Volksturm engineers/pioneers?

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  • #186891
    richard zamudio
    Participant

    Was there such a unit for the Volksturm? If there was, I would be interested in creating such a unit!

    #186897
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    On paper the organisation was a battalion of 642 men based on the standard Heer (Army) triangular system – 3 sections to a platoon, 3 platoons to a company and 3 companies to a battalion with associated support platoons for engineer, medical, transport (bicycles were authorised), communication (civilian telephones), administration etc.  The engineer platoon, when it existed, was often drawn from the Technische Nothilfe (Technical Emergency Aid) organisation that provided rescue services after air raids.  Each company of 150 men came from a small locality and the heavy weapons that would normally be in an army battalion’s Heavy Company were shared out to each of the companies.  This was because the battalions frequently had several companies from different locations and each company had a “slice” of any heavy weapons.  Units were mostly composed of members of the Hitler Youth, invalids, the elderly, or men who had previously been considered unfit for military service.

    The Volkssturm of Levy I and Levy II was supposed to be equipped with German Weapons but because this interfered with the availability of weapons for the forming and replacement regular army this frequently was not possible.  As a result many units were largely equipped with foreign, often Italian, small arms with very little ammunition despite the intention to allocate a relatively generous number of weapons and even this was seldom achieved.  Levy III and IV had no specified allocation of weapons.

    I know of one battalion with a Pionier Platoon, 3/115 (Siemensstadt) Battalion, which was one of the best equipped and it even had one flamethrower though I do not know if it had any fuel!

    So yes there were Pionier Platoons in at least a few Volkssturm battalions.  In Bolt Action terms a section of 7 or 8 old men, Technische Nothilfe or Hitler Jugend would be appropriate as a reinforcement to your Volkssturm Platoon.  They may be armed with pistols or as the rest of the unit but possibly with a number of satchel charges, geballte ladung or similar engineer stores.  If you do deploy a flamethrower it may well be the <i>Abwehrflammenwerfer</i> 42 static defensive type.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Alan Hamilton. Reason: spellin correction
    #186899
    richard zamudio
    Participant

    Very useful information! It seems that a lot of the formations were “paper” units. Thanks again for the help!

    #186904
    invisible officer
    Participant

    3/115 had a single Einstoßflammenwerfer 46.  Effective range a little over 20 meter , maximum 40 m. The burst was 0,75 seconds long.  It could be refilled but at Spandau Siemensstadt they did no refill. It was intended in Volkssturm for counter attack in urban area.   The men of the unit had been older workers from Siemens company, mostly WW I veterans.

    The Volkssturm Pionier platoons did no special pioneer work like Bridge building, mine laying or removing. No tools for that.  Main job was to dig the latrinen and to clear roads after air raids. Some barbed wire laying was done if material was available.

     

     

    Another unit with a Flamethrower was   Volkssturm-Bataillon 16/69 at Wriezen, just 113 men. 14 ill, 32 away building defence works from earth and wood.  3 MG of 3 types.

    Add three Spanish pistols, 228 rifles from 6 countries and the Flame thrower. But that lacked some parts and was of no use.

     

     

     

     

     

    #186954
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Interesting information about the flamethrowers.  May I ask your source? I am researching 3/115 battalion for a former colleague whose great grandfather served in it.

    #186956
    invisible officer
    Participant

    In 1995 Berlin museums made a series of 50 years wars end exhibitions.  Being a professional historian I was one of the Kuratoren.  We did a lot of oral history interviews.

     

    Among my “victims” was a guy that served as Hitlerjunge with the Siemens unit.  His father was one of the old Siemens workers and fortunately both survived the fights. My main research at that time was about the Zoo Bunker and Tiergarten and that boy soldier  served as runner to Zoo Bunker HQ.

     

    The 3/115 served with Gruppe Bärenfänger at Hellersdorf, some 10 km away. At first he used the S-Bahn, later a biciycle. Just over 10 kilometer it took a long time in the ruins.

    He told about seeing the test firing of the Flamethrower, nobody in the unit ever used one of that type before.   As far as he knew it was not refilled following that test. It was no weapon for static defence, more to attack a bunker. The guy that was given charge of it had been in WW I with the Garde  Reservepionierregiment, a special flamethrower unit.  At Siemens he was part of the company fire service but also working as a mechanic.

    Unfortunately the HJ men did not remember his name. He gave some alternatives but  — it was  50 years ago……… . Now he is dead too, he died in old age. He remembered the weapon well, for a boy it was impressive to see that burst.   He himself got an Italian Carcano and 10 rounds.

     

    He was a better witness than most, I had many that prooved  my oppinion that the interviewer has to know more than the witness. A lady spoke about seeing fat Goebbels at the Zoo bunker . He commanded Berlin defence but was not fat. She changed to Göring – that was not in Berlin.  At last I showed her a picture of the General der Luftwaffe that commanded Berlin air defence  in L Turm there. Oooooh.

    Another was a MG gunner, I started with asking for his weapons.  MG 42 OK, but he insisted on having had no pistol.   Later he showed me pics of himself in 45. With a?  A Pistol in holster.

    #186964
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Excellent, thanks.  I said it was my colleague’s great-grandfather in fact it was his grandfather who had worked in Siemens as a pattern maker and had also served in WW1 in the artillery.   In the battalion he was a section leader armed with an Italian rifle, 15 rounds of ammunition and two hand grenades.  At the start of the fighting he had been with the artillerymen manning a Russian 15cm (sic) howitzer with no tractor or horse team and only a few rounds of ammunition.  According to other notes there were 4 of these guns (I have seen references to two different types but both 152mm) and a French 220mm Mortar with half a dozen rounds.  All the artillery was destroyed by the Russians or blown up by crews.  The crews were army artillerymen who had been wounded.

    Thanks again

     

    #186967
    invisible officer
    Participant

    BA MA  has an origial document about the forming:

     

    Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/115 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Siemensstadt alias Volkssturm-Bataillon Krull

    Formed

    Berlin, Kreis Charlottenburg-Spandau (Siemensstadt)

     

    Oktober 1944

    CO  Erich Krull

    Adjudant: Dr. Gustav Adolf Pourroy

    Stabskompanie: Gebhard

    1. Kompanie: Schneehage

    2. Kompanie: Dr. Weinhold

    3. Kompanie: Treutner

    schwere Kompanie: Ltn. Fleck

    Geschützkomp.:Dr. Mahr

    Ca. 770 VS-Soldaten.

    Assembly room at Hellersdorf..    21. April 1945: Fighting in Kaulsdorf,

    22. April 1945: North of Kaulsdorf and Mahlsdorf (Abschnitt Kdr A). Evening to Friedrichsfelde-Ost (S-Bahn Bahnhof)
    Front to North and East

    24./25. April 1945:  Samariterstraße

    25. April – 2. May: Richthofen Str. and at  Löwen Böhmische Brauerei (Corner Landsberger Allee, Friedrichstraße and Puffendorfstraße) Front to East, South and West

    Schönhauser Allee the remaining  POW.  (Father and son escaped before that, deserting the day before)

    The unit got the weapons from  Heereswaffenmeisterschule Treptow.

     

     

    Archive Marzahn had some maps showing the unit’s position there but I have no idea if it is still there 30 years since our researching.

     

    The French mortar was a wheeled 22-cm Mörser 531(f) , 7.910 kg.   Not transported, it stayed at Treptow Helersdorf . 100,5 kg Grenade /  V0 415m/s  and range 10.860  m. At front a splinter proof shield.

    In France known as Schneider Mortier m 16. In German Wehrmacht use normally drawn by a SdKfz 7. The one of the unit was used as training gun at the school in Treptow.

     

     

    #186973
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Thank you so much. This confirms some information I have and adds more details. Very helpful.

    I had identified the 22cm Morser as the most likely and found several photos on this thread

    https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=140184

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Alan Hamilton. Reason: adding link
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