Luftlande Divisions

As you can appreciate below the 91st Luftlande Division was involved in the action in Normandy since the 6th June. As such it was totally destroyed in the fighting and was used as a conventional infantry division rather than an air transported one. The Wehrmacht had used air landed troops early in the war and always in areas of local or total air supremacy or superiority, for example in Norway or Crete, a Gebirgs division was transported to Crete by Ju-52. By the time of Overlord it did not have this luxury! Several of the items in my collection relate to Luftlande divisions or those units entrusted to their transport.

I have some Feldpost letters from pilots in Erganzungsgruppe (S) 1 Langendiebach

Emblem of 4./Erganzungsgruppe (S) 1 (1943)

I was able to research the unit and this is what I came up with :

 

Nucleus of all reserve group training can be traced back to January 1940 and Hauptmann Willerding in Braunschweig-Waggum.  Initially 17./KG zbv 5 with 60 men, 8 Ju 52 and 20 DFS 30.

Fliegerschule (S) 1 Langendiebach (Glider Pilot Training School)

4 Stafflen: Langendiebach            Erganzungsgruppe (S) 1 Summer 1941-Autumn 1944

Giensheim

Eschborn

Zellhausen

Eschborn Airfield – basic personnel, flying instructors and glider pilots.

Unit History and Notes

  • January 1943 units of Erganzungsgruppe (S) 1 involved in supply drops to Stalingrad Kessel.
  • Later supported actions in the Kuban Bridgehead and the Crimea.
  • Commander April 1942-14th October 1943 Oberstleutnant Ludwig Reeps.
  • As of 10th August 1943 the unit had the following aircraft: 1 FW 189, 1 HS 126, 74 DFS 230.
  • Redeployed back to Germany in April 1943 to Langendienbach.
  • Suffered heavily during bombing attacks on Reich by USAAF.
  • 15th August 1944 a day raid by 4 engine USAAF bombers on Langendienbach airfield left it destroyed and out of action.
  • This and the severe lack of fuel the Luftwaffe was suffering at the time meant that after Order Number. 12877/44 from OKL, the unit was ordered disbanded and its personnel drafted into the Fallschirmjager units

Invasion ist com! Normandie! (HPS AAR)

20:00 Hours D-Day. The sun begins to go down on this ‘day of days’. Festung Europa has been breached and five Allied beach heads of different depths and sizes run across the width of the Normandy area.

Sword Beach Area

Beach head runs from mouth of the River Orne to Lion sur Mer in the West and penetrated to the outskirts of Colville.

Enemy units identified so far:

6th Airborne Division (Br)

27th Armoured Brigade (Br)

1st Special Services Brigade (Br)

3rd Infantry Division (Br)

79th Armoured Division (Br)

Juno Beach Area

Beach head runs from St Aubin sur Mer to Courseuelles sur Mer and advanced elements press on Colombiers

Enemy units identified so far:

Royal Marine Support Group (Br)

4th AGRA (Br)

3rd Canadian Division (Cn)

4th Special Services Brigade (Br)

Gold Beach Area

Beach head is the narrowest of the five running from la Riviere to Anselles sur Mer and inland to the outskirts of Meuvaines

Enemy units identified so far:

50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division (Br)

Durham Light Infantry (Br)

8th Armoured Brigade (Br)

Omaha Beach Area

From Colleville to Vierville

Enemy units identified so far:

1st Infantry Division (US)

2nd Infantry Division (US)

29th Infantry Division (US)

1106th Engineer Group

1121st Engineer Group

1171st Engineer Group

Utah Beach Area

The widest and deepest beach head reaching from the mouth of the River Douvre to Martin de Varreville, while airborne units sit astride the Mederet River

Enemy units identified so far:

82nd Airborne Division (US)

101st Airborne Division (US)

4th Infantry Division (US)

Invasion ist com! Normandie! (HPS AAR)

6th June 1944 18:00

German reaction starts to solidify. Grenadier Regiment 915 reports the arrival of most of its companies in the ridges above Fontenay and Juvigny and have started to dig in. Several anti-aircraft batteries have also been deployed around these initial defensive positions as Allied air supremacy is total. Spitfires, Thunderbolts, Lightnings, Mosquitos, Typhoons… the list is endless and casualty reports coming in from troops on the move are quite alarming. Here are some extracts received by AOK 7 by 18:00 hours:

2/ss.Aufk 12 reports 15% loss of vehicles to low flying jagdbomber on road St Pierre sur Dives-Caen

8/II/G.R.1057 reports 7% casualties to infantry due to enemy air action

3/Aufk.21 reports loss of 5 vehicles total losses to enemy air action.

Field Marshal von Rundstedt, OB West has issued orders to limit daylight movement and strict camaflouge discipline must be maintained. Whenever possible advantage is to be taken of natural cover in terrain.

21st Panzer Division has successfully engaged British paratroopers on the east bank of the River Orne. Though some recon elements have pulled back from spotted strong enemy positions, Panzer Grenadier Regiment 22 has successfully assaulted and eliminated a British company and is now in a position to try and relieve elements of 716th Infanterie Division cut off at Franceville.

9/3/1057 (91st Luftlande Division) supported by mortars from its heavy weapons company and with the attached 2nd company of Pioniere Battalion 191 routed elements of an American airborne unit to the north of Etienvielle. American mortars had been harassing the Hauptquaertier of the 91st and had the secondary road leading to Etienville under observation.

War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

War Diary SOPAC, 2nd December 1942.

 

Catalina’s of VP-14 (Tarawa) and VP-61 (Makin) spotted three Japanese carriers off the small island of Alik in the Northern Marshall Islands. They tracked their progress due East for about 8 hours until a second Japanese task force was spotted trailing the flattops to the West. Three Cats of VP-61 confirmed the presence of Japanese oilers, no doubt the fleet train for the carriers heading East. The heading and direction of the enemy ships suggested that the carriers were trying to steal into our main shipping lanes between Pearl Harbour and our new bases in the Southern Solomons. TF 1 (ANZAC Cruiser Force under  Captain H.A.Showers RAN), resident covering force for these bases was immediately ordered to steam north at full speed keeping as far West as the danger of aerial attack from Japanese air bases at Roi-Namur and Kwajalein permitted. Their bravery was rewarded when radar on HMNZS Leander and USS Barker began to pick up blips just over the horizon. Closing to combat range at Battle Speed 1 they came upon three enemy oilers escorted by a couple of destroyers and a small patrol craft.

HMAS Adelaide opened the battle with a full salvo from her main batteries that fell short of the closest escorting destroyer. The Japanese ships had seemed to be somewhat surprised to see our ships so close to enemy carriers and they seemed slow to react. HMNZS Leander and the USN destroyer Parrott immediately began to bracket the closest Japanese oiler with direct fire and several punishing hits from the Leander soon set the ship ablaze, no doubt she still had fuel in  her bunkers! Unfortunately though fortune favours the bold she can also be a very fickle mistress. A solitary hit on the Parrott from an enemy destroyer set of her magazine which set off a masssive explosion. She sank in 25 seconds and as of yet no reports of survivors have come through. By battle’s end all three enemy oilers were burning profusely and two of them were seen to be listing heavily to port. The Adelaide took some damage but mainly in her superstructure and can still maintain a good head of speed.

As the Parrott sinks beneath the waves, Japanese oilers burn bright! A suitable funeral pyre!

War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

This is an ongoing WitP:AE game that I am playing with a long time gaming partner from Australia. This is out third PBEM, one in vanilla Witp that run upto 1944 and the second in AE. This current game is upto December 1942 and has been ongoing roughly for over a year in Real life. We manage on average about a turn a day, a great average considering the time difference between Gibraltar and Australia. Herb is a great guy and an even better opponent. He is fair and honourable and his side of the game can be followed over at the Matrix Forums under the title The Little Ship That Could.

I have just received his turn back but as I am at work I cannot reply till later however an ANZAC led cruiser force has just intercepted some Japanese oilers that were supporting carrier operations to the North of the Marshall Islands. AE added the ability to carry out mid ocean intercepts as opposed to vanilla WitP were interceptions happened if opposing TF’s ended up in the same hex. As such the game is much more exciting, for example the Japanese carrier Junyo was sunk in a similar mid ocean intercept during the second Battle of Tarawa earlier in the game.

Full battle report to come later…

HMNZS Leander. Flagship for ANZAC Light Cruiser Force, December 1942