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LSSAH research - September 9, 1943 - Mantova, Northern italy
Old 06-24-2019, 03:57 AM   #1
Daibanana
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Default LSSAH research - September 9, 1943 - Mantova, Northern italy

Dear friends,
I’m working on a research and I need your help Please accept my apologies, I don’t write english very well! I’m studying what happened in the city where I live and I was born, Mantova (Mantua in both German and English), northern Italy, day September 9, 1943. As you know, when Italy surrendered to Allies, german forces took control of italian ground (“Achse operation”). In Mantova there were some fightings; I had access only to the few available italian sources and witnesses (a few old people still remember what happened!) but I know very little about the german side.
Italian units were, mainly, 80th Infantry Regiment and 4th AA Artillery Regiment; I know that the german units involved in city combat were all part of the 1.SS Panzerdivision Leibstandarte “Adolf Hitler”. For sure they were at least the following:

SS-Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 1
SS-Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung 1

supported by SS-Kraftfahrstaffel (Waffen SS) Fronthilfe DRP, I suppose for transport purpose.

Not sure if there were more units of the Leibstandarte. If you have more info, it would be GREATLY appreciated!.
These units were replaced a few days later by elements of Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 26 (24.panzer-division), but I'm focusing only on September 9.

Italian witnesses and battle reports talk about german SS motorcycles, armored cars, infantry and tanks. I know about Italian Regio Esercito, but I know very little about SS organisation, so here are my questions!

1) Could you tell me about the “structure” of SS-Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 1 and SS-Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung 1 in 1943? I mean, how many men they were, and what kind of tanks/vehicles they used? I need to understand the real situation, because, for example, about tanks, people talks they were Tiger but someone also talks they were not (Panzer IV? Large tanks with turret, anyway).
2) Do you know where I could find datas about german casualties of LSSAH that day? Unfortunately the website of Deutsche Volksbund don’t let me research by unit or place of death.
3) I know that there are many books about Leibstandarte AH, but it seems to me that unfortunately they are mainly related to other fronts of battle, and focus very little about Northern Italy. Any suggestion for a good purchase?

Thank you so much for your help! A hug to all of you from a very hot and sunny Italy,

Renato
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Lehmann
Old 06-24-2019, 11:37 PM   #2
SJP
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Default Lehmann

Rudolf Lehmann has the best info.on that time frame but it may not tell you everything you seek. I have several private photos' by a Member of SS Pz Gren.Regt 2 taken at Lago Maggiore.
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Cheers Steve
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Old 06-25-2019, 02:50 AM   #3
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Thank you very much Steve! Any suggestion about how could I get Lehmann's informations?
(again, please excuse me for my ignorance!)
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Volume III
Old 06-25-2019, 08:55 PM   #4
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Default Volume III

Go online and look for “The Leibstandarte III by Rudolf Lehmann ,it will have the most complete info. on that time frame your looking for.
Cheers Steve
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:27 AM   #5
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Thank you again Steve, I'm looking for it!
Greetings from Italy!
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:54 AM   #6
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There are three mentions of Mantua for 9.9.43
1.The Pionier-Bataillon deployed to Mantua with elements in Villafranca and elements defending the bridge over the Po in Borgoforte.
2.Daily report on 9.9.43 beginning 01.00 hours lasting till 13.00 hours
Mantua garrison disarmed and interned.
3.Parma and Mantua put up fairly strong resistance
9 dead and 45 wounded most of them in Parma.
11/12.9.43 Mantua was collection point for POWs with the Wirtschafts-bataillon taking over the supplying the POWs.
source Vol.3 Leibstandarte Lehmann pages 277-279 and 284

Last edited by JK53; 06-26-2019 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:12 AM   #7
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That's great, JK53!
Perfect match of these informations with my datas
1.Mantua is located half-way between Villafranca and Borgoforte
2.at 01.00 german operations started, and at 13:00 the battles in Mantua practically ended
3.Very interesting data! I did not know about the number of KIA and WIA. I presume it comes from the official documents of the unit?
And finally, the POW camps of Mantua received the italian POWs of the surrouding regions.
Thank you so much!!!
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Formation
Old 06-29-2019, 07:59 AM   #8
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Default Formation

Hi there,

Welcome aboard.

The structure of the Pionier Bataillon at that time was:

Stab
1st Kompanie
2nd Kompanie
3rd Kompanie
Brücko (bridge-building unit)
Pionier Kolonne (supply column)

Each Kompanie of Pioniere was made up of three Zug (platoons) which were truck-mounted and each Kompanie consisted of around 200 men each. The 3rd Kompanie would eventually receive armoured half-tracks (SdKfz 251-7) but this only happened in time for Normandy 1944.

The Panzerjäger Abteilung was equipped with Marder III Ausf H and a handful of Marder III Ausf M. This Abteilung was also divided into three Zug, and some of the unit may have been equipped with towed Pak 40 weapons and trucks.

So no Tigers with these units. However, Mantua was on the march route to Reggio, where the LSSAH was first stationed in August 1943, so most of the Division would have passed through this area at that time. New Panzers for the Division were delievered to Parma at that point, as most tanks had been left behind in the Ukraine when they left. I did find a photo the other day of self-propelled Wespe artillery vehicles based on the Panzer II, marching through Luzzara in August 1943, so many armoured vehicles would have passed through.

Cheers
Steve

Last edited by S Ballantyne; 06-29-2019 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 07-01-2019, 02:54 AM   #9
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Thank you, Steve! Your informations are very useful to me. Now I can figure how many german soldiers (+ or -) were involved. Since many witness (both civilian and military) talk about tanks with turrets, I think that, as you said, some heavy tanks in transit in the area were sent to Mantova, with the purpose of helping Pioneers and Panzerjagers.
Luzzara is only 18 miles south of Mantova, on the road to Borgoforte, where is located the bridge used for crossing the Po river Parma also is not far; as JK53 remembers, is the other city of the area who tried to resist and fight against the germans troops.
Thanks again!!!

Renato
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Old 10-23-2019, 03:59 AM   #10
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If you haven't checked yet, I suggest you the book "Mantova 1943. Una stagione di guerra" written by Luigi Lonardo. Isn't a recent book because it was published in 1995, but contains some informations about the fighting and how the germans took over the city in a couple of days.
You can borrow it in the Mantua's library.
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