06.11.2021, 00:50 Uhr
29.05.2020, 14:45 Uhr
|Panzer groups are the most important strike force in summer of 1941. Their main objective is to capture important locations as well as fight enemy tanks.
The most common type of panzer in 1941 is Pz IIIH or J. These tanks engage enemy tanks (with support of artillery or air force or both. The other type is Pz IVE or F1, the standard anti-infantry tank. Some panzer divisions still have the older Czech tanks, fast but not so strong, and the light Pz II may sometimes be used as addition to recon force. The total number of panzer divisions in a panzer group is 3 to 6, depending on the sector.
Sometimes (but not always) a panzer group also has one or two brigades of StuG or two (normally in smaller panzer groups to compensate their lower number of tanks). These brigades can also be detached from the panzer group and used together with the line infantry. Towed antitank artillery is not common in panzer groups because of the time needed for the gun to take the position, although there are heavy AT guns attached to StuG brigades (most likely 88 mm flaks).
The anti-infantry battlegroup consists of a medium tank division with Pz IV and 2 motorized divisions, in fact brigades, so they are used together as one motorized force o division strength. A panzer group also has a motorized Elite division. Although some Army generals see Elite as competitors and do not want to have too many of them, they are a useful addition to the mobile infantry force.
There are motorized combat engineer regiments but they are not so common and mostly used for taking large cities such as Kiev. Sometimes construction engineer battalions are attached, to repair bridges blown by the enemy.
The recon unit of a panzer group is a battalion of light 4 wheel or heavy 8 wheel armored cars.
The mobile infantry in most cases uses trucks and the 251 halftracks are not so common due to their higher production costs. A panzer group always has a brigade of NbWf 41 (2 regiments). Besides those 4 brigades there is a separate regiment (Lehr) and a separate battalion (4th) with AG South. Some battalions of rocket launchers based on 251 halftracks are also used but not very common.
The panzer group is always supported by air force when it engages enemy tanks. There are specialized Ju87B Stuka units which are best to attack tanks, although Ju 88 is the most common type of bomber, and sometimes the older He 111H. The Do 17 is considered obsolete by 1941 and replaced by Do 217 (there is one bomber brigade with them).
As panzer divisions need mobility and repair, the support units for Pz III divisions are 2 supply units and up to 3 repair units. The divisions of Pz IV have additional flamethrower tanks, up to 2 repair units and additional infantry for fighting in cities (either 2 motorized battalions or a motorized battalion and a rifle company). This is a panzer division on paper; in reality no panzer division has all support it needs. A perfect StuG brigade (on paper) has extras StuGs and as many heavy AT guns it can get.
There are some reports about new types of Soviet tanks seen on the front line, so it is important to use panzers in one force and not as separate divisions. Use of separate tank divisions by the Soviets in Lwow area, mostly obsolete light tanks in understrength formations, is a textbook example of how [i]not[i] to use tanks.