More about Panzerwrecks 17, pages 70/71, this time…

From Paul Hocking:

Some information to correct the comments on page 71 of PzW #17.

The OOB listed on page 71 for Fs AA 12 is completely misrepresented and inaccurate, I am afraid that Fred Deprun has followed a wrong trail about this unit’s OOB.

To explain, in a book by Didier Lodieu called “Dying for St-Lo” which you may well be familiar with, Fred Deprun appears to be a sub-author for several sections of the book. On page 38 of this book he covers Fs AA 12 in some detail, but unfortunately it’s all of a mix up.

The OOB he quoted is a five company Aufkl Abt exactly the same data as you have on page 71 of PzW #17.

This specification has long puzzled me as this OOB is exactly that of a Type 44 Panzer Aufkl Abt, which is normally only seen specified for Panzer and Panzer Grenadier divisions. So the puzzle is, did an essentially Infantry Korps (i.e. II Fs Korps), really have a PzAA with all the 150 plus armoured vehicles that that entails ? if so this Infantry Korps, which also included its Fs StuG Abt 12, that it did certainly have, is almost a miniature Pz Grenadier Division, but as far as I am aware, The Herman Goering Pz Division and I Fs Korps aside, there were no other large Fallschirmjager Panzer units in existence.

Anyway to move on, quite by accident I was late last year in contact with a Simon Trew, an historian with the Department of War Studies, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, about some other inaccuracies in the book “Dying for St-Lo” that he was also covering in another book, and it turned out that it was he who had supplied Fred Deprun with a lot of information about the OOB of Fs AA12, but it is not what was eventually printed, it’s totally different. He had not seen the final edition of the book and was completely unaware of how wrong was the data printed, and very surprised.

It seems that Simon Trew was in the USA previously and had looked at original WW2 POW interrogation reports of ex-FsAA12 personnel, They all described a totally different OOB that was much more along the lines of an infantry based unit, also suffering very much from late war shortages of vehicles and equipment, this is the OBB of their unit;-

Stab Hptm. Gottsche, with 1x 6×6 ex-Italian armoured car and 3x ex-Italian B4 tanks.

1st Kp Lt v Konitz, with several Pkw and Lkw, 3x half-tracks (possibly Kettenkrad), 2x 8cm mortars and a 8,8 cm Puppchen

2nd Kp Lt Runge, same as 1st Kp

3rd Kp Lt Tereus, same as 1st Kp

4th Kp Lt ? 4x 2cm flak guns plus MG’s

5th Kp Lt Ilig, Schwere Kp with 1x 12cm Mortar, 2x Pak 40, 6xMGs, 12 Lkw

6th Kp Lt Lanefeld, Vors Kp with 20-30 Lkw

As you can see an entirely different OOB to the five company PzAufkl Abt quoted by Fred Deprun, it was in fact a six company infantry Aufkl Abt, and poorly equipped as well.

But the Italian armoured car is mentioned in the Stab of this unit and it would seem that calling it a 6×6 is misleading, it’s a 4×4, but it does look to the passer by like it is a 6×6 with the location of its spare wheel being where it is, which is probably what most of the POWs interviewed probably saw of it, if indeed they saw it at all.

Trust you find this of interest.

Thank you Paul. The attention these images attracted is gratifying, because when I first found them on motion picture film I was hesitant to try to obtain them, as they presented a bit of an anomaly and were rather dark. Lee brightened them up and Fred Deprun was kind enough to provide his comments. Had he said nothing, we would not be getting this input now. Elon Musk has had things blow up on the launch pad, so it’s important that we not shy away from trying again next time. It’s what guys do. This blog is like our drawing board; it’s what we go back to when we’ve had a mishap ;- )