SS Panzer Division OoB

Discussion in 'Advanced Squad Leader' started by CPRad, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. CPRad

    CPRad New Member

    Hi Guys

    I'm trying to determine the number of HMG in a Heavy Company of a SS Panzer Grenadiere Battalion and how many per sections or whatever the smallest unit it breaks down into. I understand that the SS Panzer Div had more than the regular Panzer Divs but I'm not sure.

    I know that ASL has one of the best researched sources but I can't put my hands on that information. Can anyone offer a reference that I can easily find or anyone with accurate knowledge of the breakdown. This is for a Div in 1944 .....

    Thanks in advance.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  2. sswann

    sswann Active Member

    Jan 31, 2003
    Lost in Mississippi
    Here is what I have... maybe it helps. No guarantees.

    The Gepanzert or Armoured Panzer Grenadier Battalion represented the most powerful manoeuvre unit of the German Army during World War Two. It made a relatively late appearance, not becoming formalised until 1942. Prior to that, it was common for only the first Company of the first Motorised Panzer Grenadier Battalion in the Panzer Division to be mounted in halftracks.
    The Panzer Grenadier Battalion, circa 1942
    Battalion Headquarters (5 Officers, 17 men)
    Communications Platoon (23 men)
    Battalion Train and Maintenance (6 Officers, 59 men)
    Heavy Company (5 Officers, 197 men)
    Company HQ (1 Officer, 14 men)
    Antitank Platoon (1 Officer, 36 men)
    Two Infantry Gun Platoons, each (1 Officer, 28 men)
    Pioneer Platoon (1 Officer, 52 men)
    Antitank Rifle Group (21 men)
    Company Train and Maintenance (18 men)
    Three Rifle Companies (3 Officers, 214 men), each comprised of;
    Company HQ (1 Officer, 13 men)
    Company Train and Maintenance (23 men)
    Heavy Platoon comprised of;
    Platoon HQ (1 Officer, 12 men)
    Mortar Group (16 men)
    Two Heavy Machine Gun Groups, each (11 men)
    Three Rifle Platoons, each comprised of;
    Platoon HQ (1 Officer or NCO, 6 men)
    Three Rifle Squads, each comprised of 12 men
    Total Strength of 963 all ranks (25 Officers and 938 men)
    The Panzer Grenadier Battalion, circa 1943
    Battalion Headquarters (5 Officers, 16 men)
    Communications Platoon (24 men)
    Battalion Train and Maintenance (5 Officers, 60 men)
    Heavy Company (5 Officers, 199 men)
    Company HQ (1 Officer, 15 men)
    Antitank Platoon (1 Officer, 36 men)
    Infantry Gun Platoon (1 Officer, 24 men)
    Pioneer Platoon (1 Officer, 58 men)
    Cannon Platoon (1 Officer, 37 men)
    Company Train and Maintenance (29 men)
    Three Rifle Companies (4 Officers, 223 men), each comprised of;
    Company HQ (1 Officer, 13 men)
    Company Train and Maintenance (25 men)
    Heavy Platoon comprised of;
    Platoon HQ (1 Officer, 12 men)
    Mortar Group (16 men)
    Cannon Group (8 men)
    Two Heavy Machine Gun Groups, each (11 men)
    Three Rifle Platoons, each comprised of;
    Platoon HQ (1 Officer or NCO, 6 men)
    Three Rifle Squads, each comprised of 12 men
    Total Strength of 995 all ranks (27 Officers and 968 men)
    Points of note
    It should be stressed that the overall personnel totals were liable to change from one Battalion to another, and should be regarded more as approximations rather than absolutes. The composition of the Heavy Company in particular was subject to variation dependent upon the equipment available.
    The elements of the Battalion
    Battalion Headquarters - comprised the command staff of the Battalion, provided with two halftracks, plus varying numbers of field cars and motorcycles.
    Communications Platoon - fulfilled the same role as that in the Infantry of maintaining radio and line communications within the Battalion.
    Antitank Platoon - by 1942 the glaring inadequacies of the 3.7 cm Pak were all too apparent. A successor existed in the far more capable 5 cm Pak 38, but German industry was excruciatingly slow at providing sufficient numbers to equip both the Panzer Divisions and the Infantry arm, who were particularly vulnerable to the Red Army's burgeoning tank force. The Panzer Grenadier Battalion was authorised three 5 cm Pak in its Antitank Platoon, though it would seem reasonable to assume that some 3.7 cm guns could still be found in use. Towing vehicles were three SdKfz 251 halftracks, plus one for ammunition and an SdKfz 250/1 at Platoon HQ.
    During 1943, the decision was made to upgrade the antitank armament to the lethal 7.5 cm Pak 40, the equivalent of the British 17 pdr or American 3 inch weapons. The Pak 40 was intended to be the standard antitank gun of the Wehrmacht from around 1943 onwards, but there were simply too many Divisions to outfit. As a result, the previous 5 cm weapons were as likely to be found, as well as the Pak 36/39(r). This was actually a 76 mm Russian field gun, ample stocks of which had been captured in the opening months of Barbarossa. The Germans had re-chambered them to Pak 40 standard to fill the yawning gap in their defences against the Red Army's T34 and KV tanks. These weapons were turned against their former owners in the East, and even made it as far out as North Africa. The Platoon was still authorised just three weapons, all its vehicles now SdKfz 251, with an additional machine carrying ammunition.
    Infantry Gun Platoon - each Infantry Gun Platoon was authorised a pair of towed 7.5 cm infantry guns, with three SdKfz 251/4 halftracks acting as their tractors and ammunition carrier, plus a SdKfz 251 at HQ.
    Cannon Platoon - in early 1943 the Heavy Company was reinforced by a Cannon Platoon. This fielded six self-propelled 7.5 cm guns, each mounted on an SdKfz 251/9 armoured halftrack, plus an HQ vehicle and ammunition carrier. It seems an odd duplication of assets, but the two units were maintained in parallel for a period at least until the towed Platoon was deleted in 1944.
    Pioneer Platoon - the early Pioneer Platoon contained four ten man Sections, each with a light machine gun and carried in its own SdKfz 251/5 armoured engineer vehicle. Platoon HQ added an SdKfz 250 and several trucks for equipment. During 1943 this was amended to three Squads, each now fifteen strong with two light machine guns and carried in two SdKfz 251/7 armoured halftracks. Platoon HQ had graduated to an SdKfz 251/10 with 3.7 cm gun and there was an extra truck for flamethrower gear.
    Heavy Antitank Rifle Platoon - the German Army was constantly seeking new means to stem the flood of Russian armour which threatened to engulf their forces in the East. Among the variety of close assault methods and antitank rifle grenades appeared something of an oddity in the shape of the 2.8 cm sPzB 41.
    This strange little weapon was towed on a two wheeled carriage, and looked not unlike a minimized version of the Pak 38. It used an unusual 'tapered bore' effect which involved squeezing the projectile down a narrowing barrel (eventually just 2 cm) to impart greater kinetic energy, and thus armour penetration. In the Armoured Battalion each gun was mounted on an SdKfz 250/11 light halftrack. Most Allied observers viewed the adoption of what was in essence another antitank rifle as something of a step back in German thinking. However, it provided a stopgap and like many such interim weapons was still in use at the end of the war.
    The Rifle Company - the original twelve man Rifle Squad represented the most powerful unit of its size deployed by the German Army during the war.
    It comprised a leader and assistant, armed with a machine pistol and rifle respectively. They commanded two guns teams, each with a gunner and loader, and four riflemen. The two gunners each carried a light machine gun and pistol, their two assistants both pistols, the remaining four men each a rifle. A driver and assistant were responsible for the vehicle, each armed with a rifle. The SdKfz 251/1 armoured halftrack mounted its own light machine gun behind a splinter shield. It was the responsibility of the assistant driver to man this weapon, and a 'spare' machine pistol was carried in the vehicle. One of the two dismounted MG34s could be placed on a rear mounting enabling it to be used in the anti-aircraft role where required. The concentration of light machine guns was enormous for such a small unit. In action, the driver and assistant would remain with the vehicle, the latter providing cover fire from the vehicle machine gun. The dismounted troops could split into two teams, each with a leader, two riflemen and a two man gun team. This negated the weakness of riflemen covering a moving MG team with clunky bolt action weapons.
    Three such Squads operated under a Platoon Headquarters comprised of a Platoon commander, NCO, two messengers, driver, medic and motorcycle orderly. The first and second Platoons were commanded Officers, the third by a senior NCO. The commander carried a machine pistol, the NCO and medic a pistol, the others all rifles, and there was also an on board machine pistol. The Platoon HQ vehicle also provided some useful fire support. Early on, an antitank rifle was carried, one of the messengers doubling as operator. During 1941, the SdKfz 251/10 halftrack, which mounted its own 3.7 cm Pak in place of a light machine gun, became the Platoon HQ vehicle. As a means of tank defence it was mostly outdated, but it offered a handy means of projecting fire in support of the Squads. It remained in use into 1943, when a light machine gun was also added. There is no mention of the issue of 5 cm mortars from 1942 onwards, but during this period each Rifle Squad was issued a grenade launcher for one of its bolt action rifles.
    The most powerful element of the Rifle Company was its Heavy Platoon, with a Mortar Group and two Machine Gun Groups in 1942. The Mortar Group was authorised a pair of 8 cm mortars, each carried in their own SdKfz 251/2 armoured halftrack, which were fired from the vehicle. The Machine Gun Groups each deployed two MG34s on sustained fire tripods for a total of four in the Company, each Group carried by an SdKfz 251/1. During 1943 this firepower was augmented by a Cannon Group with two 7.5 cm infantry guns mounted in their own SdKfz 251/9 halftracks.
    Company HQ was equipped with two SdKfz 251/3 command halftracks, and as well as providing the usual command functions administered the Company Train and maintenance detachment.
    The Panzer Grenadier Battalion, circa late 1943
    Battalion Headquarters (6 Officers, 20 men)
    Communications Platoon (1 Officer, 22 men)
    Battalion Train and Maintenance (4 Officers, 77 men)
    Heavy Company (4 Officers, 133 men)
    Company HQ (1 Officer, 16 men)
    Antitank Platoon (1 Officer, 31 men)
    Infantry Gun Platoon (1 Officer, 24 men)
    Cannon Platoon (1 Officer, 34 men)
    Company Train and Maintenance (28 men)
    Three Rifle Companies (3 Officers, 217 men), each comprised of;
    Company HQ (1 Officer, 27 men)
    Company Train and Maintenance (25 men)
    Heavy Platoon comprised of;
    Platoon HQ (1 Officer, 10 men)
    Mortar Group (15 men)
    Cannon Group (8 men)
    Two Heavy Machine Gun Groups, each (11 men)
    Three Rifle Platoons, each comprised of;
    Platoon HQ (1 Officer or NCO, 6 men)
    Three Rifle Squads, each comprised of 10 men
    Total Strength of 927 all ranks (24 Officers and 903 men)
    The Panzer Grenadier Battalion, circa 1944
    Battalion Headquarters (4 Officers, 16 men)
    Communications Platoon (1 Officer, 22 men)
    Supply Company (7 Officers, 156 men)
    Company HQ (2 Officers, 11 men)
    Medical Detachment (1 Officer, 4 men)
    Maintenance Detachment (3 Officers, 79 men)
    Fuel Detachment (12 men)
    Munitions Detachment (14 men)
    Supply Detachment (1 Officer, 36 men)
    Heavy Company (3 Officers, 94 men)
    Company HQ (1 Officer, 18 men)
    Cannon Platoon (1 Officer, 31 men)
    12 cm Mortar Platoon (1 Officer, 45 men)
    Three Rifle Companies (3 Officers, 180 men), each comprised of;
    Company HQ (1 Officer, 17 men)
    Heavy Platoon comprised of;
    Platoon HQ (1 Officer, 8 men)
    Mortar Group (15 men)
    Cannon Group (8 men)
    Two Heavy Machine Gun Groups, each (11 men)
    Three Rifle Platoons, each comprised of;
    Platoon HQ (1 Officer or NCO, 6 men)
    Three Rifle Squads, each comprised of 10 men
    Total Strength of 852 all ranks (24 Officers and 828 men)
    Points of note
    1943 and 1944 saw numerous changes. The Pioneer Platoon was removed to serve in its own Company at Regimental level, the Antitank Platoon was deleted and the Rifle Platoons were reduced in size.
    The Supply Company was established by 1944, and replaced the individual Company Train units found previously. Despite the attempted rationalisation it was still a sizeable body of men and vehicles, being authorised over fifty cars, trucks and prime movers, a notable concentration given the German Army's transportation problems.
    The elements of the Battalion
    Antitank Platoon - the only change to the Antitank Platoon was the attempt to upgrade the three towing halftracks to SdKfz 251/17 standard, mounting a 2 cm anti-aircraft gun, though probably few were so converted. It was a short lived move in any case, as the 1944 reorganisation of the Panzer arm was intended to remove towed antitank guns from the Panzer Grenadiers, however several Divisions still retained their weapons for the fighting in Normandy. No doubt the situation on the Eastern Front was similar, as I imagine commanders would be loathe to part with such an important part of their arsenal.
    12 cm Mortar Platoon - as with the Infantry, the Panzer Grenadiers were authorised four 12 cm mortars. Each was to be towed by an SdKfz 251/1, as unlike the 8 cm mortar the weapon could not be fired from the vehicle. Again, the Platoon included a command halftrack and an ammunition carrier. As mentioned on The German Infantry and Grenadier Battalion page, the actual provision of 12 cm tubes leaves some room for debate, and towed 7.5 cm guns may well have filled in for them in some units.
    The Rifle Company - by 1943 there had been a number of changes to both the Rifle Squads and Platoon HQ.
    Each Rifle Squad had been reduced to ten men, losing two riflemen. The leader still carried a machine pistol and his assistant a rifle. The two light machine gunners each carried an MG34 or MG42 and pistol, their two assistants and the two riflemen all rifles. The Squad halftrack still had a two man crew, driver and assistant, the latter of whom now carried a pistol. Oddly, the driver had lost his rifle, but the halftrack still mounted a machine pistol along with the light machine gun. From late 1943 each Squad also carried its own 8.8 cm Panzerschreck antitank launcher. This would have made for a dreadful concentration of the fearsome tank killer, but confusingly the issue seems to have been cancelled the following year, the only further official amendment to the Squad.
    The changes to Platoon HQ were also notable. The motorcycle messenger was gone, replaced by a dedicated gunner for the halftrack's armament, which itself had changed in theory at least. The SdKfz 251/17 armoured halftrack appears throughout official German organisation tables for the Panzer arm from 1943 onwards in great numbers. The vehicle mounted its own 2 cm Flak gun and was intended to serve as the standard Platoon HQ vehicle for armoured units. However, the rate of issue never approached the numbers required to carry this out. As a result, Platoon HQ could be carried in a standard SdKfz 251/1 with a light machine gun, or even the vintage SdKfz 251/10 which still soldiered on in the role. Other changes were the absence of a rifle for the driver, and finally, in mid 1944 a rifle armed loader was added for the amorphous 2 cm Flak.
    The 1943 tables indicate the Platoon NCO was issued a telescopic sight for his rifle, and each assistant Squad Leader a G41. However, the July 1944 table reverses this allocation, which could simply be a typographical error, and given the frailties of the German supply system by this point was no doubt of little real consequence.
    Changes were also made to the Heavy Platoon. Towards the end of 1943 the Machine Gun Group vehicles along, with the Platoon HQ machine, were again supposedly SdKfz 251/17 models, for a total of six in the Company. Mid 1944 the havoc being wrought by allied fighter pilots on German transportation prompted a reorganisation of the Heavy Platoon. As mentioned above, the Rifle Platoon HQs were each authorised an extra man to act as loader for the 2 cm Flak, where present. In the Heavy Platoon, HQ reverted to a standard SdKfz 251/1, while the three SdKfz 251/17 were designated a joint Flak and Heavy Machine Gun Group. Each vehicle dismounted a single machine gun team and had a dedicated crew for the Flak gun. In the previous organisation, there was no clear division between crews for the machine guns or the 2 cm. This Company is detailed on the Panzer Grenadier Company page of the Example TOE section.
    Company HQ retained its two command vehicles and administered the Company Train until its disbandment. By July 1944 it was also authorised its own SdKfz 251/17 for anti-aircraft defence. During 1943 it also contained an antitank detachment of four two man teams, each serving an 8.8 cm Panzerschreck. They were carried in a halftrack, along with driver and assistant, the vehicle yet again intended to be an SdKfz 251/17. This unit vanished, seemingly along with the rest of the launchers, the following year. By July 1944, the various amendments to the Company Flak elements had increased authorised strength to 3 Officers and 187 men, 190 all ranks.
  3. AZslim

    AZslim It's cardboard.

    Mar 27, 2007
    Joe's garage
    Please tell me you already had this written up and pull this from the top of your head.

    Great post.
  4. sswann

    sswann Active Member

    Jan 31, 2003
    Lost in Mississippi
    Not in my head, but has been on my hard drive for about 5-7 years.
  5. CPRad

    CPRad New Member

    Wow !!

    Thanks and like AZslim said ..... Great Post.

    I really appreciate the information.

    Thanks Again

  6. Michael Dorosh

    Michael Dorosh Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    Someone should write a book with all this crap in it. ;)
  7. sswann

    sswann Active Member

    Jan 31, 2003
    Lost in Mississippi
    Yes they should... but not me... I am just to lazy.
  8. Psycho

    Psycho That's what she said!

    Feb 9, 2005
    Another lazy scenario designer. :rolleyes:

  9. Tork

    Tork New Member

    May 1, 2004
    Foxboro, MA
    Very helpful and good information!!

    I've been trying for a couple of years to find out what the SS Wiking had in the way of halftracks and tanks in June and July of 1941. Do you have any source recommendations?
  10. Doktor No

    Doktor No New Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Old Europe
    It's easy, the "Wiking" simply had no tanks nor Half-tracks in 1941 ... :)
    It was a motorized division with a few armored cars. A Stug battery arrived in late december.
    But the "Wiking" often fought along Heer Panzer-Divisionen in 1941.
    The "best" source is P. Strassner, "European Volunteers", J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing. It's a "classical" case of SS unit history : good for facts and scenario ideas but not very objective, to say the least ...
  11. Paul M. Weir

    Paul M. Weir Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2004
    I don't think they had much if any of either in 41. By Fall Blau they had a tank Bn.

    According to Nafziger it had 3 (motorised) infantry regiments (with 12 x 37mm pak), a PanzerJager Bn (3 x (8 37mm & 3 x 50mm pak)), a Recon Bn, artillery regt (3 x 105mm & 1 x 150mm Bn), signals bn, Flak Bn (3 x 12 x 20mm flak), Pioneer bn and Supply train in May 1941. All infantry bns were motorised.

    By summer 1942 one infantry regiment was deleted and a tank bn added (2 x light & 1 medium company).

    Nafziger does not give the breakdown by tank type for summer 42 but I remember photographs from the period showing Wiking Pz III J (mainly L60 but some L42), these would have been in the light companies. I have no idea what was in the medium company, could have been Pz IV F1 or F2/Gs or even Pz III Ns. Some Pz III Ns could have also been in the light companies as this was common at the time.

    Some Pz IIs were almost certainly present as some survived till summer 43. At least one Pln of 5 Pz II would have been in the bn HQ and possibly one pln in each of the medium and light companies. As 1 SS div had Pz II in its pz companies it is a fairly safe bet that Wiking had too.

    For 41, no tanks or halftracks.

    For summer 42, a best guess would be
    Bn HQ - 3 x command Pz III, 1-2 Pz III J, 5 x Pz II F
    2 x light company each 17 Pz III J, 5 x Pz II F or 12 Pz III J, 5 x Pz III N, 5 x Pz II F
    Fit1 x medium company 10-14 Pz IV F1/F2/G, 5 x Pz II

    Pz IV companies normally had 2 Pz IV in the co HQ and 2 or 3 pln of 4 Pz IV plus 5 Pz II in a recon pln. By 1943 2 & 3 pln of 5 Pz IV were normal. The number of Pz IV plns dropped from 3 to 2 between 40 and 41 due to a shortage of Pz IV in many of the army Pz div. Wiking had 1 short 75 armed Pz IV in mid 43 so some of its Pz IVs should be F1s.

    Nafziger gives the following totals for 1-Jul-43: 4 x Pz II, 1 x Pz III (50s), 14 x Pz III (50l), 8 x Pz III (75s), 1 x Pz IV (75s) and 16 x Pz IV (75l).

    Wiking is a difficult division to track as infantry regiments and separate bns were added and subtracted from 41 to 43. The only thing that seems to consistent is that, in that period, the early SS motorised divisions got new production equipment (for that time), even if they did not always get the best or were not upgraded the soonest.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  12. Ronnblom

    Ronnblom Swedish Terminator

    At the start of the 1942 summer offensive, SS-Panzer-Abteilung 5 (SS-Division Wiking) had:
    12x Pz II
    12x Pz III (50mm L42)
    24x Pz III (50mm L60)
    4x Pz IV (75mm L24)
    1x PzBef

    At the start of Zitadelle (Kursk), it had been renamed I./SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 and had:

    4x Pz II
    1x Pz III (50mm L42)
    14x Pz III (50mm L60)
    8x Pz III (75mm L24)
    1x Pz IV (75mm L24)
    16x Pz IV (75 mm L43/48)

    All according to Jentz' Panzer Truppen (vol 1 & 2).
  13. CPRad

    CPRad New Member

    This is all good useful information ..... but to be more specific I was looking for information regarding the 12SS in June of 44. My understanding was that this division added an additional 1000 men per infantry regt plus another full Pz IV company. I thought I also read somewhere that this division increased the Heavy MG platoon by adding a third. Does anyone have information to varify that?

    Thanks again for all the information.

  14. Ronnblom

    Ronnblom Swedish Terminator

    SS-Panzer-Regiment 12 had on June 1 1944 91 Panzer IVs (plus 7 more in short-term repair) organized into 4 companies and one staff company. Possibly the regimental staff too had Panzer IVs - I don't know.The official TO&E calls for 101 Panzer IVs, which make them somewhat understrength.

    As for HMGs in the heavy companies in the Panzergrenadier battalions, that information would have been available in Meyer's The 12th SS if the printing hadn't been so bad. It's very hard to read the details of the chart on p81. I think they either have eight or three HMGs. Maybe you can find someone with the German-language version of this book (in which this table might be readable).

    The Personelle Lage is that they are 2300 too many men and 2192 officers short. I thus doubt they were 1000 men overstrength in the infantry regiments. That would leave them with a severe shortage in some other area.

    The source for all this is Meyer's The 12th SS (vol 1).
  15. AdrianE

    AdrianE Active Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Check out axis history forums. This is the kind of question they exist to answer.
  16. Doktor No

    Doktor No New Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Old Europe
    From the OFFICIAL TO&E - "Gliederung" - of the 12.SS, on 1st June 1944, each infantry company had 18 LMG + 4 MMG/HMG except in the "gepanzert" batallion where each company had, counting the MG on the SPWs, 35/39 LMG + 4 HMG. There is no PSKs but each company had two FTs.
    The division is at nearly full-strength - some PSWs, some JgdPz.IV, all Nebelwerfers and some Pz.V are lacking, etc ... - but didn't show any "overstrength" in the infantry - not a German practice. But each of the 4 Pz.IV coys had 22 vehicles.
    My source is "Panzer Voran !", Issue 7, a French magazine about the German army based on archival documents.
  17. CPRad

    CPRad New Member

    Thanks Doktor No ....

    I have a copy of Hubert Meyer's History of the 12SS ... and looking hard at page D-4, I couldn't make out the exact numbers of MG's. The information about overstrength infantry regiments is also interesting. I also thought this was not a common German practice but since it was carrying Hitler's name I thought I had read somewhere that they wanted to beef up the strength of this unit.

    Thanks once again to everyone who has responded to this thread.

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  18. CPRad

    CPRad New Member


    My copy of Hubert Meyer's History of the 12SS must be a different edition but I think we're talking about the same chart .... mine is on D-4 and is also hard to read.

    Thanks for the info.

  19. CPRad

    CPRad New Member

    Thanks AdrianE ..... I've found a few forum sites and will keep them handy.


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