Operation Veritable

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Re: Operation Veritable

Postby Steiner » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:58 pm

No, not really. Volksturm were literally old men and boys - those civilians who were too old or young to be in the army proper. And remember that by the end of the war, the age limits had already been stretched, compared with those in 1939.

The "stomach" batallions were army men who would have been declared unfit for service during peacetime.


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Re: Operation Veritable

Postby Gorgeo5 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:52 am

Ive been doing some reading and found this, for those who are interested...
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Re: Operation Veritable

Postby prideofengland » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:08 pm

[quote="Zero Bravo"]Rhineland / Operation Veritable

British 51st Highland Division vs. German 84. Infanterie Division

June 6, 1944 - the Allies landed in Normandy. As the units embattled there were slowly being ground to dust, Hitler continued to believe that another, larger invasion was going to land in the Pas-de-Calais area where a large number of German units, including the 84th, were stationed. One of the first units destroyed in the fight for the beach-head was Fritz's old crowd from the 716th Infantry Division. Slowly, it became apparent that the Normandy invasion was the invasion and additional forces were moved into the fighting from their positions elsewhere in France, but too late. The 84th was moved in against the British and was caught up in the disastrous fighting around Falaise.

In the battle of what became known as the "Falaise Pocket", the Allies trapped and virtually annihilated most of the German 7th Army. The zebra-striped Allied aircraft strafed, rocketed, and bombed the target-rich terrain in the pocket at will. When the battle finally ended, the Allies marched a long column of prisoners out of a region where the roads were clogged for miles with destroyed German rolling stock and the roadsides and fields were literally carpeted with animal and human dead.

The 84th was totally destroyed in this battle, even its commanding general was among the captured. Almost all of the division's heavy equipment was lost. and only about 1,000 men evaded death or capture. Among the lucky few who somehow managed to escape the pocket was Leutnant Fritz Schulz. He was one fo the lucky 10%.

The normal routine for treatment of fragmented divisions was to remove them to a safe area and rebuild them with recruits and new weapons. In the late summer of 1944, however, the Reich was threatened with a crisis of huge proportions: the front in France was not merely retreating, it had dissolved, and the Allied Armies were racing for the Rhine. Rather than methodical rebuilding, many surviving units were hastily reinforced with whatever manpower could be found: Landesschutzen (home defense) units, Luftwaffe Festungs- (fortress) units, NCO schools, Ersatz units, etc.. This is what happened to the 84th as it was hurried into a sector of the Siegfried line in the Eifel mountains near the Huertgen Forest for a brief period at the end of August. The Feldersatzbatallion was long gone by this time (it disappeared in the early part of the division's employment in Normandy), so presumably Fritz was performing some other duty, perhaps as the leader of some ad-hoc infantry group. Officers were in short supply and even medical officers were sometimes found leading combat elements, so the likelihood of Fritz avoiding line duty during this period was remote.

Early in September, the division was moved to Venlo in Holland for planned rebuilding, and then to a site on the German-Dutch border to the north. As fate would have it, this second area was just south-east of a town called Nijmegen. The small remnants of the 84th were still awaiting rebuilding when "Operation Market-Garden" was launched on September 17. After battling the US 82nd Airborne Division until it almost ceased to exist, the 84th was pulled back into Germany to the Kleve area and began to receive the long awaited reinforcements in October. Now stationed inside Germany, it was time for the legal arm of the Wehrmacht to educate its members against some of the consequences of fighting in one's own homeland: a notation in Fritz's Soldbuch dated October 21 states that he was educated about "Plundering". This "education" probably contained much the same material as found in a small pamphlet put out by the Army High Command in September: in short, the soldiers were told --

"Taking stuff from civilians has always been unworthy of a German soldier, but up to now it has always been in an occupied country. Now you are in Germany, and if we catch you plundering here, we're going to shoot you."

It was also at this time that Fritz received his last permanent assignment, this time to Füsilier Batallion 84. This unit had been rebuilt from personnel assigned to the same facility that trained Fritz to be an officer: the instructors, staff, and students of the Wahn school were first converted into an infantry regiment called 'Regiment Wahn', and the First Battalion of this outfit eventually became the Füsilier Battalion in the 84th Division. It could have been the stuff from which novels are made: a sadistic senior NCO who was an instructor for the future officers at Wahn winds up in Fritz's company. Or worse yet, an officer ex-instructor who was a pain in the ass at the school winds up as Fritz's CO!

After being somewhat rebuilt, the division was back on the line west of the Reichswald, opposing the British and Canadians who were advancing in that region. In November, Fritz was awarded the Kriegsverdienstkreuz mit Schwerten, II Klasse (War Merits Cross with Swords, Second Class). Fritz carried the small card-stock award document, folded the placed in the back of his Soldbuch. Fritz received his award from divisional headquarters, and not the battalion itself; the document was signed by the divisional adjutant who was a Major. This was not the normal procedure for this level of that award, so we can presume that whatever Fritz did to earn it, he probably did it at battalion HQ level or as part of communications or liason.

In February of 1945, the division bore the brunt of another one of Monty's attacks, this one called "Operation Veritable." It has since become known as the "Battle of the Reichswald": and has become a byword for destructive battles in the British Army. Using the newest offensive tactics and overwhelming amounts of support firepower(Dadio's Bren? :giggle: ), Montgomery launched an attack which was ultimately hampered by the weather and mauled by unexpectedly heavy German resistance. The focal point of this attack happened to be the sector guarded by the 84th. The division was decimated in this battle, and the 1051st Grenadier Regiment and the Füsilier Battalion were recorded as the divisional units most heavily engaged. The division finished this battle this battle at battlegroup strength, attached to the 116th Panzer Division. As the survivors marched south, they probably wondered if the Allies didn't have a grudge against their particular division; first Falaise, then paratroopers in their laps at Nijmegen, now this brutal British offensive/

Any one have more info on the 84th?
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Re: Operation Veritable

Postby fremsley » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:22 pm

Well I think a diginified German surrender now is indicated to avoid any unpleasantness. Then its off to the officers mess for a Chota peg!
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