Nikopol 1943-44.

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

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Nikopol 1943-44.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; several reports about it...................................

Replacement in a defensive position.

I. Location and condition of the troops.

Since the end of October 1943, two German corps have been defending the Nikopol bridgehead on the Dnieper against Russian attacks (from south the XXIX. AK and the IV. AK).

In the early morning of November 22nd, the Grenadier Regiment 683, coming from another assignment as part of its 335th Infantry Division, arrived in the village of Bolshaya Lepatikha in the bridgehead (Nikopol) and took a longer rest as ordered. Sunrise in the last third of November is around 07:00 a.m. and sunset is around 15:30 p.m. CET*.

The Grenadier Regiment 683 consists of two battalions, an infantry gun company, a tank destroyer company and the regimental staff company, the latter with a telecommunications platoon, an infantry pioneer (sappers) platoon and a mounted platoon.

Each battalion has three grenadier companies and a heavy weapons company, as well as a communications platoon with telephones and radio operators on the staff. As a result of the previous defensive battles, the personnel and material standard levels were not reached despite replacements being made. The combat strength of the companies is an average of 80 men. Accordingly, the grenadier companies are divided into seven to eight groups, each with a light machine gun. Each of the two heavy companies has two platoons with a total of eight heavy machine guns and one platoon with five medium (8.1 cm) grenade launchers.

The infantry gun company is divided into two platoons, each with two light (7.5 cm) infantry guns and one platoon with two heavy (15 cm) infantry guns. The maximum firing range of the light guns is 3500 m and that of the heavy guns is 4500 m.

The tank destroyer company is contrary to the standard level, which provides for twelve heavy (7.5 cm) anti-tank guns, is equipped only with five medium anti-tank guns. With such cannons, the Russian T 34 tanks can only be put out of action from backwards or by hitting the drive and, at best, at short distances. This company is the only unit in the regiment that is motorized; their guns are pulled by tractors (Zugkraftwagen).

* Central European Time is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich.

Source: Ablösung in einer Verteidigungsstellung. Kissel, Hans. ASMZ : Sicherheit Schweiz : Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 124 (1958). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Nikopol 1943-44.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; more..................................

Replacement in a defensive position.

II. Regimental order for relief.

At around 0800 a.m. the regimental commander is called to the division command post, which is also located in Bolshaya Lepatikha. There he received the order with his regiment on the following night of 22/23. November to replace the regiment of another division deployed in the bridgehead position furthest to the right. This division would be pulled out for refreshment because of its low combat strength.

After returning to his CP, the regimental commander issues a preliminary order by telephone, according to which the leaders of the battalions and regimental units must report to him at 1200 p.m. to issue orders. The regiment is expected to move out at nightfall to take over the defensive sector south of the village of Severnyye Kairy. Advance detachments consisting of one officer per battalion, one sergeant and three soldiers per company as well as one rank for the baggage train of each unit should be ready to march from midday.

After issuing the preliminary order, the colonel gets into his Volkswagen with his orderly officer and drives to Severnyye Kairy to the command post of the regiment to be relieved. The weather is cool and the sky is cloudy. Since it hasn't rained for a few days, the roads and paths, none of which have a solid foundation, are easy to drive on. The regimental commander hopes that the dry weather will continue because the relief will then take place more easily.

The night-time relief is discussed with the regimental commander to be relieved, whose command post is near the southern edge of the almost four-kilometer-long village. The entire section is around 10.5 km wide and, given this extent and the low strength of the position troops, is very sparsely manned. It is agreed to adopt the existing division of sections so that there are no complications during the replacement, which is already a moment of weakness. There should be no exchange of weapons and equipment, with the exception of the relocated telephone lines.

Experience has shown that accommodating the troops in primitive shelters or completely outdoors makes it very difficult to look after the weapons and ammunition. That is why the relieving units usually do not exchange their own equipment that has been repaired. The soldier should also never part with his weapon during war because surprises must be expected at any time.

In both world wars it happened repeatedly that the new troops had to take part in repelling enemy attacks before the relief was complete. Replacing the ammunition stored in the position could have been considered if unfavorable weather and road conditions, a very close enemy or other adverse circumstances made this appear desirable or necessary.

Source: Ablösung in einer Verteidigungsstellung. Kissel, Hans. ASMZ : Sicherheit Schweiz : Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 124 (1958). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: Nikopol 1943-44.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; more..................................

Replacement in a defensive position.

II. Regimental order for relief.

At 12:00 sharp, all the officers who had been ordered to attend the meeting gathered at the headquarters of the commander of his regiment in Bolshaya Lepatikha. He, who had just returned from Severnyye Kairy, orders the following:

«The enemy is calm for the moment. He occupies Zavadovka, not far south of the position, at the northern end of which defensive structures are identified. To the northwest it is located in weak areas in the Dnieper depression and to the northeast in positions higher than our main defense line (HKL), which runs at the bottom of the valley and from where it can be clearly seen. In the eastern part of the regiment's section, where the HKL diagonally climbs the slope to the high ground, the enemy positions are almost 2,000 m away.

The 683rd Grenadier Regiment will relieve the regiment deployed in the Severnyye Kairy defensive sector next night. The existing division of sections is adopted. The right wing of the regiment is supported by the Dnieper River, the left is attached to another regiment of the division in defense, which will be relieved tomorrow night by a regiment of our division.

Relieve and defend
I. Battalion on the right, 7 km wide and II. Battalion on the left, 3.5 km wide battalion section. The regimental adjutant draws the boundaries on the maps. The relieved regiment has ordered one man to remain as a rear detachment for 24 hours at each group nest in the HKL and at each heavy weapons observation point for daytime training.

The infantry howitzer company will also relieve the deployed unit tonight, which is approximately the same strength.

The tank destroyer company can only relieve one platoon because the deployed regiment no longer has anti-tank weapons. Therefore, the company must immediately reconnoiter the firing positions of the remaining guns. The focus of anti-tank defense should be located on the road leading out of Zavadovka; one platoon will be deployed in the left section of the battalion.

The infantry sappers and the cavalry platoon become the regiment's reserve. The infantry sapper platoon leader will combine both platoons into an "assault" company and house them at Severnyye Kairy, near the regiment's command post. The tank destroyer company's trucks must be able to quickly transport reserves to threatened areas of the front.

Trains of the entire regiment, including field kitchens, arrive at Severnyye Kairy. The leader of the HQ Company takes charge as commander of the town. He assigns accommodation to the staff. It must be taken into account that the limbers and trains of the II. Group (Abteilung) of our 335th Artillery Regiment also be housed in the place.

The group will relieve the batteries deployed southwest of Point 83 tomorrow night and will then be asked to cooperate with us. The accommodation must be carried out exclusively from the point of view of a possible necessary local defense and therefore within the framework of the periphery, so that the members of the baggage train can expand the local defense facilities and, if necessary, occupy them in the shortest possible time without having to travel long distances. Since enemy attacks are possible not only from the south and southeast, but also from the Dnieper Valley, the southern, eastern and western boundaries of the city are mainly considered for defense.

The regimental doctor sets up a medical post for the sick and lightly wounded in Severnyye Kairy.

Source: Ablösung in einer Verteidigungsstellung. Kissel, Hans. ASMZ : Sicherheit Schweiz : Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 124 (1958). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: Nikopol 1943-44.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; more..................................

Replacement in a defensive position.

II. Regimental order for relief.

The advanced elements use the road passing through Severnyye Kairy and Komekherovka, which the enemy cannot see behind the small bridge to the east to point 20, three kilometers southwest of Komekherovka. The battalion's two command posts are located in the very low valley running east from Point 20. Preliminary orders will be put in place following the issuance of the orders.

Departure of the regiment with the II. Battalion at 4:30 p.m. and with the I. Battalion at 5:30 p.m. The infantry howitzer and HQ companies were incorporated into the I. Battalion. The tank destroyer company (panzerjäger) advances and from 4:30 p.m. took over early protection of the regiment against enemy tanks. All units rest independently after arriving at their future assembly areas in Severnyye Kairy. From there, the route for II. Battalion continues through the heights south of this town; The baggage train of the battalion that is going to be relieved must provide guides with knowledge of the route.

Inform the regiment that the relief is complete and that the sections have been taken by 04:00 a.m. at the latest. Regimental command post from 5:00 p.m. this afternoon in a house on the main street of Severnyye Kairy, not far from the southern edge of the city. The telecommunications platoon connects the regiment's command post with both battalions by cable and radio, as well as with the heads of the infantry howitzer, tank destroyer and commando (stab) companies.

One radio line will be subordinate to the infantry howitzer company. The telephone lines laid by the regiment to be replaced can, if useful, be replaced by cables. Great importance must be placed on ensuring that all preparations for the replacement, and this replacement itself, remain hidden from the Russians.”

Source: Ablösung in einer Verteidigungsstellung. Kissel, Hans. ASMZ : Sicherheit Schweiz : Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 124 (1958). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Hauptkampflinie - main combat line; Gefechtsstand - Command post; Grenze - limit; Beobachtungstelle - Observatory; Infanteriegeschütz - infantry howitzer; Pak-zug -  antitank Pl; Feldhaubitze – field howitzer....................
Hauptkampflinie - main combat line; Gefechtsstand - Command post; Grenze - limit; Beobachtungstelle - Observatory; Infanteriegeschütz - infantry howitzer; Pak-zug - antitank Pl; Feldhaubitze – field howitzer....................
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Re: Nikopol 1943-44.

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Hello to all :D; more..................................

Replacement in a defensive position.

III. Activities of the advanced detachments.

Between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. the advance detachments of the two battalions reach the bridge east of point 20. This passes over the small stream that crosses the valley from west to east. The soldiers abandon the baggage trucks that carried them to continue on foot to the battalion command posts. The two vehicles return to Bolshaya Lepathikha.

The command posts of the battalions to be relieved are located in groups of shelters dug into the more or less steep southern slope of the valley. Here the advance detachments are first informed by the battalion leaders about the general conditions of the sections. What is especially striking is the considerable width of the sections and the low combat forces. That is why most of the battalions are deployed on the front line. Behind them would be only individual platoon leaders, company command posts, firing stations for heavy infantry weapons and, in the best of cases, groups of individual riflemen as reserves at the command posts of the battalions.

a. In the right battalion section:

The 1st Company is to relieve the right battalion in the four-kilometer-wide Dnieper depression. This is only defended by five field guard posts that are located on the roads and trails leading from the south. Since the 1st Company has to cross the dead branch of the river at the southern exit of Severnyye Kairy with the help of two boats, the forward detachment of this subunit is immediately brought to the command post of the right company by a messenger from the battalion to be relieved.

The water arm is overcome at point 20 with a small raft of rubber boats placed there. The lowlands are mostly swampy and fringed with tall reeds. Only in the highest places do dense bushes and trees grow, sometimes reaching the size of small wooded areas. The small earthen huts of the field guards, built above ground due to the high level of groundwater, are hidden among the bushes, in front of which there are also installed firing points.

While the three soldiers of the advance detachment are briefed by the company leader about the details of the field guard formation, the detachment leader is immediately led by two company messengers through the main transfer point to Severnyye Kairy. In the future baggage area of the 1st Company, the three soldiers wait for the subunit to take them forward after their rest.

The positions of the other two companies of the right battalion cannot be visited during the day, because the Russians control the southern slope and the bottom of the valley with their fire and fire at every movement. As a result, the forward detachments of the 2nd and 3rd Company can only be brought after dark to the command posts of each company, which are located not far from the front line. Along the way, the annoying shots of enemy machine guns echo again and again over the ridge and the heads of the soldiers, or short bursts or isolated shots echo against the slope that slopes towards the enemy.

Source: Ablösung in einer Verteidigungsstellung. Kissel, Hans. ASMZ : Sicherheit Schweiz : Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 124 (1958). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: Nikopol 1943-44.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; more..................................

Replacement in a defensive position.

a. In the right battalion section:

In the company command post, the company leaders first give the advanced detachments some general guidelines. Then they move to the HKL (first line), which they walk from right to left, while the leader of the advanced detachment silently discusses and determines the sectors. From time to time, a projectile falls to the ground next to the men. They lurk silently along the front line, always ready to defend themselves from an attack or to throw themselves to the ground when a flare illuminates the night.

The group's nests are located almost at the bottom of the valley and are at least 150 m apart. Each consists of a short section of trench with firing points for the group's light machine guns and riflemen, a more or less long trench that connects to the rear and the shelter at the end. Weak wire barriers are only found in front of individual nests. There is no direct connection between these trenches, because in the unoccupied areas of the trenches the enemy could, at best, establish itself and perhaps no longer be able to be expelled.

Enemy positions are on average 500 m uphill from each other. Since almost everywhere there are no obstacles in front of the nests, the terrain is often confusing, the night is quite dark and the visibility at the bottom of the valley is poor, half of each group is constantly on guard. However, under current circumstances, such security can hardly be considered sufficient. But this situation cannot be improved because it is simply not possible for everyone in a group to stand guard all night without being relieved.

Half of each group stays like this for two or three hours until they are replaced by the other half. The sentries have their weapons unlocked and ready to fire. They look and listen with the utmost attention to the area in front of them. If they think they have noticed a suspicious movement or a strange noise, they fire isolated shots with the rifle or a few short bursts with the machine gun. From time to time, the trench sergeant fires a flare that bathes the entire area in a brilliant white light.

After the advanced detachments of the 2nd and 3rd Companies have been brought into position and have returned to the company command post, their leaders have company signalmen who know the route take them to the small bridge, where They want to wait for their units and then show them their position. A platoon of the 2nd Company designated for the middle section should be placed as a reserve in shelters at the battalion command post.

Two of the 4. Company's heavy machine guns are located in group nests on the main resistance line (HKL), where there is some possibility of flanking. Most of the heavy rifles are deployed in groups, two by two, in pockets of resistance on the ridge.

The observation points of the 4th Company's mortars are located in suitable group nests in the HKL or in machine-gun nests at height; The shooting positions are always on the opposite slope. It is important to learn the exact basics of shooting so that can fire bursts immediately upon being relieved.

Since the battalion to be relieved only has three mortars, it is necessary to explore the observation points and firing positions and expand them later with two more mortars. After the briefing is over, the advanced detachment of the heavy company also heads to the small bridge to wait for their unit.

Source: Ablösung in einer Verteidigungsstellung. Kissel, Hans. ASMZ : Sicherheit Schweiz : Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 124 (1958). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: Nikopol 1943-44.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; more..................................

Replacement in a defensive position.

b. In the left battalion section.

Even in the western half of the left battalion section, the front line cannot be traversed by sight because it is visible to the Russians. Only in the eastern part of this section, where the first line passes close to the counter slope, will the advanced detachments be able to visit the positions that will be occupied in the afternoon and thus prepare the relief more calmly. Since this position can also be used during the day, it is in better condition. The shooting positions are better prepared and the shelters are more numerous and better covered.

In addition, trenches, which protect against enemy grenade fragments, lead to the shelters of platoon and company leaders. However, in order to better understand the area in front of it, it is necessary to set up individual posts on the heights, day and night, to warn of the approach of the enemy. They are connected to their companies by cable.

Although the Russian positions are almost 2,000 meters away, these positions are not very popular because they are difficult to return to during the day and are constantly threatened by enemy patrols at night. Therefore, its settings must be changed frequently.

After the briefing is over, the battalion's advanced detachments assemble in the valley, at the left platoon command post. They will wait for their units to arrive here and then march them into position.

C. In the regiment's heavy infantry weapons.

Naturally, in the afternoon the advanced detachment of the infantry howitzer company will be able to enter and learn the firing positions of the three platoons located in the west-east valley. They can also reach its observation points in the heights. However, it is not advisable to do this during the day so as not to unnecessarily signal to the enemy where the defenses are located. The detachments that the relieved regiment will leave behind at all observation points will be able to instruct the new observers the next day.

Furthermore, careful adoption of the basic principles of firing should ensure that, even after relief, prepared barriers and destructive fires can be executed without delay and that after dawn it should be possible to immediately accurately open the observed fire and bring it to a concentrated effect. After the briefing, the advanced detachment of the infantry howitzer company heads to the Severnyye Kairy - Zavadovka road, where they want to receive their unit at the firing point of a light (howitzer) platoon.

Since the tank destroyer company can only relieve a section whose firing position is not far northeast of the small bridge, the leader of this company scouted the firing positions of his other three guns that afternoon. One will be deployed about 500 m southeast of the bridge with a flanking effect on the road, while the remaining two will be deployed in a rear position on the slope of the section of the II. Battalion.

After moving to the scouted firing positions, the crews of these three guns must first make do with tents, until dug shelters have been built to offer protection against shrapnel and light caliber projectiles.

Source: Ablösung in einer Verteidigungsstellung. Kissel, Hans. ASMZ : Sicherheit Schweiz : Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 124 (1958). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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