116th Panzer in Normandy

fbdzgzdfb

116panther1

116lang1

div_pz-116

sdrfdecv

The following information is from the excellent book by Niklas Zetterling entitled ‘NORMANDY 1944’.

The 116. Panzer-Division was formed by merging the remnants of the 16. Pz.-Gren-Division with the 179. Reserve-Pz.-Division. The division was established on May 1, 1944 in France. The manpower buildup was reported as follows:

April 1=5452

May 1=12494

May 15=13414

June 1=13621

July 1=14358

The Panther battalion (I./PzRgt 16) was forming at Grafenwoehr in Germany at the time of establishment so initially the Panther battalion of PzGren Division “GD” was attached while the division was working up and training prior to the Allied invasion. However “GD” was sent to the Eastern Front prior to the 116. Pz.-Division move to Normandy so the Panther battalion I./PzRgt 24 (from 24. Panzer Division) was attached to the 116. Panzer-Division and sent to Normandy. When it departed for Normandy there were 76 Panthers in I./PzRgt 24.

II./PzRgt. 16 went to Normandy with 86 PzKpw IVs.

The division also had a few extra AFVs that were not included in the authorized organization of the division. On June 8, 1944 it had 3 PzKpw III (7.5cmkz); 7 PzKpw III (5cm lg); 6 Marder IIIs and 6 StuG III (7.5cm lg). It appears that only 6 of the PzKpw IIIs and the StuG IIIs went to Normandy.

Panzerjaeger-Abteilung 228 received 21 JagdPanzer IVs in July 1944.

  1. Panzer Division arrived in Normandy in two groups. On July 20 the division began crossing the Seine in ferries. The first group (PGR 156,PAA 16, PGR 60, II./PR 16, PJA 228) arrived at the assembly area on July 24 with 86 PzKpw IVs, 21 JagdPanzer IVs and 6 StuG IIIs. The second group (I./PR24, PiB 675) arrived on July 26 with the 76 Panthers.

Panzer-Artillery-Regiment 146 had 29 operational artillery guns on July 1. This included 12 Wespe, 6 Hummel, 5 10.5cm towed howitzers, 5 15cm towed howitzers and 1 10cm towed gun.

Flak-Abteilung had no guns available and they did not receive any until the division and withdrawn from France.

The number of armored troop carriers stood at 252 vehicles.

Initially the division was in reserve southeast of Caen but due to the American breakthrough west of St Lo the division was ordered to move to the Vire area on July 28. It reached its assembly area there on July 29. On July 30 the division was assessed to have Kampfwert I (combat capability I) the highest rating available. All the battalions were considered strong and the mobility stood at 80%. During the German Mortain counterattack, I./PzRgt 24 was attached to the 2. Panzer Division. It advanced as far as Le Mesnil-Adelee.

On August 11 the division was ordered to move to the Alencon area. It remained in Alencon-Artentan area until August 20. The division broke out of the Falaise pocket.

On August 22 the following equipment situation was reported:

I./PR 24 had 11 operational Panthers

II./PR 16 had 4 operational PzKpw IVs

PGR 60 had 2 combat ready companies

PGR 156 had 2 battalions, combat-engineer company and heavy infantry gun company without guns combat ready

PAA 116 had 3 recon sections, 2 SPW platoons and 1 combat-engineer platoon ready

PJA 228 had 3 conditional operational assault guns

PAR 146 had 2 Wespe, 1 Hummel, 5 10.5cm, 5 15cm and 1 10cm guns operational.

When the division was sent to Normandy it arrived with 14,358 troops and in August they received 665 replacements and it appears that causalities during the action in Normandy amounted to around 3,800 in total.

The following status reports on the AFVs reported the following:

PzKpw IVs:

July 25=24 combat ready

July 27=64 combat ready and 15 in short term repair

July 30=30 combat ready

Aug 22=4 combat ready

Panthers:

July 25=39 combat ready

July 27=57 combat ready and 17 in short term repair

July 30=32 combat ready

Aug 22=11 combat ready

StuG III and JgdPz IVs:

July 25=25 combat ready

July 27=25 combat ready and 15 in short term repair

July 30=15 combat ready

Aug 22=3 combat ready

The data also seems to indicate that the division also suffered around 600 causalities during its retreat from August 22 to September 1 1944.

Pz.Rgt 16 July 44

– I/Pz.Rgt 24(attached) 79 Panthers in 4 Kp. plus the Stab

– II.Pz.Rgt 16 73 Pz.IV in 4 Kp. plus the Stab plus 3 PzIII in the Stab as well.

– 3 PzIII in the Pz.Rgt Stab

– 8 FkPzIV 3.7cm in the Rgt Flak Zug

Source Panzer Truppen Vol.2 and Panzers in Normandy

The actual strength of the 116 Panzer regiment of 116 Panzer division in Normandy

June 10th-13 Pz III/86 PzIV/6 StuG

July 1944-6 Pz III/73 PzIV/79 PzV

August 21th-12 Panzers Left, Type Unknown

The StuG most likely were assigned to the Panzerjaeger-Abteilung but Thomas Jentz’s book, Panzer Truppen II, does not say either way.

Besides the 6 already mentioned StuG III there were 6 Marders (38t) on strength the 8th June 1944. All came from 179. Reserve Panzer division and were attributed to PzJg Abt 228 with 12 Pak 40 having no towing vehicles (June 1944). Heinz G. Guderian (Ia of 116. Panzer division) suggested that the Division should retain this material, which GHQ planned to give away to other units. PzJg Abt 228 received its authorized 21 PzJg IV only in July. What actually happened with the StuG III and Marders I cannot tell for sure, but a clue might be the fact that II./Pz Rgt 16 had one Marder and one StuG III on strength on 14th September 44.

In a report dated 8th June 44 in addition to the 6 StuG III and 6 self-propelled guns, 3 PzKw IV (kurz), 7 PzKw III (lang) and 3 PzKw III (kurz) were also mentioned. Probably they were included in the count of 86 Pzkw IV and 13 PzKw III found in the strength report “Im Westen vorhandene gePanzerte Kraftfahrzeuge, Stand 10.06.44”, as the 6 StuG III from the report of 8th June are also noted.

The first 20 Moebelwagens rolled off the assembly line in March 1944. However, the first deliveries to combat units didn’t occur until June 1944.

On June.15.44, 24 Moebelwagen were issued, (8 each) to the Regimental Flakzuegen of the 9.Pz.Div, 11.Pz.Div and the 116.Pz.Div.

Because the Panther-Battalion fighting along 116.Panzer Division didn’t belong to the division, it was attached. It was I/24 Pz Abt from 24th Panzer Division.

The difference in Pz IVs could be explain with that in one case the regimental Pz IVs are included and in the other only the Panzer IV battalion. Or that one number (the lower) is operational while the higher is on hand.