War Diary: 15 PANZER GRENADIER DIVISION, 9 April 1945 - 7 May 1945

Discussion in 'Axis Units' started by dbf, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    No enemy action in the ZEVEN area, only local recce patrols. Enemy probably regrouping.

    15 Pz Gr Div withdraws according to plan to the line TARMSTEDT - HEPSTEDT - BREDDORF - HAMSTEDT - RHADE - OSTE.

    We only occupy strongpoints on this Line. Part of the Division is taken over the Canal into positions there. Advanced Posts are set up on the line WISTE - RHADEREISTEDT - ROCKSTEDT.

    We repulse recce patrol sent in strength against SANDBOSTEL.

    We can see from strong concentration of armour in SANDBOSTEL area that the enemy intends to attack over the OSTE. It might also mean flank protection of units attacking in the direction of BREMERVORDE.

    Wireless intercept reports strong amoured and motorised traffic on roads VERDEN - ROTENBURG and North East.

    We must presume that 9 ARMOURED DIVISION, 79 ARMOURED BRIGADE (zbV), 8 INFANTRY DIVISION, 43 DIVISION and 8 ARMOURED DIVISION are advancing to the North East.

    According to wireless intercept 51 HIGHLAND DIVISION is now in area BASSUM - ROTENBURG. Parts of this Division were already intercepted two days ago.
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    15 Pz Gr Div regroups during the night. 104 PGR is taken out of the line on the right flank of the Division to strengthen our left flank although this means our right flank between TARMSTEDT and HAMSTEDT is therefore dangerously weakened.

    Parts of this Regiment are kept as Divisional reserve.

    No enemy activity except few small recce patrols. We presum enemy is regrouping for attack over the HAMME - OSTE Canal.

    Enemy’s main thrust for the next few days is thought to be in area of BREMERVORDE. He can concentrate all his artillery there for decisive attack and breakthrough towards WESERMUNDE or CUXHAVEN.

    The marshes on enemy side of HAMME - OSTE Canal makes bigger attacks impossible. The Division, therefore, proposed to Corps that the BREMERVORDE area is handed over immediately to the Division so that we can prepare our own Anti-Tank defence. As Corps considers the danger not immediate and as they they that the Marine Troops which are in BREMERVORDER sector are high-quality fighters, they reject this suggestion. We therefore send one battalion into the GLINDE area to protect our own flank. We contact Commander of the BREMERVORDE Garrison and our Pz Eng Bn 33 prepare demolitions on both sides of the town. One Eng. Platoon is sent into the town itself to erect tank obstacles.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    We want to hand over Prisoner of War Camp in SANDBOSTEL to the enemy, but again Officers sent as envoys are retained as Prisoners of War. Enemy is sending escaped Prisoners of War back into our lines with orders to recce our strengths and positions and to come back to report these.

    After renewed artillery preparation the enemy succeeds in forcing a crossing over the OSTE near SANDBOSTEL and to advance to the Camp. We succeed in sealing off this penetration. Our Division issues orders to the effect that nobody must fire in the direction of the Prisoner of War Camp as each shot into the overcrowded camp would mean murder. Only if there is no doubt that the enemy intends to advance from the Prisoner of War Camp will the Division lift that order.

    The enemy succeeds in penetrating into TARMSTEDT from the South using tanks. We have to give up this place.
    15 Pz Gr Div makes a fighting withdrawal during dusk to the HAMME - OSTE Canal and leaves small rearguards behind. A new defence line is established behind the Canal.

    The enemy tries to hinder us in this manoeuvre by attacking North from the River WUMMER and by cutting the road TARMSTEDT - RHADE. 51 HIGHLAND DIVISION appears again on our front and it seems that GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION has been switched to the East.

    51 HIGHLAND DIVISION, since AFRICA, is known to be one of the best British Divisions. Heavy fighting lies ahead of us.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Division is prepared for the defence. Advanced posts are on the line HUTTENBUSCH - GLUNSTEDT - AUGUSTENDORF - OBERKLENKENDORF with centres of resistance on the road GNARRENBURG - RHADE. Gr Regt NEUMUNSTER which had come under our command is put into the line on our right flank. 115 PGR supported by a Company of 33 AntI-Tank Bn is kept as Divisional reserve in KICHURSTEDT area. 33 Eng Bn mines all roads and passes on the whole Division front leading to this defensive line. Each of the three forward battaliosn had one Pnr Company in support. None of the enemy’s intentions East of BREMERVORDER are known, but he sends strong recce elements towards STADE. The enemy’s intentions are still not clear. The only thing recognised is that the enemy’s main thrust will be on the Division’s left flank and further to the North.

    Identifications by Prisoner of War -
    157 BRIGADE of 52 DIVISION near RITTERHUDE (6 km South South West of OSTERHOLZ - SCHARMBECK)
    111 AMB Coln and 113 Provost Company of 30 BRITISH CORPS near BORKFELD (15 kms South South West of OSTERHOLZ - SCHARMBECK).
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    A little infantry and artillery activity. Our defensive positions are being improved. The Division receives order to take over the BREMERVORDE sector at 1000 hours on 3 May 1945.
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    51 HIGHLAND DIVISION (identified by wireless intercept) attacks BREMERVORDE in the early morning after heavy artillery programme. The units which were supposed to hold BREMERVORDE offer only slight or in some cases, no resistance at all. 115 PGR is therefore sent immediately into the area of EPPERDORF - LINDORF to stop further penetration to the North. The enemy occupies BREMERVORDE. 115 PGR succeeds in stopping the enemy on the above line by fighting regardless of losses. 115 Recce Bn with one Anti-Tank Troop under command seals off the enemy’s advance to the West and South West on the line OEREL - BARCHEL. The left flank of 104 PGR is bent back and the BREMERVORDE penetration stopped on the line FAHRENDAHL - BARCHEL - EBERSDORF. After quick regrouping the enemy attacks again and succeeds in entering BARCHEL, OEREL and EBERSDORF. Another armoured battle group advances to the West and attacks HIPSTEDT without opposition. To prevent the enemy from breaking through our line to the North 115 PGR is withdrawn during the night 3rd/4th via GROSSENHEIM - RINGSTEDT into the area of FRELSDORF. KOHBEN and Regt LUBECK is to be under our command. 153 BRIGADE of 51 HIGHLAND DIVISION with 5 and 7 GORDONS identified area BARCHEL (8 kms West South West of BREMERVORDE). To stop the enemy’s breakthrough from HIPSTEDT alarm units are quickly formed and thrown into the line.

    All British Divisions are not East of the WESER. Only Canadian Divisions remain West of the WESER. Army boundary between SECOND BRITISH ARMY and CANADIAN ARMY presumably River WESER.
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Division withdraws according to order during the night of 3rd/4th to the line WELLEN - KIRCHWISTEDT - APPELN - FRELSDORF - FRELSDORFERMUHLEN. One battalion of each four regiments are in the front line. Each regiment has also one battalion in reserve (two battalions in BEVERSTEDT, one battalion in WOLLINGST, one battalion in GEESTENSETH). 115 Recce Battalion is in Divisional reserve in area LOHE - HEERSTEDT. During the night we receive II Mortar Training Regiment with three batteries and 10,000 rounds of ammunition, in support. Our tanks are concentrated as centres of resistance at KIRCHWISTEDT, BEVERSTEDT and GEESTENSETH. Our artillery and mortars are positioned so that the fire of each two artillery and mortars are positioned so that the fire of each two artillery batteries can be concentrated in front of the right and left flanks of the Division. 969 LAA Battery are under command. It has three troops of each fifteen 2cm Anti-Aircraft guns which are in ground role positions. 60 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery which is also under our tactical command is in the are BEVERSTEDT - Crossroads GESTENSETH in an anti-tank and artillery role.

    Our own Engr Battalion mined all roads and passes leading to this line of the defence and is now in Divisional reserve in an infantry role. During the day only light patrolling. 51 HIGHLAND DIVISION again identified by Prisoner of War.

    The higher Command considers the withdrawal of Corps EMS to the outlying defences of WESERMUNDE Fortress or to the BEESTE - EDD Canal in case our last defence line should be broken.

    The defensive positions we are holding now are the strongest we have ever had since crossing the RHINE. Five battalions in reserve, one Mortar Regiment with 10,000 rounds of ammunition, four artillery and three Anti-Aircraft Batteries with enough ammunition, and last but not least the well-seasoned 33 Eng Battalion with plenty of mines and with very high fighting spirit. All this support and the superb fighting spirit and qualities of the troops under our command guarantees that the enemy attack could only succeed after extremely heavy casualties on both sides.

    But there can be no doubt that the enemy would nevertheless succeed also in this attack after bringing up all his heavy artillery and Typhoons as we have no such weapons. It must be remarked that all the enemy attacks in the last weeks and months have succeeded for the following main reasons:-

    (a) Every single detail of the attack was thoroughly prepared and well-planned especially Army and Air Force co-operation.
    (b) Overwhelming amount of material.
    (c ) Better trained men, especially as individual fighters.

    The German High Command could not counter these facts with improvisation. Improvisations could only delay the final decision but not avert it. They carry the core of decline and fall especially if they are not the exception but the rule.
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Our Division, which has frequently been mentioned in British Bulletins as the last German Division which can still offer organised resistance, receives an envoy from 51 HIGHLAND DIVISION. From that moment on there exists an armistice between 51 HIGHLAND DIVISION and 15 Pz Gr Division which stood up against each other in honourable fighting for nearly two years.

    This is a memorable hour in the history of these two Divisions.
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The War Record of 15 PGR ends on the 7 May 1945 with the “unconditional surrender”, and we have to hand over our weapons in a few days to 51 HIGHLAND DIVISION without incident. The Division is to be concentrated in the area TARMSTEDT (Lower ELBE) and to prepare for demobilisation.

    Concluded and Signed
    RODT, Lieutenant General
    15 Pz Gr Division

    Photo here
  10. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Attached relevant pages from 5th Camerons for period 12th April to 30th.

    Attached Files:

    dbf likes this.
  11. Uwe Sewing

    Uwe Sewing Member

    Hey Diane,
    Do you have the diaries from February and March ?
    Regards Uwe

    Attached Files:

  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi Uwe
    I have only the translated extract which I transcribed here and which was included in the 2 Armd IG War Diary appendices. There might be more in Intel reports in Diary of a Higher formation - perhaps 51 Division - or indeed in one of the units involved in taking of surrender.

    I suspect that the extract was given to 2IG and included in their Diary later (Sept 45) as what might perhaps be deemed "a curiosity", ie because they and GAD were referenced only in parts of it. It also occurs to me that paperwork would surely have been routinely destroyed before capture/surrender, so maybe that was all that could be found ...

    Sorry but it's really not my 'field', only included this separately under Axis units in case those like 51Highland found it of interest also.

    Thanks for adding the sketch maps.
  13. Uwe Sewing

    Uwe Sewing Member

    Thanks Diane, i add some more maps.

    Attached Files:

    dbf likes this.

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