Replacement and Reorganization, 12–17 July 1944

12 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The 2.Kompanie of the Abteilung bivouacked, that is, took up positions at St. Aignan-de-Cramesnil; the 3.Kompanie was in Cintheaux in the open. The 1.Kompanie handed over its tanks to the 2. and 3.Kompanien and has left with the strength of 2/14/48 to Le Neubourg for reorganization.1 The Aufklärungszug, following the illness and assignment to hospital of its Zugführer, Untersturmführer Fritz Fiala, was included in the 3.Kompanie.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

In the early morning hours of 12. 07. 1944 the replacement of the II.Abteilung by the assault gun unit of the 9.SS-Panzer Division “Hohenstaufen”. The II.Abteilung received a quarters area assigned to them southeast of St. Aignan-de-Cramesnil. The Kompanien are located as follows:

6. and 8.Kompanien in Conteville

5. and 9.Kompanien in Poussy

Abteilung command post in Daumesrol

Stabskompanie west of Bretteville-sur-Laize

The Kompanien are ordered to use the resting time for engineering and maintenance work. The Abteilung has, on this day, 31 tanks, of which only 10 are operational. 21 tanks have to undergo repairs partly by the workshop Kompanie, partly by the maintenance units.

13 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Abteilung was stationed in the same sector. Engineering service and maintenance works.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Abteilung remained in the quarters area occupied the day before. This day was special because the commander of the II.Abteilung, Sturmbannführer Karl-Heinz Prinz, was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.

The reorganization of the division was carried out on 13. 07. 1944. The division formed a Kampfgruppe, commanded by Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche2, with the following order of battle:

• a Panzer Abteilung commanded by Sturmbannführer Arnold Jürgensen

• an armoured personnel carrier Bataillon commanded by Sturmbannführer Erich Olboeter

• and a Panzerjäger Kompanie commanded by Obersturmführer Georg Hurdelbrink

Order of battle for the Panzer-Abteilung is as follows:

• 2 Panther Kompanien (2. and 3.Kompanien)

• 2 Panzer IV Kompanien (8. and 9.Kompanien)

The 8. and 9.Kompanien were complemented by the remnants of the II.Abteilung. The 8.Kompanie had, on the evening of 13. 07. 1944, 14 tanks commanded by Obersturmführer Herbert Höfler, and the 9.Kompanie had 15 tanks commanded by Obersturmführer Wolf Buettner.

The remaining elements of the II.Abteilung, the Stabskompanie, and the command and control staff, received the order to march to La Saussaye during the night of 13 July 1944. The commander of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 received orders to form a Panzer Abteilung, consisting of two Panzer IV and two Panther Kompanien, from the remaining elements of the I and II.Abteilung in the earlier quarters area of the regiment.

14 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Abteilung was stationed in the same sector. Engineering service and maintenance works.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

During the night of 13. 07. 1944 the disengagement of those elements ordered to La Saussaye was completed. The process occurred without any notable events. Fighter-bomber aircraft attacks destroyed the following vehicles of the Tragkolonne/5.Kompanie:

• 1 medium (kitchen) truck

• 1 medium (food carrier) truck

• 1 (Mercedes) car

Battle casualties of the enlisted men:

• 1 killed (Sturmmann Pabst)

• 2 seriously wounded (Sturmmann Schwitzky, Schütze Hüttner)

• 1 lightly wounded (Schütze Wienecke)

Изображение выглядит как текст, внешний, военная форма, старый

From left are Karl-Heinz Prinz being given the Knight’s Cross by Josef “Sepp” Dietrich while SS-Panzer Regiment 12 commander Max Wünsche watches at right (see Appendix II and Chapter 2 Footnote 23). (Mark C. Yerger)

The formation of the new Panzer Abteilung commenced immediately in La Saussaye. The following quarters areas were assigned to the different Kompanien:

1.Kompanie: Villets

4.Kompanie: St. Aubin d’Écrosville

6.Kompanie: Thuit-Anger

7.Kompanie: Le Gros-Theil and Le Haye du Theil

Stabskompanie and Stab: La Saussaye

The day of 14. 07. 1944 was spent setting up the quarters area, and engineering service, cleaning and repair works.

15 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Abteilung was stationed in the same area. Engineering service and maintenance works.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On 07. 15. 1944 at 1200 hours a discussion was held at the officers’ quarters, led by Sturmbannführer Karl-Heinz Prinz, where the guidelines of the establishment and training of the two Panzer IV and the two Panther Kompanien were determined. Furthermore, the Abteilungskommandeur ordered an Unteroffizier training course and a tank driving school to be set up. The relationship of the two Panzer V Kompanien to the II.Abteilung was defined and the two Kompanien will be subordinated to the II.Abteilung in the future. The supply of these two Kompanien will be provided by the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12.

Изображение выглядит как текст, мужчина, стена, внутренний

Knight’s Cross holder Richard Rudolf. Note his sleeve title can be partly seen (see Appendix II). (Mark C. Yerger)

During the discussion Hauptsturmführer Hermann Tirschler was appointed with the command of the 6.Kompanie, to be set up anew. At the same time, Hauptsturmführer Tirschler was tasked with establishing communications with SS-Feldersatz Bataillon 12 in connection with the selection of soldiers for the new Panzer Abteilung.

Until the arrival of Hauptsturmführer Hans Siegel, Untersturmführer Herbert Walther was appointed to conduct the Unteroffizier training, which, regarding economical and disciplinary matters, is subordinated to the 6.Kompanie. The trainer officers for this are as follows:

Oberscharführer Olszok, Abteilungsstab

Unterscharführer Meinzer, Stabskompanie

Unterscharführer Hauck, Stabskompanie

Unterscharführer Schieth, Stabskompanie

Unterscharführer Jonas, 6.Kompanie

Unterscharführer Gebauer, 6.Kompanie

On 15. 07. 1944 the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 was informed by Obersturmführer Albert Gasch on the telephone that the 17 Panzer IVs from Linz have arrived at Dreux, and have been dispatched to the Abteilung. Their estimated arrival to the quarters area is late afternoon on 16. 07. 1944.

16 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Abteilung remained in the same area as before. Engineering service and maintenance works.3

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

On 16. 07. 1944, at 1100 hours in the morning, Hauptsturmführer Götz Großjohann (former Regimentsadjutant) reported from the SS-Panzer-Ausbildungs-und Ersatz Regiment in Riga. Hauptsturmführer Götz Großjohann had escorted the tanks with Obersturmführer Gasch and his personnel from Linz to the quarters area with 61 NCOs and crews, because lately the regulations require the loading of tanks only with their full crew. Hauptsturmführer Großjohann drove forward from Dreux to be able to report accurately.

In the late afternoon hours of 16. 07. 1944 the tanks arrived at Le Gros-Theil. The transport from Linz to the quarters area was calm and uneventful. Minor damage incurred during transportation was quickly repaired by the maintenance unit of the 7.Kompanie.

In the late evening hours, arrival of an officer (Untersturmführer Gunnar Johnsson), an Unteroffizier and 42 enlisted men from SS-Feldersatz Bataillon 12. By the order of the Division, the 61 NCOs and the crew brought by Hauptsturmführer Großjohann will remain by SS-Panzer Regiment 12, and will be used for complementing the 1., 4., 6. and 7.Kompanien.

The commander of the II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 personally took over the allocation of the NCOs, and enlisted men arrived from the SS-Feld-Ersatz-Bataillon and the SS-Panzer-Ausbildungs-und Ersatz Regiment. During the allocation it was taken into consideration that the 4. and 7.Kompanien were complemented at first to full strength. Obersturmführer Gasch received the task of immediately forming an operational combat unit with his Kompanie and 15 tanks which can be launched into combat at any time. The 6.Kompanie kept only 2 of the 17 tanks for training purposes. The Kompanien have the following tanks at their disposal for training purposes:

1.Kompanie: -

4.Kompanie: 2 Panzer Vs

6.Kompanie: 2 Panzer IVs

7.Kompanie: 15 Panzer IVs

Stab: 2 Panzer IVs (command tanks)

17 July 1944

I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

The Abteilung relocated to the north-western area of Manerbe on the night of 16. 07. Relocation without notable events. Abteilung command post at Bezin, 6 km northwest of Manerbe. The Kompanien settled on both sides of the Manerbe–Valsemé road.

II./SS-Panzer Regiment 12:

[No entry.]

1 2 officers, 14 NCOs, and 48 enlisted men.

2 On that day Panzer Kampfgruppe “Wünsche” was formed from the 12.SS-Panzer Division. It contained two Panther Kompanien (the 2. and 3.) and two Panzer IV Kompanien (8. and 9.) from SS-Panzer Regiment 12, the armoured personnel carriers of the III./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26, and the Jagdpanzer IVs of the 1./SS-Panzerjäger Abteilung 12. On the evening of 16 July 1944 the operational tanks of the mixed SS-Panzer Abteilung consisted of 13 Panthers and 18 Panzer IVs.

3 The I./SS-Panzer Regiment 12 had 18 operational Panther tanks on this day.

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