Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

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Kasperlzhang
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Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by Kasperlzhang » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:01 am

I am getting more and more obsessed with organizing and naming my core as historically accurate as possible, and now I’m really not sure what to do with my motorized/mechanized Wehrmacht infantry units. For the record I love plain, nothing fancy, not so elite infantry units, and try to use them as much as possible. Maybe because of all the glorious songs for them mud-legs (iirc) in Starship Troopers, the novel, not the movie.
Now back on topic, should they be called PzG regiments as long as they are given a truck or an armored vehicle? Or only when they are part of a panzer (grenadier) division and fight alongside the panzers? If it’s the latter case, then what should I call a trucked infantry unit when I detach it from a panzer division and retach it to a motorized infantry division comprised of three motorized infantry regiments, one towed pak battailon or sp JagdPanzer Abteilung and two artilerry battailon, if it suddenly stops qualifying as PzG?

Oh and btw, what should I call a grenadier unit with transports to differentiate it from motorized ordinary Wehrmacht units?

Edit: grammar.

captainjack
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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by captainjack » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:31 am

As I understand it, panzergrandiers are specifically infantry that accompany tanks. They sometimes used halftracks but often used trucks.
Standard infantry units would be infantry (on foot), motorised infantry (in trucks), mechanised infantry (in halftracks or other tracked transport).

So in game, panzergrenadiers would be the infantry components of your panzer division or regiment (for example my panzer division would normally be 2 tanks 2 infantry and 2 guns). Other infantry units would be infantry, motorised or mechanised (usually 2 infantry 2 guns and maybe a motorbike or cavalry unit or an AT gun - horse drawn guns for infantry, truck or half track for motorised and mechanised). An infantry unit with a tank or two would probably be viewed as a Light regiment or division.

It's not exact but works quite well for game purposes, and usually ends up with particular infantry types fulfilling specific roles (3 move infantry in infantry regiments, 2 or 3 move in motorised or mechanized units, panzergrenadiers in Panzer divisions).

I'm not sure quite why, but I rarely use a divisional structure for allied forces - maybe because there are fewer units or maybe because the mix of units is just that bit different.

Kasperlzhang
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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by Kasperlzhang » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:55 am

captainjack wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:31 am
As I understand it, panzergrandiers are specifically infantry that accompany tanks. They sometimes used halftracks but often used trucks.
Standard infantry units would be infantry (on foot), motorised infantry (in trucks), mechanised infantry (in halftracks or other tracked transport).

So in game, panzergrenadiers would be the infantry components of your panzer division or regiment (for example my panzer division would normally be 2 tanks 2 infantry and 2 guns). Other infantry units would be infantry, motorised or mechanised (usually 2 infantry 2 guns and maybe a motorbike or cavalry unit or an AT gun - horse drawn guns for infantry, truck or half track for motorised and mechanised). An infantry unit with a tank or two would probably be viewed as a Light regiment or division.

It's not exact but works quite well for game purposes, and usually ends up with particular infantry types fulfilling specific roles (3 move infantry in infantry regiments, 2 or 3 move in motorised or mechanized units, panzergrenadiers in Panzer divisions).

I'm not sure quite why, but I rarely use a divisional structure for allied forces - maybe because there are fewer units or maybe because the mix of units is just that bit different.
About the same as my takings, but motorized and mechanized infantry are English names.

Now how did the Wehrmacht call and number its motorized and mechanized infantry divisions and regiments with no panzer component?

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:26 am

There was some discussion on this subject a few weeks ago already but I get time outs on the search function. So here are some brief thoughts for discussion:

Grenadiers were basically heavy (weapon) infantry, i.e. historically using grenades, maybe compare here as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenadier. Initially, in WW2 intended to be motorized with trucks as much as available, however the bulk of the Heer was normal marching foot infantry.

Panzergrenadiers (PzGren) were mainly heavy weapon infantry with mechanised (=light armored) transports (at least on paper with Sd.Kfz. 251/250 but also with trucks) alongside tanks AND (this is important) intended to fight tanks as well, e.g. in close terrain. The concept of PzGrens goes back to Guderian who realized the need for mobile (and armored!) infantry alongside fast tanks (for several reasons), maybe also compare here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzergrenadier

Later on, around 1943, both Grenadiers (motorized) and Panzergrenadiers (mechanized) were basically combined/both referred to as Panzergrenadiers (regardless of the available equipment which also started to get characterized by shortages of any type, more than anything else, from this point onwards).

So with these thoughts, regarding Wehrmacht nomenclature in general: there is a good chance to get lost (evolution over time/the course of the war) and to get fouled as well (partly due to omnipresent elements of proganda), e.g. some (motorized) infantry divisions were renamed to Panzer Divisions but they had no tanks or almost no tanks... :shock:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_di ... rld_War_II

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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:50 pm

You may find this website interesting as well (maybe via google translations, if needed):
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... derung.htm
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... ruppen.htm
Last edited by PeteMitchell_2 on Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

captainjack
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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by captainjack » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:53 pm

Thanks for the links PeteMitchell_2.

Now you mention it, I remember that the motorised/mechanised split was from sources about British units.
I have seen a few recent sources (some well referenced, others not) that suggest that most of the panzergrenadier units used trucks and that very few used only half tracks. Since the German army was always short of motorised transports, this sounds reasonable.

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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:50 pm

Yes, I agree.

Especially if you look at the number of divisions (i.e. the total number of infantry men), the capacities of the halftracks and their relatively small numbers built. Furthermore, not all units built were actually used as armoured personnel carrier...

Sd.Kfz. 251: 2 crew + 10 soldiers with ~15.200 units built
Sd.Kfz. 250: 2 crew + 4 soldiers with ~6.600 units built

http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/n ... anomag.php
http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/n ... fz-250.php

ycloon
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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by ycloon » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:22 pm

You might want to check out this video on the organization and designation of various types of German motorized and mechanized infantry units in WWII.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2HD2ZTs_Kg

A side note: "grenadier" was not the only term in use after 1942. The Grossdeutschland Panzergrenadier Division had two infantry regiments: one was designated as Genadier Regiment "Grossdeutschland", the other was designated as Fusilier Regiment "Grossdeutschland".

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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:15 pm

ycloon wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:22 pm
You might want to check out this video on the organization and designation of various types of German motorized and mechanized infantry units in WWII.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2HD2ZTs_Kg

A side note: "grenadier" was not the only term in use after 1942. The Grossdeutschland Panzergrenadier Division had two infantry regiments: one was designated as Genadier Regiment "Grossdeutschland", the other was designated as Fusilier Regiment "Grossdeutschland".
Thanks for sharing this link, very interesting and informative video. Here is also the script to it:
http://militaryhistoryvisualized.com/pa ... sion-1939/

JaM2013
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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by JaM2013 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:51 pm

Actually, it depends on if PanzerGrenadiers are formed in PanzerGrenadier division, or they are PanzerGrenadier Battalion within Panzer Division... if they are attached to Panzer Division, then they would be definitely tracked, as trucks could not keep up with tanks.. Plus their fighting doctrine was to fight together with tanks and support them in the attacks, where infantry would usually fight from their halftracks and would only dismount if situation required it. PanzerGrenadiers also provided instant "artillery" support to tank units, as they usually had mortars mounted on halftracks, which were immediately accessible by tank commanders in the field (while other artillery had to be usually called to division command, which meant it would be delayed)

Its kinda shame there are no mortar units in PC, considering mortars were the most numerous artillery weapons, and one of the most effective - after all, 120mm mortar had better effect on target than 150mm howitzer due to more circular shrapnel dispersion where howitzers caused a conical dispersion.
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PeteMitchell_2
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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:56 pm

I think there are mortars on the Soviet side in Battlefield Europe.

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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by captainjack » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:09 am

JaM2013 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:51 pm
if they are attached to Panzer Division, then they would be definitely tracked, as trucks could not keep up with tanks.
In principle, this is sound thinking, but it was rarely achieved even in the heavily mechanised British army. The German army was much less mechanised. It was also chronically short of fuel (and most other materials), had limited armoured vehicle production capacity and limited logisitics support throughout the war, so very unlikely to come anywhere close to full mechanisation except for individual units for very brief periods.

I don't have time to check references right now as I'm heading away soon, but my take is that it was fairly common to have one half track mounted PanzerGrenadier unit (probably battalion) in a Panzer Division with the rest truck mounted. One or maybe two (probably SS) Panzer Divisions had all their panzergrenadioers in half tracks, but this was worthy of a special comment which suggests it was unusual.

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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by JaM2013 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:32 pm

There were not that many panzer divisions actually.. so all halftracks went to Panzer divisions primarily.. Light divisions and PanzerGrenadier divisions had trucks mostly. At some point any somewhat mobile infantry unit got named as Panzer Grenadiers, but battalions attached to Panzer Divisions were the only ones getting halftracks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsTudthlCik

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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:58 pm

JaM2013 wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:32 pm
There were not that many panzer divisions actually.. so all halftracks went to Panzer divisions primarily.. Light divisions and PanzerGrenadier divisions had trucks mostly. At some point any somewhat mobile infantry unit got named as Panzer Grenadiers, but battalions attached to Panzer Divisions were the only ones getting halftracks.
Well, I am mostly with you... however, I am also with captainjack.

One point to mention here: "many" is a relative term. There were not many but at least "some" Panzer Divisions (with different total numbers at different points in time):
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... derung.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_division
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_G ... rld_War_II

You are right that halftracks went to Panzer Divisions primarily. The only thing we are saying is that:
1. there were panzer divisions that weren't really panzer divisions (they were just renamed infantry divisions, e.g. even the Luftwaffe had formally a panzer divsion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Falls ... %C3%B6ring)
2. there weren't enough halftracks to fully satisfy the requirements of real panzer divisions (the ones that actually had tanks), so also trucks were used to provide mobile infantry support to tanks

On www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de you can check the planned vs. actual allocation of equipment and personnel to different divisions at different points in time ("Stärkemeldung/Stärkenachweis"), e.g. here:
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... D19448.htm

maybe compare the numbers for "Schtz.Pz. / Pz.Späh", "Lkw" and "Kettenfahrzeuge"
you will see, they were short on almost anything...

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Re: Is Panzer Grenadier synonymous with motorized/mechanized infantry?

Post by JaM2013 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:29 pm

of course, availability was always issue, anyway any truck used in such capacity just reduced the capability of PanzerGrenadiers in the field. Their doctrine required them to be able to follow tanks wherever they go. (yet sometimes you cannot follow the doctrine if you dont have equipment necessary for it) After all, Panzer divisions in 1944 were just shadows of Panzer divisions of 1941.. their number of tanks was a lot lower than in 1941, sometimes entire division did not have as many tanks as 1941 tank battalion...
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