“If only …” is the theme of much German debate on the first 24 hours of the invasion, rivalling in bitterness the French reaction to Waterloo, or the British view of Jutland. Undoubtedly, national pride plays a part, and therefore some discount must be made. And, of course, it is always easier to fight a battle correctly after it is over than during the actual events. However, in the case of Normandy, the German view is virtually cancelled out by an equal and corresponding view from the opposite side, covering a somewhat longer period. “I am convinced that the way was wide open for exploitation during the first few days,” said Stanley Green, “but the Germans were allowed to re-group and rush up reinforcements which, with our air supremacy, should have been impossible. Utter confusion existed all round, with seemingly no one knowing what was going on and no one prepared to advance further than their original objectives.” The debate is further complicated by the fact that the British and Canadian operations were basically a feint; what General Bradley called a “decoy mission.”
According to Tom Jentz’s book, *Germany’s Panther Tank*, no less than 60 Panthers were shipped to the Leningrad front in November 1943 to serve as immobile pillboxes. Thirty apiece were given to the 9th and 10th Luftwaffe Field Divisions, and of these, ten per division were to be utilized as a reaction force, and they were left mobile; the rest were dug in. I/Pz. Rgt. 29 provided 60 volunteers to help man the runners; the extra crew members for the runners, and the crews for the pillboxes, were to be provided by the Luftwaffe personnel. On December 26th, III. SS-Panzer …
The German Two-Panzer Division Counter-Offensive 7 and 8 June 1944 Part II
The operations of the Battle Group Luck, which consisted of Panzer Grenadier Regiment 125 and 4 Company of Panzer Regiment 22, plus supporting arms, were local counter-attacks with a limited purpose. But the main German operation of 7 June, planned for noon, was a counter-offensive designed to split the beachhead and drive the British and Canadians into the sea. The three remaining tank companies of Oppeln Bronikowski’s Panzer Regiment 22 were already in position. When 12 S.S. Panzer Grenadier Division came into line, they were to attack together. The latter division consisted of the two armoured battalions of S.S. Panzer Regiment 12, and the 25th and 26th S.S. Panzer Grenadier Regiments, plus the normal reconnaissance, engineer, and artillery elements. Leading their march to the front was Kurt Meyer’s battle group, based on his S.S. Panzer Grenadier Regiment 25.
This shield was issued in 1942 and worn by Volga Tartar volunteers. This arm shield shows a white crossed knife and arrow on a blue and green horizontal stripe background. The black border on top has the white inscription “IDEL-URAL.” The word “IDEL” in Tartar means Volga River.
The Volga-Tatar Legion (German: Wolgatatarische Legion) or Legion Idel-Ural (Janalif: Idel-Ural Legionь) was a volunteer Wehrmacht unit composed of Muslim Volga Tatars, but also included other Idel-Ural peoples such as Bashkirs, Chuvashes, Mari people, Udmurt people, Mordva.
Otto Carius and His Tigers
Outside Leningrad, the German troops still clinging to their defences closest to the city were in desperate danger. Hitler finally relented early on 20 January and authorised their withdrawal. In some cases, the withdrawal threatened to become a rout. The Soviet offensive continued on 21 January with major attacks towards Krasnogvardeisk and Luga. Küchler desperately demanded that he be allowed to pull back to the Panther Line, but Hitler insisted on a fighting withdrawal – otherwise, he argued, the Red Army would arrive at the defensive line with sufficient strength to force its way through. In vain, Küchler pointed out …