Banzai!! The Newsletter of the Austin ASL Club. February, 2001 Volume 6, Number 1 - PDF

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Banzai!! The Newsletter of the Austin ASL Club February, 2001 Volume 6, Number 1 Banzai!! The Newsletter of the Austin ASL Club In this Issue Editor's Corner 2 AAR: The Red Wave 2 The Hermann Göring: A
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Banzai!! The Newsletter of the Austin ASL Club February, 2001 Volume 6, Number 1 Banzai!! The Newsletter of the Austin ASL Club In this Issue Editor's Corner 2 AAR: The Red Wave 2 The Hermann Göring: A Unit History 3 SP11 Pomeranian Tigers: Analysis and AAR 9 Club Notes 13 Club Ladder 14 Next Issue 15 Editor's Corner Matt Shostak Are we victims of our own success? Outward appearances would indicate that our club is still going strong. In the recent Best of the Year 2000 Internet poll conducted by Tom Repetti, for example, the efforts of our club members stood tall. It was practically a clean sweep for Bounding Fire Productions (Chas Smith and Sam Tyson), as they grabbed the top three spots for new scenarios (Panzer Graveyard, Smashing the Third, and The Slaughterhouse), and the top three reprint scenarios (Merzenhausen Zoo, Inhumaine, and The Guns of Naro). Our club did a lot of playtesting and proofreading for all of these scenarios, and we can feel justly proud of their warm reception. Our articles and newsletter were also well received. We have over 40 subscribers to our egroups (now Yahoo) site. Last June we had our bestattended tournament ever, with just over 30 players. So why is it that play seems to be down in our club, and attendance at club meetings has dwindled? I suspect that we are becoming complacent. There s no sense of urgency. When a club first forms, no one wants to miss a game day. It s hard enough to believe that others in your town actually play this game, and you don t want to miss an opportunity to actually meet someone and play face to face. You never know when you might get another chance to do it. But after a while, if a club becomes stable, that sense of urgency is gone. No biggie if I miss this club meeting, there ll be another one next month. Why should I go out of my way to play someone new when my buddy and I get along fine and I can count on him to play just about every Saturday? I think this is where we are now as a club, at least in Austin. Our brothers in Houston and Dallas are newer to the scene and still seem to have a lot of that enthusiasm. While I am happy that we have a stable, dependable club, I can t say I like the fact that we have become Lax. I miss those well-attended game days, with five or six games going at once, maybe even WWII videos playing to add sound effects. It s great atmosphere and camaraderie. It s that very spirit of camaraderie that you don t want to miss at our upcoming annual tournament. Clear your calendars now for June You have plenty of time to February, 2001 This newsletter is FREE! Don't let anyone charge you for it. arrange your schedules, so be sure to make it! We had an absolute blast last year and fully expect to have as much fun this year. Keep an eye on the club websites for more details as the spring passes. AAR: The Red Wave Edward Beekman STAVKA insisted that a crossroads held by the dread SS Totenkopf was to be seized or bypassed in force as part of the attempt to relieve our surrounded comrades in Leningrad. Sergeant Bulganin was to lead about a hundred men to attack the crossroads from the right flank while Commissar Zoldak cleared the road for the promised tank support. Corporal Shtrigol was kept in reserve to catch any stragglers and keep the attack moving. The intent was to catch the Germans in a pincer, Sergeant Bulganin on one flank and the armor on the other, and squeeze them out of the crossroads. The attack began well. Zoldak s troops cleared the road by leapfrogging along the trees lining its sides up to the first suspected SS strongpoint. Bulganin's flanking move drew intense but ineffective MG fire from the south. Once in contact with the enemy, things did not go so well. Bulganin was wounded by MG fire and soon required evacuation. Several men felt the need to accompany him to the aid station. Sniper fire slowly picked off our mortar squad. On the bright side, we stormed two buildings. The Germans chose discretion over valor, and ceded the buildings rather than face our bayonets. The Totenkopfs counter-attacked immediately and recaptured the northern building, killing and demoralizing many Russians in the process. Like a wave in the ocean, more Russians swirled around the counter-attacking SS, encircling and then overrunning their position. In the confusion, the SS fired into the melee, resulting in losses to both sides, and an enraged Russian squad ran through the fire to aid in clearing some foxholes. The tanks now swung against the south flank but an Infantry Gun found the range and smashed a tread from the platoon s middle tank. Although it was a blow to our mobility, the tank was well positioned to engage the key SS strongpoint. It did so immediately, scoring a direct hit on a MG position. However, the officer directing the MG absorbed the blast, suffering wounds but protecting the MG crew. Our sniper, following the tank s lead, proceeded to wound the other MG squad s officer on the other side of the crossroads. The lead tank swung around to the rear of the southern buildings, threatening the Infantry Gun s flank as well as encirclement and lines of retreat for two buildings. Realizing the threat, the MG turned on the tank and managed to immobilize the tank with deliberate aimed fire. The tank crew, curse them, temporarily lost their presence of mind and bailed out. The MG still had ammo in its belt and a cool barrel. Seeing the fate of their comrades from the side of the house, the third tank refused to press the attack. All that could be done now was to continue to push the troops forward. Troops attacking along the left flank secured the buildings there and were in position to push south. Commissar Zoldak was busy collecting retreating soldiers and feeding them back into the front lines, sometimes having to cock his pistol but never having to use it. One decimated squad sacrificed itself when the SS Gun, trying to knock out the rally point, scored a direct hit on the building. Their sacrifice allowed the remaining troops and Commissar to survive unscathed. Another particularly demoralized and devastated handful of men had the task of retrieving the mortar and bringing it back into action. These dispirited men exhausted themselves finding the mortar, yet succeeded in using it to drive off the crew manning the enemy Gun. Our sniper later finished off the crew. As the attack wound to a close, the German small arms and MG fire were too intense to close with and silence. We secured five buildings, but at most we could possibly capture only one more of the remaining three in the time allotted. The Hermann Göring: A Unit History Chas Smith (Chas wrote this article for the unpublished Hermann Goring Pack, which he submitted to Multi Man Publishing for their use. MMP chose four of the scenarios from that collection for inclusion in ASL Journal #2, and has kindly given us permission to use this article here. Eds.) The German Unit called the Hermann Göring (HG) is an interesting subject for historians and ASL players alike. It was initially formed as a police battalion, and finished the war as a parachutepanzer corps. The formations went through many different organizations and rebuilding periods during the war, using various types of equipment. The division had the mystique of being an elite unit, and was considered so by friend and foe alike, although whether it really warranted such a distinction, especially in ASL terms, is arguable. HG units fought in Norway, France, Russia, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and then again on the Russian Front, giving designers a full range of actions to consider in creating scenarios This article discusses the early formations that became the HG, its various war formations and combat actions, and the structure of the various units. It also discusses employment plans for the corps. In order to accurately represent the fighting elements of the HG at each point in the war, we have used various squad types and ELRs throughout the scenarios. This history February, 2001 Page 3 of 15 attempts to shed some light on our unit selections. For example, we show how often this unit needed to be rebuilt throughout the war. We also discuss the constant high morale, and belief on both sides that they were an elite unit. Some Allied histories state that the HG soldiers fought hard and always maximized all available concealment. They also believed the HG units were not always as tactically competent as its army equivalent. During the Italian Campaign, HG soldiers often made frontal charges across open ground and did not always maximize combined arms. The Early Years Polizeiabteilung Wecke was formed on 23 February 1933 by order of the Prussian Minister of the Interior. Being formed less than one month after Hitler assumed power, its purpose was to wipe out any threat to the National-Socialist movement. Commanded by Major Wecke, it initially consisted of 14 officers and 400 men. Training began immediately. Its first mission was a raid on a communist stronghold in Berlin on 2 March The mission successfully captured 25 communists and seized large quantities of weapons. The unit continued training, and added machine-gun and mortar detachments. However, the unit s primary mission became exclusively guard and ceremonial duties. The unit was renamed Landespolizeigruppe Wecke (Special Purpose State Police Group Wecke) on 17 July 1933, becoming Germany s first state police unit. Hermann Göring increased his influence over the unit, and had it at his full disposal. He wanted a highly trained force capable of delivering a strike against external enemies. On 22 September 1933, it was renamed Landespolizeigruppe General Göring. On 1 April 1935, it became more military and was renamed Regiment General Göring. On 1 October 1935, the unit officially became part of the Luftwaffe. Many members of the unit would eventually go through parachute training and form the cadre of future Fallschirmtruppe units. At this time the unit contained two Jaeger Battalions, a KradSchuetzen (motorcycle) Company, and a Pioneer Company. It soon received a light flak battalion. It also became fully motorized and adopted the tactics of the army s motorized infantry. Antitank guns and special purpose pioneers were also added to the group. The unit was soon viewed as elite for a number of reasons. First, all members were volunteers who had to meet tough entry and physical standards. The recruiting slogan was Those who would belong to us must do so voluntarily. Its members wore a white waffenfarbe, which distinguished them in public. It provided the personal guard for Göring on special occasions. In 1937, the Regiment added a heavy flak battalion that included the soon to be famous 88s. In March 1938, the IV Fallschirmschuetzen Battalion and 15th Pioneer Company were detached and formed as the I Battalion, FallschirmJaeger Regiment 1. The unit also formed a special air defense battery as a special guard for Adolf Hitler. The regiment went through more changes later in the year, eventually consisting of two light flak battalions, a heavy flak battalion, a searchlight battalion, and a guard battalion. The Regiment also participated in the march into Austria and the occupation of the Sudetenland. The HG soldiers were eager to get into action when the war with Poland began, but instead they provided air defense for Berlin throughout the campaign. Norway, France, and the Balkans The first unit to see combat action was the Kluge Detachment in Norway. This organization consisted of Watch Bn RGG (Regiment General Göring), Motorcycle Company RGG, 1st Guard Company RGG, and 8th Battery RGG (20mm self-propelled). The motorcycle company contained an armored recon platoon consisting of three PSW 231s. The detachment was assigned to the 196th Infantry Division. The division had taken heavy casualties, but the fully motorized detachment provided a significant combat force. The division attached it to Kampfgruppe Fischer, the reinforced 340th Infantry Regiment, and more specifically the von Burstin Motorized Detachment. The HG soldiers were ordered to move forward and recon, remove roadblocks, seize bridges, and guard the battlegroup s flanks. The motorized HG force performed well in action, gained valuable combat experience with few casualties, and significantly contributed to the German success in Norway. The flak elements of RGG participated in the invasion of France. For the most part they were attached to various units to provide air defense. Elements participated in and around the Marmel Forest and Gembloux. Their significant contribution was the use of 88s as antitank guns, a role in which they proved very effective. When war broke out in the Balkans in April 1941, the RGG was rushed to the area. The RGG was assigned to LI Corps, and placed in reserve. It did not see action as it was positioned to defend the oil fields at Ploesti. In June the regiment was placed near the Bug River with a rumor of pending war in Russia. Russia 1941 On 22 June 1941 the regiment crossed the Bug near Sokal. It was assigned to the XXXXVIII Corps and mostly to the 11th Panzer Division. It participated in major battles in the Radziechow, Dubno, Kiev, Briansk, Cherkassy, Kremenchug, and Dniepropetrovksk (sp???) areas. The first major action occurred on 23 June near Radziechow where a battery commander was killed. At Dubno the 2nd Battery destroyed numerous KV tanks as the encircled enemy launched a furious attack to break out. In the first few days of battle, the regiment destroyed 30 heavy tanks and knocked down 18 aircraft. Throughout the year the regiment continued to provide air defense and antitank support, and filled gaps in the line when necessary. The flak elements were sent back to Germany in December to rest, refit, and reorganize. February, 2001 Page 4 of 15 The Special Purpose Rifle Battalion (later 2nd Rifle Battalion) was formed as an infantry unit and sent to Russia in December. It participated in brutal fighting in the Moscow area. The battalion was withdrawn in early 1942, with only 42 soldiers remaining. It started with 568, and had suffered 132 KIA during the fighting. Transition to Division Throughout 1942 the regiment went through various reorganizations and performed many duties in the air defense role. The regiment was officially designated Division Hermann Göring on 15 October The existing personnel were used as the basis for new units. The Luftwaffe provided 5,000 volunteers, and established an exchange program with the army so the division could receive experienced Panzer officers and NCOs. The division was to organize as follows: Grenadier Regiment I HG I. Grenadier Battalion (armored) II. Grenadier Battalion (motorized) III. Grenadier Battalion (motorized) 13. Heavy Infantry Gun Company 14. Panzerjaeger Company Grenadier Regiment II HG I. Grenadier Battalion (armored) II. Grenadier Battalion III. Grenadier Battalion 13. Heavy Infantry Gun Company 14. Panzerjaeger Company Jaeger Regiment HG* I. Jaeger Battalion III. Jaeger Battalion Panzer Regiment HG I. Panzer Battalion II. Panzer Battalion Flak Regiment HG I. Flak Battalion II. Flak Battalion III. Flak Battalion Fuehrer Flak Battalion Artillery Regiment HG I. Artillery Battalion II. Artillery Battalion III. Artillery Battalion IV. Artillery Battalion V. Sturmgeschuetz Battalion** Aufklaerungs Battalion HG 1. Kradschuetzen Company 2. Volkswagen Company 3. Panzerspaeh Company 4. Panzerjaeger Company 5. Heavy Company 6. Fla k Company (20mm) Panzer Pioneer Battalion HG 1. Panzer Pioneer Company 2. Panzer Pioneer Company 3. Panzer Pioneer Company 4. Panzer Pioneer Company (Bridge Company) * This was formerly FallschirmJaeger Regiment 5. Many of its members had originally trained in the HG, but the Regiment disdained becoming part of the division. They were a separate regiment, and felt they were elite. Even though renamed the Jaeger Rgt HG, they still referred to themselves as FallschirmJaeger Rgt 5. ** The StuG battalion was later organized into the Panzer Rgt HG as Battalion III. North Africa Elements of the division began moving to North Africa in December 1942 in response to the U.S. landings. The flak regiment was initially divided out to reinforce other units, and elements of the HG slowly arrived. The division initially fought as Kampfgruppe Schmid. back to the sea, but the combination of Sherman tanks and naval gunfire (some of it direct) stopped the attack and inflicted heavy casualties. It is estimated that over 5,000 shells fell on the tanks of the HG alone during these battles, knocking out approximately 40 PzIIIs/IVs, and 14 Tigers. Kampfgruppe Schmalz of the HG, which was built around Battalion I/PanzerGrenadier Regiment HG I (armored) fought in the eastern part of Sicily against the British. They were very successful in stopping a British breakthrough, but also suffered heavy casualties. The entire division fought an excellent delay from successive positions against overwhelming allied superiority. The main thought was to ensure the division got out of Sicily intact. On August 10 the order was given to start the evacuation. The HG provided the rearguard allowing other units to get across the straits to Italy, and on the 17th the division was finally moved. Table 1 lists the HG tank strength before and after the invasion. Table 1. Tank Strength of HG The Panzer troops were sent, but mostly without their equipment, and their training was for nothing as they were utilized as infantry. The division did use one panzer company and some Italian assault guns. The division fought in the defense of Tunisia, and fared well against tremendous odds. Field Marshall Kesselring praised the morale and spirit of the HG troops after visiting them. However, the commitment of the division to North Africa proved to be disastrous. Almost all of the soldiers, about 10,000, were captured when the Germans surrendered. Only 1,000 HG soldiers escaped capture. Nearly all of the Initial volunteers of the regiment were lost. The foundation of the division was lost, and it now technically existed only on paper, and not as a trained fighting unit. Sicily and Italy The division began to reform immediately after the collapse in Tunisia. The survivors of Tunisia and the replacement regiment in Holland formed the basis of the new division. New replacements were added to bring the division up to full strength. The organization remained relatively the same as before Tunisia, the exc eption being the addition of a Sturm company and a rocket battery. The division moved to Italy, and began an intensive training program to prepare for the imminent allied invasion. In June they moved to Sicily. The allies invaded Sicily on 10 July They believed the Hermann Göring to be the best division on the Sicilian battlefield, and possibly it was. It was the only Panzer Division employed in Sicily. The 15th and 29th Panzergrenadier Divisions were also in theater, but they had gone through rebuilding similar to the HG. The remaining defenders in Sicily were Italian units. The attachment of 2nd Company/504 Heavy Tank Battalion with Tiger Is significantly increased the HG s lethality. Even so, the division was relatively inexperienced. It lacked a large corps of veterans, but was well equipped and morale remained high. The Hermann Göring attacked to throw the allied landings February, 2001 Page 5 of 15 Date Pz III PzIV PzVI StuG StuH 10 Jul Aug The division fought on the Italian mainland throughout the remainder of 1943 and through June The division continued to fight well, but suffered heavy casualties. It was finally withdrawn in November 1943 to rest and refit (a company of the recon battalion received schwimwagons at this time). Unfortunately, pieces of the unit were continually attached to reinforce other units, or to fill gaps in the line. This prevented the division from rebuilding to its full combat strength, and continually suffered fr
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