After Action Report: Abstracts from the War Diary of Heeresgruppe C Part 227 Nov 2014 0
Part 1 of this AAR can be found here.
October 5th, 1943: the Anglo-Americans have crossed the Strait of Messina practically unopposed, and are beginning their way north through Calabria. In Sardinia they have been pushing against the defense line of LI Gebirgskorps, gaining some ground East of Ozieri; this puts the 3. Regiment of 29. Panzergrenadier at risk of encirclement. Luftwaffe units patrolling the northern Tyrrhenian sea have intercepted an enemy convoy and sunk 5 transport ships, some of them were reported being troop carriers.
October 6th, 1943: in the early morning British and ?Free French? forces have performed another landing, this time in northern Corsica, both South of Bastia and near Ile Rousse.
October 9th, 1943: the ports of Bastia and Portovecchio, as well as Oristano, are too damaged to allow our forces to embark on the very few vessels able to sail. General Feuerstein attempts a risky operation in the hope to save our isolated Panzergrenadier: a hastily organized counterattack takes Sassari, encircling the rebel Italian ?Bari? Division, and points towards Bosa, that the units from Oristano try to reach attempting a sortie. Also the 16. SS Sturm Brigade attempts a sortie from Portovecchio to reach Ajaccio.
October 13th, 1943: the British and French units in Corsica attacked Bastia; only routed remnants of 135. Festung Brigade manage to escape and reach Piombino. The 16thSS Sturm has been attacked by overwhelming forces and retreated again to Portovecchio. The Anglo-Americans in Sardina have shifted their ?Schwerpunkt? to the West, to repel the General Feuerstein counterattack, and have retaken Sassari, lifting the encirclement of the Italian ?Bari? Division, but doing so have lighten up the front of the 305. Infanterie. The sortie of the Panzergrenadier from Oristano has failed due to the strong reaction of the enemy.
The Luftwaffe has been hitting hard the invasion fleet in the Corsican water, scoring a number of successes.
October 16th, 1943: the Grenadier in Oristano cannot be saved, and courageously prepare for a last stand defense; while part of its forces tries to contain the enemy in front of Sassari, the rest of LI Gebirgskorps attacks and maneuvers to encircle the Italian rebel XXXIII Brigata Costiera. The 16thSS Sturm has managed to find enough small vessels to sail from Portovecchio before the final enemy assault, and has safely reached Olbia. The first units of the newly formed ?RSI? army begin to join our forces.
October 20th, 1943: the strong reaction of the enemy has stopped the advance of LI Gebirgskorps, that had to retreat. After heroic resistance the Grenadier in Oristano have been forced to surrender.
In Calabria the population rebels and establishes a ?Free Republic? that includes the areas of Reggio Calabria, Palmi and Locri. Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring decides not to intervene, since an engagement of our troops there could be extremely risky. Unexpectedly, the enemy does not take advantage of this facility and does not advance in Calabria.
October 23rd, 1943: being evidently impossibile to hold Sardinia, Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring has authorized LI Gebirgskorps to evacuate the island as soon as possible, in order to conserve as much as possible the few forces available. 16. SS Sturm Brigade and the surviving 3. Regiment of 90. Panzergrenadier Division sail from Olbia to Naples and Gaeta respectively under the Luftwaffe?s protective umbrella.
October 27th, 1943: the 29. Panzergrenadier and the 305. Infanterie, although spread over a wide front, resist several attacks, conceding very limited ground to the enemy advance. The 2. Fallschirmjäger Division is recalled by OKW to be sent to the East Front; in change we are receiving the 356. Infanterie. The rebel ?Free Republic? in Calabria extends to Vibo Valentia.
October 30th, 1943: the Headquarters of LI Gebirgskorps and most of the 29thPanzergrenadier have left Sardinia and successfully reached the Italian mainland; the 305. Infanterie and the 2. Regiment of 29. Panzergrenadier have retreated to Olbia to defend the port. The arrival of units from Sardinia and from Germany allows the sending of the 38. Sicherungs-Regiment to deal with the Calabrian insurgents.
November 3rd, 1943: our units in Olbia are forced to hastily embark under attack, and manage, although taking losses, to escape to the mainland. Civilian uprisings spread all over southernmost Italy: the Ionian coast between Taranto and Castrovillari is controlled by the insurgents, who threaten to also take Bari.
November 6th, 1943: the 44. Infanterie Division arrives as renforcements. The mechanized units leave the fortified line to ?clean? the south of rebels.
November 10th, 1943: the Anglo-Americans are concentrating all their air forces against our airbases; Luftwaffe losses on the ground are heavy.
November 13th, 1943: the Luftwaffe is practically annihilated. Italian ?Freiwilligen? form the new 29. SS Infanterie Brigade ?Italia?, that is assigned to Heeresgruppe Süd and at the moment is at Munich for training. Also the 16. Panzer Division is recalled to the East Front: we are losing much of our tank power. Intelligence reports that Anglo-American forces are in Calabria.
November 20th, 1943: our advancing units in Calabria enter in contact with enemy units near Cosenza. Additional Flak units are sent from the reserves to the airbases of Central Italy. The newly formed 14. Armee of Generaloberst von Mackensen is attached to our Heeresgruppe, sent to Lauria and charged of commanding XIV Panzerkorps, that hastily forms a defense line between Cassano and the Tyrrhenian coast West of Cosenza.
November 24th, 1943: heavy enemy attacks in the Cosenza area have forced our defending units to retreat.
November 27th, 1943: the XIV Panzerkorps quickly withdraws returning to the Sele-Ofanto line; the 29. SS Infanterie Brigade ?Italia? is ready and moved to Rome; the 94. Infanterie Division arrives as reinforcement. The lost Regiments of the 90. Panzergrenadier have been reformed and are arriving to complete the Division. The 14. Armee takes commando of the Sele-Ofanto defense line.
December 1st, 1943: the Anglo-Americans are advancing quickly, welcomed and helped by a greater part of the population.
December 8th, 1943: the enemy advance has slowed down, probably to establish good supply lines; they have reached Potenza and Spinazzola, and the Italian ?heel? has been ?liberated? by civilian uprisings, with the exception of the ports of Taranto, Bari and Brindisi. The ?Withoft? Korps of Generalmajor Rasp is attached to 10. Armee and takes control of Rome garrison.
December 18th, 1943: the 5. Gebirgs-Division arrives as reinforcement as is sent to defend the mountains at the centre of the line.
December 22nd, 1943: the first advance enemy units have entered in contact with the left wing of the defense line.
December 25th, 1943: the 71. Infanterie Division arrives as reinforcement bit is kept as reserve behind the centre of the defences. The southern part of the line is put again under command of 10. Armee.
December 28th, 1943: the enemy forces are in contact with the whole defence line, but do not attack yet.
January 1st, 1944: The I Fallschirmkorps of General der Flieger Schlemm is attached to 14. Armee. The LXXVI Panzerkorps effects a surprise attack against the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade that has just taken position at Pantanella, but without forcing it to retreat.
January 5th, 1944: elements of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division have attacked with decision the 15. Panzergrenadier, that is failing to resist; there is the risk that the enemy achieves a bridgehead over the Ofanto in front of Castelluccio, threatening the pocketing of the whole Korps.