SS-Pz. Abt. 18 composition

Darren Gawle
Darren Gawle

July 22nd, 2001, 9:37 pm #1

Hi all,

Just looking for what sort of AFVs would have been employed by SS-Pz. Abt. 18 (part of 18th Fwg-Pz. Gren. Div. "Horst Wessel"); apparently the nucleus of the abteilung was taken from a StuG-batterie from SS-Pz. Abt 11 "Hermann von Salza" which leads me to assume that the unit was probably all StuGs. Just hoping to find a couple of Pz. IVs or something else in there by chance.

Thanks,

Darren
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Greg H
Greg H

18.SS-PzGrDiv

July 23rd, 2001, 4:06 am #2

Darren,

For what it's worth, according to Nafziger, in 5.44 the 18.SS-StuG.Abt. comprised of:
- 3 StuG Kpn (10 StuGs each)
- 1 Pz Maint Zug
- FlaK Batterie(3x 2cm vierlings)

hope this helps,

Greg Harting
pyrmanNO@SPAMaol.com
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Martin Block
Martin Block

Short History of SS-Pz.Abt. 18

July 23rd, 2001, 9:50 am #3

Hi all,

Just looking for what sort of AFVs would have been employed by SS-Pz. Abt. 18 (part of 18th Fwg-Pz. Gren. Div. "Horst Wessel"); apparently the nucleus of the abteilung was taken from a StuG-batterie from SS-Pz. Abt 11 "Hermann von Salza" which leads me to assume that the unit was probably all StuGs. Just hoping to find a couple of Pz. IVs or something else in there by chance.

Thanks,

Darren
Did a little research on this unit a while ago. This is what I could find. Any corrections/additions are appreciated.

Martin



SS-Panzer-Abteilung 18
Last edited 12.02.2001

18. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division ‘Horst Wessel’


Abteilungs-Kommandeure
- Stubaf. Lorenz Baier (Jan 44 -Aug 44)
- Hstuf. Franz Wunsch (Aug 44 - end)
Kompaniechef Stabskompanie (mit Erkundungs-, Pi.- und Flak-Zug)
- Ostuf. Melchers
Kompaniechef 1. Kompanie
- Ostuf. Flintermann (? - killed 25.12.44)
Kompaniechef 2. Kompanie
- Ostuf. Dirks
Kompaniechef 3. Kompanie
- Hstuf. Franz Wunsch (? - Aug 44)
- Ostuf. Christiansen (Aug 44 - ?)
Kompaniechef Versorgungskompanie
- Hscha. Limburg
Kompaniechef Werkstattkompanie
- Ostuf. Grübler


25 January 1944
SS-Pz.Abt. 18 is created by order of SS-Führungshauptamt Amt II Org.Abt. Ia/II Tgb.Nr. 179/44 g.Kdos. dated 25 January 1944 with Stab and 3
Kompanien using SS-Sturmgeschütz-Batterie (6) ‘Nord’ of the 1. SS-Inf.Brig. (mot.).

early February 1944
The formation of the units of 18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. ‘HW’ takes place in the area Cilli (Celje) - Rann (Krsko) - Gurkfeld (Brecize) but is plagued from
the beginning by shortage of men and equipment.

early April 1944
The units of 18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. ‘HW’ move by road and rail from Croatia to the area between the rivers Danube and Theis in the southern part
of Hungary, the so-called Batschka. Here the formation continues.

7 July 1944
18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. is ordered to prepare a Kampfgruppe, including the still incomplete* SS-Pz.Abt. 18, for action with H.Gr. Nordukraine, while
the rest of the division continues with formation.

* It appears as if the only available assault guns where the ones SS-StuG-Batterie ‘Nord’ might have brought with it.
The battery was issued 10 StuG III Ausf. G by Dec 43 [SP13] then still known as SS-StuG Battr. 6

15 - 24 July 1944
Kampfgruppe 18. SS-Division is engaged in defensive battles in Galicia with XXIV. Pz.Korps/1. Pz.Armee in the Buczacz - Rohatyn area.

27 July 1944
According to the ‘Panzerlage 1. Pz.Armee’ SS-Pz.Abt. 18 reports having 4 operational StuG

August/September 1944
The whereabouts for the Abteilung during this period are uncertain. On 31. August the remnants of K.Gr. 18. SS-Division are renamed to SS-K.Gr.
Schäfer and sent to Slovakia in order to suppress the beginning Slovakian uprising (Operation ‘Kartoffelernte’). SS-Pz.Abt. 18 does no longer appear in
the composition of this Kampfgruppe, but seems to have left K.Gr. 18. SS-Division in late July/early August and returned to the formation area of the
division for refit.
According to the files of Gen.Insp. d. Pz.Tr. HZA shipped 13 StuG III Ausf. G to SS-Pz.Abt. 18 on July 31 and another 13 on Aug 24, 1944. The latter are
reported as being received on Sep 12, 1944.

End September 1944
The still incomplete 18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. is ordered to move by rail from its formation area to northern Hungary. From there it will also be used for
the suppression of the uprising in Slovakia.

9 October 1944
Rail transport begins. A train carrying elements of SS-Pz.Abt. 18 hits a mine laid by partisans. Two vehicles of the Versorgungskompanie are destroyed.

13 October 1944
K.Gr. Schäfer rejoins 18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. in the area of Losonc.

18 - 31 October 1944
Final phase of the suppression of the Slovakian uprising. For this undertaking the division is split up into three Kampfgruppen. Each one has a Kompanie of
SS-Pz.Abt. 18 attached
1. Kp. supports SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 39
2. Kp. supports SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 40
3. Kp. supports SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 18
The three Kampfgruppen start their attack from the area Losonc - Rimas Zombat - Tornala in general northwesterly direction. The only details about the
actions of SS-Pz.Abt. 18 during this operation found in [TR1] are:
-- The advance of K.Gr. SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 18 is held up at a roadblock south of Rimavska Bana for five days (19-23 Oct). In the narrow Rimava river
valley the StuG of 3./SS-Pz.Abt. 18 are not able to lend effective support.
-- On 25 Oct a StuG of 2. or 3./SS-Pz.Abt. 18 goes up in flames at the western edge of Brezno when a missile from an anti-tank rifle hits a fuel canister
carried on its deck. In an road accident near the same town another StuG runs over a ‘Kübelwagen’ of schwere Kompanie SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 18 and kills
one of its occupants.
-- On 27 October 2. and 3./SS-Pz.Abt. 18 participate in the successfull attack on the HQ of the uprising located in Banska Bysrica (Neusohl).
-- 2./SS-Pz.Abt. 18 is engaged in the destruction of the last remaining enemy forces in the area Stare Hory - Liptowska Osada between 28. and 31.
October.

Early November 1944
Stab and Stabskompanie rest in Altsohl (Zoven), 1.-3. Kompanie in Neusohl. SS-Pz.Abt. 18 seems to have suffered considerable losses in the fighting,
because during the first week of November 1. Kompanie hands over its remaining StuG to 2. and 3. Kompanie. These two Kompanien then move to
Losonc, where a little later 3. Kompanie hands over all its StuG to 2. Kompanie (now called Kampfstaffel Dirks) and is reorganized into a
Begleit-Kompanie.

2 November 1944
18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. is ordered to move to the area of Szolnok - Jaszbereny (H.Gr. Süd, 6. Armee) in Hungary

5 November 1944
Movement by rail and road begins. Initially only Kampfstaffel Dirks (2./SS-Pz.Abt. 18) is involved.

7/8 November 1944
18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. arrives in the assigned area and is subordinated to 4. SS-Polizei-Pz.Gren.Div.

8 November to end December 1944
Heavy defensive battles together with 4. SS-Polizei-Pz.Gren.Div. (subordinated to LVII. later IV. Pz.Korps) Retreat with heavy losses in general nnw
direction from the area of Jasz-Ladany to Schemnitz.
For this period [TR1] quotes two strenght reports from KTB H.Gr. Süd:
-- On 2 Dec 44 18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. reports having 6 StuG and 4 Jagdpanzer IV (the latter probably belonging to SS-Polizei-Pz.Jg.Abt. 4)
-- On 16 Dec 44 18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. reports it has 3 StuG and 2 Hetzer (???) attached to 4. SS-Polizei-Pz. Gren.Div.

Early December 1944
While Stab and 1. Kompanie SS-Pz.Abt. 18 still rest in Altsohl (Zolven), 3. Kompanie is ordered to leave Losonc and join Kampfstaffel Dirks (2. Kp.)
fighting in Hungary.

Early January 1945
The badly mauled 18. Freiw. SS-Pz.Gren.Div. ‘HW’ is taken out of the front lines for rest and refit. Kampfstaffel Dirks hands over all its remaining
Sturmgeschütze (without crews) to the 4. SS-Polizei-Pz.Gren.Div. and moves to Kremnitz together with the remnants of 3. Kompanie. Here they rejoin
with Stab and 1. Kompanie that had finally left their rest area at Altsohl (Zolven) by the end of December 1944.

Mid January 1945
A group under the command of Ostuf. Dirks and Christiansen is sent to Paderborn/Sennelager in order to get new tanks. After waiting in vain for a while
the group is ordered on to Linz, where some of the men spent several weeks helping to clear up the ‘Hermann-Göring-Werke’ while others install radios
into ‘Jagdtiger’. In the end no tanks are issued and the group is sent back to the Abteilung now based at Troppau-Leobschütz

Early February 1945
SS-Pz.Abt. 18 moves from Kremnitz to Troppau-Leobschütz

First week of March 1945
Instead of being issued with new equipment SS-Pz.Abt. 18 takes over most of the remaining StuG and all StuH from 1. and 2./SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 18. This
happens in the villages of Kostenthal and Lenschütz. The Abteilung now fields a total of about 16 StuG and StuH which are divided into two weak
companies, Pz.Kp. Dirks (2.) and Pz.Kp. Christiansen (3.).
What happened to 1. Kp. is unclear. Its not mentioned again in [TR1].

7 March 1945
SS-Pz.Abt. 18 concentrates together with SS-Pz.Jg.Abt. 18 and SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 40 in the village of Langlieben for an attack on the northern part of the
Russian bridgehead over the Oder river in the Cosel - Ratibor area.

8 March 1945
The attack begins in the morning, and by the evening the Cosel - Ratibor railroad is reached near the hamlet of Mühlengrund, just north of the village of
Rosengrund, against heavy Russian resistance. In a further attack Hill 176 is taken, but cannot be held for long.

9 March 1945
Renewed attack on Hill 176 without success. Russian artillery causes severe losses among the Panzergrenadiers. During the following days the offensive
and defensive actions by 18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. in the area continue.

15 March 1945
18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. reports having 5 operational StuG out of a total of 19 [Jentz2, 247].

When on 16 March the Russians launch their counteroffensive from the bridgeheads at Cosel - Ratibor and Krappitz the bulk of the division is trapped in
the pocket of Oberglogau (17/18 March). SS-Pz.Abt. 18 was pulled out of the front line to Langlieben for vehicle maintenance sometime before the
Russian offensive, and so is not encircled with its parent division. Instead of lending help to its own division, SS-Pz.Abt. 18 is ordered further west to open
a corridor for LVI. Pz.Korps near the town of Neustadt.

20/21 March 1945
Pz.Kp. Christiansen forces open a way into Neustadt and covers the retreat of the garrison. Pz.Kp. Dirks is covering this action by establishing a blocking
position at the village of Gräfliche Wiese. The position at Gräfliche Wiese is held until the end of the month.

April 1945
The Abteilung moves to Bad Warmbrunn near the town of Hirschberg, where it rejoins (approx. 10 April) with the rest of 18. SS-Freiw.Pz.Gren.Div. that
had escaped from the pocket of Oberglogau. Near the end of the month the remaining eight StuG (six from 2. and two from 3. Kp.) are once again
concentrated in Kampfstaffel Dirks resting in Bober-Röhrsdorf.

28 April 1945
Kampfstaffel Dirks moves by rail from Hirschberg to Schweidnitz. Stabs-, Werkstatt-, Versorgungs- and 3. Kompanie (where all crews without tanks are
concentrated) stay behind in Herischdorf.

3 May 1945
Kampfstaffel Dirks marches by road to Zobten and is subordinated to 100. Jäger-Div.

5 May 1945
Kampfstaffel Dirks supports the attack of 100. Jäger-Div. in an effort to break through to the encircled garrison of Breslau. According to [TR1] some
Hetzer of a Heeres-Abteilung (Pz.Jg.Abt. 744???) are also involved. The attack fails, but Kampfstaffel Dirks suffers no losses and moves back to
Schweidnitz.

6 May 1945
Elements of the Stabskompanie and the 3. Kompanie leave Herischdorf and move to Kolin. They brush aside some Czech roadblocks and reach Neuhaus
(Austria) on 10 May without losses.
The rest of the Stabskompanie, Werkstatt- and Versorgungskompanie follow on the morning of 9 May, but they have to surrender to the Czechs in the
evening.

7 May 1945
Kampfstaffel Dirks begins to retreat westward with 100. Jäger-Div. Some minor engagements with Russian troops. At Hohenelbe the way is blocked and
it is decided to demolish the last four StuG (8 May?) and try to make it in small groups to the American lines near Pilsen on foot. Only a few men make it.
Most are captured or killed by Russians and Czechs.


Camouflage and Markings

Currently no data available


Sources:
{Tessin} Georg Tessin, Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945, 17 Bände, Osnabrück 1967 -
1988
[TR1] Wilhelm Tieke/Friedrich Rebstock
...im letzten Aufgebot 1944 - 1945, Die Geschichte der18. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division HORST WESSEL;
[Je2] Thomas L. Jentz
Panzertruppen Vol. 2, Atglen 1996
[SP13] Walter J. Spielberger, Sturmgeschütze - Entwicklung und Fertigung der sPak, Stuttgart 1997
Rolf Michaelis, Die Panzergrenadier-Divisionen der Waffen-SS, Erlangen 1997
Rolf Stoves, Die gepanzerten und motorisierten deutschen Grossverbände 1935 -1945, Friedberg 1986
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Darren Gawle
Darren Gawle

Whoa, you call that brief?!

July 24th, 2001, 1:27 am #4

Thanks a lot for your help, guys. That "brief" rundown is being printed out even as I write this.

Cheers,

Darren
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