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FJ in Italy for «C3»

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
I have been struggling to identify the FJ units that were training in Italy for «C3» in April-June 42. All the sources I have access to state the FJ units were everywhere else except Italy. The Lexicon der Wehrmacht doesn't list any FJ units in Italy at this time.

I suspect that the units were elements of the 5 FJ Regiment OR the various Italian sources are wrong and no FJ units actually trained in Italy.

Any thoughts?

Grazie!
 
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Slavomir

New Member
James Lucas in "Storming Eagles. German Airborne Forces in WW2" claims that Germans foresaw two battalions of 5FJR (1st - Capt. Jungwirth, 3rd - Capt. Knoche) but they were conducting their training in Reims, from where they were deployed to Tunisia.

Regards
 

jbroshot

New Member
Extracted from an interesting book I bought years ago, DIE FALLSCHIRMJAGER CHRONIK, by Erich Busch (1983).

In May 1942, Fallschirmjager-Regiment 5 is forming at Truppenubungsplatz Gross Born, near Magdeburg with three battalions
In July 1942 the regiment moves to Truppenubungsplatz Mourmelon near Reims with I, III Battalions for further training, while II Battalion as "Kampgruppe Hubner" is detached and sent to join Fallschirmjager-Brigade Ramcke for deployment in North Africa
In November 1942 the regiment is deployed by air via Naples and Sicily to Tunis arriving 13 - 16 November 1942

(first post)
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Slavomir and Jim

I continue to hit dead ends when trying to identify any FJ units that might have been in Italy at this time. Arena states in several books that some type of joint training took place. I don't desire to ignore the Italian sources, but none of the German sources support any training in Italy.
 

DrG

Member
Jeff, while this is not my field of competence, I suggest you to take always Arena with a grain of salt. He was a good man who put a lot of effort in his books, but he was far from precise.
 

jbroshot

New Member
There is a monograph written by Italian officer while attending the US Command and General Staff School about planning for C3

Axis and the intended invasion of Malta in 1942: a combined planning endeavor​



Appendix E "German Support to Esigenza C3" lists 'Army' support as "1 parachute division" and "1 pioneers battalion"

The only Wehrmacht parachute division in existence in June 1942 was the 7. Flieger-Division which, after its ordeal on Crete, had been rebuilt but then was sent to piecemeal to the Eastern Front and was still in combat there.

I have a recollection of seeing or reading somewhere that the Germans were also providing a panzer detachment whose equipment included captured Soviet T-34s in order to deal with the British Matilda tanks that had been deployed to Malta. But at my age relying on recollections is dangerous. I will have to see if I can track this down
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Jim, I have that monograph. There has been a discussion on exactly what FJ forces would have been available/used if «C3» had been executed. As you pointed out, many of these units had been pulled out of Russia in the first half of 1942 and sent to France to be rebuilt.

I have a solid list of the units actually planned for «C3» (including the captured armor to be used).

Arena in his official history of the RA states that the folgorini trained with the FJ at Monte Romano near Tarquinia (vol. 3, p.386) and with the 5th FJ Div near Viterbo (p.716). Di Giovanni states a battalion was at Viterbo "in early 1942" (p.150). That battalion could be Fallschirm-Lehr Bataillon Burkhardt, but none of the sources state it was in Italy.

Jeff, while this is not my field of competence, I suggest you to take always Arena with a grain of salt. He was a good man who put a lot of effort in his books, but he was far from precise.

DrG

Agree. I have found differences in his accounts of the same event in his various books.
 

jbroshot

New Member
I took another look at Busch's book (mentioned previously). Fallschirmjager-Lehr-Bataillon XI Fliegerkorps (commander was Major Burkhardt) was sent to North Africa in December 1941. It was recalled back to Germany in April 1942, passing through Italy. 1. Kompanie (Hauptmann Herrmann) was detached and attached (?) as a training unit to the Folgore Division. If I read the section correctly (my German is pretty rusty) Generalmajor Ramcke was in Italy at this time and in charge of parachute training. This company was redesignated Fallschirmjager-Lehr-Kompanie Herrmann and later Erprobungs-Abteilung XI Fliegerkorps and later returned to Germany (I think).
The brief biography of Ramcke in GERMAN AIRBORNE TROOPS 1936-45, by Roger Edwards (1974) says, "Generalmajor Ramcke was assigned as chief instructor to the Italian Folgore Divisions and was involved in the plan to seize Malta."
So I would say that the German parachute unit assigned to help train Folgore was a company and not a battalion?
 
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jwsleser

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Staff member
Jim

That is a great bit of info. I found a very inexpensive copy of Busch's book and bought it. There are a few other things I might need to check.

I was beginning to suspect that it might have been less than a battalion. The April date fits well with Arena's comments, but not Di Giovanni's early 1942. Di Giovanni has a cite that might include this information from the AUSSME, but I didn't know about that file until after my trip to Rome. I have been focusing on Burkhardt's battalion as the likely candidate but never found a source to support it.

Yes, Ramcke was in Italy for several months. I copied his report on the «Folgore» that was in the Italian archives during my trip to Rome in April.
 
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Slavomir

New Member
It was recalled back to Germany in April 1942, passing through Italy. 1. Kompanie (Hauptmann Herrmann) was detached and attached (?) as a training unit to the Folgore Division.
Not sure what was the sequence of events, but checking my OKH files I have found this:
001.jpg

It looks like the battalion initially was recalled to Italy and there is a chance that before moving further to Germany it conducted the training with Italians as a battalion.
Take also a look at the second sentence, stating that employment of all available FJ battalions is an urgent priority.

Best regards
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Slavomir. Another interesting bit. Online sources state that Burkhardt's battalion returned to Germany late March/early April. Here you have an order dated 21 April that states the battalion needs to be in Italy by 10 May.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Like you Slavomir, my German is quite rusty.

RE: message. The difficulty I have is that I am unsure in which battalion they are talking about. Is it possible that they are returning a battalion from France/Germany to Italy to be used in North Africa? zum Einsatz is 'for use/employment'.

Do you have the referenced message (n.993/42 19.4.1942)? This message appears to be referencing paragraph 4 from that earlier document.
 

Slavomir

New Member
Online sources state that Burkhardt's battalion returned to Germany late March/early April.
It looks correct, I have confirmation of that transfer in PAA KTB - Orders dated 13 MAR to relieve KG Burkhardt from Giallo garrison duties and transfer via Martuba to Brindisi and daily reports from 17 MAR and 22 MAR on progress. Should have checked that in the first place...

Do you have the referenced message (n.993/42 19.4.1942)? This message appears to be referencing paragraph 4 from that earlier document.
Unfortunately not. I tried to find it also in PAA KTB but without success. Without it, I can only assume that having KG Burkhardt already in Germany the document talks about one of two FJ Btns requested by PAA.

Regards
 
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