Sturmpanzer Abteilung 216, road march to Pisa
On April 4, 1944 Sturmpanzer Abteilung 216 received orders transferring them to Army Group Reserves and ordering them to the area of Pisa-Lucca.
At this time the battalion was subordinated to Panzer Regiment 69 under the 76.Pz.K/14th Army. The regiment had an Eingreif Gruppe East and Eingreif Gruppe West and were located in the area of Genzano. This was about 13 km north of Aprilia and 18 km North West of Cisterna. The battalion had been at the front for about two months.
|Eingr. Gr. Ost
· Stu.Pz.Abt. 216 (less one Company)
· 2./ Tiger-Abt. 508
· s.Pz.Jg.Kp.653 ( Ferdinande/Elefant)
· 1 Company Stu.Pz.Abt. 216
· Pz.Abt.508 (less one Company)
The composition of these combat groups is likely why we see pictures of Sturmpanzers and Tigers together in Italy.
Their marching orders:
To be transferred during the night of April 5/6 to the area of Pisa as Army Group Reserves – Armee Grp. V. Zangen
- March only at night
- Daily goal of 60 Km (50 Km for tracked vehicles)
- Vehicles will travel at 5 minute intervals
- Columns will appoint aerial scouts
- March route will pass through area of suspected partisan activity. Loaded handguns to be distributed.
- Unit commanders should utilize every stop and rest for needed repairs
- Companies will receive marching rations for 10 days
March start times as follows: [I believe these to be the tracked/combat vehicles]
April 5th – 19:00 hrs – 3rd Company
April 5th – 21:00 hrs – 2nd Company
April 5th – 23:00 hrs – 1st Company
April 6th – 05:00 hrs – the bulk of the repair unit. [trailing no doubt to help with any needed repairs]
March start times as follows: [wheeled vehicles]
April 6th – 06:00 hrs – HQ Company
April 6th – 12:00 hrs – 3rd Company
April 6th – 18:00 hrs – 2nd Company
April 6th – 22:00 hrs – 1st Company
First night – north of Lake Bracciano
Second night – north of Lake Bolsena
Third night – south of Sienna
Fourth night – day of rest
Fifth night – north of Poggibonsi
Sixth night – final destination (Pisa – Lucca)
The battalion is to report daily by 10:00 using radio or telephone once they have reached the interim accommodations. The commander of the Corps Signals Battalion 476 will ensure radio connections.
Guide Detail, to be headed by Lt. Apitz, will be responsible for collecting road signs at the repair shop and then placing them along the route.
Recovery Detail will be left behind under the command of Feldwebel Rosipka. They will work in cooperation with the 69th Panzer Regiment HQ to recover 5 Sturmpanzers that are south of Aprilia. 3 men of the 2nd Company are ordered to report for duty on April 5th. [maybe I am missing something here but 4 men seems a little inadequate to recover 5 vehicles. It could be that the regiment would supply the rest along with the required equipment.]
A detail headed by Lt. Kaiser will also be left behind to administer the loading of parts still remaining and to facilitate the completion of current affairs.
I think it is interesting to note that these orders do not mention a 4th Sturmpanzer Company. The reason this is interesting is that orders were filled on February 26th 1944 indicating that a 4th Sturmpanzer Company was to be raised. This was to be carried out by March 20th. There was some indication that this was being carried out yet here we are in early April and a 4th company is not mentioned in these orders. I will cover the information that I have available regarding the 4th company in a future post.
This post includes a companion PDF with the following documents:
- Original documents of orders
- Composition of the 76th Pz. Korps on April 1st, 1944.
- Meldung (unit status) – Stu.Pz.Abt.216 – for April 1st, 1944.
- Situation map dated March 29th, 1944 showing the location of Combat Group East and Combat Group West.
*The documents in the PDF vary in dimensions in order to maintain the highest possible resolution. It is recommended to download the PDF to view and not view it in the browser.
Feedback or comments are welcome.
US National Archives & Records Administration