Sunday, November 17, 2019

1944 Sicherung Regiments in Normandy, Brittany & Pays de Loire

I have been researching the 325th Sicherung Division, more commonly referred as the Brehmer division. Commanded by General Walter Brehmer (involved in the plot to kill Hitler) the divsion then becomes part of the 1st Army group under Generalleutenant Hans Freiherr von Boineburg-Lengsfeld.

units include

  • 1st Sicherungs Regiment
  • 5th Sicherungs Regiment
  • 6th Sicherungs regiment
  • 190th Sicherungs Regiment
  • 325th Artillery Regiment
  • 325th Fusilier company
  • 325th pak abteilung
  • 325th Pionier abteilung
  • 325th Nachricten  Abteilung 
Units were rushed to the frontline in August 1944 from Paris to plug gaps after the breakout  of the 7th and 15th corps through Brittany and upper Pays de Loire (Pattons breakout). These police divisions were essentially for regional maintaining the peace and essentially rounding up French resistance, deportees, escaped prisoners, awol soldiers and downed Allied airmen.

They were armed with a mixture of equipment, French trucks, cars and buses and armoured cars, Czechoslovakian MG26(t) and mixed french and Czech rifles, mortars, russian and german AT  guns.

Sicherung Regiment 1

Charged with the defence of Paris, were moved to Mayenne and Sarthe region (Pays deLoire) on the 4-5th of August, the regiment were issued cycles, however they were motorised for the trip to Pays de Loire using requisitioned Paris Buses.

The regiment organisation upon arrival in Pays de Loire consisted of three battalions, plus two support companies.
Each battalion had four companies, the first eleven companies each armed with 12 Czechoslovakian MG30(T) and six light  LeGrW36 5cm mortar in the premier company of each battalion.  The 12th company were armed with six LeGrW34 8cm mortars and eight tri-pod mounted MG34s motorised in requisitioned civilian trucks.
13th heavy company were armed with twelve Pak36  3.7cm AT guns motorised with military Skoda trucks.
The 14th company were armed with twelve Panard armoured cars sdkfz 178 armed with 25mm canon.

The first and second battalions seemed to of kept their Paris Buses, the third battalion were then on their bicycles.

The HQ was posted to Coulans-sur-Gee, Sarthe, Pays de Loire, on the main east/west road from Laval to Le Mans, with orders to hold the line between Loue, Saint Suzanne, Evron to Aaron. The  1st and 2nd  battalions seemed to have been split up into company groups to reinforce positions of the 708th Infantry Division, the third battalion was subordinated to Panzer Lehr and posted to Aaron, west of ville Mayenne. (The primary movement bridge of the American thrust over the Mayenne captured by Pattons troops on the 5th of August)

Combat 5th August to 16th August
3rd battalion
5th August moved to holding line position L'Aaron river with elements of the 708th regiment, American units force a crossing seizing the only major heavy vehicle bridge across the Mayenne river at Mayenne.
6th August under constant bombardment from american artillery, and aircraft along with the failure to pressure the American units streaming south to Laval and south east towards Evron, at Ville Mayenne recon elements of the 5th Us Armoured division probe north towards Ambrières-les-Vallées, and the Alençon road, Pré-en-Pail and south east of the hold line towards Evron - LeMans road.
7th August 3rd Battalion counter attack Mayenne, along with elements the 728th Grenadier infantry regiment, supported by Panzer Lehr armour. The dug in American troops defend the outskirts of ville Mayenne and south around the  Moulay bridge across the L'Aaron river. This was the last effort to re-take the important river crossing across the river Mayenne.
8th August 3rd Battalion retired North west to Pre-en-pail. Performing the interface between Panzer Lehr Division and 728th grenadier regt of the 708th Infantry Division.
10th August after American troops try to cut them off a retreat is ordered to Alençon.
11th fighting south of Alençon retreat towards Alençon.
12th retreat north west with remnants of the 9th Panzer and 708th divsions, hold the Ecouché -Argentan line
13-17th destroyed in the fighting around Argentan
17th surrender to American troops

2nd Battalion
5th battalion in blocking position In Evron
7th August recon elements of the US 90th Infantry division probe the outskirts.
7th August units ordered to retreat, elements fall back to Sille-le-Guillame region with 708th Infantry division and remnants of the 17th SS recon battalion.
8th retreat to hold a line at Fresnay-sur-sarthe, help supply elements in the forest retreat
9th-11th fighting with 708th  Division south of Alençon.
12th retreat north west with remnants of the 9th Panzer and 708th divisions, hold the Ecouché -Argentan line
13-17th destroyed in the fighting around Argentan
17th surrender to American troops

1st Battalion & HQ Kamfgruppe Von Krawel
Kampfgruppe von Krawel, (Commander of the 1st regiment) formed 5th August were to defend the Laval - Le Man roads heading east to Paris. The Kampfgruppe consisted of  first and second  btn, with attached 17th SS recon and armour elements, Luftwaffe AA units from Laval airbase and broken units from 5th Parachute regiment, and Sturm Btn AOK7. The American armour thrust break the line on the 6th in three locations and the units retreat towards  north east of Le Mans to take up new positions south of the newly arrived 9th panzer division, and some elements North of Chartres between La Loup and Courville. After heavy fighting Retiring to Nogent le Roi position on the 11th.

Kampfgruppe Mucke formed from elements of  9th Panzer aufklarungs 9, two companies of 5th Fallshirmjager regt and three companies and remainder of first Sch regiment mortar  company and   Support  elements, defend Nogent le Roi.

Remainders assigned to 352nd inf division,  defending the Eure river at La Loup, on the 15th August breakthrough retired to Le Boullay-Thiery, elements of the  341 stug brigade attached 9 vehicles, at 8pm on the 16th of August the survivors of the regiment surrendered to American troops.

13th Company partially destroyed on the 8th, losing all AT units in fighting north east of Saint Suzanne, remainders retreated north east to Sille-de-Guillaume, then mustered further east with the remainders of 1st and second battalion.

14th company Armed with Panard sdkfz 178 acted as recon south of the Mayenne -Evron-Le Mans line, mostly patrolling the Main N road from Le Mans to Laval
5th August in position at Coulans-sur-Gee
6th report recon elements report large US concentration of armour at Laval, retire towards Le Mans
7th August Panard registration WH 669 217 destroyed at Arnage south of Le Mans.
8th August two Panards destroyed south of Le mans at Guécélard.
9th August retire to Le Mans
10th August Remaining Panards attached to Radfahr Battalion, retreat northwest towards Chartres and defend Chartres, unit completely destroyed north of Chartres.

I plan to build the 1st regiment and the supporting Armoured car company.