Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

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combrig
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Targul Frumos - Days 3 and 4

Post by combrig » 22 Nov 2002 02:15

Here's a quickie write-up on the third and fourth days of Targul Frumos, based on the same sources as before. Much less information available unfortunately.

4 May 1944

Battlefield Events:

On the night of 3-4 May, the Germans detected a regrouping of Soviet forces, and prepared for renewed Soviet attacks on the 4th. The 24th Pz.Div. assembled for a fresh counterattack northeast of Targul Frumos. Both 24th Pz.Div. and SST were engaged by the enemy during the night.

On the morning of the 4th, 2nd Ukrainian Front rejoined the battle with strong new attacks. Most of these fell on Grossdeutschland, which found itself embroiled in a bitter battle for Hill 236, a key height about 8km north of Targul Frumos that both sides wanted as an OP. For awhile, the battle for this hill was hand-to-hand. However, despite the lo-cally heavy fighting, the Germans reportedly sensed that the attacks on this day were overall somewhat weaker than those on previous days and, in any event, they were relatively ineffective.

The defense was supported on this day by 375 German and Rumanian fighter aircraft.

Events at 57th Panzerkorps HQ (Roman)

At 1230 Schörner flew to Roman to be briefed by the staff of 57th Panzerkorps on the continued fighting at Targul Frumos.

At 1630, 57th Panzerkorps reported that SST was in full control of its sector in the vicinity of Helestieni, that GD was heavily engaged near Hill 236 and that 24th Pz.Div. remained uncommitted.

The 1720 Ic update reported that the enemy was attempting to secure the higher gound within the battle area as a prelude to a renewed offensive. Weather was hindering reconnaissance, which was degraded in relation to that available on previous days. However, the Ic was convinced that the main effort has shifted to the area southwest of Ruginoasa. He reported that enemy attacks continued to be weak and ineffective.

Kirchner’s corps reported casualties for the period 1-3 May as: KIA 133 (6 officers), WIA 531 (33 officers), MIA 93 (2 officers); Total 757 (41 officers). Soviet casualties were unknown but considerably higher.

Events at Armeegruppe Wöhler HQ (Barlad)

During the morning, the Armeegruppe Wöhler KTB recorded that the enemy was again attacking around Targul Frumos in single echelon with infantry and small tank groups. The KTB noted that Kichner’s 57th Panzerkorps reported several early morning infantry attacks which were stronger than expected and had more artillery support than anticipated. The Ic reported that 24th GvSK (7th GvA) had been regrouped in the Targul Frumos area.

5 May 1944

Battlefield Events:

The fighting around Targul Frumos continued with reduced intensity but with larger numbers of Soviet troops committed. For the Soviets, Targul Frumos had now become an uncoordinated affair, with local commanders seeming to operating more or less in isolation and at a far less effective level of performance than on previous days.

During the morning, there were renewed attacks on Hill 192 and down W-3 toward Targul Frumos. SST was hit by heavy morning air strikes, but there was no follow-through. Grossdeutschland retaook Hill 236, and reported the destruction of two J.V. Stalin tanks near Radiu by PzKpfw IV (75mm long) tanks frontally at 400 meters.

By 1100, the Soviet assault had developed into a series of confused attacks at five locations on the front of 57th Panzerkorps. The most significant of these, around Hill 184, quickly degenerated into an indecisive close-combat brawl.

Events at 57th Panzerkorps HQ (Roman)

During the morning, Kirchner’s 57th Panzerkorps assumed command of 46th ID, out on its right flank.

At 1140, 57th Panzerkorps reported another desperate fight for Hill 184 and noted that Hill 236 had come under artillery fire. Despite the ongoing combat, the enemy was making almost no headway at this point, and 57th Panzerkorps believed that its front was in the process of stabilizing. The Battle of Targul Frumos was effectively over.

During the four-day struggle, the attackers took Ruginoasa, Cucuteni and a few small villages and achieved a maximum penetration of perhaps 8km, but failed to break — or even to notably compromise — the defense. Against these paltry gains, 2nd Ukrainian Front may have lost or sustained serious damage to as many as 550 of its 650 tanks and self-propelled guns. The Germans claimed 350 tanks killed.

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Victor
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Mea culpa

Post by Victor » 23 Nov 2002 21:23

Victor wrote:The two Romanian divisions could have been the 18th Mountain Division (mention by Axworthy and Scafes for its actions during 2-4 June, which I suspect it was 2-4 May actually) and maybe the 11th Infantry Division, whose counter attack near targu Frumos (again in June/probably May) earned its commander Edgar Radulescu a RK.
It seems I made a mistake. The 11th Infatry Division was near Iasi in May. Actually the actions that got Radulescu the Rk happened in June. There was a German-Romanian offensive at the end of May and beginning of June on the Piatra-Neamt-Targu-Frumos-Iasi line.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 25 Dec 2002 23:37

combrig,

What is the status of this construction?

/Marcus

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 28 Dec 2002 21:20

Didn't this thread use to have 4 pages (instead of 3 now) or is it just in my imagination.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 28 Dec 2002 21:26

Victor wrote:Didn't this thread use to have 4 pages (instead of 3 now) or is it just in my imagination.
I recently changed the number of posts per page, so that may be correct.

/Marcus

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Where This Thread is At

Post by combrig » 11 Jan 2003 02:56

Marcus, et.al. -

Sorry to be away from the discussion for so long. I got pulled into a project in my day job that ended up eating up all of my time and energy during most of December, then had to catch up on yet another project before returning here. Once those dominoes start falling...

Anyway, we don't seem to have a lot of new stuff being posted at this point, but there are some things I can add, I think.

First, Ullrich's Like a Cliff in the Ocean has some interesting material on SST in Targul Frumos. I'll try to OCR some of that and post it here for review. There's also some decent maps in that work that might be worth reproducing.

Second, I've got some potentially interesting and relevant background info on the strategic situation in Southern Russia and Rumania during April-June 1944, including copies of Ultra intercepts. I'd like to post some of that here too.

Third, it may also be useful to have folks post background info on commanders and on non-German units involved in this battle. I can probably round up a lot of that material myself, but contributions from others would be most welcome.

Beyond those three items, it seems to me that we may have mined this topic as much as we can for now. So maybe after we gather these last loose ends together, we should talk about how to convert the thread into a more polished format.

- David

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 11 Jan 2003 21:27

Nice to have you back Combrig/David

Fancy having a day job, what is the world coming too!!

:lol: Andy from the Shire

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Victor
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Re: Where This Thread is At

Post by Victor » 12 Jan 2003 08:43

combrig wrote: Third, it may also be useful to have folks post background info on commanders and on non-German units involved in this battle. I can probably round up a lot of that material myself, but contributions from others would be most welcome.
Some info on Romanian commanders can be found in this thread:
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... php?t=7625

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Christoph Awender
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some info

Post by Christoph Awender » 22 Jan 2003 18:57

Hello!

At my visit at the BAMA the last two days I still had some time left and remembered the Targul Frumos thread here. Here some miscellaneous infos I found browsing some documents:

On 30.April the 24.Pz.Div. was transferred from heavy defense battles in the area Jassy to the area Podul Illoaei, Sarca and at the long road from Jassy to Targul Frumos. The division had one day to rest.
The division had to prepare to attack enemy forces at the right wing of "GD".
The division built two Kampfgruppen:
Kampfgruppe "W"
a) Kampfgruppenstab (Stab Pz.Gren.Rgt.26)
- Stabskompanie (3x Pak 7,5cm)
- I.G.Kp. (3x I.G. 15cm (Sf.) )
- Fla.Kp. (9x 2cm Flak (Sf.) )
b) Panzerabteilung
- 2 Pz.Kpien. (28x Pz.IV 7,5cm L/48 )
- Stg.Kp. (9x Stg.III 7,5cm L/48 )
c) Pz.Gren.Btl.26
- 2 Pz.Gren.Kpien. (18x SPW)
- Pz.Gren.Kp. auf LKW
- schwere Kp. (3x Pak 7,5cm, 4x SPW 7,5cm, 3x I.G. 7,5cm, Pionierzug auf SPW)
d) Pz.Aufkl.Abt.24
- Pz.Aufkl.Kp. (22x SdKfz.250)
- Aufkl.Kp.
- schwere Kp. (3x Pak 7,5cm, 4x SPW 7,5cm, 3x m.GrW., Pionierzug auf SPW
e) Pz.Art.Abt.
- Batterie "Hummel"
- Batterie "Brummbär"

2) Kampfgruppe E
- 2 Pz.Gren.Btle.(mot.)
- Art.Abt.(mot.)

I am not 100% sure if these are actual or full strength numbers.

On 2.Mai 1944 the russian offensive started at dawn along the entire front north of Targul Frumos. Heavy enemy tank formations attack from the area Bals along the main road Harlau, Targul-Frumos to the south.
Simultaneously tanks and infantry attack towards height 192.

08:00 Order from 24.Pz.Div. to Kpfgr."W"
1. Enemy broke into positions of Pz.Füs.Btl."GD" at height 192 and pushes with tansk and infantry towards Facuti obviously to take the crossings there.
2. Own forces defend along the entire front. Overall situation unclear.
3. Division plans to destroy the broken through enemy north or south of the lake-chain and take the old HKL at height 192.
4.
- Kampfgruppe E attacks on the road to Targul-Frumos to the junction to Facuti and there north towards the lake-chain. Further orders will follow.
- Kpfgr."W" attacks from Sarca via Punkt 148 towards Punkt 192. Broken through enemy forces are to destroy. Contact with own forces in the area between Potieni and Facuti has to be established.
5. Divisionsgefechtsstand 1km southwest Valea Olior.

Order from Kampfgruppenführer to subunits
1.Enemy broke in at height 192 and advances south
2.Division destroys enemy forces north or south of the lakes. Kpfgr.E advances towards Facuti from the south. Kpfgr.W has order to attack the flank of the enemy and take the old HKL at height 192.
3. For this the Kpfgr. will reach the area height 148 first. Route: Northern exit Sarca about 4km along the frontline via Punkt 162 to Punkt 148. Column: Pz.Abt., Pz.Aufkl.Abt., Fla-Kp., Stabskp., Pz.Gren.Btl., s.Kp., Art.Abt. Start: immediate.
4. Supply units stay in Sarca.
5. Commander at the Pz.Abt.

From the after-action report of the Kpfgr.
While the Pz.Abt. and Pz.Aufkl.Abt. were able to start immediately the rest of the Kpfgr. was delayed because the main road was blocked by Kpfgr.E which moved west.
Immediately after Sarca the terrain was steep and the vehicles even the tanks could just advance very slow.Kpfgr.Führer orders that one platoon rushes forward to reconnoit the way to Punkt 148. It was not possible to throw other elements forward because of the heavy terrain.
The FlaKp. secure along the marching route. Kpfgr.Führer, Führer s.Kp. and Führer Artillerie were together. Contact to SPW elements just by radio.
At 11:00 the first elements of the Kpfgr. reached the flat depression at Punkt 148. Many vehicles were delayed and had to be rcovered from mud.
Arrived at height 148 the Kpfgr. receives a radio call from the division.
"Enemy infantry passed lakes west of Facuti to the south. Own infantry still fighting at Facuti, Kpfgr.E attacking from the south. Kpfgr."E" accelerate attack!
From Punkt 148 the commander had no view of the battlefield and enemy forces could show up every moment.
Orders:
a) One tank-platoon, which was the fastest available element, advances towards Facuti via Punkt 130 and reports enemy positions. Immediate reports via radio to the commander.
b) All Pz.Jg.platoons go into position at the outer edge of the depression to secure the advance of the Kpfgr.
c) Fla-Kp. goes into position to defend against air and infantry targets.
d) THe s.Kp. and the artillery receive order to go into position to attack Facuti and Punkt 192.
e) The SPW Btl. has to follow faster.

After a short time the forward platoon sends a radio message:
"At Facuti 20 - 30 enemy tanks of unknown type engaging own positions. In the village heavy battle sound, close combat. Southwest of the village movements to the south-probably enemy infantry. At Punkt 192 heavy battle sound and movements. Between Potieni and Facuti no own forces spotted."
- Small chapter about commander conclusions -

The commander decides to attack the enemy tanks at Facuti in surprise with the Pz.Abt. and the Pz.Aufkl.Abt. as close support. BEcause of the chaotic situation the artillery cannot be brought into action.

The commander issues orders to his sub commanders:
1. Kpfgr. destroys enemy tanks at Facuti
2. For this the Pz.Abt. attacks southwest immediately. To keep the surprise the tanks have to pass the edge of the depression at once in broad formation.
3. Pz.Aufkl.Abt.24 supports the tanks. After the enemy tanks have been destroyed it attacks the enemy infantry at Facuti and reinforces own units there.
4. I/26 advances towards the heigths west of Potieni, secures the right flank of the Kpfgr., establishes contact with own forces around Potieni and sets up to prevent the enemy from expanding the breakthrough.
5. Art.Abt. supports I./26.
6. s.Kp. stays in reserve.
7. Fla-Kp. secures the area from positions at Punkt 130 to prevent the enemy of moving infantry from Punkt 192 to Facuti by fire.
8. Commander is with the Pz.Abt.

The three tank companies surprised the enemy tanks at Facuti. Within minutes eleven enemy tanks were destroyed. The enemy was not able to regroup in the chaos. Several enemy tanks were immobilized and the rest was destroyed by close-combat squads of the Panzergrenadiere.
Elements of AA24 rush towards the depression on the left destroys enemy infantry and reaches Facuti from the east. The entire rest of AA24 attacked Facuti then and destroyed all enemy forces there. The Rgts.Stab Pz.Füs.Rgt."GD" was reliefed.
In the meantime Pz.Gren.Btl.26 advanced to the height 1km SW of Potieni and established contact with own forces at Potieni. Dismounted elements push back enemy forces on the left and expands the defense line there. From there they saw that fighting around Höhe 192 was getting less. Withdrawing german forces were included and by collected fire from all weapos the enemy was not able to bring heavy weapons to Höhe 192.


Thats it for now. Hope it is helpfull.
If interested I have also the divisional order for the counter attack on 7.Mai 24.Pz.Div.

\Christoph

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 26 Jun 2004 07:52

You were right combrig. (confirmation after one year and a half :D )
I managed to find out what was the mysterious Romanian brigade on the left of the Gross Deutschland Division. On 26 April, the Guard Division organized the "General Opris" Detachment, which was subordinated to the GD Division. Brigadier general Stefan Opris was the commander of the infantry of the Guard Division (one of the deputies of the CO gen Radu Niculescu-Cociu). I do not know what that detachment was comprised of. It held the position until 2 May, when it was forced to pull back towards Dumbravita and Ruginoasa.

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Post by mars » 27 Jun 2004 03:53

The Soviet Troops committed into the battle of Targul Frumos were in combat for months, they were worn out and were at the end of their logic support line, for example because of lack of fuel and Ammunition, VVS's aircrafts had to spend most of time stay on ground, most Soviet units went to battle with less than 1 load of amunistion and fuel supply. The Soviet tank units directly committed into this battle were 5th Guard Tank Army (3nd Guard Tank Corps,5th Guard Mechanized Corps, 18th Tank Corps, 29th Tank Corps, 14th and 53nd Guard Seperate Tank Regiment) and 2nd Tank Army (3nd Tank Corps, 16th Tank Corps, 11th Guard Tank Brigade, 8th and 13th Guard Tank Regiment), it looks impressive on paper, but these units were awfully understrength, the armor strenght of the 5th Guard Tank Army were 271 tanks (183 of them were T-34) and 87 SP guns( 12 of them were ISU-122), 2nd Tank Army were no better, its 3th Tank Corps had 50 tanks and SP Guns( 27 T-34, 5 SU-85 and 18 ISU-152), 16th Tank Corps had 55 tanks and SP guns (32 T-34,2 MK-9,16 ISU-122), its separate tank Brigads and Regiments had 16 T-34, for a total and 121 tanks and SP guns. Besides these two tanks army, Soviet had 6th Tank army in reserve(5th Guard Tank Corps, 5th Mechanized Corps) with about 100 tank and SP, however, because the failure of the Soviet offensive, most part of this tank army were not committed into battle, if we also consider those independent Soviet Tank and SP Brigads, regiments and batalions assinged to infantry, the armors Soviet committed into this battle were around 500-550 tanks and SP Guns, that was weaker than 1 full-strenght Soviet Tank Army.
Let us look the German-Rumanian armor Strenght of this battle, the armor units Germany and Rumania committed into this battle and their strenght were
1. Grossdeutschland Panzer Grenadier Division: 160 Panzers( 40 MK IV, 80 Panthers and 40 Tigers), 40 Sturmgeschuetz
2 German 24th Panzer Division: 24 MK IV, 12 Sturmgeschuetz
3. SS Panzer "ToteKopf" Panzer Division: 80-90 Panzers and SP Guns
4. Rumaina 1st Gurad Tank Division: around 80 Tanks and SP Gunsif we also included a few independent Germany and Rumanian assult gun units, the total armors Germany and Rumania committed into this battle were around 400-450.
The reason why Stalin decided to start this offensive without refitting his troops were twofold, first, at that time Soviet were preparing the huge offensive in white Russia, to destract German from this part of front, Soviet launched a series of relative small scale offensive along the east front, Targul Frumos offensive was one of them, since as a rule, Red army always committed their tank armys into major offensive, then all of the six Soviet tank armys, understrength they were, were ordered to participant into these offensive. The second reason was that there were a major intelligence failure at Soviet side, because they obviously belived that Germany and Rumania were equally worn out as the Red army, for example,before the offensive, 2nd Ukarainian Front estimated that there were only one Germany armor units, Grossdeutschland Panzer Grenadier Division, confronted them, and the armor strength of Grossdeutschland Panzer Grenadier Division were estimated around 30, so that they believed although understrength, Red army could easily broke German-Rumanian defensive line, and reached Iasi-Kishinev line, and created a far better start line for next big offensive as soon as the "White Russia" offensive come to an end. This terrible mistake cost Red army dearly, although "hunders Soviet tanks were destroyed at the first day of offensive" was still an overclaim.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 27 Jun 2004 11:46

mars, as I already mentioned in another topic, the Romanian 1st Armored Division was not comitted into battle at Targul Frumos. The Guard Division as an infantry division and different from the 1st Armored Division. This was the Romanian unit that took part in the engagement. So adding the Romanian tanks to the Axis total is not correct.

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Post by Mark V. » 27 Jun 2004 15:28

...much like GD and Totenkopf. GD didn't have more then 25 Pz.IVs, 10 Tigers, 12 Panthers and 25 Stugs operational, while Totenkopf was even worse off and had no where near 80-90.

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Post by mars » 27 Jun 2004 18:29

1.Victor, I just listed the armors available for both sides, as you said, Rumania tanks were not committed into this battle, but neither were Soviet armors which belonged to 6th tank army.
2. Mark V: the armor strength of GD and Totenkopf come from General Hasso von Manteuffel's lecture at Fort Leavenworth, US army Command and General Staff College. of course these statistics only indicated the armors AVAILABLE for GD and Totenkopf, I do not know day by day operational armors available for GD, but I assume we also do not know the operational armors available for Soviet 5th Guard and 2nd tank army either, so why should I compare the number of operational German armors to the armors available for Soviet ? soviet tank units should suffered more mechanic problems, since they were at the end of the logistic line.

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Post by Mark V. » 27 Jun 2004 21:09

I just listed the armors available for both sides, as you said, Rumania tanks were not committed into this battle, but neither were Soviet armors which belonged to 6th tank army.
I don't know mars, am I missing something did anyone (or any German source) really suggest that the 6th Tank Army also took part in the battle.
German sources (though mostly not so specific about the Russian units taking part in the battle) mention "only" around 500 Russian (2nd and 5.Guards Tank Army) tanks attacking Targul Frumos.
the armor strength of GD and Totenkopf come from General Hasso von Manteuffel's lecture at Fort Leavenworth, US army Command and General Staff College. of course these statistics only indicated the armors AVAILABLE for GD and Totenkopf, I do not know day by day operational armors available for GD, but I assume we also do not know the operational armors available for Soviet 5th Guard and 2nd tank army either, so why should I compare the number of operational German armors to the armors available for Soviet ? soviet tank units should suffered more mechanic problems, since they were at the end of the logistic line.
Yes, v. Manteuffel's work seems practically to be the only source for this operation (from German side) but as many other German officers postwar accounts this should be taken with a grain of salt. His numbers for GD are the numbers the division should have had. But GD didn't have more then 13 Panthers available in its Panther Battalion (I./Pz.Rgt.26) most of which were in repair (the situation improved somewhat later in May when it received new Panthers) like wise for Tigers, Pz.IVs and stugs.
Are you suggesting that Russian figures aren't the number of tanks available (thus operational)?

cheers

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