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Operations of 13. /GR 915, 352. ID on D-Day


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#1 Leeroy1510

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 04:58 PM

Hi,
I am trying to track down movements of Grenadier-Regiment 915 on D-Day in Normandy, and in particular movements of its 13th Company, the so called Infanteriegeschütz-Kompanie (infantry artillery). GR 915 and the reconnaissance battalion of the 352. Infantry Division formed the reserve troops of LXXXIV Korps, the Germany Korps that was defending Normandy on D-Day. These reserve troops were called battlegroup Meyer after their commander, Oberstleutnant Meyer. On D-Day battlegroup Meyer was located south east of Bayeux (I./915 with HQ near Juave; II./915 with HQ at Lantheuil and Füsilier-Battalion 352 (Reconnaisance) with HQ west of Tilly-sur-Seulles. At around 02:00am battlegroup Meyer was ordered to move in the direction of Carentan to counterattack allied paratrooper who landed south of Carentan. At 06:00 am, when the allied armada started to pound the beach defences, Meyer was ordered to halt and wait for further orders. At 7:30 am Meyer was ordered to move his 1st battalion (on trucks) in the direction of the US landings at Omaha beach, an hour later the remainder of the battlegroup was ordered to move eastwards (on bycicles) in the direction of Crepon to counterattack the British forces that had landed at Gold beach at 07:30am.

Does anybody know whether the 13. Company did move with the I. Battalion towards Omaha Beach or with the II. Battalion towards Crepon?
Or were the 8 artillery pieces of the company split up between the infantry battalions attacking in different directions? I am trying to learn about the destiny of Leutnant Erich Flach, CO of the 13. Company. Flach was severely wounded on the morning of June 6 (by whom??) and passed away later in the day in a German field hospital. I would like to understand whether he was wounded when parts of Kampfgruppe Meyer attacked the US forces at Omaha beach or on the march to Gold beach. I also know that battlegroup Meyer was heavily attacked by fighter bombers during the morning of June 6, may be Flach was already wounded during a fighter bomber attack and did not reach neither Omaha or Gold beach at all.

Would be grateful for any hints regarding the movements of 13th Company, GR915.
Also, I have heard about the telephone logbook of the 352. Infanty Division (Lieutenant General Kraiss) and tried to track down this logbook which might hold valuable information. But alas, to no avail so far. Does anybody know anyhting about this logbook?
Thanks a lot for any feedback, your help is highly appreciated
Leeroy
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#2 idler

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 06:13 PM

An extract from the telephone log has been published in Fighting the Invasion: The German Army at D-Day, edited by C Isby.

A quick look at it confirms what you know already. It doesn't go much below regimental level except to mention I Btl being detached to OMAHA.

There is also a more recent book specifically about 352 ID called Normandiefront that might have more detail.
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#3 Steve Mac

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 07:19 PM

From this link: 352ª Infantry division (Germany) - SpeedyLook encyclopedia

"915º Regiment of Grenadiers formed, with Reconnaissance battalion, Kampfgruppe Meyer, that was the reserve of LXXXIV Army Corps of the general ( Generalmajor ) Erich Marcks . The unit was put in alert status at night from the 5 to the 6 of June, to take part from the region of Bayeux towards Carentan against the American parachutists of 101ª American Airborne division . To the dawn, with the news of the amphibious assault, counter-order occurred, and the three battalions backed down towards Bayeux, their departure point, during all the morning of day 6. One of the battalions (the II/915 TO GO) was sent towards Omaha Beach ( Colleville ), whereas the rest of kampfgruppe went to the north of Bayeux to prepare a counterattack against 50ª British Infantry division, that initiated a rupture of the weak German defensive cord. In spite of support of ten Sturmgeschütz III G, counterattack German, that faced the outposts of the offensive of 231ª Brigade of British Infantry that it tried to leave beaches, finished in a failure. The Germans were done papilla, Kampfgruppe Meyer was annihilated, and own colonel Meyer fell in combat, and so they happened to be able of the British his ordnance-survey maps with his corresponding annotations. Like first consequence of it, the PC of 352ª Infantry division, located in Littry, would receive aerial bombings from the following day."

From other reading on the subject I believe that it was the 1st Battalion that was sent towards Omaha, the rest towards Bayeaux.

Best,

Steve.
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#4 Leeroy1510

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:47 PM

Thanks Steve, thanks Idler,
Your posts are confirming what I already found out, this is quite reassuring.
Nevertheless I am still trying to find out more on the wherabouts and actions of the 13. Company on D-Day. Any further thoughts?

Cheers,
Leeroy
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#5 idler

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:55 PM

Well, the basis of the Isby book is the collection of reports from German commanders in the US National Archives (NARA). From the book, it doesn't look like they went much deeper than division and, of course, Meyer didn't survive to be interviewed. NARA's search engine is painful but it might be worth a look. I assume that any further gems would have been incorporated in Normandiefront.
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#6 Steve Mac

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:36 PM

I aree with idler. Most of the sources that I have researched only recognise the 352nd Infantry Division and not at a lower level. Oh, and of course they all faced the Americans at Omaha; no mention of those facing the British 50th (Northumbrian) Division near Bayeaux.

'Overlord' (Hastings) mentions elements of the 352nd faced the British, but no deeper analysis.

I will research further tomorrow and post again then!

Best,

Steve.
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#7 Leeroy1510

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 12:57 PM

Thanks Steve,
I am curious to see whether you can find our more, would very much appreciate any further information on this.
Best,
Leeroy
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#8 idler

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:13 PM

One of the problems with the monographs is that they mostly deal with German v US operations. Another problem mentioned by some is that the Germans might sometimes have been too keen to massage the egos of their hosts and told them what they wanted to hear, not necessarily what happened...

There is a Canadian report online (CMHQ Canadian Military Headquarters series) that deals with the German operations on D-Day, but I can't remember what, if anything, it says about 352 ID off the top of my head. I will try to dig a link out tonight.
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#9 Steve Mac

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:19 PM

You may have seen this already Leeroy, but this is the best source I have found so far on the GR 915: Axis History Forum • View topic - Grenadier-Regimenter 726 and 352 at Omaha

And it is logical that the best sources of information on this regiment will be German... However, I don't believe that this provides the detail you are looking for on 13 IG.

I will continue the search!!!

Best,

Steve.
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#10 idler

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:10 PM

I was close: AHQ - Army HQ - Report No.50
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#11 Leeroy1510

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:10 PM

Steve, Idler,
The links you provided were quite helpful, thanks a lot. I got hold of "Normandiefront" (Vince Milano & Bruce Conner) yesterday and it does indeed contain a lot of information that is in line with what has already been said above. There is one remarkable difference though: In "Normandiefront" it is claimed that Kampfgruppe Meyer was first ordered to counterattack the British 50 ID at Crepon and only after the Kampfgruppe has moved in that direction Meyer got the order to detach I. Battalion and have it march to Surrain to report to Oberst Goth (Commander 916 GR) and to secure the right flank of GR916 which was definding Omaha Beach. The sources I have used so far have all stated that a different order of events, namely that Meyer first was instructed to move his I. Battalion to Omaha Beach early in the morning and then, one hour later, was told to move to Gold Beach to intercept the British 50. ID.
Oh well, difficult to say what is right and what is wrong. Anyway, the general facts remain the same, only the timing seems to be difficult to nail down.
Cheers,
Leeroy
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#12 Pak75

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:55 AM

Leeroy

The events of 6 June are also recorded in MS B 432 History of the 352nd divn (records of post war interviews and interrogations by US Army) by Oberst Leutenant Ziegelmann.
The movements and actions of regiments 914, 915 and 916 are well detailed. There are mentions of individual companies but unfortunately not by number.
As Xiegelman was there on D-day, his account would be more authentic than secondary sources such as 'Normandiefront'

Until end of the month these documents are free to view in Foreign Military series on Fold 3 website

Cheers
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