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12.

SS-Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend" At first glance, the division might have appeared to be a very strong formation on 1 June 1944. Nominally it had a strength of 20 540 men, a number that surpassed most divisions on either side of the Channel. The number is quite misleading however. The following table gives the manpower situation1: Authorized Strength 664 4 575 15 277 20 516 Actual Strength 520 2 383 17 637 20 540

Officers NCO:s Enlisted men Total:

Difference - 144 - 2 192 + 2 360 + 24

The surplus 2 360 men were most likely not with the division, but rather with its replacement battalion in Arnhem. This battalion reported a strength of 2 438 men on 1 June 1944.2 Thus the strength of the division would have been limited to 18 102 when it arrived in Normandy. But even this is an exaggeration, since both the PanzerjgerAbteilung and Nebelwerfer-Abteilung were not combat ready on 6 June. The training of the Panzerjger battalion had lagged behind the remainder of the division since it had received its first JagdPz IV tank destroyers recently. Ten such vehicles left Germany by train on 26 April3. These were the first sent to the division. This was sufficient to equip one company. No further vehicles were sent to the battalion until 22 June, when a train with eleven JagdPz IV departed for the 12. SS-Pz.Jg.Abt4. According to Hubert Meyer, 1. Kompanie of the Abteilung joined the division on 19 July.5 From the AFV strength reports, it seems that no further Jagdpanzers ever joined the division in Normandy. The Werfer-Abt. 12 lacked all prime movers, making the unit immobile. Thus it could not immediately accompany the division to Normandy. On 12 June the first battery of the battalion arrived6, but it was not until the beginning of July the entire battalion had arrived.7 As a consequence of these circumstances, the division probably did not muster more than about 17 000 men when it arrived in Normandy. Even though elements did arrive later, these units did not compensate for casualties suffered. According to an OB West document dated 1 August, Sepp Dietrich, the commander of I. SS-Pz.Korps, asked that the 2 000 men available in the replacement battalion should be moved from Arnhem to Normandy to cover losses suffered by 12. SS-Pz.Div.8 According to another document9 the replacement battalion was supposed to send an unspecified number of men to Normandy on 8 August, which were to be followed by another 350 men. It seems that Dietrichs wishes were at least partly granted, but perhaps to late to be of any use in the battle for Normandy. According to Meyer parts of the division were being rebuilt at the time of the Falaise battle. This indicate that the replacements sent to the division did not take part in the Normandy battle (if this is assumed to end 22 August) but in the subsequent retreat out of France.10

The panzer regiment had the standard organization, i. e. the I. Abteilung equipped with Panthers and the II. Abteilung with Panzer IV. Authorized strength was 17 tanks per company in I. Abteilung and 22 per company in II. Abteilung. Each battalion had four companies. Together with the tanks belonging to the battalion and regiment staffs this gave a total of 79 Panthers and 101 Panzer IV. The number of Panzer IV amounted to 91 operational and 7 in workshops on 1 June11. The situation was less favourable concerning Panthers. At the end of April 1944 the division had only 26 Panthers12. Further vehicles were sent in May13: 16 May 17 May 22 May 24 May 8 Panthers 8 Panthers 16 Panthers (two trains) 8 Panthers

This made a total of 66 Panthers with the division. All of them had not arrived on 1 June, since the division reported 48 combat ready Panthers and 2 in workshops14. According to a document entitled "Im Westen vorhandene gepanzerte Kraftfahrzeuge, Stand 10.6.44"15, the division had 66 Panthers on 10 June, which indicates that all the Panthers dispatched in May had arrived. Thirteen further Panthers were sent by train to the division on 7 June to bring the division up to full strength16. When these actually arrived is unclear, but given the condition of the railroads in France after the intensive aerial bombardment they had been subjected to, it may very well have taken quite some time to reach the division. No Panthers were sent to the division to replace losses during the fighting in Normandy, but 17 Panzer IV were dispatched on 8 July and 12 further on 10 August17. The latter did not arrive at the division until 5 September18. According to Meyer the 3. Kompanie of the panzer regiment was reconstituted at the beginning of July by utilizing a delivery of seventeen Panthers.19 This has led to the conclusion that the 12. SS-Pz.Div. received more than 79 Panthers, if deliveries both before and during the battle in Normandy are included. This conclusion is not supported by available documents, where no mention of any such deliveries exist. Probably the thirteen Panthers dispatched on 7 June are those that were used for this purpose. From other shipments it is clear that a two week delay across the damaged railnet is not inconceivable. Why Meyer states that the number of Panthers was seventeen is not clear. One possible explanation is that he includes vehicles that had received serious damage and been sent to rear facilities for repair and then returned.

Including tanks sent to the division while it was in Normandy, the 12. SS-Pz.Div. employed a total of 79 Panthers and 115 Panzer IV. The artillery regiment was strong. The I. Abt. had 12 Wespe and 6 Hummel, II. Abt. had three batteries with six 10,5 cm howitzers each, while the III. Abt. had four 15 cm howitzers in each of batteries 7 - 9 and four 10 cm guns in 10. Batterie. All artillery pieces but two were combat ready.20 One of the divisions six infantry battalions were equipped with armoured half tracks. It was the III./26 Battalion that were equipped in such a way. Also other parts of the division were at least partially equipped with SPW:s, e g. the engineer battalion and the reckon battalion. Altogether the division had 306 operational SPW:s on 1 June and 27 were in short term repair21. On 1 June the equipment of the infantry regiments was22: 8 cm 3,7 cm GrW le.IG (Sf) 12 12 12 7,5 cm Pak 40 3 3 3 7,5 cm 7,5 cm 15 cm 2 cm le.IG le.IG (Sf) s.IG (Sf) Flak 4 4 4 6 2 FlameThrower 6 6 6

MG I./25 69 II./25 69 III./25 69 13./25 7 14./25 4 15./25 9 16./25 22 I./26 69 II./26 69 III./26 (gp) 151 13./26 7 14./26 4 15./26 (gp) 34 16./26 22

3 2 12 12 6 3 3 3 4 4 2 6 6 6 12 6 2 3 2 6 6

12

With three 8,8 cm batteries, the Flak Abteilung had twelve guns of that type, while the fourth battery had nine 3,7 cm guns.23 The division received its baptism of fire on 7 June, when SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, supported by tanks from II. Pz.Abt. counterattacked Canadian forces north of Caen. The division remained in the Caen area for the remainder of the campaign. In August it fought along the main road from Caen to Falaise. During this extended period of combat it suffered serious losses: Killed in Action 405 878

6 June - 16 June 6 June - 24 June25 6 June - 27 June26

24

Wounded 847 2 116

Missing 165 898

Total 1 417 2 550 3 892

6 June - 11 July27 6 June - 18 July28 6 June - 22 August29

(4 485) 6 164 c:a 8 000

The loss figure in brackets is questionable, since there is information available30 which shows greater losses from 28 June to 11 July than the figures in the table would suggest. Also, the division was not involved in such costly fighting between 11 and 18 July as would be implied by the table. The figure in brackets either refer to an earlier date or it is only a matter of printing error. Perhaps it should be 5 485, which fits better with the other data in the table. Tank losses are possible to establish up to 9 July: Pz IV 26 18 7 Panther 15 6 11

6 - 26 June 27 June - 5 July32 6 July - 9 July33

31

Figures refer to total write-offs. Further vehicles were put out of action, but repaired. During August the division played an important part in keeping the retreat routes open for many German units. The division itself did not suffer unduly. From 15 to 22 August its casualties amounted to 45 killed, 248 wounded and 655 missing.34 One reason for the fact that casualties were relatively low during the period was that large parts of the division were not encircled. All the rear services were outside the area that would eventually be called the Falaise pocket.35 But also condiderable parts of its combat elements were outside the pocket before it closed.36 In many publications it has been said that the 12. SS-Pz.Div. only had a few hundred men left after the end of the Falaise battle on 22 August. This is completely wrong. According to the very thorough research in the records of casualties suffered by 12. SS-Pz.Div. presented by Meyer it is clear that the division lost about 8 000 officers and men, killed, wounded and missing.37 The casualty reports are almost complete for the divisions units, but those few exceptions warrant the round figure of 8 000. Given the fact that the Werfer-Abt., parts of the Pz.Jg.Abt. and parts of the Ersatz-Btl. joined the division while it was in Normandy, it is clear that it had around 12 000 men on 22 August 1944. Even though most of its infantry were casualties, the division was far from destroyed. Certainly its combat power was diminished drastically, but its rear services seem to have been almost intact. During late July and the first third of August various Kampfgruppen were formed. These usually comprised at least part of the panzer regiment. Thus it is occasionally difficult to establish the actual tank strength of the division. Two of these Kampfgruppen were Kampfgruppe Wnsche and Kampfgruppe Olboeter. The tank strength of these groups are also given below. The tank strength varied during the campaign according to the following table:

Date

Pz IV Combat Ready

Panthers Pz IV in Panthers in Short Combat Short Term Ready Term Repair Repair

JagdPz IV JagdPz in IV Short Combat Term Ready Repair

1 June38 16 June39 17 June40 18 June41 20 June42 22 June43 23 June44 24 June45 26 June46 27 June47 2 July48 4 July49 5 July50 6 July51 7 July 52 9 July53 10 July54 16 July55 23 July56 24 July57 25 July58 27 July59 28 July60 29 July61 30 July62 31 July63 1 August64 2 August65 3 August66 5 August67 6 August68 9 August69 10 August70 11 August71 15 August72 21 August73

91 52 46 45 59 59 55 58 60 32 32 37 30 32 40 10 19 21 37 37 37 39 39 39 39 39 39 39 39 37 37 10 18 17 15 Combat Ready Tanks of all types 10 Combat Ready Tanks of all types

7 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 12* 22 ? ? 24* ? ? 27 27 ? ? ? ? ? 12 12 12 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

48 38 38 33 42 42 43 44 37 24 24 24 28 28 39 18 18 18 21 21 21 22 22 22 22

2 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 27* 16 ? ? 30* ? ? 24 24 ? ? ? ? ? 11 11 11

9 9 5 9 7

? ? ? ? ?

10 10 10 9 5

? ? ? ? ?

* = Includes vehicles in long term repair. = Also 9 in long term repair = Also 5 in long term repair

Kgr Wnsche This ad hoc combat formation was commanded by Max Wnsche, who was the commander of the panzer regiment of 12. SS-Pz.Div. Initially, the kampfgruppe consisted of the staff of 12. SS-Pz.Rgt., the Panther battalions of 1. and 12. SS-Pz.Divisions, 101. s.Pz.Abt. and III./26 SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. (the armoured infantry battalion of 12. SS-Pz.Div.) 74 Later further tank units from the two SS-Panzer division were added. Parts of the 217. Stu.Pz.Abt. were also temporarily subordinated. During the period of its existece, it acted as a reserve southeast of Caen. Later it was dissolved and the units reverted to their parent organizations. Pz IV Combat Ready 4 17 5 5 39 Pz IV in Short Term Repair ? ? ? ? ? Panthers Combat Ready 61 66 58 53 59 Panthers in Short Term Repair ? ? ? ? ? Tigers Combat Ready 19 19 19 20 20 Tigers in Short Term Repair ? ? ? ? ?

Date 31 July75 1 August76 2 August77 3 August78 4 August79

Kgr Olboeter This was another ad hoc formation, formed from parts of the 12. SS-Pz.Div. to reinforce II. SS-Pz.Korps. It consisted of one company of Panthers (2./SS-Pz.Rgt. 12), one company of mechanized infantry (10./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 26) and one battery of selfpropelled artillery (1./SS-Art.Rgt. 12). Date 2 August80 5 August81 7 August82 Notes:
1 2 3 4 BA-MA RH 10/321. Actual strength is Iststrke. Der Kommandierende General und Befehlshaber der Truppen des Heeres in den Niederlanden (Generalkommando LXXXVIII A.K.) Abt. Ia, Az: K 95 Nr. 1495/44 g.Kdos, den 1.6.44, T314, R1622, F000651-678. Lieferung der Panzerfahrzeuge, Bd. ab Mai 1943, RH 10/349. Lieferung der Panzerfahrzeuge, Bd. ab Mai 1943, RH 10/349.

Pz IV Pz IV in Panthers Panthers in Tigers Tigers in Combat Short Term Combat Short Term Combat Short Term Ready Repair Ready Repair Ready Repair 13 ? 7 ? 7 ?

5 6 7 8 9

See H. Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12. SS-Panzerdivision "Hitlerjugend", vol I (Munin Verlag, Osnabrck 1982) p 281. See H. Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12. SS-Panzerdivision "Hitlerjugend", vol I (Munin Verlag, Osnabrck 1982) p 147. Ibid p. 248. See Ob West Ia Nr. 6291/44 g.Kdos, 1.8.44, T311, R28, F7035038. KTB LXXXVIII. A.K. Ia Anlagen, Kstenverteidigungsabschnitt Bfh.d.W.SS Ia Nr. 420/44 g.Kdos, 8.8.44, T314, R1626, F0000590.

10 See, Meyer, op. cit. p. 354f. 11 BA-MA RH 10/321. 12 Deduced from Lieferung der Panzerfahrzeuge, Bd. ab Mai 1943, RH 10/349. 13 Lieferung der Panzerfahrzeuge, Bd. ab Mai 1943, RH 10/349. 14 BA-MA RH 10/321. 15 Im Westen vorhandene gepanzerte Kraftfahrzeuge, Stand 10.6.44, BA-MA RH 10/90. The document seem to give the strength on 1 June 1944, plus any delivers that had occured until 10 June. It seems that any losses suffered in Normandy are not accounted for.

16 Lieferung der Panzerfahrzeuge, Bd. ab Mai 1943, RH 10/349. 17 Lieferung der Panzerfahrzeuge, Bd. ab Mai 1943, RH 10/349. 18 Lieferung der Panzerfahrzeuge, Bd. ab Mai 1943, RH 10/349. 19 H. Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12. SS-Panzerdivision "Hitlerjugend", vol I (Munin Verlag, Osnabrck 1982) p 270. 20 BA-MA RH 10/321.. 21 BA-MA RH 10/321. 22 BA-MA RH 10/321. 23 BA-MA RH 10/321. 24 Anlage zu HGr. B Ia Nr. 3725/44 g.K. O.U 16.6.44, BA-MA RH 19 IX/2. 25 Gen.Kdo. I. SS-Pz.Korps Ia Tgb. Nt. 880/44 g.Kdos 26.6.44, BA-MA RH 19 IX/3. 26 BA-MA RH 10/321. 27 KTB OB West Ia, entry 12.7.44, T311, R16, F7016788. 28 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 480/44 g.Kdos. 20.7.44, T313, R420, F8713975. Note that the original document says the loss refer to 6 June - 18 June, rather than 18 July.

29 See H. Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12. SS-Panzerdivision "Hitlerjugend", vol I (Munin Verlag, Osnabrck 1982) p 355. See H. Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12. SS-Panzerdivision "Hitlerjugend", vol I (Munin Verlag, Osnabrck 1982) pp 229, 248, 264. The 30 detailed information presented on these pages indicate a loss of 822 men in the major actions fought between 28 June and 11 July. Further casualties may have been suffered beside these major actions. 31 KTB HGr B Ia Anlagen, BA-MA RH 19 IX/3, frame 34 on Mikrofiche 1 32 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr.268/44 geh. v. 9.7, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 8.7, BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 33 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 306/44 geh. von 10.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 9.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 34 Meyer, op. cit. p. 354. 35 Ibid, p. 354f. 36 Ibid. 37 Meyer, op. cit. pages 355 and 384-6. 38 BA-MA RH 10/321. 39 Anlage zu HGr. B Ia Nr. 3725/44 g.K. O.U 16.6.44, BA-MA RH 19 IX/2. 40 12. SS-Pz.Div. "HJ" Tgb. Nr. 764/44 g.K. O.U.den 18.6.44, BA-MA RH 19 IX/2. 41 12. SS-Pz.Div. "HJ" Tgb. Nr. 764/44 g.K. O.U.den 18.6.44, BA-MA RH 19 IX/2. 42 12. SS-Pz.Div. "HJ" Ia Nr. 780/44, 21.6.44, Lagebericht fr den 20.6.44, BA-MA RH 19 IX/2. 43 12. SS-Pz.Div. Ia Nr. 734/44, 22.6.44, BA-MA RH 19 IX/3. 44 KTB HGr B Ia Anlagen, BA-MA RH 19 IX/3. 45 KTB HGr B Ia Anlagen, BA-MA RH 19 IX/3. 46 KTB HGr B Ia Anlagen, BA-MA RH 19 IX/3. 47 BA-MA RH 10/321. 48 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 86/44 3.7.44, T313, R420, F8713807. 49 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 197/44 geh. von 7.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 187/44 6.7.44, T313, R420, F8713832 gives the number of operational tanks, while the number in workshops is caluclated 50 using data onoperational tanks, tanks issued (see main text) and number of total write-offs (given by Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr.268/44 geh. v. 9.7, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 8.7, BA-MA RH 21-5/50). 51 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 217/44 geh. von 7.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 6.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 52 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 258/44 g.Kdos. Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 7.7, BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 53 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 306/44 geh. von 10.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 9.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 54 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 287/44 geh. von 11.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 10.7., T313, R420, F8713880. 55 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 424/44 geh. von 17.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 16.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50.

56 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 535/44 geh. von 23.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 22.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 57 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 557/44 geh. von 25.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 24.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 58 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 572/44 geh. von 26.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 25.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 59 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 605/44 geh. von 27.7.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 28.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 60 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 633/44 g.Kdos, 29.7.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 28.7, T313, R420, F8714036. 61 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 647/44 g.Kdos, 30.7.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 29.7, T313, R420, F8714042. 62 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 665/44 g.Kdos, 31.7.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 30.7, T313, R420, F8714049. 63 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 678/44 geh. von 1.8.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 31.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 64 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 704/44 g.Kdos. 2.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 1.8, T313, R420, F8714068. 65 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 725/44 g.Kdos. 3.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 2.8, T313, R420, F8714075. 66 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 734/44 geh. von 4.8.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 3.8., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 67 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 775/44 g.Kdos. 6.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 5.8, T313, R420, F8714097. 68 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 801/44 g.Kdos, 7.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 6.8, T313, R420, F8714118. 69 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 853/44 g.Kdos, 10.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 9.8, T313, R420, F87141177. 70 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 890/44 g.Kdos, 11.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 10.8, T313, R420, F87141181. 71 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 899/44 g.Kdos, 12.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 11.8, T313, R420, F87141187. 72 KTB Pz.AOK 5 Ia, entry 15 .8.44, T313, F420, F8713625. 73 HGr B Ia Nr. 6388/44 g.Kdos. 21.8.44., T311, R4, F7004565. 74 H. Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12. SS-Panzerdivision "Hitlerjugend", vol I (Munin Verlag, Osnabrck 1982) p. 287. 75 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 678/44 geh. von 1.8.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 31.7., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 76 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 704/44 g.Kdos. 2.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 1.8, T313, R420, F8714068. 77 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 725/44 g.Kdos. 3.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 2.8, T313, R420, F8714075. 78 Pz.Gr. West Ia, Nr. 734/44 geh. von 4.8.1944., Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 3.8., BA-MA RH 21-5/50. 79 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 758/44 g.Kdos. 5.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 4.8, T313, R420, F8714097. 80 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 725/44 g.Kdos. 3.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 2.8, T313, R420, F8714075. 81 Pz.Gr. West Ia Nr. 775/44 g.Kdos. 6.8.44, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 5.8, T313, R420, F8714097. 82 PzAOK 5 Ia Nr. 811/44 g.Kdos, Nachtrag zur Tagesmeldung 7.8.44, v. 8.8.44, T313, R420, F8714130.