St. Mihiel salient 1918.

First World War 1914-1918 from the German perspective.

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St. Mihiel salient 1918.

Post by tigre » Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:50 pm

Hello to all :D; a little story on this................................

Withdrawal From Action. Operation of the German 5th Lahdwehr Division in the St. Mihiel Salient. Night 12-13 September, 1918.

The German 5th Landwehr Division was a part of the German Army Detachment "C" which held the St. Mihiel Sector at this time. The staff of this army had been aware that there were preparations for an offensive by the Allies since the first of September, and request had been made to GHQ for permission to withdraw to the Michel I position at once (see Map No.1).

This was granted on 10 September. Detailed plans for the withdrawal of the army had been worked out previous to this time, and a plan, which was the combination of two previously prepared plans, was ordered into execution. On 11 September, all front-line divisions were ordered to withdraw during night 11-12 September to the Artillery Protective Line (regimental reserve line) (see Map No. 1).

The order of battle of the American First Army and the German Army Detachment "C", as of midnight 11-12 September, is as shown on Chart No. 1. The attack of the American First Army began on 12 September at 2 :00 AM (German time) with a four·hour artillery preparation.

This preparation started suddenly, initially on the east of the Meuse, then extended west along the entire front of Army Detachment "C" (see Chart No.1). The fire was strongest against Group Gorz, especially on the boundary between the lOth Landwehr Division and the 77th Reserve Division. It was somewhat less forceful against Group Combres and was very light against Group Mihiel, of which the 5th Landwehr Division was a part.

At about 6:15 AM, 12 September, the Allied attack was launched, its main effort being directed against Group Gorz and particularly against the 77th Reserve Division, which was holding approximately 13 kilometers of front in the most exposed sector.

A secondary attack was launched against Group Combres-the 13th Landwehr Division and the Royal Austrian 35th Division receiving the brunt of the attack. The Mihiel Group apparently received a holding attack only. The 5th Landwehr Division, occupying the southern extremity of the St. Mihiel Salient had, prior to this time, been used only as sector or defensive troops. In combat value in 1918, it was rated as a 4th Class division, the lowest of four classifications.

The division was organized, as were all German divisions in 1918, with one brigade, the 30th Landwehr, consisting of three regiments, the 65th, 25th, and 36th, each regiment with three battalions of four companies each, and a regimental minenwerfer company. Divisional troops consisted of the 256th Landwehr Field Artillery Regiment, with a light ammunition column; the 2d Squadron 16th Uhlan Regiment of Cavalry; the 405th Pioneer Battalion; 505th Signal Command; and Medical and Transport columns.

The normal employment of German divisions in the defense, i.e regiments abreast, each regiment in column of battalions, was used in the sector held by the 5th Landwehr Division, except initially in the 65th Regiment. (See Chart No.2.).

A front-line battalion in each regiment held the regimental sector from the outpost line to the main line of resistance, inclusive, and was termed "assault battalion."

The second-line battalions were called "support battalions" and the rear battalion in each regiment was normally in regimental or division reserve, in a rest area or camp in the rear, and was termed "reserve or rest battalion." Artillery was disposed in depth, and its fires highly organized. These employment terms were used to designate the battalions in all reports and summaries of all higher units, instead of their numerical designation.

Chart No.2 and Map No.1 show the initial dispositions of the 5th Landwehr Division just prior to the retirement to the Artillery Protective Line (retirement to this line began early part of night 11-12 September and was to be completed by 4 :00 Aill, 12 September).

The infantry attack (by the French 39th Division) started at 7 :00 AM, mainly against the left of the 25th Regiment and the right of the 65th Regiment (see Map No. 1). This attack did not proceed far until it was driven back to its line of departure by counterattacks which were launched at once by the local reserves of the front line battalions.

The defense by these front-line battalions was ably supported by the fire, from the artillery. Only one battalion, however, was in position to fire, as the remainder had withdrawn to army and group reserves.

Another French attack was launched at 8 :15 AM, following a hostile artillery preparation. This attack also was repulsed by the heavy machine-gun fire of the 25th Regiment. This situation prevailed until noon 12 September, when a deep penetration toward Thiaucourt on the front of the Gorz Group caused the issuance of the "Loki" or withdrawal order by the Army.

Source: Academic Notes. RML Vol XX Nº 78. September 1940.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: St. Mihiel salient 1918.

Post by tigre » Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:01 pm

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

Withdrawal From Action. Operation of the German 5th Lahdwehr Division in the St. Mihiel Salient. Night 12-13 September, 1918.

Group MihieI, at once. issued orders to divisions in substance as follows (see Map No. 1) :

The withdrawal to start without delay. The defensive position to be changed to the Schroeter Zone (about 3 to 5 miles to the rear), right flank of the group to be one kilometer east of Deuxmounds, left flank to rest on Lake Champrez.

This zone to be held until further orders, and the forces to be grouped for a stubborn defense.

Rear guards to engage the enemy, and to retire on the Schroeter Zone only when forced to do so by the enemy. In such an event they are to retire, exploiting every opportunity between positions, to damage the enemy without becoming definitely committed in an engagement the outcome of which could not be predicted.

Covering forces of the divisions for the new position to establish contact with the flanks of the adjoining groups and with each other.

Only guns already attached to the forward combat battalions to be left forward of the Schroeter Zone.

Remaining artillery to be withdrawn in rear of Schroeter Zone at once and employed as required there. All batteries which can be dispensed with will be made ready for the march to Michel I Zone.

All demolitions which have been prepared to be executed. All water supply to be destroyed or rendered unfit as previously ordered.

The 5th Landwehr Division, upon receipt of this order, immediately directed the "rest battalions" of the 25th Regiment and the 36th Regiment to occupy the Schroeter Zone at once, and the artillery to move by echelon to positions in rear of this zone.

If further ordered the support battalions of all regiments to withdraw to the rear of this zone as division reserves.

The combat battalions to remain until 8:00 PM (dark), when they were to Withdraw, starting from right to left, leaving strong officer patrols behind to oppose the enemy and maintain continuous contact with the unit on the left.

While these movements were being directed, Group Headquarters ordered the rest battalion of the 65th Regiment to march toward Nonsard, and upon arrival, to be at the disposal of the 47th Regiment of the 10th Division.

At the same time, the division ordered an assault company to march toward St. Benoit to protect the division headquarters.

At 2:00 PM, the division was notified that the enemy had captured Pannes and Nonsard and later at 3:00 PM, that enemy forces with tanks preceding were advancing from Nonsard toward Heudicourt.

The division then ordered the rest battalions of the 36th and 25th Regiments (at that time marching to the Schroeter Zone) to deploy for counterattack against this hostile threat to the left flank, and to drive the enemy east of Nonsard, and then to cover the left flank of the division.

This order did not reach the battalion of the 36th Regiment, but the battalion of the 25th Regiment moved at once in the new direction, and upon arrival at the edge of Bois de Nonsard at about 4:14 PM, made contact with the rest battalion of the 65th Regiment which had previously been ordered to Nonsard to the assistance of the 47th Regiment. This battalion of the 65th Regiment had found Nonsard occupied by the enemy and could not contact the 47th Regiment, so with its attached battery of artillery it had taken position at the south edge of the Bois de Nonsard to protect the flank of the division. (For disposition of the 5th Landwehr Division at 5 :00 PM, 12 September, see Chart No.3.)

Source: Academic Notes. RML Vol XX Nº 78. September 1940.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: St. Mihiel salient 1918.

Post by tigre » Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:21 am

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

Withdrawal From Action. Operation of the German 5th Lahdwehr Division in the St. Mihiel Salient. Night 12-13 September, 1918.

At 2:40 PM, the division received the Group order not to halt at the Schroeter Zone, but to carry out the retirement to the Michel I position, as previously ordered, in one column, and to occupy the sector as shown on Map No.1.

Division headquarters retired by echelon, leaving behind a center of communications. Headquarters was opened at St. Benoit at 4:00 PM. At this time, a composite battalion consisting of one company of each regiment which had been detached at 1:00 AM, 12 September, to work on Michel I position under group orders and under the command of Captain Engleman rejoined the division. This battalion was inserted in the vicinity of Sebastopol farm, just south of St. Benoit with orders to reconnoiter in the direction of Lamarche and Beney, and to cover the flank during the march of the division through St. Benoit.

The rest battalion of the 36th Regiment and the support battalion of the 25th Regiment had arrived as reserves in the (see Chart No.3) Schroeter Zone by 4:00 PM, and at 7:00 PM, began their retirement to the Michel I position.

During the afternoon, the withdrawal of the combat battalions was carried out under the protection of strong officer patrols acting as rear guards. These combat battalions succeeded in disengaging most of their forces from the enemy. After assembling in the vicinity of Woinville, Buxerulles, and Heudicourt they joined the march column. The route of march of the column was via the road: Heudicourt -Bois de Nonsard -Bois de Vigneulles -St. Benoit-on Damovitoux. (See Map No. 1.)

During the march to the rear numerous camps were burned. The supply depot at Heudicourt, and ammunition depots in the zone of the division were destroyed either by fire or demolitions. The branch· railroad at Heudicourt was demolished and combat materiel such as heavy minenwerfers (for which there was no transportation) were destroyed in place by demolition. The trains and supply units of the division preceded the march column without event.

During this period a mixed Storm Battalion under command of Major von Puttkammer was formed at Briey from the personnel of the Machine-gun School, the Company Comrnander's School. and Noncommissioned Officers' School at that place. It was moved by rail to Chambley and assigned to the 5th Landwehr Division.

Major Puttkammer preceded his battalion and arrived at division headquarters at 6 :30 PM. He was ordered, upon the arrival of his battalion, to occupy the right half of the Apremont sector of Michel I position, pending the arrival of the division. Puttkammer's battalion was reinforced, later, with the 1st Battalion 65th Regiment and occupied the assigned sector between 9:00 and 10:00 PM (see Map No.1). Artillery was already present and ready to fire. Part of this artillery having been moved from the Schroeter Zone during the afternoon.

The march column moved directly through the main line of resistance of Michel I position to the area: (See Map No. 1) Hageville-Chambley, and by 8 :00 AM, 13th September, was assembled and reorganizing in that area.

Engleman's battalion, which had been left as flank protection southwest of St. Benoit was withdrawn during the morning of 13 September.

The division, despite a severe threat against its left flank, had withdrawn from action, marched from 18 to 21 miles, and was safely installed in the Michel I position. The division had a total loss of 11 officers and 612 men killed, wounded, and missing; and a loss of materiel of 51 machine guns, 13 minenwerfers, and two guns of the light artillery (these by burst of the bore).

The evacuation of able-bodied civil inhabitants in the forward zone was carried out by the division without serious difficulty during 12 September.

Source: Academic Notes. RML Vol XX Nº 78. September 1940.

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

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