The Armoured Panzer Grenadier Battalion, 1945
In April 1945, the German Army issued the last set of KStN tables for the Panzer Grenadiers. Considering that at this date the Red Army had encircled Berlin and the Western Allies had crossed the Rhine and were heading to meet them, it was an optimistic move to say the least.
The following description can only really be described as theoretical. However, one thing I have learned from the Internet is that some people are interested in the 'what ifs' of World War Two, and how events may have played out if the war had dragged on into 1946. To be honest, I've spent too much time trying to ascertain 'what was' to be too interested in 'what ifs', but the below may be of use to someone!
The Panzer Grenadier Battalion, circa 1945
Battalion Headquarters (4 Officers, 16 men)
Communications Platoon (1 Officer, 27 men)
Heavy Cannon Platoon (1 Officer, 30 men)
Supply Company (5 Officers, 113 men)
Company HQ (2 Officers, 10 men)
Medical Detachment (3 men)
Maintenance Detachment (2 Officers, 59 men)
Fuel Detachment (6 men)
Munitions Detachment (6 men)
Supply Detachment (1 Officer, 29 men)
Three Rifle Companies (3 Officers, 94 men), each comprised of;
Company HQ (1 Officer, 12 men)
Flak Section (12 men)
Two Rifle Platoons, each comprised of;
Platoon HQ (1 Officer, 5 men)
Three Rifle Squads, each comprised of 10 men
Total Strength of 488 all ranks (20 Officers and 468 men)
Points of note
This was the the Panzer Grenadier Battalion in its final form. It is of note in that, rather late in the day, it recognised the limits of what the Germans could now put into the field. It was part of an overall reorganisation of the Panzer Division, which was intended to take the formation into 1946, and is sometimes referred to as the Type 46 Division.
The elements of the Battalion
Heavy Cannon Platoon - in place of the former Heavy Company was now a single Platoon. This was to be equipped with six SdKfz 251/22 halftracks, each mounting a 7,5-cm Pak 40 anti-tank gun. The change in armament from the previous 7,5-cm infantry gun to the Pak 40 was to enable the Platoon to fulfil either the anti-tank or general fire support role. Platoon HQ was authorised an SdKfz 251/3 command vehicle.
The Rifle Company - well, perhaps an approximation to a Company by past standards for the Panzer Grenadiers.
There were to be just two Rifle Platoons, though these were not too different from the 1944 organisation. Each Rifle Squad had an NCO leader with an MP40, an assistant with an Stg44 assault rifle, two light machine gunners, each with an MG34 or MG42 plus pistol, and four men each with a rifle. The Squad was still authorised an SdKfz 251/1 halftrack, with a driver and assistant, with an MP40 and pistol respectively, the latter responsible for the vehicle machine gun.
Platoon HQ was now also to be carried in a standard SdKfz 251/1 halftrack. Personnel consisted of an Officer, with an MP40, a Platoon NCO and two messengers with rifles, a stretcher bearer with a pistol and a driver with a machine pistol.
There was no Heavy Platoon, no more mortars or sustained fire MG42s. Instead, there was a small Flak Section of three SdKfz 251/21 halftracks, each to be armed with the three barrelled 2-cm MG151/20 cannon, which were primarily to be found in various Luftwaffe fighters. By this late stage the Germans were increasingly using heavy cannon such as these in the ground support role.
Company HQ was reduced to a single SdKfz 251/3 command vehicle, a light car and two Kettenkrad tracked motorcycles. The Company was also expected to assemble a small anti-tank detachment of seven men, one an NCO, serving three 8,8-cm Panzerschreck launchers. Three men within the Company were to be issued sniper rifles.
It seems unlikely that even a single unit was reorganised in the above manner, but even if they had it would have represented the least powerful force of its kind. The last version of the Panzer Division was authorised a single 'armoured' Regiment, including one Panzer Grenadier Battalion as above and a sole Panzer Battalion with just forty tanks in four Companies of ten. Nothing could more accurately illustrate the decline and fall of the Wehrmacht than the ever diminishing strength of its once seemingly invulnerable Panzer arm.
The German Army
The Armoured Panzer Grenadier Battalion
German Divisional Organisations