The Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion, 1944

The Armoured Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion underwent some revision during late 1943 into early 1944.  Overall these increased the firepower of the unit, and took its overall strength to a theoretical 1100 all ranks.

The Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion, circa 1944

Battalion Headquarters (4 Officers, 19 men)

Communications Platoon (1 Officer, 54 men)

Battle Train and Maintenance (17 men)

Heavy Armoured Car Platoon (1 Officer, 21 men)

    6 SdKfz 233

Heavy Company (5 Officers and 185 men)

Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 15 men)

Maintenance Section (13 men)

Battle Train (11 men)

Baggage train (4 men)

Infantry Gun Platoon (1 Officer, 24 men)

Pioneer Platoon (1 Officer, 53 men)

8-cm Mortar Platoon (1 Officer, 57 men) added from March/April 1944

Cannon Platoon (1 Officer, 34 men)

Anti-tank Platoon (1 Officer, 31 men)

Armoured Car Company (3 Officers and 114 men)

Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 9 men)

Maintenance Section (13 men)

Battle Train (12 men)

Baggage Train (4 men)

Heavy Platoon (1 Officer, 23 men)

    3 SdKfz 231

    3 SdKfz 232

Three Light Platoons, each (1 Officer or NCO, 17 men)

    2 SdKfz 223

    4 SdKfz 222 or 4 SdKfz 221

Armoured Car Company 'c' (3 Officers, 108 men)

Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 9 men)

    1 SdKfz 250/5

Maintenance Section (13 men)

Battle Train (12 men)

Baggage Train (4 men)

Four Platoons, each (1 Officer or NCO, 17 men)

    2 SdKfz 250/5

    4 SdKfz 250/9

Supply Company (6 Officers, 107 men)

Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 9 men)

Train (9 men)

Maintenance Detachment (3 Officers, 36 men)

Fuel Detachment (18 men)

Munitions Detachment (14 men)

Supply Detachment (1 Officer, 12 men)

Medical Detachment (1 Officer, 5 men)

Company Train (4 men)

Two Armoured Reconnaissance Companies (3 Officers, 194 men), each comprised of;

Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 16 men)

Maintenance Section (13 men)

Battle Train (13 men)

Baggage train (4 men)

Mortar Group (18 men)

Three Rifle Platoons, each comprised of;

Platoon HQ (1 Officer or NCO, 7 men)

Three Rifle Squads, each comprised of 12 men

Total Strength of;

    1042 all ranks (29 Officers and 1013 men), later 1100 all ranks (30 Officers and 1070 men)

    3 SdKfz 231 and 3 SdKfz 232

    6 SdKfz 233

    12 SdKfz 222 and 6 SdKfz 223

    9 SdKfz 250/5 and SdKfz 250/9

Points of note

As with The Motorised Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 1943 to 1944 the mechanised equivalent received a Supply Company, but kept its Company level Train and Maintenance elements.

The elements of the Battalion

Heavy Company - largely as for the The Armoured Panzer Grenadier Battalion 1943 to 1944 with two extra Platoons.  The Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion kept its own Pioneer Platoon of three Squads, each fifteen strong and carried in two SdKfz 251/7 engineer halftracks.  Each Squad had two light machine guns, and each carrier another, and Platoon HQ added a thirteenth vehicle. 

During 1944 there was also the introduction of a Mortar Platoon with six 8-cm weapons, each carried by an SdKfz 251/2, plus one more for ammunition and a standard SdKfz 251 for Platoon HQ.

Armoured Car Companies - these remained as previously.

The Armoured Reconnaissance Company - this had undergone some revision from its original format.

The Rifle Squad was still twelve strong, and carried by two SdKfz 250/1 halftracks.  Individual weapons appear to have been modified slightly, with the assistant gunner switching to a rifle from a pistol.  Other than this there was no change from previously.

Platoon HQ was though amended, and now had both an SdKfz 250/1 and an SdKfz 250/8, the latter mounting a short-barrelled 7,5-cm gun.  HQ personnel were reduced, with just a single loader for the gun armed halftrack, but otherwise remained the same.

The Heavy Platoon was drastically curtailed, becoming just a Mortar Group with four SdKfz 250/7 halftracks, two each carrying an 8-cm mortar, two more providing HQ and ammunition vehicles.

Summary

The above organisation was arguably the strongest ever envisioned for the Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion.  The majority of its combat elements were now halftrack mounted, and fire support was substantial.  It was though just a few months before new developments in Panzer organisation were introduced in early 1944 that would change the Battalion again.

Index

Reconnaissance Units

German Reconnaissance units 1939 to 1945

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