OUR IMPRESSION

Our impression is that of 3./SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 9 “Hohenstaufen” in September of 1944. Specifically, 3. Kompanie, an Armoured Reconnaissance Company (Panzer-Aufklärungskompanie). Official KStN of 1113(gp). The time period in which our portrayal takes place is important due to frequent changes in organizational layout of the 9.SS-Panzer-Division, as with most others, throughout the war. To help decipher some of this information for you and to even expand further on this, some background context is needed.

No matter the size of the military element, its basic organization, personnel authorizations, and equipment are dictated by some sort of organization document in all modern armies. For Germany in WWII, these documents were known as ‘’Kriegsstärkenachwesungen” (KStN), literally translated to the “Wartime Strength Authorizations”. These were the equivalent of the American Tables of Organization and Equipment (TO&E’s). Due to mitigating circumstances, the KStN were in constant flux and on top of that, actual adherence to these KStN by field Commanders was never a guarantee. Panzer Divisions were constantly expanding and there were rarely enough resources to field the force the way it was envisioned. This effect trickled down to Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilungen as well. As stated previously, this is why the time period in which our impression takes place (Sept ‘44) is important.

In early June 1944, when the 9.SS-PzD submitted its status report, SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt 9 still had a Model 1943 organization. It was relatively full strength in both manpower and vehicles, although exact numbers of light and medium half-tracks are not available. It would carry this same organization, throughout Normandy and the Falaise Gap, all the way into Operation Market Garden, in September of 1944. Not switching over to a Model 44 organization until November of 1944, in preparation for the Ardennes Offensive.

Here are virtual depictions of a Model 1943 Armored Reconnaissance Company, KStN 1113(gp), of which the organization of this unit is based on :

 

Company HQ section

(Kompanietrupp)

Platoon & Squad level

(Zug und Gruppe)

Yet another caveat to this, 9.SS-PzD was severely depleted once it reached Arnhem for refitting in the Fall of 1944, due to the heavy action this unit saw in France. The estimated strength at this time was about 6,000-7,000 men (50%). Shortly after the Division’s arrival in Holland,On Sept 7th under the directive of  SS-Obergruppenführer Bittrich, Hohenstaufen was ordered back to Germany for proper refitting and was ordered to turn over all working weapons and vehicles to its sister division 10.SS-PzD “Frundsberg”. Although these orders were only ‘’loosely’’ followed by most remaining units including SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 9, it further depleted the Battalion’s resources. SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 9 was kept on reserve as a combat capable alarm unit (Alarmheite) as the rest of the Division were mobilizing for return to the Father Land. Their estimated strength was roughly 3 Companies (~400 men), with 30 Schützenpanzerwagen (SPW) and armored cars when Operation Market Garden began in September 17, 1944.

For organization and training purposes, we will be utilizing KStN 1113(gp), displaying a full Company strength. With regards to official battles against Allied reenactment groups, this KStN will not always be enforced, as it would be disingenuous to do so. Our authorized personnel, equipment, and vehicles, will be discussed with the opposing Unit commander. If it is decided to conduct a proper Arnhem reenactment, SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 9 will be following history as closely as we can, and enter the battle ill equipped. This all may seem trivial, in the realm of a video game, but we believe that to coin ourselves as a ‘’Virtual Reenactment Group’’ a certain amount of due diligence and research has to be done to ensure that we can live up to that type of standard.

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