"The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

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"The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Panther Arthur » 25 Aug 2021 02:30

Hello Everyone,

An account of the nighttime battle between I./SS-Pz.Rgt.1 and the Regina Rifle Regiment 8/9 June 1944.

Yes, you know the battle - Bretteville-l'Orgueilleuse.

Canadian Military History Journal.(CMHJ)

BIG ARTICLE - new photos.

Discussion/analysis of Pantherabteilung tactics versus the Cdn Army.

Free download:

https://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol30/iss1/7/

Do share if you like what you read,

Cheers,

Arthur Gullachsen

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Westphalia1812 » 27 Aug 2021 23:16

Thanks for sharing. The article is great. His analysis shows that the tactics that HJ used during this counterattack weren't just the standard doctrine of the german armored forces since 1941 but rather a product of the experiences the LAH officers gained in the Ukraine in 1943*¹. Sadly no comparison between the counterattacks of Lehr, 2. PzDiv or 21. PzDiv has been made. It would be interesting to find out, if the other Heer and SS Panzer divisions had the same problem with coordination between different arms. The Canadians performed magnificently. The artillery tactics used by the Canadians are quite baffling.

*¹ ,,These rough tactics, though proven successful during 1943 German operations in the Ukraine, violated established German armoured doctrine that propagated the use of all arms, especially infantry support, artillery and airstrikes, to conduct operations."

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Michael Kenny » 27 Aug 2021 23:53

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
27 Aug 2021 23:16
Sadly no comparison between the counterattacks of Lehr, 2. PzDiv or 21. PzDiv has been made.
During EPSOM 2 Pz Div came unstuck when it charged into the middle of an infantry unit at Haut Bosq (SW entrance to Cheux) and it lost 6 Panthers in as many minutes.


Haut Bosq Nn.jpg

12th SS made the same type of 'mad dash' at Buron on July 8th and lost another 7 of its Panthers.
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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Westphalia1812 » 28 Aug 2021 06:40

Michael Kenny wrote:
27 Aug 2021 23:53
Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
27 Aug 2021 23:16
Sadly no comparison between the counterattacks of Lehr, 2. PzDiv or 21. PzDiv has been made.
During EPSOM 2 Pz Div came unstuck when it charged into the middle of an infantry unit at Haut Bosq (SW entrance to Cheux) and it lost 6 Panthers in as many minutes.



12th SS made the same type of 'mad dash' at Buron on July 8th and lost another 7 of its Panthers.
AFAIK 2. PzDiv also got roughly handled at Villers Bocage (the brigade box). For Lehr, the Le Dezert counterattack could be seen as a counterpart to HJs attacks. Although that one was a bit better supported by the infantry. The 9th SS also had many tank casualties during EPSOM but I am not sure if this had anything to do with lackluster performance/coordination or just with a very good British performance.

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Aug 2021 06:49

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
27 Aug 2021 23:16
*¹ ,,These rough tactics, though proven successful during 1943 German operations in the Ukraine, violated established German armoured doctrine that propagated the use of all arms, especially infantry support, artillery and airstrikes, to conduct operations."


You may be jumping into conclusions. The German armored forces routinely violated "combined arms" by using tanks only. Panzer Lehr also violated this principle, they lost a bunch of Panthers at Lingevres in June. The US army also did "tanks only" sometimes, too, by sending in Shermans (either regular or Assault Gun platoon) to shoot up an area with high volume fire.

I think the key is finding whether or not they had available forces to make the "combined arms" attacks. Who doesn't want to do combined arms if they can?

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Westphalia1812 » 28 Aug 2021 06:55

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Aug 2021 06:49
Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
27 Aug 2021 23:16
*¹ ,,These rough tactics, though proven successful during 1943 German operations in the Ukraine, violated established German armoured doctrine that propagated the use of all arms, especially infantry support, artillery and airstrikes, to conduct operations."



I think the key is finding whether or not they had available forces to make the "combined arms" attacks. Who doesn't want to do combined arms if they can?


Well one thing that was obviously missing was the CAS. The LAH enjoyed heavy air support during their Kharkov counteroffensive and also during ZITADELLE. The infantry was well trained as far as infantry combat goes. But it seems that they lacked collective training with the armored units. Maybe that was because the training of the SS Panzer Regiment 12 was very improvised and conducted with low amounts of resources.

Ps: Why is everything in bold?
Last edited by Westphalia1812 on 28 Aug 2021 07:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Aug 2021 07:00

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
28 Aug 2021 06:40
AFAIK 2. PzDiv also got roughly handled at Villers Bocage (the brigade box). For Lehr, the Le Dezert counterattack could be seen as a counterpart to HJs attacks. Although that one was a bit better supported by the infantry. The 9th SS also had many tank casualties during EPSOM but I am not sure if this had anything to do with lackluster performance/coordination or just with a very good British performance.
Not correct, the Pz Lehr counterattack was combined arms.

What happened was that the US intelligence was well prepared and set a strong trap, lead by US 30th Division, also the depleted forces employed by Pz Lehr were inadequate for a successful breakthrough anyway.

The 9th SS counterattack against the Scottish troops was also combined arms.., they were hit with some 2000 sorties on their assembly areas, and the repeated tank-infantry offensive pushes bent their lines but didn't get into the depths.

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Westphalia1812 » 28 Aug 2021 07:05

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Aug 2021 07:00
Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
28 Aug 2021 06:40
AFAIK 2. PzDiv also got roughly handled at Villers Bocage (the brigade box). For Lehr, the Le Dezert counterattack could be seen as a counterpart to HJs attacks. Although that one was a bit better supported by the infantry. The 9th SS also had many tank casualties during EPSOM but I am not sure if this had anything to do with lackluster performance/coordination or just with a very good British performance.
Not correct, the Pz Lehr counterattack was combined arms.

What happened was that the US intelligence was well prepared and set a strong trap, lead by US 30th Division, also the depleted forces employed by Pz Lehr were inadequate for a successful breakthrough anyway.

Yeah that was what I meant. Lehr did deploy more infantry than HJ at Le Dezert. They also used SPWs there. In June 44 (or at least for the most part of June) Lehr suffered more casualties than HJ did. And they had less infantry to begin with.

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Aug 2021 07:22

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
28 Aug 2021 06:55
Well one thing that was obviously missing was the CAS. The LAH enjoyed heavy air support during their Kharkov counteroffensive and also during Zitadelle. The infantry was well trained as far as infantry combat goes. But it seems that they lacked collective training with the armored units. Maybe that was because the training of the SS Panzer Regiment 12 was very improvised and conducted with low amounts of resources.

The major counterattacks of Pz Lehr, 21.Pz, and 12 SS was with combined arms, I think the issue is that even the German Pz divisions employing combined arms in local counterattacks in Normandy couldn't handle the responsive, high volume Allied artillery. The Germans had the same problems fighting US forces, not just in Normandy but in the battle of Aachen, down to the fall fighting and in OP Autumn Mist and Nordwind. Occupational hazard.

There was a big 21.Pz planned counterattack, executed with significant forces that was executed prior to EPSOM- according to the divisional history expected to achieve more than the others, and ended being a disappointing one that ended up getting smothered in artillery fire.
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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Westphalia1812 » 28 Aug 2021 07:33

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Aug 2021 07:22
Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
28 Aug 2021 06:55
Well one thing that was obviously missing was the CAS. The LAH enjoyed heavy air support during their Kharkov counteroffensive and also during Zitadelle. The infantry was well trained as far as infantry combat goes. But it seems that they lacked collective training with the armored units. Maybe that was because the training of the SS Panzer Regiment 12 was very improvised and conducted with low amounts of resources.


There was a big 21.Pz planned counterattack, executed with significant forces that was executed prior to EPSOM- according to the divisional history expected to achieve more than the others, and ended being a disappointing one that ended up getting smothered in artillery fire.


I've never heard of that one. I agree on the devastating artillery. Interestingly both during Nordwind an autumn mist some infantry formations (e.g. 18. VGD and 6. SS) were able to "slip" through and encircle US units. The Panzer Divisions had a harder time...

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Aug 2021 07:42

I think that German combined arms tactics against strong defenses only work well if they have massed air support (as you mention) and, most importantly, are at least at par in the artillery. Thousands of artillery rounds, shot right on top on attacking forces cancels out even the "best" coordinated fighting skill ..

The 21.Pz counterattack was executed on June 16th, 1944. (Kortenahaus, pg.140-144)

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Westphalia1812 » 28 Aug 2021 07:49

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
28 Aug 2021 06:55

Well one thing that was obviously missing was the CAS. The LAH enjoyed heavy air support during their Kharkov counteroffensive and also during Zitadelle
Just to illustrate how well the attacking german divisions during Zitadelle were supported: ,,This was indeed the focus of his first orders after temporarily halting the offensive. SS Das Reich’s artillery regiments were given the assignment to conduct intensive counterbattery fire on identified targets. The attached batteries of six-barreled rocket launchers of the 55th Werfer and 1st Werfer Lehr Regiments received instructions to destroy the Soviet troops sheltering in the trenches and in foxholes. In order to destroy the Soviet artillery grouping in the region of the Zhuravlinyi woods, which was pounding Berezov and Gremuchii with its fire and was particularly vexing the attackers, Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers from the VIII Air Corps were urgently requested through the Luftwaffe’s liaison officer with the ground forces." (Zamulin, p. 124, kindle)

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Westphalia1812 » 28 Aug 2021 08:02

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Aug 2021 07:42
I think that German combined arms tactics against strong defenses only work well if they have massed air support (as you mention) and, most importantly, are at least at par in the artillery. Thousands of artillery rounds, shot right on top on attacking forces cancels out even the "best" coordinated fighting skill ..

The 21.Pz counterattack was executed on June 16th, 1944. (Kortenahaus, pg.140-144)
Thank you. The Kortenhaus history is still on my buying list but its quite expensive.

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Aug 2021 13:32

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
28 Aug 2021 07:33
I've never heard of that one. I agree on the devastating artillery. Interestingly both during Nordwind an autumn mist some infantry formations (e.g. 18. VGD and 6. SS) were able to "slip" through and encircle US units. The Panzer Divisions had a harder time...

The LAH/ 2.Pz columns, making the northern effort in OP Luttich was pinned by high volume air attack, which slowed their transit to a crawl. After initial success- employing infiltration- the DR at Mortain was also pinned down.

The 6.SS was in reserve, and a battlegroup infiltrated through rugged terrain while the attacking Volksgrenadier divisinos "occupied" the attention of US inf formations, making a costly advance.

The key to successful breakthrough was to avoid the pre-sited artillery as much as possible with the tactics of the 5th Pz Army (a surprise assault with silent infiltration with a picked assault groups). The 6th Pz Army's conventional approach doomed Autumn Mist, as the attack VG's got pinned down by artillery and made a costly advance.

There seems to be no clean way of getting through an activated Allied defense supported in the region of 18-20 battalions of motorized artillery and up to 10,000 rounds.

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Re: "The Night of the Panthers" - new article on I./SS-Pz.Rgt 1 Normandy - Arthur Gullachsen

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Aug 2021 14:20

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
28 Aug 2021 07:49
Just to illustrate how well the attacking german divisions during Zitadelle were supported: ,,
Yep, OP Winter Storm, Stalingrad (supported by Luftflotte), and so many high powered counterattacks in the Eastern Front supported by a Fliegerkorps..

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