NIJMEGEN BRIDGEHEAD: II.SS Pz Corps' counterattack in October 1944

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by stolpi, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Well done Pieter

    John
     
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  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    John - You're welcome. Your contribution (as always) has been invaluable!! :salut:
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  3. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    Wonderful work Pieter , many thanks.
     
  4. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Thanks KS, for the thank you
     
  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Annex 1: The counterattack through the eyes of OBWest

    Here some excerpts of the Tagesmeldungen (Daily Reports) of the OBWest re the German counter-offenisve against the Nijmegen Bridgehead. They are taken from the Kriegstagebuch OBWest (War Diary of the OBWest) - hopefully I got rid of all germanisms. Though even the slightest territorial gains were recorded, OBWest makes no effort to hide its pessimism over the outcome of the operation.

    Daily report of 1st Oct (transmitted to OKH at 0715 hrs on 2 oct):

    KR – HMEX FU NR. 5480 2.10.44. 0715
    Nachr: OKH/Genst/Op.Abt.
    (…)
    A. Heeresgruppe B:
    The 1. Fallschirm Army began the preparatory attacks against the British 30 Corps, although the assembly of both assault divisions (9.Pz.Div. and 116.Pz.Div) and the allocation of personnel and equipment, as a result of the disturbed railroad situation, were not yet completed. The date of the attack was held on to, so as to take advantage of the favorable weather. The results on the first day of the attack were limited. Although we managed to gain starting points from which the attacks on 2 Oct can be continued with increased force.
    (…)
    In detail:
    (...)
    II.SS Pz.Korps:
    After a severe struggle the crossroads between Baal and Aam was taken. However, it was lost again by a counterattack, supported by numerous fighter-bombers.
    Spearheads penetrated into Aam. A company that had pushed on to the area hard east of Elst was wiped out by superior enemy forces. Repeated attacks against the crossroads 2 km northeastwards of Elst were beaten off by a determined enemy defence.
    Attack of 10.SS-Pz.Division has reached North-South road 1 km west of Baal. An attack, launched by the 116.Pz.Div in the evening, at 2200 hrs gained crossroads 2.5 km north-northeastwards of Elst against determined enemy resistance. Enemy intervened with strong fighter-bomber and bomber formations in the ground combat. Attack of the corps continued at night.
    (...)

    OBWest Roem 1 A Nr 8826/44 GKs

    0805.jpg 0806.jpg 0807.jpg

    German situation map of 1 Oct 44 indicating that most of the assault formations are still in transit (Im Zufuhr):
    Situation Oct 1st, 1944.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  6. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Daily report of 2 Oct (transmitted to OKH at 0830 hrs on 3 oct):

    KR – HMEX FU NR. 5605 3.10.44. 0830
    Nachr: OKH/Genst/Op.Abt.

    A. Heeresgruppe B:
    The continuation of the attacks of 1.Fallschirm Army against a fully prepared opponent did not bring any success. Everywhere the enemy resistance was strong and determined. Wherever initial successes have been achieved, the enemy immediately counterattacked, effectively supported by his superior air force. The enemy behavior clearly showed that the onset and objectives of our attacks had been detected at an early stage. The tank support on both sides is severely limited by terrain difficulties.
    Despite the current unsatisfactory progress, the Army Group sticks to a continuation of the attack south of Arnhem, to throw back the enemy between the Lower Rhine and Waal. (...) The attack of the II. SS Panzer Corps, that disposes only of a limited personnel and material depth, has to be conducted with limited objectives. Taking as first objective the capture of Driel. 363 I.D. will not be ready for use until 5 Oct, due to delayed transportation.

    In detail:
    (…)
    II.SS Pz.Korps:
    A counter-attack conducted along the Elst - Arnhem road was smashed by the concentrated fire of all arms. Own interdictory shellfire on Nijmegen Bridge. Strong enemy bomber and fighter-bomber activity. Jaboangriffe continued unabated. So far 3 tanks and 4 Atk guns captured.
    (...)

    OBWest Roem 1 A Nr 8836/44 GKdos Gez Zimmermann

    0813.jpg 0814.jpg 0815.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  7. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Daily report of 3 Oct (transmitted to OKH at 0830 hrs on 4 oct):

    KR – HMEX FU NR. 5712 4.10.44. 0830
    Nachr: OKH/Genst/Op.Abt.

    Daily report of 03.10.44

    A. Heeresgruppe B:
    (...)
    At 1. Fallschirm Army on 3 Oct the 2nd British Army led numerous counterattacks under particularly strong artillery cover, which were essentially repelled with heavy losses for the enemy. On 4 Oct, the attack of II.SS-Pz Corps to gain Driel will be continued
    (…)
    In detail:
    (…)
    II.SS Pz.Korps:
    Supported by very strong artillery fire and tanks an enemy counter-attack from the area 3 km southeast of Driel reached the railway-crossing and crossroads 2,5 km north of Elst after severe and turbulent fighting, while it was bloodily beaten back to the north and south. A counter strike is in progress. Renewed enemy deployments west of the railway are effectively targeted by artillery fire. Ongoing interdictory artillery- and mortar-fire.
    (...)

    OBWest Roem 1 A Nr 8898/44 G.Kdos

    0822.jpg 0823.jpg 0824.jpg

    Daily report of 4 Oct (transmitted to OKH at 0630 hrs on 5 oct):

    KR – HMEX FU NR. 5855 5.10.44. 0630
    Nachr: OKH/GenstDH Op.Abt.

    Daily report of 04.10.44

    A. Heeresgruppe B:
    (…)
    At 1.Fallschirm Army the attack of the 116.Pz.Div. on Driel initially made good progress. In the course of the afternoon, the enemy centered at Bemmel started strong counterattacks, deploying the 50th British Division, and succeeded to break-in at and south of Baal.
    (…)
    In detail:
    (...)
    Attack of the 116.Pz.Div. south of the Lower Rhine, effectively supported by own artillery, reached the north-south road 1.2 km west of the railway embankment, and succeeded with left wing to take enemy strongpoints 3 km north of Elst, 700 m west of the rail-line. An enemy counterattack along road Elst -Arnhem 1,5 km north-northeast of Elst was repelled with a counter-strike. Strong enemy forces supported by fighter bombers and armour reached the road Elst –Haalderen over a distance of 1 - 1.5 km. Haalderen was lost. Own counterattack was beaten off. The fierce battles caused heavy losses on both sides. Along line 2 km north of Bemmel, 700 m north-east of Baal, east of Haalderen a new blocking position is under construction.
    (…)

    OBWest Roem 1 A Nr 8945/44 G.Ks
    0832.jpg 0833.jpg 0834.jpg

    German situation map of 3 Oct 44:
    Situation Oct 3rd, 1944.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  8. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Daily report of 5 Oct (transmitted to OKH at 0730 hrs on 6 oct):

    KR – HMEX FU NR. 5975 6.10.44. 0730
    Nachr: OKH/GenstDH Op.Abt.

    Daily report of 05.10.44

    A. Heeresgruppe B:
    (…)
    The own attack of the 1. Fallschirm Army between the Lower Rhine and Waal came on stream again by deploying the 363rd I.D. from the west. After initially gaining surprise, enemy resistance stiffened in the course of the afternoon. Several counterattacks were repelled.
    Against fierce enemy counter-attacks the attack of the 116.Pz.Div. gained no further ground. The concentric attack against the enemy to the west of Elst will be continued on 6 Oct.
    (…)
    In detail:
    (...)
    II.SS Panzer Corps: at 1700 hrs the enemy with tanks from area east of Driel penetrated in fierce hand to hand fighting up to the railway embankment. Fighting is still ongoing. 1 enemy tank knocked out. The enemy strongpoint taken by our own forces on the previous day 3 km north of Elst, 700 m west of the railway embankment is further strengthened. Lively mutual artillery and mortar activity. Strong fighter-bomber attacks.
    (…)

    OBWest Roem 1 A Nr 8994/44 G.Kdos. (Zimmermann)
    0840.jpg 0841.jpg 0842.jpg

    Daily report of 6 Oct (transmitted to OKH at 0750 hrs on 7 Oct):

    KR – HMEX FU NR. 06112 7.10.44. 0750
    Nachr: GenstDH Op.Abt.

    Daily report of 06.10.44

    A. Heeresgruppe B:
    (…)
    The own attack of 1. Fallschirm Army by 363. I.D. gained some ground despite strong enemy resistance, while the II. SS Panzer Corps had to fend off strong enemy attacks.
    For 7 Oct the continuation of the attack by 363. I.D. is ordered. Against front of II.SS.Pz.Korps a new assault led by fresh forces is expected, among others by the British 52 Div.
    (…)
    In detail:
    (...) Enemy foray 2 km north of Elst beaten off. In area to the east of Haalderen a third enemy attack with artillery and mortar support repelled. 3 halftracks knocked out. Enemy harassing artillery fire. Strong enemy fighter-bomber activity.
    (…)

    OBWest Roem 1 A Nr 90117/44 G.Kdos. Gez.Zimmermann
    0848.jpg 0849.jpg 0850.jpg
     
  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Daily report of 7 Oct (transmitted to OKH at 0630 hrs on 8 Oct):

    KR – HMEX FU NR. 06238 8.10.44. 0630
    Nachr: GenstDH Op.Abt.

    Daily report of 07.10.44

    A. Heeresgruppe B:
    (…)
    The situation (...) at 1. Fallschirm Army has not changed significantly. The increasing enemy pressure in the area of Aachen forces the release of further reserves, which can only be freed from the attack group of the II.SS Panzer Corps, in spite of the currently existing tension. First, until 8 Oct a reinforced regiment of the 116.Pz.Div. will be disengaged at Arnhem. Transport to Aachen is scheduled for the night of 8 to 9 Oct.
    (...)
    In detail:
    II.SS Panzer Corps: Strong enemy artillery harassing fire. Three enemy aircraft shot down.
    (…)

    OBWest Roem 1 A Nr 9042/44 G.Kdos
    0856.jpg 0857.jpg
     
  10. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Daily report of 8 Oct (transmitted to OKH at 0915 hrs on 9 Oct):

    On Oct 8th, the situation around Aachen demanded the full attention of OBWest. A renewed offensive by the First US Army breached the West Wall north of the city. OBWest regarded the situation as most critical: the last reserves of the German 7. Army had been committed, but were unable to halt the Americans and the city of Aachen was seriously threatened. Though troops were hurried from the Arnhem sector towards the south, the movement of these reinforcements, according to the OBWest, "is increasingly hampered by the destruction of the railways. So far we did not succeed in bringing up the s.Pz. Abteilung 506 - Tiger II - from the area northeast of Arnhem across the Rhine to the 7. Army. Parts have been ordered to move by road. The 116.Pz Division will be transferred in night marches."

    For the II.S Pz Korps' sector the OBWest reports no major activities: "On both sides only minor artillery fire. Own artillery harassing fire on Nijmegen"
    0864.jpg 0865.jpg 0866.jpg

    Next day, on 9 Oct 1944, in an appraisal of the situation, the OBWest admitted that the counterattack on The Island had come to nothing: "the right wing of the 1.Fallschirm Armee (XII. SS-Korps and II. SS-Pz Korps) had to go on to the defensive". OBWest went as far as to request permission to give up the 'Brueckenkopf Arnheim' (Arnhem Bridgehead), since the situation at Aachen "might necessitate a release of more troops of the II.SS-Pz Korps". This request, obviously, was not approved by the OKW.
    T311%20R3%20%2080.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  11. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    It's all quite excellent, Pieter. Keep it going!
     
  12. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Thanks Jonathan.


    Added some pics to Post #55. Alas! The high grown corn fields were still standing at Haalderen. Pictures of that area will have to wait a bit longer.
     
  13. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Annex 2: Remains of the Tiger II at Heuvel

    Today I revisited the 'Betuws Oorlogsmuseum' in the village of Heteren (hard west of Driel): a private collection which is exhibited by the owner in the garagebox next to his house. It's a nice small collection of uniforms and weapons related to the Allied and German units that were active on The Island during the fall of 1944 and early 1945.

    duitsgroepje.jpg

    One of the most interesting objects of the museum (IMO) are the remnants of the Tiger II tank no .203, that was ditched at the 'Heuvel' farm (see post # 7). In 1947 most of the wrecked tanks left behind on 'The Island' were demolished. This also was the case with the ditched Tiger II at Heuvel. Apparently not all pieces of the tank reached the furnaces. Parts of the tank were dug up by a farmer at Heuvel, some 20 years ago. According to the Museum owner the parts belonged to the Tiger no. 203. Though not as spectactular as the intact Tiger II at La Gleize, to me this find was quite exciting.

    Betuwe Oorlogsmuseum 001a.jpg
    Part of the frontside of the turret of the Tiger II tank at Heuvel. Though a relatively small piece It is so heavy that it is almost impossible to lift by one person.


    Betuwe Oorlogsmuseum 003a.jpg
    Part of the turret-roof of the Tiger II


    Betuwe Oorlogsmuseum 004a.jpg
    Part of a spare-track of the Tiger II, which was found at two meters below ground level at Heuvel

    Tiger II at Bovington:
    Tiger II at Bovington.jpg

    Link to the museum at Heteren --- Betuws Oorlogsmuseum ---.

    Some pics of the collection:
    Betuwe Oorlogsmuseum 005a.jpg Betuwe Oorlogsmuseum 010a.jpg Betuwe Oorlogsmuseum 013a.jpg Betuwe Oorlogsmuseum 014a.jpg Betuwe Oorlogsmuseum 016a.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  14. Wilco Vermeer

    Wilco Vermeer Junior Member

    It is not entirely cleared it was 203 that was ditched at the Heuvel. I am not convinced the photo was taken at the Heuvel. The opposide of the ditch, where the dirtroad is supposed to be does not add up with the known photos of the Kingtiger at the Heuvel. Also other sources state the photo was taken somewhere else.
    Besides that I have only records of one Tiger II actually left at the Heuvel during the fightings, the others all retreated after the first ditched. The second lost Tiger II was later found dug in further along the road towards the Linge, near where now is the small plant.
     
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  15. Wilco Vermeer

    Wilco Vermeer Junior Member

    The photo in post 14 is supposedly taken near Lent and not Elst.
     
  16. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Annex 3: Military Study of 9th Pz Division, Oct 1944

    Please find attached a fragment of the Military Study on the 9th Panzer Division re the involvement of the division in the Oct battle on 'The Island'. The study was written after the war and is catalogued as: "MS P-161, 9th Panzer Division, Oct - Nov 1944". The report was written by Generalleutnant a.D. Erwin Jolasse.

    The text 'unfortunately' is in German. Maybe one of the members on this forum is willing to make an English translation.

    140.JPG 141a.jpg 142.JPG 143.JPG 144.JPG 145a.jpg 146.JPG 147a.jpg 148.JPG 149a.jpg 150.JPG
     
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  17. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    continuation of the study:
    151.JPG 152.JPG 153.JPG 154.JPG 155a.jpg 156a.jpg 157.JPG 158a.jpg 159.JPG
     
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  18. Pompey Pal

    Pompey Pal Member

    As ever, a superb forum Stolpi. Well done Graham
     
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  19. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

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  20. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Pieter,

    Is there, or will there be, a version in English?

    Best,

    Steve.
     

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