III FLAKKORPS


The III Flakkorps was formed in Paris on 22.02.1944 from Stab/11 Flakdivision. Its commanding officers were: 
  • Generalleutnant Johannes Hintz 22.02.1944 - 14.05.1944
  • General Wolfgang Pickert 28.05.1944 - 20.03.1945
  • Oberst Werner von Kistowski (acting) 20.07.1944 - 02.08.1944
  • Generalleutnant Heino von Rantzau 21.03.1945 - 18.04.1945

The Chef des Stabes was:

  • Oberst Kurt Röhr 2.44 - 4.45

Further officers of the general staff:

  • Ic - Hauptmann Baer

 The corps was unique in that all of its units were motorized, even though there were shortages of vehicles. After combat in Normandy most of the corps was destroyed in the Falaise pocket. The remainder of the corps withdrew to Germany and in 9.44 was at Cochem, supporting Heeresgruppe B, now under Luftwaffenkommando West. The corps took part in the Battle of the Bulge and was finally destroyed in 4.45 in the Ruhr pocket. First and foremost the corps was employed in the air defense role. The second important mission of the corps was to support the ground combat units. The chief reason for this was the shortage of GHQ artillery. If enemy tanks had broken through the Flak units were expected to engage them if they had advanced as far back as the Flak positions. The main components of the corps were the four Flaksturmregimenter, numbered 1-4. These had been formed by using the regimental staffs - numbered 32, 36, 37 and 79, respectively. The regiments had only recently received their Flaksturm designation when the allies landed.

Nominally, each regiment was supposed to have three battalions with five batteries each. Three of the batteries were authorized to have 8.8cm guns and two were to be equipped with light guns. Altogether this meant that the corps was intended to have 36 batteries of heavy and 24 batteries of light Flak guns.In reality, the organization of the corps did not correspond exactly to the authorized numbers. On 23 June it had 27 heavy batteries and 26 light batteries. This had increased to 29 heavy and 40 light batteries by 8 August. Since a heavy battery had 4 8.8cm guns, the authorized strength of the corps included 108 such guns on 23 June and 116 on 8 August.
According to its commander the corps had an authorized strength of about 12,000 men at the beginning of June. To this should be added the corps staff and its support elements. The corps did not have any means to repair vehicles and other heavy equipment.

 

On D-Day Flaksturmregimenter 2, 3, and 4 were located around the Somme Estuary, thus within the area op operations of Armeeoberkommando 15, while Flaksturmregiment 1 was deployed between Isigny and Bayeux. The latter regiment had recently been redeployed to that area. The corps received orders on the afternoon of D-Day to move to Normandy as rapidly as possible. During the night from 6-7 June the corps reached Paris. Most of the corps had reached positions southwest of Caen on the evening of 8 June.
During the march to Normandy the corps suffered greater casualties than most German units shifted into Normandy. In his post-war manuscript Pickert estimated casualties at 100 killed, 200 wounded and about 100 vehicles. According to the 20 September 1944 after-action report, losses during the March included 20 guns, 110 trucks and towing vehicles and 100 motorcycles, passenger cars and trailers. The march to Normandy did not only result in losses for the corps. It also claimed to have shot down 35 aircraft during the movement.

 

Once in Normandy the corps was employed in the eastern half of the German front against the British units. However, the Flaksturmregimenter were employed so far to the rear that the Broish armour units did not encounter them during Operation Goodwood. The three Flakkampfgruppen, however, were deployed further forward, and they did become involved in combat. Since they only had a TOE strength of eight 8.8cm Flak each these units were hardly significant.

 

On 1 June 1944 the organisation of III Flakkorps was probably as follows: