Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kriegsmarine Coastal Artillery

Coastal artillery was the responsibility of the Kriegsmarine, and most of the weapons employed in this manner were captured or obsolete weapons, their role was a defence against invasion, rather than proper coast defence against naval attack many of these guns were mounted in defensive works of either turrets or casemates

Generally the branch of service color for Coastal Artillery and land-based KM units issued feldgrau uniforms was gold. Officers sidecaps had gold piping, the soutouch for enlisted me was also gold in color until the soutouch was done away with in 1941 or 1942.

Shoulderboards were of the older style square mitre-design rather than the rounded ends of WH, SS and LW personnel and did not have any piping on them. They were in feldgrau or bottle-green and had either the winged shell or crossed anchors motif on them - either embroided for non-commissioned men or raised metal insignia for officers.

Collar Litzen was the standard three bars, with the center bar white, and the shorter bars either side being golden.

There are exceptions. The Officers Visor cap and the NCO's Visor sometimes had bottle-green piping (not gold as you might expect) and sometimes feldgrau piping.
Marine Artillery Units were trained as ground artillery. There are several accounts of Naval Artillery Forward Observers during the Market Garden operation. Coastal batteries were used against ground targets all the way up the French coast, that is, if they could be turned towards the landward side.
Also, something to keep in mind, Naval Artillerymen are trained to hit moving targets such as ships, not much of a stretch to hit relatively stationary ground targets and the like such as a battalion area or a road junction. Coordinates, angles, grids, and trajectories are calculated much the same and a big shell is a big shell regardless of the target...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Konteradmiral z.V. Dr. jur. Paul Meixner

Born: 4 June 1891, Wien / Austria

Died: 8 June 1950, Wien / Austria 

Imperial and Royal (k. u. k.) Austro-Hungarian Navy:
• Seekadett: 18 June 1910
• Seefähnrich: 1 July 1912
• Fregattenleutnant: 1 May 1913
• Charakter als Linienschiffsleutnant: 1 January 1920
German Kriegsmarine:
• Charakter als Kapitänleutnant a.D.: 23 May 1940
• z.V.-Offizier: 20 August 1940
• Patent Kapitänleutnant z.V. (RDA May 1940)
• Korvettenkapitän z.V. (from 1942 Sonderführer Kapitän zur See): 1 April 1941
• Fregattenkapitän z.V. (later Sonderführer Kapitän zur See): 1 February 1943
• Kapitän zur See z.V.: 1 April 1943
• Konteradmiral z.V. (RDA 1 June 1944): 12 May 1944
Commands & Assignments:
• 18 June 1910: Entered the Imperial and Royal (k.u.k.) Austro-Hungarian Navy as a Sea Cadet.
• 18 June 1910-9 August 1914: Training and various land and sea assignments.
• 3 August 1914-12 July 1915: Second Officer of the torpedo boat "57T" (ex-"Narwal").
• 13 July 1915-28 August 1915: At the disposal of the Submarine Station.
• 29 August 1915-17 October 1916: Second Officer of the submarine "U 16." [On 17 October 1916, the "U 16," commanded by Linienschiffsleutnant Orest Ritter von Zopa, torpedoed and sank the Italian destroyer "Nembo" off Strade Bianche. The "U 16" apparently surfaced right under the escorted steamer "Bormida" and, damaged irreparably, sank at coordinates 40°08'N/19°30°E. Two members of the crew were lost but 14 survivors, including the commander and Fregattenleutnant Meixner, were rescued by the Italians and made prisoners of war.]
• 17 October 1916-February 1919: Prisoner of war in Italian captivity.
• 1 January 1920: Separated from the Austro-Hungarian Navy.
• 23 May 1940: Accepted for service in the German Kriegsmarine with the rank of Charakter als Kapitänleutnant a.D. (Honorary Retired Kapitänleutnant).
• 23 May 1940-27 July 1940: Detached to the Kriegsmarine Service Center at Aalborg-Aarhus.
• 28 July 1940-9 September 1940: Preparation for Operation “Seelöwe” (Sea Lion) in Emden, the proposed invasion of Great Britain.
• 10 September 1940-17 January 1941: Detached to the Naval Harbor Detachment at Calais, France.
• 18 January 1941-17 October 1941: Leader of the Sea Transport Center and then the Sea Transport Main Center at Tripoli, Libya.
• 21 February 1941-31 August 1941: At the same time, Naval Liaison Officer to the Commanding General of the Africa Corps.
• 1 September 1941-30 January 1942: At the same time, Naval Liaison Officer to the Commander-in-Chief of Panzer Army Africa.
• 18 October 1941-October 1942: Chief of the German Sea Transport Center North Africa.
• October 1942-7 December 1942: At the same time, delegated with the post of Chief of the German Naval Command North Africa.
• 30 January 1942-22 September 1942: At the same time, Naval Liaison Officer to the Commander-in-Chief of Panzer Army Africa.
• 21 February 1941-October 1942: At the same time, Naval Liaison Officer to the Italian Admiral of Libya.
• 8 December 1942-28 February 1943: Chief of the German Naval Command North Africa.
• 5 March 1943-11 May 1943: Chief of the German Naval Command Tunisia and, at the same time, Chief of Staff of the Italian Naval Command Tunisia.
• 11 May 1943-February 1946: Prisoner of war in British captivity. 

Decorations & Awards:
• German Cross in Gold: 11 February 1943, Sonderführer Kapitän zur See z.V, Chief of Naval Transport Command.
• German Cross in Silver: 6 June 1942, Korvettenkapitän z.V., Chief of Naval Transport Command North Africa.
• Iron Cross, 1st Class (1939)
• Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1939)
• War Merit Cross, 1st Class with Swords
• War Merit Cross, 2nd Class with Swords
• Austrian Silver Military Merit Medal (“Signum Laudis”)
• Austrian Bronze Military Merit Medal (“Signum Laudis”)
• Austrian 1912/1913 Mobilization Cross
• Austrian Karl Troop Cross
• Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
• Austrian War Commemorative Medal with Swords
• Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy U-Boat Badge
• “AFRIKA” Campaign Cuff-Title 

NOTE: Meixner was one of the extraordinarily rare recipients of both the German Cross in Gold and Silver in World War II. He was also the only former Austro-Hungarian naval officer to see active service as an admiral in the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. 

A note of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy U-Boat Badge that Meixner prominently wore as a "war badge" which it was not. 

“The Submarine badge was not an award! It was given to U-Boat personnel (excluding officers and officer candidates) while they were attached to a particular boat. The badges were the property of individual boats and had to be given back when not on duty with a particular boat e.g. if participating in training courses on land or on extended leave at home or whilst awaiting an appointment to another submarine or boat etc.” 

SOURCES: Hildebrand, Hans H. & Henriot, Ernest. "Deutschlands Admirale, 1849-1945, Band 2 (Habicht-Orth)." Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 1989; Scheibert, Horst. "Die Träger des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold (Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, Waffen-SS) und Deutschen Kreuzes in Silber (Heer, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe, Waffen-SS)." Podzun-Pallas Verlag, Friedberg, Germany, n.d.; various photographic evidence & WWI naval internet sources.

14.Schiffstamm-Abteilung - naval instruction batallion

This unit was formed on 1.1.1938 from the former II.Schiffstamm-Abteilung der Nordsee which had been in existence since 1929 in the Reichsmarine, during the time of Reichswehr. The 14.Schiffstamm-Abteilung was formed in the Gluckstadt/Elbe region and was initially a part of the 2.Schiffstamm-Regiment alongside the 10. and 12.Schiffstamm-Abteilungen.

In 1939 the 2.Schiffstamm-Regiment was disbanded and its Schiffstamm-Abteilungen, including the 14th, became independent units. In late September 1940 the 14.Schiffstamm-Abteilung was moved to Breda in the Netherlands where it remained stationed for a majority of the remainder of the war.

In 1943, a new formation of the 2.Schiffstamm-Regiment was formed and once more the 14.Schiffstamm-Abteilung was taken under its command, along with the 16., 20., 22. and 26.Schiffstamm-Abteilungen.

As WWII drew to a close most all Marine ground units were used to form Marine-Infanterie units to fight in the frontlines. The many Schiffstamm-Abteilungen in existence in 1945 were used as a large portion of the ad-hoc Marine-Infanterie units.

In March 1945 the 2.Schiffstamm-Regiment was used to form the basis of the 11.Marine-Infanterie-Division, a formation that was never close to a division in size but was referred to as such regardless. The component Schiffstamm-Abteilungen of the 2.Schiffstamm-Regiment were each used to help form the organic components of the 11.Marine-Infanterie-Division, in particular the 14.Schiffstamm-Abteilung became Marine-Schutzen-Regiment 111. The commander of the 14.Schiffstamm-Abteilung in March 1945, FKapt.M.A Leopold Bode, became the the Regimental commander of Marine-Schutzen-Regiment 111, just as the commander of the 2.Schiffstamm-Regiment, Kapt.z.S Hans Ahlmann, became the commander of the 11.Marine-Infanterie-Division.

According to the March 21st, 1945 OKH Dislokation Lagekarten, the 11.Marine-Infanterie-Division is listed as being located along a line just south of Gorinchem - Sliedrecht west to the Island of Over Flakkee (??) on the coast. Intermixed between the units of the division was also the 63.Infanterie-Division as well. The last OKH Dislokation Lagekarten for the area, May 7th, 1945, shows the 11.Marine-Infanterie-Division as being located along largely the same line, where it ended the war.

FYI, the other components of the 11.Marine-Infanterie-Division, Marine-Schutzen-Regiment 112 and Marine-Schutzen-Regiment 113 were formed from 16.Schiffstamm-Abteilung and 20.Schiffstamm-Abteilung respectively, each of their commanders going on to command the new regiment as well.

Commanders of 14.Schiffstamm-Abteilung

Kapt.z.See Carl Weber 10.38 - 11.39
Kapt.z.See Max Peters 11.39 - 9.40
Kapt.z.See Hans-Joachim von Stockhausen 9.40 - 6.43
F.Kapt. Hauth 6.43 - 9.44
F.Kapt.M.A. Leopold Bode 9.44 - 3.45

Commanders of Marine-Schutzen-Regiment 111

F.Kapt.M.A. Leopold Bode 3.45 - 5.45

First it’s important to know, that the various units were NOT part of the "Commanding Admiral in the Netherlands" until February 1945, despite they were located in the territory of the Netherlands.
They were commanded by the "Second Admiral of the North Sea"!

10. Schiffsstammabteilung
located at Wesermünde as part of the 2.Schiffsstammaregiment until November 1939 renamed into 4.Marinelehrabteilung on 01.01.1944
Kapt.z.S. Fischer Ernst - 0837-1239
F.Kapt. Masberg - 1239-0840
K.Kapt.(Ing.) Knoblochm.W.d.G.b - 0840-1140
K.Kapt. M.A. Benecke Werner - 1140-0642
F.Kapt. Metzger - 0642-1243
The unit was newly formed in January 1944 at Assens as part of the 4.Schiffsstammregiment and was renamed into Marineschützenregiment 162 in March 1945
K.Kapt. Zaubzer Theodor - 0144-0345

14. Schiffsstammabteilung
located at Glückstadt as part of the 2.Schiffsstammregiment until November 1939
relocated to Breda in September 1940 and since October 1943 again part of the 2.Schiffsstammregiment
renamed into Marineschützenregiment 111 in March 1945
Kapt.z.S.(Ing.) Weber Carl - 1038-1139
Kapt.z.S.(Ing.) Peters Max - 1139-0940
Kapt.z.S. v.Stockhausen Hans.Joachim - 0940-0643
F.Kapt. Hauth - 0643-0944
F.Kapt.M.A. Bode Leopold - 0944-0345

16. Schiffsstammabteilung
The originally 6. Schiffsstammabteilung was transferred from Wilhelmshaven to Gotenhaven in June 1940 and was renamed into 16. Schiffsstammabteilung.
relocated to Bergen op Zoom and Rosendaal in August 1940
part of the 2.Schiffsstammregiment since October 1943
renamed into Marineschützenregiment 112 in March 1945
F.Kapt. Frhr.v.Lamezan - 0640-0341
K.Kapt.(Ing.) Schmitz Albert - 0341-0841
F.Kapt. Metzger - 0841-0342
F.Kapt. v.Lilienhoff-Zwowitzky - 0342-0143
Kptlt. M.A. Reber - 0143-0243
K.Kapt. Rüder - 0243-0544
F.Kapt. Wernicke - 0544-1044
F.Kapt. Schroeder Wilhelm - 1044-0345

20. Schiffsstammabteilung
formed at Norden on 01.06.1941, but transferred at the same month to Ede near Arnheim
part of the 2.Schiffsstammregiment since October 1943
renamed into Marineschützenregiment 113 in March 1945
located at Harkamm at the end of war
K.Kapt.(Ing.) Treichel - 0641-0642
F.Kapt.(Ing.) Kersten - 0642-0743
F.Kapt.(Ing.) Suhrmeyer - 0843-1144
K.Kapt.M.A. Marx - 1144-0345