Historical Verification ?

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Kopfdorfer
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Historical Verification ?

Post by Kopfdorfer »


Hi Guys,

I am building a scenario about US 3rd Armored Division in the Stolberg Corridor in Sept 1944.
In Charles Whitings book "Bloody Aachen" there is reference to TF Lovelady fighting JagPzVI Elefants.
I cannot find (other) reference to support this. Do any of you have any reference material that might
support this ?
My online searches at Lexicon der Wehrmacht and Axis History.com ( usually good sources )
have not produced anything.
Help appreciated.

Kopfdorfer
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Prester John
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Re: Historical Verification ?

Post by Prester John »


Are you able to access any official unit histories? Some information would suggest that the Elefants were never deployed there, and it would be good to identify the German units that they were facing and then research their OBs. I'd make a small bet they were facing Jagdpanthers but that is just a guess.
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Kopfdorfer
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Re: Historical Verification ?

Post by Kopfdorfer »


I agree that all the unit histories I have looked at do not support Whiting's claim.
...BUT there were a couple of units equipped with Elefants/Ferdinands that did refit near there between
service in Italy and the Ostfront.
Still looking for something definitive.
Thanks for your reply.
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Prester John
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Re: Historical Verification ?

Post by Prester John »


I was just watching the Chieftain interviewing Peter Samsonov and he made the comment about the Soviets calling all heavy tank destroyers Ferdinands. Not quite the same but I wonder if there was some other relationship on the Western Front.
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MrsWargamer
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Re: Historical Verification ?

Post by MrsWargamer »


I just want to mention, that even well respected historians can make total gaffes.

I recall reading Company Commander by Charles B Macdonald. The man was actually there. But he still managed to get the names of vehicles horribly wrong.

Yes, I'm that MrsWargamer.
sukunai.ni.yori@hotmail.com
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bocage44
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Re: Historical Verification ?

Post by bocage44 »


Here’s a synopsis of information gleaned from the combat histories of Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653 and Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654:
The Ferdinand made its first combat appearance at Kursk July/August 1943. These vehicles were assigned to the Schwere Panzerjäger-Regiment 656, which was broken down as follows:

Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653 (45 Ferdinands)
Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654 (44 Ferdinands)

In November/December of 1943, the first of the 50 surviving Ferdinands were sent back to Germany and Austria for refurbishment. Ultimately, 48 of these vehicles were rebuilt and sent back into combat. Incidentally, it was during this time that the Ferdinand was redesignated the Elefant per Hitler’s orders.

In February 1944, the Schwere Panzerjäger-Regiment 656 was sent to Italy. This included 11 newly-rebuilt Elefants in Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653, kompanie 1. The remaining Elefants were spread among the 2 and 3 kompanies of Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653 and sent to the Eastern Front in April of 1944. Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654 was sent to France without vehicles and reequipped with jagdpanthers.

On June 26th, 1944 Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653, kompanie 1 was ordered to leave Italy. It had 4 operational Elefants remaining. These vehicles were transferred to Vienna for repair. Meanwhile, the other two kompanies of Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653 suffered heavy losses on the Eastern Front. This ultimately led to their removal from combat to be refitted.

In December 1944, Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653 was renamed Heeres schwere Panzerjäger Kompanie 614. All remaining Elefants were assigned to this unit. Heeres schwere Panzerjäger Kompanie 614 would spend the remainder of the war fighting on the Eastern Front.

Based upon research from the published combat histories, I can’t find any indication that Elefants were used in Northwest Europe. However, anything is possible. That said, my own personal opinion is that Whiting’s vehicle identification is incorrect.
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Blaze
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Re: Historical Verification ?

Post by Blaze »


MrsWargamer wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 5:04 pm I just want to mention, that even well respected historians can make total gaffes.

I recall reading Company Commander by Charles B Macdonald. The man was actually there. But he still managed to get the names of vehicles horribly wrong.
Yeah, really. I have a hard enough time remembering what I had for breakfast today. That's why "With the Old Breed" is special. The details Eugene Sledge wrote were very vivid, as he made notes in his bible while it happened. After the war he made an outline and put it away for some years. I suppose it made recollections much easier. The level of detail was impressive.

As far as vehicles it's very much a norm to botch the more uncommon equipment. Even of ones own side, let alone a huge box with a telephone pole sized rifle sticking out of you've never seen before (So it must have been one of those Hetzer things *shrug*). All the while with pure adrenaline kicking in as you're on "mission focus" aka in survival mode while being terrified.
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Kopfdorfer
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Re: Historical Verification ?

Post by Kopfdorfer »


Hi All ,

And Thanks for all the input - keep it coming.

Bocage44 gives a good precis of info on the Ferdinand/Elefant.

My own suspicions are that :
1) The mis-identification theory is always a strong possibility.
2) While Bocage44s precis is pretty thorough , it is the periods between the Sdkfz 184 deployments that pose
the "possibility" that Whiting ( and his source ) might have been correct. That is to say , that the repairs and
upgrades of Sdkfz 184 at the Nibelungenwerk at St. Valentin , Austria ( not Vienna ) did not generally hold to the schedule hoped for
by the German Staff due to materiel and labour problems , and deployments were made with units complements
below TO and E standards.
These remaining vehicles resided somewhere - likely at the repair facility .
It is concievable that as the tattered 7th Armee started to coalesce behind the Siegfried Line , and German Armoured
reserves were negligible , that any available reinforcements were sent to the area of immediate need - in this case
in the path of Hodges VII Corps pushing into the Stolberg Corridor south of Aachen.

Unlike some , I am okay with ASL Scenarios not being pure and 100% documented history - this sort of scenario can test out
interesting what ifs , and exercise engagements that are fascinating even if they were not hammered out on a real battlefield.
My own interest in this scenario was , frankly , kindled by my doubts as to the accuracy of Whiting's record.
As any real historian knows , EVERY record holds bias , and only the examination of multiple sources in comparison can ever
paint the image closest to what really happened.
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