Home Forums WWII 5th Light Division – First Infantry Units

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #135041
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Apparently the first infantry units deployed to Libya with Rommel were two machine gun battalions.  Does anyone know how long they continued to be organized and equipped as MG Bns before being converted to Grenadiers Bns?

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #135045
    MartinR
    Participant

    They were still MG battalions for the siege of Tobruk. They tended to leave the tripods behind when operating as infantry😉

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #135074
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    They tended to leave the tripods behind when operating as infantry

    well, quite!

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #135146
    MartinR
    Participant

    The only real difference between an MG battalion and a normal rifle bn was an extra mortar platoon in each company (somewhat heavier than the 1941 50mm mortar section) . The MGs were dual purpose so could be used with their bipods. I’d need to check the KstN for allocations of anti tank rifles etc, but yes eventually they morphed into grenadier battalions.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #135157
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Many thanks Martin.  Which battalion had the extra mortars – the MG Bn or the Grenadier Bn?

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #135337
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    The 2nd and 8th MG battalions were essentially the early model for combined-arms infantry.  As Martin pointed out above, they could field their MG34s in either the light or heavy role, and the platoons did have anti-tank rifles and light mortars.  They didn’t have any more heavy mortars than the infantry of the 104th and 115th Schutzen regiments in North Africa did, but they did have more anti-tank guns in their heavy companies.  The 8th even had an additional anti-tank gun company!

    I have the 8th MG Btn. in 6mm, so went through my notes, and here’s a timeline of their shifts in organization:

    February 1941:

    + 2nd and 8th MG Battalion (Motorized) formed the 200th Schutzen Rgt., 5th Light Division.

    April-May 1941:

    + The Pioneer companies of both 2nd and 8th MG Btn. were transferred to form the 200th Pioneer Btn., 5th Light Division.

    August 1941:

    + The 5th Light Division was renamed the 21st Panzer Division.
    + The 2nd MG Btn. and its parent 200th Schutzen Rgt. were transferred to the 15th Schutzen Bde., 15th Panzer Division, joining the 15th Motorcycle Btn.
    + The 8th MG Btn. remained in the 21st Panzer Division, now under the 104th Schutzen Rgt. (transferred in from the 15th Panzer Division).

    December 1941-January 1942:

    + Due to heavy casualties, the 200th Schutzen Rgt. is temporarily disbanded, and the 2nd MG Btn. was consolidated with the remnants of 15th Motorcycle Btn. and 33rd Panzer Pioneer Btn. directly under the 15th Schutzen Brigade.

    April 1942:

    + 2nd MG Btn. was integrated as 3rd Battalion, 115th Schutzen Rgt.*
    + 8th MG Btn. was integrated as 1st Battalion, 104th Schutzen Rgt.*, except for its 5th AT Company, which was transferred to 90th Afrika Division.

    *Both units were redesignated as Schutzen battalions, which were being reorganized to incorporate HMGs, heavy mortars, and anti-tank guns down to the company level.

    July 1942:

    + Both Schutzen Rgt. were renamed Panzergrenadier Rgt. as “Grenadier” became the title of German infantry.

     

    Hope that helps!

    #135357
    MartinR
    Participant

    Yes, you are quite right, I just checked the OBs. They had a heavy company with 81mm mortars and 37mm ATguns, and the 8th had an additional AT company with 37mm and 50mm At guns. The main difference with the rifle regts in 15th Panzer is that the infantry platoons ‘only’  had four MG34 instead of six, but they did have SFMG mounts for all of them, as well as the only Sdkfz 251s in infantry units, ten or so in each battalion (plus another 20 MG34s), so overall six MGs per platoon. Blimey.  In fact double blimey.

    I tend to do the desert war at brigade/division/corps level so the minutiae of battalion orgs pass me by.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #135381
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Many thanks, that is a great help.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.