пятница, 16 октября 2015 г.

Grenadierkompanie K.St.N.131V (1.9.1944)


взвод 1
джуниор + 8 смг
джуниор + 8 смг
джуниор + 4 смг + расчет мг42 + 3 бойца с винтовочными гранатометами

взвод 2 такой же

взвод 3
джуниор + 6 винтовок + расчет мг 42
джуниор + 6 винтовок + расчет мг 42
джуниор + 3 винтовки + расчет мг 42 + 3 гранатометчка

The Volks Grenadiers (literally 'Peoples' Grenadiers) began to appear during September 1944, and incorporated a large number of organisational changes from the standard Grenadier Division.  The choice of title, 'Peoples' Grenadiers, was also a political statement, blurring the distinction between citizens and soldiers.  
Theoretically, the Volks Grenadiers were to incorporate the new generation of weapons deployed by the German Army, and eventually all German infantry formations were to have adopted their organisation and equipment.  In reality however, the Volks Grenadiers suffered from equipment shortages and a lack of vital training as Nazi Germany sought to mobilise fresh units to meet the threat of the Red Army in the East and the Western Allies now firmly established in France.
The Volks Grenadier Battalion, 1944 to 1945
Battalion Headquarters (4 Officers, 13 men)
Communications Platoon (27 men)
Battalion Supply Platoon (2 Officers, 45 men)
Heavy Company (3 Officers, 191 men)
Company HQ (1 Officer, 23 men)
Mortar Platoon (60 men)
Infantry Gun Platoon (1 Officer, 51 men)
Two Machine Gun Platoons, each (1 Officer or NCO, 28 men)
Three Rifle Companies (2 Officers, 117 men) each comprised of;
Company HQ (1 Officer, 19 men)
One Rifle Platoon and two Sturm Platoons, each comprised of;
Platoon HQ (1 Officer or NCO, 5 men)
Three Squads, each comprised of 9 men
Total strength of 642 all ranks (15 Officers and 627 men)
The Volks Grenadier Bicycle Battalion, 1944 to 1945
Battalion Headquarters (4 Officers, 14 men)
Communications Platoon (27 men)
Battalion Supply Platoon (2 Officers, 57 men)
Heavy Company (3 Officers, 208 men)
Company HQ (1 Officer, 26 men)
Mortar Platoon (66 men)
Infantry Gun Platoon (1 Officer, 55 men)
Two Machine Gun Platoons, each (1 Officer or NCO, 30 men)
Three Rifle Companies (2 Officers, 126 men) each comprised of;
Company HQ (1 Officer, 22 men)
Rifle Platoon, comprised of
Platoon HQ (1 Officer, 7 men)
Three Squads, each comprised of 9 men
Two Machine Pistol Platoons, each comprised of;
Platoon HQ (1 Officer or NCO, 7 men)
Three Squads, each comprised of 9 men
Total strength of 699 all ranks (15 Officers and 684 men)
Points of note
Typically one Battalion of one Regiment in the Division would be bicycle mounted in an attempt to alleviate transport shortages.  Several features of the Battalion were different to previous organisations.  Firstly, the Companies lost their own supply troops and 7,5-cm guns were introduced into the Battalion, replacing the 12-cm mortar.  But the most startling changes were left for the Rifle Companies.
The elements of the Battalion
Mortar Platoon - the Platoon served six 8-cm tubes as its Infantry equivalent.
Infantry Gun Platoon - the Platoon served four 7,5-cm weapons, all towed and supplied by horses.  The 12-cm mortars found in the more normal Grenadier Battalion were retained at Regimental level in the Volks Grenadier Division.
Machine Gun Platoon - each Platoon served four MG34 or MG42s for a total of eight in the Battalion, a notable drop in such weapons compared to previous Infantry Battalions.
The Rifle Company - the greatest difference was reserved for the Squads themselves.  The Company's single Rifle Platoon differed slightly from the regular Grenadier Platoon.  
Platoon HQ still consisted of a Commander and two messengers, all three men armed with machine pistols, plus a stretcher bearer with a pistol.  There were also two rifle armed drivers for the Platoon's horse drawn transport, but there was no longer a spare light machine gun available.  Each of the three Rifle Squads was armed as those in the Grenadier Battalion, the leader and one man carrying machine pistols, a light machine gunner with a pistol and MG34 or MG42, plus six men armed with rifles.  In the third Squad, three of the rifles were equipped with grenade launchers.
The other two Platoons of the Company however were radically different.  They were termed Machine Pistol Platoons, and here is where there is room for both interpretation and confusion.  The KStN tables for the Volks Grenadier units issued in September 1944 refer only to machine pistols, which until that point in the war had always meant either an MP40 or similar 9-mm calibre submachine gun.  In late 1943 however, a new and very different weapon had appeared, which was also known as a machine pistol.
The MP43 would go on to be known by a variety of different names.  While referred to as a machine pistol, it fired a unique 7.92-mm round very different from that used by German rifles and machine guns proper.  The 7.92-mm kurz, or short round, was designed only for ranges of up to around 400 metres.  This reduction in recoil allowed the weapon to fire on fully automatic while retaining controllability, so it could be used for both aimed fire at medium range and burst fire for the close assault.  It was fed from a distinctive curved thirty round magazine, which made it difficult to use from a prone position.  In 1944 the MP43 became the MP44, and later that year the Stumgewehr 44 (Stg44), or assault rifle.  It was intended that the Stg44 would go on to replace both the 1898 Mauser bolt action rifle and the MP40 machine pistol, and to this end a new Machine Pistol Platoon organisation was brought in with the Volks Grenadiers.
Platoon HQ still had a Commander and two messengers, each armed with a machine pistol.  The stretcher bearer had a pistol and the wagon driver and horse leader each a rifle.  Platoon HQ also had two spare light machine guns for allocation as required.  The first and second Squads of the Platoon each had an NCO and eight men, all of who carried machine pistols.  The third Squad was equipped slightly differently, with a single light machine gun, plus a pistol for the gunner, three rifles with grenade launchers and five machine pistols.  
Now like many people, I had always assumed that the machine pistols referred to in this organisation were the more usual 9-mm calibre MP40 or similar weapon.  Quite sometime ago (and it is a long time now!), I swapped a few emails with a fellow enthusiast, who was undertaking some research into the German Army.  He managed to convince me that while the tables say machine pistol, at that time they did not distinguish between an MP40 or an MP44, which were very different weapons.
There is a further complication in that while the Stg44 was intended to be used in phenomenal quantities, by this late stage of the war German industry was simply not capable of meeting demand.  Where the Stg44 was not available, standard bolt action rifles or 9-mm submachine guns may well have been substituted.  That means that like very many things associated with the Wehrmacht and Nazi Germany in late 1944 and early 1945, a great deal of what was intended to be implemented remained purely theoretical.
The Volks Grenadier Company HQ included a sniper group of six men, and adopted some of the key personnel from the disbanded Train, as well as four signallers.
In November 1944, perhaps in a bid to clear up confusion on how many machine pistols and assault rifles were authorised for the Volks Grenadier Company, a revised KStN table was produced.  This retained the same overall format as described above, with a few amendments.
The Company Commander, senior NCO and three messengers were all to be armed with an Stg44.  One of the six snipers was made an NCO, and all were to be armed with the self loading G43 rifle fitted with a telescopic sight.  In each Platoon, the three men armed with rifle grenade launchers were removed from their Squad and added to Platoon HQ.  
The two Machine Pistol Platoons were re-titled Sturm or Assault Platoons, with the first and second Squads now each of an NCO and seven men, each armed with the Stg44.  The third Squad had an NCO and five men each carrying an Stg44, plus two light machine gunners each with a pistol and an MG34 or MG42.  The Platoon Commander and his two messengers were all to carry an Stg44, and there was one unallocated light machine gun.  The third Rifle Platoon retained the same number of personnel and weapons as before, but slightly rearranged.  The three rifle grenadiers were shown under Platoon HQ, with the Platoon commander and two messengers all having an MP40.  The three Rifle Squads each consisted of an NCO with MP40 and seven men, armed with one MP40, five bolt action rifles, and a pistol and MG34/42 for the single light machine gunner. 
The Bicycle Volks Grenadier Battalion used the same basic organisation, increases in personnel between subunits largely being a result of additional wagon drivers.  At the Platoon level, a second wagon driver and a bicycle mechanic, both armed with rifles, were added to Platoon HQ.  Transport consisted of a two horse and a four horse wagon, crewed by the three drivers, the rest of the men each having a bicycle.  Beyond that the Bicycle Company was identical to the normal Volks Grenadier Company.
The evolution of the German Infantry and later Grenadier Battalion is symptomatic of that of the Army itself.  It moved from an offensive minded force to a highly defensive body.  The increase in mortars and machine guns, and the removal of men from the Rifle Platoons to serve them, showed just how static the Wehrmacht had become.  The lightning invasions of 1939 to 1941 were replaced by an attrition dominated conflict in the East, and in the West movement was choked by allied airpower.  The ordinary infantryman was endlessly expended in countless machine gun posts, fortified farm houses and shattered streets.  When massive assaults were undertaken in the final year, they could not be sustained beyond a few days, and the losses suffered by inexperienced men fighting now veteran enemies drained resources even further.  It was an inglorious end for an army which had thought itself invincible, but oddly fitting that they became as stagnant as the Nazi ideology which they embraced and inflicted upon so many others.

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