz division claimed to have destroyed 295 Soviet armoured vehicles of which 128 were credited to the Tiger tanks. By 8 July the 5th Pz division had been reduced from 125 tanks to 18, and all of the Tigers had been lost. Both units were ordered to withdraw to the north-west.

    Bagration 1944 by Zaloga.
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Schmeisser was a popular weapon among the Soviet ´razvedchik´scout teams. Ironically, German scout units liked to use the Soviet PPSh machine-pistol.

    Bagration 1944 by Zaloga
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    When Blau began in June 1942, the eastern air fleets had possessed 2,644 aircraft, of which 1,610 ( 61%) operated in the southern front under Luftlotte 4. The operational rate of that air fleet had been 71%, good by the standards of the eastern front. By 31 January 1943, the day on which Paulus trudged into Soviet captivity, only 1,657 aircraft ( excluding transport planes ), of which Luftlotte 4 commanded a mere 624 ( 37%). That is, after seven months of constant combat. the fleet´s complement had dropped to 39% of its former strength. Because of bad weather and the frequent evacuation of airfields, its operational rate had also dropped dramatically. On the day Paulus surrendered, the air fleet had only 240 airworthy planes, its operational rate having falled from 71% to 38%.

    Stopped at Stalingrad by Hayward
     
  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Between November 1942 and May 1943 the Axis power lost 2,400 aircraft supporting operations in Tunisia. The two campaigns were linked - at least on the axis side.
     
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  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Not to mention men losses from Tunis May 1943 to Normandy 1944 to Bagration 1944 as well. Or the "usual battle losses" Sicily, Italy, Ostfront, France during the same time period....

    Or the the Ju-52´s...

    Williamson Murray:Luftwaffe 1933-1945

    In early November 1942 ( notice!) Luftwaffe was forced to send 150 Ju 52´s to the Mediterranean, an additional 170 followed at the end of the month (!)This movement of aircraft, combined with the Stalingrad airlift, effectively shut down instrument and bomber transition schools.The development into the Mediterranean also explains why the Luftwaffe found it difficult to transfer more transport aircraft to Luftlotte 4 and the Stalingrad supply effort.

    The Luftwaffe lost 128 Ju 52´s in November and December 1942, with an additional 36 destroyed in January (13.9 % of the Luftwaffe´s total transport strength ). When combined with losses at Stalingrad, the Germans lost 659 transport aircraft (56% of the transport force as of November 10 ) by the end of January 1943....

    And by Murray as well...

    In 1943 the allied air superiority had become so great that Germans had trouble protecting their airfields in Sicily/Italy:

    Losses for German aircraft for July in the Mediterranean was heavy. Luftwaffe lost 711 planes ( 10% of German air force at the end of June ) of which 246 were fighters ( 13.3% ) and 237 bombers ( 14.4 % ).
    In August the allied inflicted a further 321 losses. At this point reinforcements dried up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Aces of the Luftwaffe - Emil Lang

    At the outbreak of World War 2, Lang was serving with a transport unit. In 1942, he was accepted for fighter pilot training. Lang was posted to JG 54, based on the Eastern Front, at the beginning of 1943 and, at 34 years of age, was one of the oldest pilots in the Jagdwaffe! Leutnant Lang was assigned to 1./JG 54.

    In October and November 1943, Lang claimed 101 victories (25-125)!. He recorded 68 victories during October, including 10 on 13 October (50-59) and 12 on 21 October (60-71) for which he was awarded the Ehrenpokal. On 3 November, Lang claimed 18 victories over the Kiev region (101-118). He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 22 November for 119 victories.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

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    Sturmtiger (German: "Assault Tiger") was a World War II German assault gun built on the Tiger I chassis and armed with a 380mm rocket-propelled mortar. The official German designation was Sturmmörserwagen 606/4 mit 38 cm RW 61. Its primary task was to provide heavy fire support for infantry units fighting in urban areas. The few vehicles produced fought in the Warsaw Uprising, the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Reichswald. The fighting vehicle is also known by various informal names, among which the Sturmtiger became the most popular.

    Sturmtiger - Wikipedia



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  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    A memorial for a Stuka crew who died as their plane crashed down near the Kuhlmey unit landing area.

    stuka 3.jpg

    stuka 1.jpg

    stuka 1.jpg
     
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  12. Kai-Petri

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    Paul Häusser and Kharkov 1943

    While Hausser prepared his new command for its next campaign, disaster struck on the Russian Front. Stalingrad was surrounded, the Don sector collapsed, and the Red Army poured through Axis lines, heading west. In January 1943, Hitler rushed the SS Panzer Corps to Kharkov, the fourth-largest city in the Soviet Union, which, for reasons of prestige, he ordered to be held to the last man. “Now at last Hitler was reassured,” Paul Carell wrote later. “He relied on the absolute obedience of the Waffen-SS Corps and overlooked the fact that the corps commander, General Paul Hausser, was a man of common sense, strategic skill, and with the courage to stand up to his superiors.”

    By noon on February 15, Hausser was almost surrounded by the Soviet 3rd Tank and 69th armies. Rather than sacrifice his two elite SS divisions (Totenkopf had not yet arrived from France), Hausser ordered his corps to break out to the southwest at 1 p. m., regardless of Hitler’s commands or those of the army generals.

    Hausser’s immediate superior, Army General Hubert Lanz, was horrified by this development. A Fuehrer Order was being deliberately disobeyed! At 3:30 p. m. he signaled Hausser: “Kharhov will be defended under all circumstances!”

    Paul Hausser ignored this order as well. The last German rearguard left Kharkov on the morning of February 16. Hausser had made good his escape and had saved the army’s 320th Infantry Division and its elite Grossdeutschland Panzer Grenadier Division in the process. The question now was how Hitler would react to this piece of deliberate insubordination.

    Adolf Hitler’s mentality demanded that a scapegoat be found for this latest disaster, but Hausser was not a candidate for public disgrace. After all, he was an SS officer, a loyal Nazi, and a holder of the Golden Party Badge, which Hitler had conferred on him just three weeks before. Instead, Hitler sacked none other than Hubert Lanz, the very officer who had insisted to the last that the Fuehrer’s order be obeyed. Contrary to usual practice, however, Lanz was given command of a mountain corps shortly thereafter, instead of being permanently retired.

    Hitler did not forgive Hausser quickly, however, even after reports and events of the next few days made the correctness of his actions clear for all to see-even at Fuehrer Headquarters. As punishment, a recommendation that Hausser be decorated with the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross was not acted upon.

    Hausser redeemed his military reputation that July, during the Battle of Kursk-the greatest tank battle in history. His command, now designated II SS Panzer Corps, penetrated farther than any other German unit and destroyed an estimated 1,149 Soviet tanks and armored vehicles in the process. Colonel General Hermann Hoth, the commander of the 4th Panzer Army, recommended him for the Oak Leaves, stating that despite being handicapped by his previous wounds, he “untiringly led all day from the front. By his presence, his bravery and his humor, even in the most difficult situations, he imbued his troops with buoyancy and enthusiasm, yet he kept command of the corps tightly and in his hand. . . . [Hausser] again distinguished himself as an unusually qualified commanding general.”

    PAUL HAUSSER Part I
     
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  13. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    After escaping the Stalingrad pocket young lieutenant Hube promptly informed Hitler that the situation had deteriorated considerably since the Soviet attack had begun nine days earlier. " the Luftwaffe airlift has failed, somebody must be to blame for that. Why don´t you kill off some of your Luftwaffe generals-It´s always the army generals who go to the wall!" Not one air force general remained in the pocket.

    Stopped at Stalingrad
    By Joel S.A. Haywayd
     
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  15. Kai-Petri

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    Count Ciano, the Italian foreign minister, observed antipathy while visiting Hitler´s headquarters of the OKW two days after the Small Saturn beegan. When one of his entourage inquired of the OKW whether the Italian forces on the Don had suffered heavy casualties, he received the untrue reply " None at all. They never stopped running.".

    Stoppped at Stalingrad by Joel S.A. Hayward
     
  16. Kai-Petri

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    Von Manstein agreed wholeheartedly but maintained that his generals would invariably do the opposite. He couldn,t do a thing about it, he complained. Amused by the response, Richthofen " told him calmly that in my youth I had once heard a rumour that in military affairs it was possible to issue orders".
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Almost 15% of the Red Army´s tank force was lost during two weeks of operations against a token opponent. These losses came because the Red Army was ill-prepared to operate sophisticated equipment in battlefield conditions.

    Poland 1939
    Steven Zaloga
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Kapitänleunant
    Wilhelm von Trotha

    Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm von Trotha - German U-boat Commanders of WWII - The Men of the Kriegsmarine - uboat.net

    U-745 left Libau (Liepaja), Latvia on 24 December 1944 and never returned. It has been conjectured that U-745 was lost in a German minefield in the Baltic.

    In late 2012 the Finnish diving team 'Badewanne', after 10 years of searching, reported they had found both U-676 and U-745 in the Gulf of Finland south of Hanko. Both boats went missing in early 1945 with all hands lost. The boats were apparently lost in the mine barrage Vantaa 3 laid by the Finnish minelayers Louhi and Routsinsalmi on 12 Jan 1945.

    [​IMG]

    There were reports that von Trotha's body was washed ashore on the Estonian coast in early February 1945. It was actually found by local fishermen on 10 February 1945, in the sea off the island of Föglö, part of the Finnish Åland archipelago. The body was frozen, and there was blood in the mouth and throat, but was otherwise unmarked. It is possible that he died while ascending to the surface after his boat sank.
     
  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On September 15 1941 Halder receeived word that Hitler had authorized the release of 60 Czech-designed 38 (t)s, 150 Mark IIIs and 96 IVs. This was barely 300 tanks from a new productionn total of some 815 units ( all models ) turned out in the three-month period Between June and August. Nevertheless, it was further supplemented by the transfer of Germany´s last two panzer divisions ( the 2nd and the 5th ) to Hoepner´s Panzer Group 4. Between them these two formations fielded some 450 tanks, raising Bocks total of panzer reinforcements to 750 tanks.

    Kiev 1941 by David Stahel
     
  20. Kai-Petri

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    [​IMG]

    A padded German Borgward IV tankette armed with a block of 6 RPzB 54/1 anti-tank grenade launchers, better known as Panzerschreck. This machine is also known as Panzerjager Wanze. The exact number of built machines of this type is unknown. They were used during the battle of Berlin in 1945.

    #Borgward IV | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir

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    Germany had some stocks of these vehicles left. It was the heaviest of the Ladungsträger in use, but it had some drawbacks. The biggest was that the driver had to drive it close to the target and get of. From that point on it was radio controlled to the target. Due to its larger size, it provided a better target than lets say the Goliath. In 1942/43 it’s armour no longer was sufficient to protect it. The vehicle had already proven to be useless in its intended role as an ammo carrier and mine clearer, so they were pulled out of service.

    August 2015 – dhcwargamesblog

    During World War II, the Wehrmacht used three remotely operated demolition tanks: the light Goliath (Sd.Kfz. 302/303a/303b), the medium Springer (Sd.Kfz. 304) and the heavy Borgward IV (Sd.Kfz. 301). The Borgward IV was the largest of the vehicles and the only one capable of releasing its explosives before detonating; the two smaller vehicles were destroyed when their explosive charges detonated.

    Borgward IV - Wikipedia
     

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