This is coming from a discussion at the AHF at this link. Basically DavidW was wondering why Bender & Law have a company of Fla-Btl 617 in North Africa in 1941 that he has only present after March. DavidR helpfully provided the exact text from p. 114., which I have copied below, although I have reformatted it for easier reading, and added some explanations in the ‘Branch’ and ‘Strength’ columns:
“Kampfgruppe Menny” was formed prior to, or shortly after the opening phases of the assault on the Gazala Line (December 13-16, 1941). A second “Kampfgruppe Menny” was formed around April 2, 1943 (47)
Unit Notes Bender & Law Branch Strength 2./Panzer-Regiment 8 (one platoon of Pzkw IVs) Tanks 1 company (22 tanks) 3./Panzerjager-Abteilung 33 AT 1 company (12 guns) Panzer-Aufklaerungs-Abteilung 33 Recce 1 battalion Teile Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 78 Signals Elements II./Schutzen-Regiment 115 Infantry 1 battalion (3 rifle coys) I./Artillerie-Regiment 33 artillery 1 battalion (12 how) III./Artillerie-Regiment 33 artillery 1 battalion (8 how/4 guns) 1./Flak-Abteilung 18 (Luftwaffe) Anti Aircraft Artillery 1 battery (4 guns) 3./Flak-Abteilung 617 Anti Aircraft Artillery 1 company (12 guns) one Panzer-Abteilung of Division Ariete tanks 1 battalion (52 tanks) one Batterie Sfl. from Division Ariete Artillery 1 battery (4 SP guns) one Kr. K.W.-Zug Ambulance 1 platoon one Horch-Zug Signals (radio intercept) 1 platoon
The footnote (47) above states:
“Microfilm Publication T315, roll 666, frame 001272, and The Relief of Tobruk, pp. 499-500”. David adds:
The reference in the New Zealand OH above does not mention any of the German units of Kampfgruppe Menny other than “the composite battalion of 115 Infantry Regiment”. It is merely a two page account of the destruction of 1st Bn, The Buffs at Point 204 on December 15th.
Bundesarchiv Picture of Panzer III advancing across a battlefield in the desert.
Now for the errata:
1) The document on which this OOB is based is indeed numbered correctly, but explicitly states that it refers to the organisation of KG Menny on 22 April, when it was established to backstop a forward push of Italian infantry division Brescia with the aim to prevent continued deep recce advances by Empire forces into the southern flank of the Axis position. Bender and Law made some errors transcribing the OOB, which are corrected below.
Unit Notes (note in bold differs from Bender & Law) Branch Strength 2./Panzer-Regiment 8 reinforced by one platoon of Pzkw IVs Tanks 1 company (22 Panzer III, 4 Panzer IV) 3./Panzerjager-Abteilung 33 AT 1 company (12 guns) Panzer-Aufklaerungs-Abteilung 33 Without armoured platoon, reinforced by one platoon 3./Panzerjaeger 33 Recce 1 battalion Teile Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 78 Signals Elements II./Schutzen-Regiment 115 without II./SR115 Infantry 1 battalion (3 rifle coys) I./Artillerie-Regiment 33 artillery 1 battalion (12 light field how) III./Artillerie-Regiment 33 artillery 1 battalion
(4 light how/4 heavy how/4 guns)
1./Flak-Abteilung 18 (Luftwaffe) Anti Aircraft Artillery 1 battery (4 guns) 3./Flak-Abteilung 617 Anti Aircraft Artillery 1 company (12 guns) one Panzer-Abteilung of Division Ariete tanks 1 battalion (52 tanks) one Batterie Sfl. from Division Ariete Artillery 1 battery (4 SP guns) one Kr. K.W.-Zug Ambulance 1 platoon one Horch-Zug Signals 1 platoon
2) The major error in Bender & Law is to not be clear on what their OOB refers to, i.e. the first or second formation of KG Menny. KG Menny was first formed before the first battle in the Gazala line opened, the order for its establishment was given by D.A.K. on the evening of 11 December 1941.
3) The OOB in December 1941 was rather different altogether from that of April 1942, and is set out below. This is based on the war diaries, D.A.K. and 15. Pz.Div., as well as various reports in T315 roll 666. The table below does not reflect the initial strength, but rather the best available information on its strength during the attack on 5 Indian Brigade on 15 December 1941, which led to the destruction of The Buffs.
|Panzer-Regiment 8||Tanks||5x Panzer II
16x Panzer III
2x Panzer IV
2x Large Command Tank
|Panzer-Regiment 5 (Company Rocholl)||Tanks||2x Panzer II
6x Panzer III
1x Large Command Tank
|3./Panzerjager-Abteilung 33||AT||7-12 Pak 38 5cm, 1 Pak 35 3.7cm|
|MG Battalion 2 with one light battery AR33 subordinated||Infantry (motorised)||4 coys, including one support coy, but probably very weakened due to losses outside Tobruk.
4x light howitzer
|I./Artillerie-Regiment 33 (2. and 3. Battery, subordinated 9./AR33 and 6./AR155)||artillery||1 reinforced battalion (12 light field how, 4 heavy field how)|
|Elements I./Flak-Abteilung 33 (Luftwaffe)||Anti Aircraft Artillery||3 batteries:
4x 88mm (3. Battery)
12-20x 20mm (4./5. Battery, some subordinated to MG2 and II./SR115)
|II./AR33||Artillery||12x light howitzer|
|II./Schuetzen Regiment 115||Infantry (motorised)||1 reinforced battalion|