This was the official reason I gave when I requested a transfer to the front as commander of a division. 10. “Balck has strong claims to be regarded as our finest field commander,” declared Maj. Gen. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Mellenthin. Balck concluded: The situation was desperate. by Sheldrake » 06 Mar 2014, 03:31, Post The Panzer regiment signaled: Situation serious. The odds he faced were scarcely short of incredible: the Soviets commanded a local superiority of 7:1 in tanks, 11:1 in infantry, and 20:1 in a local superiority of 7:1 in tanks, 11:1 in infantry, and 20:1 in artillery. If you are looking to sell your collection you will be sure to get the fairest price anywhere for it. In the absence of their commander, the divisional staff passed along the warning order. 3. When his exhausted troops collapsed to the ground after they crossed the river, Balck walked to the head of the column, picked up a rifle, and pointed to the high ground ahead that was his regiment’s objective. This was mainly due to America’s lend-lease program that provided US military aids to foreign allied nations. Almost all of the division’s regimental and battalion commanders were on sick leave. The real reason was that I had had enough of the High Command. With his entire division still strung out along the route of march from the Chir, Balck deployed his units in a circle around Tatsinskaya as they started to arrive. Balck did not have the combat power to eliminate the Soviets. I think if there is any possible answer to this question then it would best be supplied by the enemy. Manstein had no option but to divert the bulk of the Fourth Panzer Army to defend Rostov. Along the 37-mile sector where the Chir ran mostly north to south before turning east and flowing into the Don, the Romanians had the flimsiest of defensive lines, with only a single 150mm howitzer for fire support. I just said, “See what you get by bringing attention to yourself?” We didn’t change our plan and we worked together in magnificent harmony from that point on, but we never again submitted anything in writing. This discussion shows up every now and then, let's give this thread a chance but for this to avoid a padlock we expect that people offer something to support their arguments instead of just listed a unit name like we have seen in so many other threads. There is no division that performed well consistently for the entire duration of the war. Russian penetration at Point X, counterattack, everything cleared up by evening. 2. I know the German army groups made similar assessments of the units under their commands. 1. His great-grandfather served under the Duke of Wellington in the King’s German Legion, and his grandfather was an officer in the British Army’s Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Tanks, infantry, and artillery march through the winter night with burning headlights. Like Rommel, Balck was never a German general staff officer. This was mainly because he wasn’t only a good commander, but also a fantastic human being. At the start of World War II, Balck commanded the lead infantry regiment that spearheaded the crossing of the Meuse River by Guderian’s panzers in May 1940. by krichter33 » 25 Feb 2014, 03:07, Post During one of his first actions, Balck displayed his unflappable nerve leading from the front. As Balck analyzed the flow of orders from the corps, he realized that if the new threat was significant enough to derail the corps’ advance toward Stalingrad, then simply pushing the Soviet tanks back across the river—as he was now being instructed to do—was far too timid a course of action. Owing to Allied deception measures, some German armored units failed to engage the Anglo-Americans until after D-Day. The Third Reich, led by Adolf Hitler, rampaged across Europe until it was finally defeated by Allied forces in 1945. Locating two divisional command posts together violated German tactical doctrine and risked presenting the enemy with a very lucrative target. Infanteriedivision) was a German Army infantry division in World War II. The 8th army was contrated around 7th armoured. Hundreds of dead Russians lay in and around our positions. About face. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Balck, who ended the war as a General der Panzertruppe (equivalent to a three-star general in the U.S. Army), is today virtually unknown except to the most serious students of World War II. It was his opinion that the German parachute troops (1st and 4th Para in particular which were in Italy) were the finest troops he'd experienced. The 336th Infantry formed the shield against which the Soviets struck; the panzers were the hammer that destroyed them. Most were experienced in the West and Russia. German Infantry Division 1940. However the Germans ratings of a Division changed as circumstances dictated. I forgot what they were called, but I wish I can find more of them... Schweppenberg's statements were made after the war for the U.S. Foreign Military Studies. What really made him great in the end was a consistent ability to assess a situation almost instantly, decide what had to be done, and then carry it out. If that constitutes them as the best british division of WW2… Describing one of his earliest actions with the 11th Panzer Division, Balck wrote: There were no misunderstandings. The Germans never considered their tactical doctrine holy writ, and their commanders were authorized and even expected to deviate from it whenever they thought the situation required. Balck’s panzers then turned to meet a column of twenty-three Soviet tanks approaching in the second echelon. They subsequently became the most experienced division in the British army. If any changes were necessary, I drove out during the night and visited each regiment again. Panzer General Ludwig Cruwell fought alongside Rommel, and was captured in North Africa while commanding the 11th Panzer Division in 1942. Upon his arrival in Russia he found a dismal situation. Crush them’. Best division in WW2. When I arrived on the scene the situation had already been consolidated somewhat. Excellent post! Balck closed the ring around the XXIV Tank Corps, but his division had been moving and fighting too long and too hard. Balck went on to fight more winter battles until he was reassigned in early March 1943. Muzzle velocity 550-1,130 m/s (1,804-3,707 ft/s), 3000 yards range.-7.5 cm Pak 40: German standard WW2 AT Gun, more than 20,000 built until 1945. He got it back, carefully graded. On his last day in command his division destroyed its thousandth tank since his arrival. by Sheldrake » 05 Mar 2014, 03:48, Post In December 1942 Hermann Balck wiped out a force ten times his size in the most brilliantly fought divisional battle in modern military history. But only twelve tanks and thirty trucks managed to escape initially, and when Balck’s forces sprung, they first annihilated all remaining Soviet units inside the pocket, then turned to pursue the escaping column and destroy all those vehicles as well. Like many senior German officers of his generation, Balck came from a military family, albeit a slightly unusual one. ‘Each day was like the next,’ Balck wrote. We would just have to hope—against reason—that the hodge-podge of troops covering Morosovskaya would hold for a day. Another Soviet corps had been wiped out at the hands of Balck’s understrength division. This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations and related topics hosted by the Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Christian Ankerstjerne’s Panzerworld and Christoph Awender's WW2 day by day. Balck, however, ran afoul of German Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler and was unceremoniously fired by Hitler in late December. He was shot after being captured by Yugoslavian partisans in 1945. His 110th and 111th Panzergrenadier Regiments were still moving forward from the railheads at Millerovo and could not arrive before the end of the day. The 110th broken through, the 111th overrun. 3. Whether you are buying or selling you will get the best service and prices here. What makes a good formation is a fascinating question. Balck described his command style in his memoirs: My brilliant chief of staff, Major Kienitz, remained in a fixed position somewhat to the rear of the fighting, maintaining contact with God and me and all the world by radio. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. Fallschirmjäger-Division) was an elite German military parachute-landing division that fought during World War II.A division of paratroopers was termed a Fallschirmjäger Division. On Christmas Day the Germans still could not break into the cauldron, but neither could the Soviets break out. Still strung out along the line of march and arriving little by little, the 11th Division faced what amounted to mission impossible. Unfortunately, my very competent chief of staff, Major von Kienitz, brought everything together in the form of an operations order and submitted it to corps. The new Soviet thrust, Operation Saturn, threatened to drive to Rostov at the mouth of the Don on the Azov Sea. Balck and his adjutant, Major von Webski, were far forward when they came under heavy Soviet artillery fire. Hermann Balck was the sum of thousands of small factors that were deeply engrained in him by the system under which he grew up. by krichter33 » 05 Mar 2014, 07:37, Post But before the two German units could link up, the Soviet Fifth Tank Army under the command of Gen. P. L. Romanenko crossed the Chir River, a tributary of the Don, and drove deep into German lines. In World War II, both German and American artillery fire direction was normally done at the battalion level. This is mostly overlooked issue when discussing the Fallschirmjager and the Waffen-SS, and it may explain the less than stellar performance of German vanilla infantry, most glaring an issue in Barbarossa, but already showing signs during Fall Gelb. Panzer General Gustav Fehn commanded the 5th Panzer Division and then the XXXth Panzer Corps as well as the XXIVth Panzer Corps. Troops of the Third Reich fought all over Europe, North Africa, the Atlantic Ocean and the Middle East during the Second World War. The advantage was that all misgivings could be eliminated; misunderstandings and opinions could be resolved from the outset. by Sheldrake » 05 Mar 2014, 13:22, Post Categorized as a medium tank, M4 Sherman had an average 75mm main gun with 90 rounds and had a relatively thin armor (76mm) compared to other tanks in the era.Introduced in 1941, Sherman is named after … Yet in three short weeks his lone panzer division virtually destroyed the entire Soviet Fifth Tank Army. I was mobile, at the focus of the action. Post The second most produced tank during WWII. Then repeat the process the next day some 10 or 20 kilometers farther west or east. Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, was the most distinguished general in the World War II. The Fifth Tank Army had been virtually destroyed. Balck always declined, saying he preferred to remain a line officer. 9 bids. by Ron Klages & John Mulholland The following accounting of German divisions by month from September 1939 to May 1945 by front was compiled from the works of Georg Tessin in his epic accounting of the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS titled: Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS 1939-1945. [The German defenders’] only hope lay with a single tired and depleted division that was coming up in driblets. The German command system in World War II emphasized face-to-face leadership, rather than the detailed and ponderous written orders so beloved by American commanders. For example, in August 1916 the German OHL produced a table of the combat worthiness of Divisions. by Jeff Leach » 24 Feb 2014, 19:38, Post At dawn I once again positioned myself at the decisive point. Founded in 1999. No change in plans. “Night marches save blood” became Balck’s principal axiom. But Balck had several opportunities to become one, receiving more than one invitation to attend the Kriegsakademie. Balck pushed the principle to the extreme, forbidding any written orders at all. by Jeff Leach » 25 Feb 2014, 11:17, Post When Balck learned of the situation he immediately moved to the 336th Infantry Division’s command post near Verchne Solonovski. Balck’s 15th Panzer Regiment was down to about twenty-five operational tanks when it came upon the rear of a march column of forty-two tanks from the Soviet Motor Mechanized Corps at Nizhna Kalinovski. Most of the Infanterie divisions are overlooked in favor of the panzers, yet these "boring" units were the ones who probably fought longer and harder than many of their most famous compatriots. Only Balck’s 15th Panzer Regiment was in position. Are there any other such subjective assessments out there??? Panzer-Division 3. Nov 22, 2019 - Explore Gary L's board "German Generals of WW2" on Pinterest. Balck led another night march and before dawn on December 19 once again took a superior Soviet force completely by surprise. 72. inf, 1.skij, 12. Of the 154 divisions deployed against Soviet Union in 1941, including reserves, there were 100 infantry, 19 panzer, 11 motorised, 9 security, 5 Waffen-SS, 4 "light", 4 mountain, 1 SS police, and 1 cavalry. 90. pzg, 5. When Balck left the 11th Panzer Division in 1943 he was given several weeks of well-deserved home leave and a bonus of 1,500 Reichsmarks (the equivalent of $8,000 today) to take his wife on a trip. Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary commander. Germany had ten panzer divisions in Normandy, including five from the Waffen SS. It lists every German division in WW2 and where they fought as well as if the division was cited for distinguished action. The backbone of the Heer (German Army) was the infantry division. When Balck first arrived at Morozovskaya a Soviet tank corps was bearing down on the city from the north, and threatening to envelop the town of Tatsinskaya on the left. Balck, however, realized that in the coming fight, instantaneous coordination between the two divisions would be vital, and with the primitive and unreliable communications systems of the day, this was the only way to do it. $23.90 shipping. There, the Soviets caught by surprise and massacred the divisional trains of the 336th. As the division loaded on railcars, Balck and von Kienitz drove ahead to assess the situation firsthand. Original German World War II Klappspaten (folding shovel) with carrier. On November 19 the Soviets launched Operation Uranus: the Fifth Tank Army crossed the Don River from the north and cut off the great bend sector, advancing as far as the north bank of the Chir and the west bank of the Don above the Chir. ‘Take them by surprise. Meanwhile, on December 10 the Fourth Panzer Army had begun its move toward Stalingrad; XLVIII Panzer Corps still had the mission to cross the Don River and link up with this advance. panzer, 16pzg/116 panzer, 3. That in turn sealed the fate of the German Sixth Army in Stalingrad—which finally fell on February 2, 1943. Unlike Rommel, though, Balck never succumbed to periods of depression and self-pity. The 7th Panzer Divison was cited four times and this was. Balck never hesitated to exercise that prerogative. He was always one step ahead of his enemy, even in the relatively few situations when he was initially taken by surprise. The 1st Parachute Division (German: 1. His request was granted and, though still only a colonel, Balck was assigned to command the 11th Panzer Division. It was obvious to Balck that the Soviets’ next move would be an attempt to roll up the 336th Infantry Division. 12. We needed to crush the westernmost enemy column first in order to gain some swing space. By 0900 hours the situation was pretty well in hand. The initial mission of the 11th Panzer Division was to form the reserve of the XLVIII Panzer Corps’ advance on Stalingrad. Generally I visited each regiment several times a day. Balck had to rebuild his unit from scratch—while in combat. The German command system in World War II emphasized face-to-face leadership, rather than the detailed and ponderous written orders so beloved by American commanders. December 1942 was a time of crisis for the German army in Russia. To prevent that, he screened the division’s left flank with his own engineer, antitank, and antiaircraft battalions. Explore our list of World War, 1939-1945->Personal narratives, German Books at Barnes & Noble®. This way one can see how they performed during different situations throughout the war, with contingencies, such as losses and replacements, taken into account. The best German division during WWII was the 4th Panzer Division. There are five Divisions you can choose from in CoD WW2: Infantry, Airborne, Armored, Mountain, and Expeditionary. He wasn’t among the good men, since he fought on Germany’s side, but this didn’t influence his qualities as a general.A highly decorated officer, he won the esteem of both of his men and his enemies. by krichter33 » 06 Mar 2014, 02:56, Post Balck himself was a mountain infantry officer on the western, eastern, Italian, and Balkan fronts during the First World War, serving almost three years as a company commander. At the end of the war Balck managed to prevent his troops from falling into Soviet hands by surrendering his command to Maj. Gen. Horace McBride, commander of U.S. XX Corps. And he was in a position to know: as a general staff officer during the war, Mellenthin had worked at one point or another for virtually all of Germany’s greatest commanders—including such legends as Rommel and Heinz Guderian. A fire direction center typically controlled at least a dozen guns, so better target acquisition and observation of the fall of the rounds than the Word War I practice was needed. According to modern British doctrine fighting power is made up of physical. 11. Any attempts at defense would mean our destruction. Crush them. 4. 2. Take them by surprise. Balck was convicted and served a short sentence. Our experts can answer any questions you may have on an of our items. For reasons of secrecy, it was originally raised as the 7th Air Division, or Flieger-Division, before being renamed and reorganized as the 1st Parachute Division in 1943. by krichter33 » 26 Feb 2014, 03:11, Post See more ideas about world war two, ww2, german army. This will always be a subjective subject and most of the evaluations are based on post-war rememberances and not on what the wartime records say. But the following day elements of the Fifth Tank Army crossed the Chir at multiple points, driving deep behind the left flank of the 336th Infantry Division. The new Soviet attack was supported by more Fifth Tank Army strikes against XLVIII Panzer Corps. 47th, 6th, 20th, 50th, 18th, 1st Can, 2nd Can as 'Good' By the end of the day, however, Balck received operational control of one of the Panzergrenadier regiments and an assault gun battalion from the newly arriving 6th Panzer Division. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion. Describing one of his earliest actions with the 11th Panzer Division, Balck wrote: I did not issue a written order, but oriented my commanders with the help of a detailed war game and extensive terrain walks. The other contender for the accolade of best tank is the Soviet T34, earlier versions of … Creating these elite units meant that the regular units were depleted of these soldiers. In early 1942 Balck was the inspector of mobile troops at the German Army High Command, the same position held in 1938 by his mentor, Guderian. 11. Panzer-Division 3. By the end of November 1942 the German position in south Russia had deteriorated significantly. by krichter33 » 23 Feb 2014, 03:34, Post With his Panzergrenadier regiments not yet in position, Balck had little choice but to commit his units piecemeal. By the end of the day the Soviet I Tank Corps had lost fifty-three tanks and effectively ceased to exist. But as Balck was at last preparing to take his units across the river on December 17, the Soviets struck elsewhere. By December 15 the 11th Panzer Division had been marching by night and fighting by day for eight continuous days in a seemingly never-ending cycle of fire brigade actions. While in command of the 11th Panzer Division, Balck was promoted to Generalmajor (U.S. Army one-star equivalent) and then to Generalleutnant (two-star equivalent). The XLVIII Panzer Corps, under the command of Gen. Otto von Knobelsdorf, was in an even worse position, trying to hold the lower dogleg of the Chir and facing into the great bend of the Don, which was now completely occupied by the Soviets. by genstab » 19 Jan 2014, 18:48, Post The left side was held by the next-to-worthless Luftwaffe 7th Field Division, a unit of relatively well-equipped but untrained airmen serving as infantry. 5. gbj, 1. Balck’s losses for the same period were 16 tanks, 12 antitank guns, 215 soldiers killed in action, 1,019 wounded, and 155 missing. Then I drove back to my command post and telephoned Colonel Mellenthin, the chief of staff at XLVIII Panzer Corps. But tactical victory did not translate to operational success for the Germans, who were being pushed farther and farther back from the Don. At approximately 9:00 a.m. on December 7, the LXVIII Panzer Corps sent Balck’s division command post a warning order to have the 15th Panzer Regiment prepare for a counterattack. Balck’s father, William Balck, was one of the German army’s foremost tactical writers in the years prior to World War I, and as a division commander in that war won the Pour le Mérite, Germany’s highest military order (popularly but somewhat irreverently called the “Blue Max”). I wonder what other studies discuss such opinions from other commanders. Balck and his advance party arrived on the scene on December 6. The Panzerkampfwagen V or Panther was the best German tank of World War II and possibly the best medium tank fielded by any of the combatants in World War II. He later wrote in his memoirs: In my position as Inspector of Mobile Troops I could only maintain my authority through fresh experience at the front. Photographical journey through the German snipers and sharpshooters of World War II. The Sixth Army was encircled in Stalingrad. In 1948 he was arrested by the German government and put on trial for murder for ordering the summary execution by firing squad in 1944 of a German artillery battalion commander who was found drunk on duty. The 94th Infantry Division (German: 94. Instead, he held onto the money until the fall of 1944, when the 11th Panzer Division was again under his command as part of Army Group G. He then used all of the money “to cover the costs of a pleasant evening” with all of the members of the division who had fought with him in Russia. The order was sent by radio—and in the clear. Before dawn on December 8, just as the Soviets were starting their move, he struck. I discussed the plan by telephone with Kienitz, then drove to each regiment and briefed the commander personally on the next day’s plan. Over the next three days Balck continued to tighten the vise on the Tatsinskaya pocket, which finally burst on December 28, with the Soviets attempting a breakout to the northwest. This book was written from a March 1945 intelligence document that was published by the military intelligence division of the war department of the United States. 28. jager, 1. Morale was at rock bottom. The Germans’ Italian, Hungarian, and Romanian allies proved to be weak reeds, especially when the weather in Russia turned cold. There were several crack German divisions- Grossdeutschland and Panzer Lehr for example. After the war Balck supported his family by working as a manual laborer in a supply depot. Working with Mellenthin, then chief of staff of XLVIII Panzer Corps, Balck managed to get the mission of his division changed to destroying the Soviet forces on the near side of the river. 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