Armeeoberkommando 15:

September 1944

 

 

1 September 2 September 3 September 4 September 5 September 6 September 7 September
8 September 9 September 10 September 11 September 12 September 13 September 14 September
15 September 16 September 17 September 18 September 19 September 20 September 21 September
22 September 23 September 24 September 25 September 26 September 27 September 28 September
29 September 30 September          

 

 

Sources:

OKH-Tagesmeldungen West

Kriegstagebuch und Tagesmeldungen Heeresgruppe B

KTB LXXXIX Armeekorps

This chronology is to be completed with other sources.

1 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

The enemy broadened his breakthrough (achieved yesterday) on both sides of Amiens to the north and to the flanks. At 12.15am the Chef AOK 15 reported to the Chef HrGr B that the enemy was in front of Arras. The enmy had also bypased Doullens and at 11.15 am had reached Beaumetz and Bavincourt. Chef HrGr B then communicated to the Chaf AOK 15 the message from the commander of HrGr B that the 712 Infaneriedivision was to be sent asap to the breakthrough area east of Arras. To this the Chef AOK 15 answered that this division would only be able to arrive in the area of La Bassée (north of Arras) with advance units in the evening of 1 September at the earliest.

In the first hours of the afternoon (2.30 pm) the enemy had entered Arras from the southeast with strong armoured forces, where it was in combat with the 64 Infanteriedivision. The enemy and carried out armoured reconnaissance towards Houdain and Lens. Enemy forces had also bypassed Arras to the west and entered Neuville-Saint-Vaast. Enemy tanks had also been report in Gauchin (northwest of Arras) and northeast of Lens. To counter these forces, 1 batallion of the 348 ID had been deployed in Seclin and the Panzerjägerkompanie 712 the La Bassée sector.

Before darkness Bapaume and Peronne had fallen into enemy  hands. In the breakthrough area stronger armoured forces were being directed forward. The units of the AOK 15 (and the PzAOK 5) were unable to stop the advance of a superior enemy due to a shortage of anti-tank weapons. Their situation is still partly unclear. 30+ tanks were destroyed.

 

Discussions, considerations and decisions

 

At 12.05 pm a new boundary between the AOK 15 and the PzAOK 5 was introduced. It ran from Ath over Cambrai to Moreuil. As a result the LXXXI AK and the LXXXVI AK were subordinated to the AOK 15. This meant that the 10 SS-Panzerdivision and  the newly-arriving 9 SS-Panzerdivision would also be subordinated to the AOK 15.  The main effort of the PzAOK 5 was now at Hirson, with the I SS-Panzerkorpson its left flank (with HQ in Chimay). The AOK 7 was disestablished and subordinated to the PzAOK 15 as Auffrischungsstab.

 The Chef AOK 15 contacted the Chef HrGr B at 1.40 pm with the following details on a planned new resistance line:

  • 1 regiment of the 64 ID the area east of Hesdin; 1 regiment of the 64 ID in the area Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise.

  • 1 regiment of the 59 ID in the area Bethune; 1 regiment of the 59 ID in the area La Bassée

  • The 712 ID in the area Pont-à-Marcq

Interestingly, the AOK 15 had no idea which units would be deployed more to the east towards the army boundary. This defensive line could be established by 4 September at the latest. However, a precondition for this was that the forces of the LXVII AK and the LXXXVI AK would be allowed to withdraw from the Somme river to behind the Canche river.

At 5 pm the Ia AOK 15 reported that the enemy had taken Doullens at around 4 pm and that part of the Füselierbataillon 64 had been pushed back north.

At 6.05 pm, in a telephone conversation between the Chef HrGr B and Chef AOK 15 ordered the setting up of a stopping line Canche-Hesdin-St-Pol-sur-Ternoise-La Bassée-Douai-Cambrai. The Chef AOK 15 reported that eemy armour was en route to Bethune and that the LXXXI Armeekorps, apart from 2 divisional headquartrs, had no forces available to block off the gap east of Pont-à-Marcq.

At 6.30 pm the Chef AOK 15 reported that numerous unts of the landorganisation of the Luftwaffe were to be pulled back towards Belgium after having completed the destruction of airfields. He was ordered by the Chef HrGr B to commandeer these Luftwaffe forces to the extent that they were required immediately.

At 9.30 pm Chef AOK 15 telephoned with Chef HrGr B. Firstly, the former reported on the military situation:

  • In the sector of the 226 Infanteriedivision fighting was ongoing near Airaines

  • The Füslierbataillon of the 64 ID had been forced out of Doullens, but was still defending the heights north of the city.

  • Arras was in enemy hands since the afternoon

  • The enemy was moving from Arras in the direction of Douai.

  • The enemy had crossed  the Somme near Peronne

Secondly, the Chef HrGr B reminded of the Heeresgruppe order, according to which the armies were to prevent further enemy advance on the line Canche-Houdain-Lens-Douai-Cambrai-St-Quentin-Oise. In turn, the Chef AOK 15 pointed out again the difficulties in commanding the LXXXI AK and LXXXVI.

At 11pm the commander of HrGr B ordered the commander of the AOK 15 that the gap with the PzAOK 5 was to be closed by all possible means.

The western wing of the PzAOK 5 would  be pulled back behind the Somme in the night of 1/2 September.With the 21st Army Group the enemy wll continue trying to reach the V1 launching sites. To counter this the Chef PzAOK 5 requested the help of the AOK 15 and the Luftwaffe. The chef HrGr B, however, replied that the AOK 15 was in no position to meet this request.

On this day the commander of HrGr B requested the OKW for the speedy arrival of a Sturmgeschützbrigade for the AOK 15 (as well as one each for the PzAOK 5 and the AOK 1).

 

LXXXVI AK

 

Attacking from the area Albert-Amiens to the north, the enemy took Arras and with advance troops reached Gauchin-Légal, 20 kilometres to the northwest of Arras, the area to the east of Lens (France) and is proceeding east northeast towards Douai. North of Doullens the Füselierbataillon 64 is engaged in combat.

Parts of the 10 SS-Panzerdivision (not part of 15th Army but ordered to close the gap between AOK 15 and PzAOK 5) were surrounded in Albert and received orders to break out to the northeast.

A secondary defensive front is being built further north between Hesdin-Béthune-Seclin-Orchies by units of the 712 Infanteriedivision, 1 Flak division (16 Flakdivision?), Alarmeinheiten and Marschbataillonen. The main parts of the 59 (from Dünkirchen) and 64 Infanteriedivisionen (from Montreuil) are moving towards this line.

 

LXVII AK

 

A defensive front is being established between Abbeville and Domart (15 km southeast of Amiens) with units of the 226 and 245 Infanteriedivisionen.

 

LXXXIX AK

 

Very early in the morning of 1 September Major von Rymker was sworn in as Kampfkommandant Arras.
The units of the Festungsstammtruppe located in the area of the fortress Dunkirk and Boulogne and the VB Calais were ordered, in case of risk of encirclement, to fight their way into the nearest fortress.
The pulling out (out of coastal defence duties) of 1 more regimental group each from the 64 and 59 Infanteriedivisionen was ordered.
The I/Fallschirmersatz- und Ausbildungsregiment 1 was subordinated to the 64 Infanteriedivision.
Just after midday it was reported that the Ausbaustab Somme had been surprised by enemy armour and had been missing since that time.With the headquarters were the Chef des Stabes LXXXIX Armeekorps, Oberst iG Ulrich and the Stopi LXXXIX Armeekorps, Major Halfmann, as well as others.

At 1pm it was reported that the major parts of the regimental groups had arrived at St-Omer and Hesdin.

Enemy armour had broken through from Amiens towards Doullens. The Füselierbataillon 64 had been thrown back onto the hills north of the city. Armoured spearheads were moving into the direction of Arras from the south and southeast. Arras was taken by the enemy at 3pm. The Kampfkommandant reported from Arras by telephone. The strength of defensive forces in the city was 2 companies. The Armee explicitly ordered the Kampfkommandant to keep the city. Since then, both the Kampfkommandant and the 2 companies had been missing.

New orders were issued to establish a defensive line Anvin-St Pol-Houdain-Béthune-La Bassée-Séclin

The headquarters of the 64 Infanteriedivision were pulled out and were to take command from 2 September at midday in the sector Hesdin-La Bassée with headquarters in Lillers. The coastal front of the 64 Infanteriedivision was to be taken over by the Festungskommandant Boulogne and the Kommandeur Sicherungsregiment 5.

Also ordered was the preparation of a withdrawal to the Canche sector by the sending of an advance unit of the 3. Regimentsgruppe of the 64. Infanteriedivision from the coastal front into this sector.

Finally, in the face of shameful choas and panic characterizing the German withdrawal Generalfeldmarschall Model called upon the honour and the steadfastness of each individual soldier in the army of the West. He also ordered the establishing of Sperrlinien and Auffangsstellen.

2 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

The British-Canadian forces group continued its breakthrough operation to the north with overwhelming armoured forces and covered by strong air support. It reached Doullens, Arras and the area south of Cambrai with strong forces. Advance elements moved towards Lille, Valanciennes and Mons.

The AOK 15 had withdrawn behind the river Somme and established a defensive front between Bernaville - St-Pol - Houdain - Bethune - La Bassée - Seclin - Auchy. Between Douai and Le Cateau the Nahtgruppe General Brandenberger (Reststab AOK 7) was deployed to prevent a breakthrough towards the north east.

It is to be expected that on 3 September will advance northwards from the area Arras - Cambrai - Valenciennes  to reach the V1 bases.

Today's enemy success was also caused by the lack of anti-tank weapons. The requested AT-weapons have not yet arrived, so that the troops are have not defence against tanks, as also close combat AT-weapons are lacking.

 

Discussions, considerations and decisions

 

At 2 am the O1 AOK 15 telephoned the Ordonnanzoffizier Ia HrGr B. He passed on a report from the 226 Infanteriedivision that the latter had retaken Ailly and that it was trying to establishe a defensive line between Abbeville - Ailly - Suramps - Domart - Fienvilers. Larger parts of the division were still in the process of crossing the Somme

At 5.45 am a telephone conversation took place between Chef AOK 15 and Chef HrGr B. The former reported that, in view of the existing gap between the AOK 15 and the PzAOK 5, the danger existed that the enemy, in the absence of own forces, would push northwards through this gap and roll up the entire coastal front. The forces whichwere to be moved by the army towards the line St-Pol - Bethune - La Bassée -Seclin - Orchies would party arrive late and partly be insufficient to stop a north and northwest-moving enemy between Douai and Valenciennes. The Chef HrGr B emphasized that every possible improvisation was necessary to close the gap.

At 6.45 am Ia AOK 5 telephoned Ia HrGr B. to report on th planned deployment at the above defensive line.:

  • Between St-Pol and Bethune 1 regiment of the 64 ID to arrive at St-Pol at 8 am; 1 regiment of the 59 ID to arrive at Bethune at 6 am on 3 September

  • Between Bethune and La Bassée: 2 regiments of the 59 ID to arrive at noon on 3 September

  • Between La Bassée and Seclin: 712 ID with 1 company in Pont-à-Marcq and 1 platoon in Auchy.

    • Units of the 712 ID already arrived: Füselierbataillon with 2/AR 1712 at La Bassée

  • Deployed near Seclin: III/GR 863 of the 368 ID near Seclin with company to Pont-à-Marcq.

  • Additionally deployed: Panerjägerkompanie of the 348 ID near La Bassée and Selbstfahrlafettekompanie near Seclin. From this company it is planned to move parts to Pont-à-Marcq and Auchy.

  • The Pakatillerieabteilung 105 was split up with 1 battery each to Bethune, Seclin and La Bassée

  • The Füselierbataillon of the 64 ID defends Frevent

  • The Heeresflakartillerieabteilungen 291 and 294 (in document incorrectly mentioned as 191 and 194) will be deployed east of Pont-à-Marcq.

At 7.20 am the Chef HrGr B passed on an order from his commander to the Chef PzAOK 5 to engage units to close the gap with the AOK 15 and, specifically, to send the 348 ID without delay to the area Cambrai-Douai. It was als to be considered which mobile forces could be used to close the gap.

At 7.45 and 7.50 am the Ia HrGrB, through the Ia AOK 15/PzAOK 5 orderd the commanders of both armies to report on the measures taken to close the gap.

At 10 am it was decided that the 348 ID would be deployed between Doullens and Cambrai as well as ad hoc forces norh of Douai under the command of the Sonderstab Brandenbergr (Reststab AOK 7).

At 10.15 am the army group commander ordered the Wehrmachtbefehlhaber in den Niederlanden to send 1 regiment of the 719 ID to an area east of Brussels, later changed into the Halle area south of Brussels.

At 11 am General der Infanterie Krebs, appointed Chef HrGr B, in succession of Generalleutnant Speidel, arrived at the army group HQ.

At 12.30 pm the HrGr B received the message that Generalfeldmarschall von Rundstedt had been appointed as the new OBWest.

At 1 pm the Chef AOK 15 telephoned the Chef HrGr B with the following information: 2 batallions of the 245 ID were still fighting on the southern bank of the river Somme, while the remainder of the division had crossed the river. A regiment of the 226 ID was also still located on the southern bank. Units which had crossed the river established a defensive line between Abbeville - Flixecourt - Bernaville - Authie river. The battle group of the 64 ID was located in Frevent. The LXXXVI AK and the LXXXIX AK  with the 712 ID established a defensive line between St-Pol - Bethune-Seclin-Auchy. In the night of 2/3 September it was planned to pull back the LXVII AK and the right wing of the LXXXVI AK behind the Authie river. Terroristenkämpfe were reported in Lille and Roubaix, but every was quiet in Tourcoing. All contact with the PzAOK 5 was lost and the whereabouts of the LXXXI AK were still unknown.

At 2.10 pm the Ia AOK 15 reported three enemy tanks in Berclau, east of La Bassée.

At 3.05 pm Chef AOK 15 telephoned Chef HrGr B to report that enemy tanks had entered Lille, where there was increased Terroristentätigkeit. He then requested permission to move to the army headquarters from Tourcoing to the Gent area with rear services in the Mechelen area. At 3.10 pm he obtainen this permission, during which contact he also reported that all direct contact with the corps had been lost.

At 10.30 pm Chef AOK15 telephoned Chef HrGr B to report arrival at the new headquarters a hostile atmosphere in all towns and villages whith vehicles being shot at.

At 10.50 pm the Chef Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber Belgien telephoned the Ia HrGr B to request permission to move his headquarter from Brussels to Hasselt, as the enemy was near Mons and the command had no defensive forces at its disposal.

At 11.30 pm the commander of the Luftgau Belgien telephoned the Chef HrGr B to ask whether the 2 Luftwaffeausbildungsregimenter (training regiments), which had been allocated to the AOK 15, could be kept under his command, hoping to us them to defend  the Albert canal

At midnight there was again a telephone conversation between the Chef AOK 15 and the Chef HrGr B. In this conversation the former reported that two Luftwaffe training regiments (see above) were transferred to Doornik. He also reported that the AOK 15 would withdraw behind the Authie river in the night of 2/3 September and to the next sector in the night of 3/4 September.

 

Other events

 

On this day the schwere Panzerjägerabteilung 559  was subordinated to the AOK 15 and transported by rail to Brussels. Also the Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber Belgien-Norfrankreich  was ordered to take responsibiluty for the reception and redirection of soldiers who would lose their unit.in Belgium. Finally, Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich was ordered to defend the Maas river between Liège and Dinant.

 

LXXXVI AK


Enemy armour succeeded in breaking through to the west of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise and was able to proceed 8km to the northeast of Saint-Pol. The left side of the corps line near Orchies was pushed further north.

LXVII AK


Enemy attempts to cross the Somme river were successfully countered. However, one batallion was surrounded and destroyed south the Somme. During the night of 2/3 September the Armeekorps withdrew behind the Authie river.

3 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations


In northern France the British-American forces group had its major effort in the area Valenciennes-Maubeuge with direction towards the northeast the aim to push, via Brussels, towards the V1-bases an simultaneously achieve cutting off the AOK 15 by a push towards the river Schelde near Antwerp. It became even more necessary to receive more Panzerbrigaden as the only measure against an encirclement of the AOK 15.
In the AOK 15 area the enemy pressure was strong only in the area St-Pol to the north, where in the evening St-Pol and Lillers were lost.
The enemy's major forces were located in the area Valenciennes-Bavay-Maubeuge and pushed his advance units via Mons, Ath and Binche and reach Brussels with armoured elements in the evening. A battle group was tasked with cutting off this enemy. Increased Terroristentätigkeit makes a detailed picture of enemy operations very difficult
On 3 September the LXXXI Armeekorps had apparently left the AOK 15 again. The LXXXVI remained subordinated.

Discussions, considerations and decisions


At 8.30 am the Ia AOK 15 reported  that the enemy hd entered St-Pol. At 6.20 am 8-12 enemy tanks had been destroyed in the bridgehead southwest of La Bassée, in front of the 712 ID. A batallion of a Fliegerasbildungsregiment was en route to Lillers and one regiment of the 59 ID had also arrived there.
At 9.20 am the Chef Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich was informed that he could only move his HQ on the explicit order of the HrGr and that he had to take up the defence of Brussels with all available units so that the armoured recce could at least be halted. The Chef also reported that the HQ of the Panzerbrigade 105 had arrived in Brussels, where it was having difficulties unloading its units in the planned areas and finding fuel. The unit was subordinated to the AOK 7.
At 11 am the Chef Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich reported that enemy forces had occupied Ath and were progressing towards the northeast
At midday the HrGr B decided to move its headquarters from Lustin (south of Namur) to Chaudfontaine (south of Liège), where it arrived at 7.15 pm
At 7.45 pm the Chef AOK 15 reported that the enemy was pushing forward towards the northeast from Ath towards Enghien on the left side of the gap existing with the PzAOK 5. Flakbatallions, which had moved into the gap, had suffered high losses in the AT-fighting. One Luftwaffe Ausbildungsregiment received the order to move to Doornik Due to its light armament it would joined with a Flakbatallion. The regiment was still located in Brussels. The second regiment was in Holland. One regiment of the 70 ID would be moved from Walcheren to the Gent area. Durig this telephone conversation the Chef HrGr B also approved the AOK 15 plan to commence the desruction of the ports of Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk.
At 11.35 pm a telehone conversation took placce between the Chef HrGr B and the OKW. In this conversation the former reported that the 70 ID would be transferred to the area south of Bruges and that the withdrawal of the AOK 15's right wing would be speeded up.

LXXXVI AK

Today, after hard fighting (during which the enemy used armour) Saint-Pol-sur Ternoise and Lillers were lost. Own forces from the Bours area were able to conduct a fighting withdrawal west of Lillers. The enemy also conducted attacks against Seclin and Wavrin. Lille is reportedly in the hands of heavily armed resistance groups. The enemy has conducted reconnaissance as far as the Nederbrakel area (some 30km south of Gent).
An enemy attack with armour near Auxi-le-Château was repulsed. At 7.30 pm Saint-Pol was taken from the enemy after hard fighting. An enemy attack on Wavrans was repulsed. Combat north of Saint-Pol was still ongoing.
The southern wing of the 64 Infanteriedivision enveloped the enemy near Valouen and Bours and advanced towards Lillers  At 7.30 pm Lillers was taken from the enemy. Own forces from the Bours area were able to conduct a fighting withdrawal west of Lillers. AT 9.30 pm some 20 enemy tanks were reported 5 km northwest of Béthune. An enemy attack near La Bassée and Seclin was repulsed. At 8.30 pm enemy recce was reported in Nederbrakel (26 km south of Gent). Lille is in the hands of several strong resistance groups with heavy weapons.

LXVII AK

Several enemy attacks with armoured support were repulsed. Four recce tanks were destroyed.

LXXXIX AK

The coastal sector from Walcheren (included) until the Belgian-French border, as well as the Antwerp sector were directly subordordinated to the AOK15.Initially on this day, the corps reported that the Fliegerregiment 53 would be transported on the orders of the AOK15 from Brussels to the Tournai/Doornik area in the evening of 4 September. Command of this unit was to be assumed by the Stab 344 Infanteriedivision under General Schwalbe, which would also be drawn in by the AOK15. This plan, however, was later on the day cancelled due to the enemy breakthrough towards Brussels. The position of the Fliegerregiment 53 was unknown to the corps after that.

Festung Le Havre

Enemy attacks with armoured support and aid from the French resistance against advance positions of the fortress were repulsed.

4 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

The front on the inner wings of the AOK 15 and the PzAOK 5,, defended only by splintered units was again broken through and torn up by the enemy 21st Army Group.with the use of strong force concentrations. Enemy armour from Brussels moved into Antwerp thus closing the ring around the AOK 15, which is also seriously being threathened in its middle. The enemy has the objective to cross the Albert Canal and proceed towards Breda.

Parts of the AOK 15 will withdraw into the fortresses Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk. A strong battle group, including the army headquarters, will move in the direction of Breda via Vlissingen. The 712 ID will try to break through north of Brussels in an easterly direction towards Diest.

 

Discussions, considerations and decisions

 

Today General Krebs took over as Chef HrGr B from General Speidel.

At 1.40 am the Ia HrGr B contacted the Id Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden to move the entire 719 ID to the Nete river sector south of Antwerp, occupying the line Boom-Lier, in order to stop the enemy advance towards Antwerp. For this action the 719 ID would be subordinated to the AOK 15.

At 8.45 am the Ia HrGr B contacted the Ia Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden that the latter was responsible for stopping the enemy advance towards Antwerp and, above all, preventing any further advance eastwards towards the German border. The 719 ID was to be engaged with all available means that the HrGr B expectedf a proposal for its deployment.

At 9.20 am the Ia HrGr B contacted the Ia LXXXVIII AK to transmit the order for the deployment to Antwerp.

At 9.55 am the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden reported could only be reached with the available forces on 6 September. Since only recuits without heavy weapons were available, he therefore suggested defending the Waal-position. Chef HrGr B replied that forces had to be moved further south than that.

At 10.15 am the 719 ID was subordinated to the AOK 7.

At 2.25 pm the commander of the Divisionsstab zbV 136 telephoned the Ia HrGr B to report that enemy armour had entered Antwerp since 2 pm, with more armour sout of the city. Own security forces were able to fend off weal attacks at the southern city limits. However, no forces were available for the destruction of the enemy tanks already in the city. Hence the question whether the south should be defended further or whether or whether the Albert canal should be defended.

Ar 2.45 pm the Chef HrGr B informed the commander of the Divisionsstab zbV 136 that the available forces were to defend the Albert canaland that parts of the AOK 15 would be ordered to break through south of Antwerp in the direction of Mechelen. The Divisionsstab zbV 136 would be subordinated to the LXXXVIII AK.

At 2.55 pm the Chef HrGr B informed the Chef OBWest that the AOK 15 to breakthrough with parts in the direction Leuven-Hasselt, to move with parts (inclusing the army HQ) to Breda (via Vlissingen) and for non-eligible units to reinforce the fortress of Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk.

At 6.20 pm the AOK 15 reported on the planning for their attempted breakthrough operation:

  • Fortresses:

    • the LXVII AK with 245 ID to fortress Boulogne and with the 226 ID to Calais.

    • Remainder LXXXVI AK (without HQ) to Dunkirk

  • Vlissingen

    • LXXXIX AK with 64 and 59 ID via the area southeast of Torhout to Vlissingen (with army HQ and HQ LXXXVI to Breda). 70 ID on both sides of Gent, preventing the nemy from moving northwards (with first parts arriving in the evening of 4 September) 70 ID will join LXXXIX AK. An advance part of the 1. Staffel would already move via Vlissingen to Breda in the evening of 4 September.  The Chef was already ordered ahead. The HrGr B was contacted with respect to a deviation of the Ia to Rotterdam, from Vlissingen by boat or from Bergen-op-Zoom by car.

  • Breakthrough

    • The 712 ID will breakthrough via Oudenaarde and the area north of Brussels to Diest  Unless faced with heavy combat, the division would be able to pass Oudenaarde in 2-3 days and Brussels in 4-5 days.

At 7.40 pm the Chef HrGr B informed the Chef OB West on the above objectives of the AOK 15, adding that he had approved these plans, bu that they would take some time to execute.

At 9.30 pm OBWest communicated advance information on an OKW order, ordering Boulogne, Calais, Dunkirk, Walcheren and the bridgehead Antwerp to be reinforced as far as possible.

 

LXXXIX AK

 

The headquarters of the corps were moved to Meteren, located to the west of Bailleul.

During the night of 1/5 September the corps would withdraw to a :line Aire-Estaire-southern boundary of Lille-southern boundary of Tournai. For this withdrawal the 64 and 59 Infanteriedivisionen were subordinated to the corps. The corps would keep, except for the 712 Infanteriedivision,  the third. Regimentsgruppe 59 Infanteriedivision (directed towards the Ieper area as Armeereserve), as well as the MG-Bataillon 14, retrieved in the Cassel area.The MG-Bataillon 14 was given the order of taking and keeping open the Lys (Leie) river crossings at Kortrijk and Menin, as well as to perform reconnaissance towards the line northern boundary of Tourcoing-Mouscron-discharge of Kortrijk canal into the river Lys.

The enemy had crossed the Meuse river with armour and had taken Brussels.

5 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

On this day the AOK 15 was able to ferry its first parts (headquarters) across the Schelde to the island of Walcheren.
The AOK 15 had conducted withdrawal operations as planned to a line Lumbres-Armentiëres without heavy enemy pressure.

Discussions, considerations and decisions

 

At 12.30 pm a telephone conversation took place between the stellv. Chef OKW  and Chef HrGr B. During this conversation the former argued that an escape of the AOK 15 across the Westerschelde to Walcheren might be impossible as a result of eneny air superiority and the likely deployment of enemy E-boats. Instead, he suggested the AOK 15 should force a breakthrough in the direction of Antwerp, above all to hit the enemy the flank and restore the situation in Antwerp. In response, the Chef HrGr B said thatt only 1 batallion of the 70 ID had remained on Walcheren and that ferry crossing facilities were available for 1 division. The crossing of the Westerschelde should be seriously considered, since a breakthrough in the direction of Antwerp would be impossible given the current situation. Nevertheless, he ould relay the matter to his commander. Of course, for a breakthrough across Walcheren, keeping open the Bergen-op-Zoom isthmus was essential. The 70 ID was to defend on either side of Gent to enable the LXXXIX AK to breakthrough. The 712 ID would be the only unit attempting to breakthrough east towards Mechelen. To this, Chef OKW expressed his doubt that this would be possible at all.
At 4.50 pm the AOK 15 conveyed its plans to the HrGr B:
  • LXXXIX AK with the 712 ID, LXXXVI AK with the 64, 59, 711, 363 and 346 ID and LXVII AK with the 245 ID would breakthrough to the east, north of Brussels, towards Diest.
  • The 70 Infanteriedivision would cross the Westerschelde to Walcheren
  • The 226 ID would fights its way into the Dunkirk fortress and the Sicherungsregiment 5 (without the III. Bataillon) into the Boulogne fortress.
These plans were approved by the HrGr B.
At 6.40 pm there was again a telephone conversation  between the stellv. Chef OKW  and Chef HrGr B. In it the former communicated that Hitler approved the breakthrough operation eastwards, but thought a crossing of the Westerschelde to be impossible. The Chef HrGr B replied that the majority of the AOK 15 would breakthrough to the east and that he hoped that the recapture of Leuven would shorten this route. Only in the event this operation proved impossible, the possibility of the Vlissingen route would be considered again.
At 8.05 pm the OKW communicated to the Ia HrGr B the OKW line of thought for the AOK 15 to reopen Antwerp and take possession of its port.

LXXXVI AK

The corps was withdrawn to a line Aire-sur-la-Lys - Armentières (behind the river Lys/Leie)

LXVII AK

Units of this corps were able to withdraw in good order in the direction of Kortrijk (remainder 711 Infanteriedivision), the fortress of Dunkirk (Kampfgruppe 226 Infanteriedivision) and to a line Lumbres-Inghem (Kampfgruppe 245 Infanteriedivision).
The 70 Infanteriedivision is in the proces of forming a new defensive line to the east and west of Gent.

LXXXIX AK

The withdrawal movement of the 712 Infanteriedivision to the line Armentières-Lille was carried out as planned.
East of Lille there was no longer any contact with the AOK 7, with apparently a big gap located there.
Supported by armour the enemy, starting from Brussels, pushed towards Antwerp and took the city fom the south; With the loss of Antwerp, the AOK 15 was now severed from its rearward communications.
The AOK 15 commander, General von Zangen, ordered the corps to make preparations for the breaking out of the 712 Infanteriedivision towards the east, passing north of Brussels into the Diest area.
The LXXXVI Armeekorps was ordered to turn northeast, to cross the Schelde near Breskens and to move across Walcheren and South Beveland to reach Antwerp from the north.
The LXVII Armeekorps was ordered to break through into the fortresses Boulogne and Dunkirk, as well as the VB Calais and to defend these.
The above orders were changed in late afternoon. Now all three corps werfe to break through towards the east. Great speed was required to cross the line Brussel-Antwerpen, before the arrival of the enemy. To this effect the 712 Infanteriedivision was ordered to start moving in the evening of 5 September and to break through towards the northeast. The objective for the first day's march was to reach the area northeast of the Kortrijk-Lys (Leie) canal. The Regimentsgruppe 59ID, on orders from the Armeemoving from the Ieper area to Menin, was ordered to keep open the river Lys (leie) crossings at Menin and Kortrijk and to relieve the MG-Bataillon 14.It was subordinated to the 712 ID. After having been relieved the MG-bataillon 14 was ordered to perform a recce mission past Kortrijk towards the Schelde in the in the area Oudenaarde (excluded)-Bossuyl(Bossuit?) area.and to keep open the bridges at Avelgem and Berchem.
The Generalkommando  moved to Otegem (10km southeast of Kortrijk). The Korpsstab crossed the Lys bridge at Harelbeke to reach its new Gefechtsstand.


Festung Boulogne

An armoured reconnaissance mission against Boulogne from the southeast was repulsed.

6 September 1944

 

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

After 2 days of relative calm the enemy attacked eastwards at several locations. In view of the thinly-manned front breakthrough were succeddful in several places, which we have not yet been able to stop everywhere.

The situation of the AOK 15 has further deteriorated, to the extent that a breakthrough eastwards would no longer have any possibility of success. Therefore, all units not planned for the fortress will attempt to cross the Westerschelde and move through Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland to avoid encirclement. Arrangements have been made with the Kriegsmarine.

 

Discussions, considerations and decisions

 

At 1.15 am a telephone conversation took place between the stellv. Chef OKW  and Chef HrGr B. The former communicated Hitler's opinion that Walcheren was to be defended and kept under all circumstances. Especially 70 ID was to be directed to Walcheren. Since the destruction of the port of Antwerp had failed the sea access to it was to be blocked and the port, if necessary, to be destroyed by naval artillery.
At midnight it was reported that the Gefechtsstand of the army group headquarters would be transferred from Chaudfontaine to Arcen near Venlo, where the OB and Chef arrived at 7 pm.
At 9.40 pm a telephone conversation took place between the Chef HrGr B and the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden. In it the former requested the latter to contact the Chef Kommandierender Admiral Niederlande to request an increase in shipping capacity on the Westerschelde to a maximum as well as the creation of as many crossing sites as possible, and to inform him of the measures taken before midnight. These measures were of vital importance for the survical of the AOK 15. The Chef HrGr B also requested the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden to communicate to the AOK 15 that a breakthrough was not to be made towards the east but rather that the Westerschelde had to be crossed to Walcheren, while a bridgehead was to be organized with the Leopol canal north and south of Bruges as the southernmost boundary. Also, the AOK 15 was reqeusted to answer the following questions asap:
  • Have the inundations been completed?
  • Has the ports, othter than those of the fortresses, been destroyed?
  • Have the locks in the canal Zeebrugge-Bruges been destroyed?
  • Are fortress installations outside the fortresses being held and, if so, for what reason?
The answer to the above questions were received at 10.35 pm.
On this day the AOK 15 also requested 30m³ petrol to be delivered by air. This request was passed on Oberquartiermeister West.

 

LXVII AK

Andres
(7 km southwest of Calais) was lost.
Enemy armour reported near Poperinge, Ieper, Kruishoutem and Deinze.
Own troops are engaged in heavy combat near Bevere and Eine (Oudenaarde)
Near Gent the frontline had to be withdrawn to the north of the city.

LXXXIX AK

The 712 Infanteriedivision had NOT reached the ordered area east of the Lys (Leie) - Schelde canal. Rather, it was located in the area north and northwest of Kortrijk and was keeping open the Lys (Leie) river crossing at Harelbeke with its mobile parts and the Panzerjägerabteilung. The MG-Bataillon 14 could not be located.
On this day the corps also reported that the corps Stab with Artilleriekommandeur 141 and the Korpsnachrichtenabteilung 498 was being identified by the enemy (civilians). The following radio message was monitored: "In Otegem 2000 men with few AT-weapons and  a general". At around 11am 3 recce tanks appear at the northern town limit of Otegem. Around 2pm 20 Sherman tanks appear, which surround and then fire on the town. Towards 9pm some tanks enter the town, and supported by the resistance, manage to eliminate some infantry positions. After one enemy tank was destroyed with a Panzerfaust, the remainder withdrew from the village. The tank fire caused considerable losses, notably with the Korpsnachrichtenabteilung.
The adva&nce parts of the 712ID arrived. The division was ordered to capture the Schelde crossing at Rugge (Avelgem), in order to break though further eastwards. The Korpsstab joined the divisionas it was marching along the road Harelbeke-Vichte-Tiegem.

7 September 1944


Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations


Today the left wing of the British army group concentrically attacked the AOK 15, which nevertheless in general was withdrawing according to plan.

Discussions, considerations and decisions

At 00.10 am the new Chef OBWest, Generalleutnant Westphal, reported to the Chef HrGr B.
At 9.25 am the Chef HrGr B telephoned the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden. The latter was ordered to obtain a situation report from the AOK 15.
At 11.25 am the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden nformed the Chef HrGr B on the situation of the AOK 15 (see below).
At 12.40 pm the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden nformed the Chef HrGr B that the AOK 15 was worried about Anwterp, since the FsAOK 1 appeared to have moved its main affort to the Hasselt area. The Chef HrGr B stated that Flak forces would be moved to Antwerp
At 7.05 pm a telephone conversation took place between the Chef HrGr B and the Ia FsAOK 1. In this conversation the former ordered everything to be done to ensure that the Antwerp area was defended to the utmost, sice only then could thet AOK 15 fight itself free. According to a report by the commander of the LXXXVIII AK the local commander in the Antwerp area would consider withdrawing. However, holding Antwerp and the area north of the city had to be assured.


LXXXVI AK

A counterattack to the east on 6 and 7 September enabled a withdrawal from the line Halluin-Ieper to the north.
Enemy attacks against the line Staden-Roeselare. Heavy fighting is still ongoing.
Armoured breakthroughs to the east and west of Hooglede and Harelbeke.

LXVII AK

Small numbers of tanks have reached Gistel and Torhout.
The Kampfgruppe 245ID is still fighting in the area of Kortemark.
The enemy entered Nieuwpoort.
The troops occupying Oostende withdrew to Zeebrugge.

LXXXIX AK

At 6.30am an Ordonnanzoffizier from the LXXXVI Armeekorps appeared with a corps order which stated that the 712 Infanteriedivision was now subordinated to the LXXXVI Armeekorps and was to turn northeast with this corps towards Breskens. The LXXXIX Armeekorps was ordered to take charge and to lead the crossing of the Westerschelde at Breskens.
The Stab of the corps reached the Divisionsstab of the 344 ID in Ijzendijke via Deerlijk-Harelbeke-Brugge. Here the generalkommando found that the 344 ID had already established an effective crossing organization. The Stab established a new headquarters at Hoofdplaat.


Festug Dünkirchen

Reconnaissance against Dunkirk from the south and southwest.

8 September 1944


Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations


Today the AOK 15 succeeded in completing a fighting withdrawal to a line Zeebrugge - Bruges - Gent - Stekene - Schelde estuary. The enemy has apparently turned towards the fortresses Calais and Dunkirk with parts of its forces.

Discussions, considerations and decisions

At 9.40 am a telephone conversation took place between the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden and the Chef HrGr B, with respect to the situation of the AOK 15. Thus, it was reported that the AOK 15 had reached the line Bruges - W Gent - Doel (?) with its main units. North of Gent the 70 ID was not in contact with the enemy. The Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden proposed assembling the non-combat capable units of the AOK 15 the area east of Utrecht - Breda. The Chef HrGr B approved this.
At 5.55 pm a telephone conversation too place between the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden and the Chef HrGr B. In this conversation the former informed  the latter that, according to Navy reports, the ferrying of the AOK 15 across the Schelde was going well and that 25,000 men had already been ferried across. Interestingly, the information was evaluated as very doubtful.
At 10.55 pm the OB und Chef AOK 15 and the OB und Chef HrGr B telephoned with one another. Firstly, the OB HrGr B emphasized the importance of the bridgehead northeast of Gent as the cornerstone of the army group as well as the necessity to retrieve possibly many heavy weapons and soldiers from the bridghead. Secondly, Chef AOK 15 reported that the army units were located in the large bridgehead Gent-Zeebrugge and that the enemy had exerted less pressure today (apparrently having engaged the fortresses). The situation of the AOK 15 was not good: almost no heavy weapons, especially AT-wrapons; also a part of the artillery was lost as it had either been overrun by enemy armour  or left behind due to fuel shortages.
Then the army's planned organisation was communicated: in terms of command the LXVII AK would command in the north, while the LXXXVI AK would command inside the bridgehead. Inundations had been intensified sa as to reach their high point on 11 September. As a result, there would then be a uninterruped water barrier between Heist and Bruges. From west to east the following units would be deployed:
  • LXVII AK: Coast until Bellem
    • West and east of Bruges: 245 Infanteriedivision
    • From above to Sint-Joris: 711 Infanteriedivision
    • From Sint-Joris to Bellem: 64 Infanteriedivision
  • LXXXVI AK: Bellem until Schelde Estuary
    • Gent area: 59 Infanteriedivision
    • Gent area to Schelde estuary: 70 Infanteriedivision

The defensive withdrawals of the units were planned as follows: the 70 Infanteriedivision would be relieved by the 712 Infanteriedivision and would be transferred to Walcheren to defend the island. In the course of this evening the 711 Infanteriedivision would be pulled out (assembling at Aardenburg). The 64 Infanteriedivision was planned to be the bridgehead division in the Breskens area. The Kampfgruppe 346 Infanteriedivision had been pulled out today and was to be deployed in the Terneuzen area. This battle group could reach the Antwerp area in in three days time at the earliest. The army's main worry was the enemy bridgehead at Merksem, which was to be eliminated with all possible means. The passage through the South-Beveland bottleneck was secured, partly by inundations, partly bei troops in the Woensdrecht area.

At 11.10 pm there was a new telephone conversation between the Chef AOK 15 and the Chef HrGr B. Here the former confirmed that the army group orders relating to the defence of Walcheren and the Schelde had been received. It was  also reported that 9,900 men had alread crossed the Schelde. Finally, the lack of AT-weapons was again communicated.

LXXXVI AK/LXVII AK

Both corps were able to withdraw to the line Gent-Brugge-Schelde estuary.
Parts of the 712 Infanteriedivision are still fighting the pursuing enemy.
Armoured enemy reconnaissance reached the front between Brugge and Aalter.
Oostende was lost.
Until today 9900 troops have been ferried across the Schelde near Vlissingen.
Since 1 September remains of the 245 Infanteriedivision, the 711 Infanteriedivision and the Flakregiment 12 have destroyed 82 tanks and 10 reconnaisance vehicles.
The corps were deployed as follows:
LXVII AK (Kampfgruppe 245 ID, Reste 711 ID, Kampfgruppe 64 ID): sector Zeebrugge until Bellem (Aalter)
LXXXVI AK
(Kampfgruppe 59 ID, Kampfgruppe 70 ID) sector Bellem-north of Gent-Schelde estuary
Reste 331 ID, 346 ID and 17 LwFd are located north of Gent.

LXXXIX AK

The Generalkommando received orders to defend the Schelde estuary with the 70 Infanteriedivision on the fortress Walcheren and the 64 Infanteriedivision in the Brückenkopf Breskens. Both divisions were still part of the LXVII Armeekorps on the southern bank of the river Schelde.

Festung Boulogne:

Attacks against the south side of the fortress were repulsed.

Festung Dünkirchen:

Enemy reconnaissance from the south and west was countered.

9 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

Today the AOK 15 was able to continue its movements as planned,  despite strong pressure, especially near Bruges, where hard fighting was still ongoing.

 

Discussions, considerations and decisions


At 2.25 pm, in a telephone conversation between the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden and the Ia HrGr B the ferrying across of the AOK 15 was reported as running according to plan. So far 31,000 men would have crossed the Schelde, bu this number was deemed exaggerated.

LXVII AK:

The enemy was able to establish a local bridgehead across the Gent-Brugge canal near Moerbrugge(4km southeast of Brugge). A counterattack is in progress.

LXXXVI AK:

A counterattck is in progress against the enemy who was able to break through the line with some tanks in the northwest of Gent.

LXXXIX AK

In Maldegem the Generalkommando took over the sector of the LXVII Armeekorps with the following units:
  • Kampfgruppe Kuhn: commanded by Oberst Kuhn, formerly the Regimentskommandeur of the HKAR 1240 with Restteilen and Versprengten from the army naval, army and railway artillery, as well as Restteilen and Versprengten of the Kriegsmarine.
  • 245 Infanteriedivision
  • 64 Infanteriedivision (deployed at the front)
  • Übersetzstab 344 Infanteriedivision
  • Restteile 711 Infanteriedivision (currently crossing to Walcheren)
  • Kampfgruppe Koch (versprengte light, medium and heavy Flak units, deployed at the front in ground combat and more in depth for Flak defences; approximately 1,500 men without canons/guns have established a Riegelstellung at the Leopold canal.
The Hauptkampfllinie ran from Zeebrugge-canal Brugge-Zeebrugge-western boundary of Brugge-canal Brugge-Gent. The boundary with the left corps (LXXXVI Armeekorps) was east of Oostmeulen.  (Oostmolen?). There was an enemy bridgehead in the area Moerbrugge at the boundary between the 245 and the 64 Infanteriedivision.  
The new Korpsgefechtsstand was located in Maldegem (only for the smaller Führungsstaffel), while the main headquarters remained at Hoofdplaat.
The combat mission of the corps was the defence of the Brugge-Gent canal for as long as possible, in order to gain time for the crossing of the Westerschelde and the organisation of a definitive Brückenkopf Schelde-Süd.

Festung Dünkirchen:

Enemy preparations to the south of the fortress were successfully countered.

Festung Le Havre:

Own artillery shelled infantry and armoured movements on the northeastern front.

10 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations


In the area of the AOK 15 increased fighter-bomber activity hampered the planned defensive withdrawals. Ferrying equipment was destroyed or damaged by the enemy.All indications point towards the enmy trying to cross the land area between the inundations in the Bruges-Gent sector.in order to engage stronger units against the army.

Discussions, considerations and decisions

At 0.10 am a telephone conversation took place between the Chef HrGr B and the Chef AOK 15.  In it the latter requested permission to extract the LXVII AK as opposed the LXXXVI AK, as was ordered by the army group. The former agreed. Further, the concern of the army that the forces engaged in the Antwerp area were to be subordinated to the AOK 1 and thus taken away from the AOK 15 was resolved by communication of the planned deployment of the AOK 15 in the area north of Antwerp along the Dutch coast.
At 0.50 am there was again a telephone conversation, this time between the Ia AOK 15 and the Ia HrGr B. On request, the former reported that during the course of the night a regimental group of the 711 ID would be ferried across, in addition to and simultaneaously with the regimental group of the 346 ID.
At 10 am a telephone conversation took place between the Chef HrGr B and the Chef AOK 15, in which the latter reported the following:
  • 1700 men and 1 artillery batallion of the 346 ID had been ferried across. However, movement to the area north of Antwerp would only be possible this evening. Since the weather was currently too good (no clouds) transport by rail would only be possible in the hours of darkness.
  • The own counterattack near Moerbrugge had been unseccessful and both sides had suffered considerable casualties.
  • Several enemy tanks had broken through in the Gent bridgehead.
  • The attack by the 712ID  against Antwerp is planned for tonight. Own recce by armoured scout cars in Sint-Niklaas unsuccessful.
  • Main enemy pressure is expected near Moerbrugge, with the aim of capturing Bruges and then to break through between both inundation areas. A stoping line has been established at the Leopold canal.
  • The army's main worry is ammunition.

At 11.45 pm Chef HrGr B and the Chef AOK 15 again engaged in a telephone conversation. The latter reported enemy armour south of Brugesas an indication for a large-scale attacked to be expected. The attack towards Antwerp with 1 batallion and 1 Sfl company had started at 5 pm. The battle group of the 346 ID had been ferried across to Walcheren. Fighter-bomber activity had been at its strongest all day. The canal crossing site opposite Terneuzen had been rendered unusable by the sinking of two boats. The Sybelfähre would be out of action for 8 days. The army requested fighter cover for crossing operations. Flak forces were present in sufficient numbers. The reinforced regiment of the 346ID would move to Roosendaal during the night and would presumably arrive in the area north of Antwerp by noon tomorrow, as well as a regimental group of the 711 ID in the area east of Antwerp. The 70 ID was in the process of moving towards the Anlandestellen. The LXVII AK had been extracted and, at noon tomorrow, would assume command of the Antwerp sector. The Chef HrGrB emphasized the importance of fast transfers.

The river crossing operations are hindered by strong fighter bomber activity. Two ferries are temporarily out of action; two other ships were sunk. Crossing operations continue with available ships.
In the night 10/11 September parts of the Kampfgruppe 346 ID and 2 batteries were ferried across. The Kampfgruppe 711ID is reorganising in the Oost-Souburg area (3km to the north of Vlissingen).

LXVII AK:

The enemy is constantly being reinforced in the Moerbrugge bridgehead. The corps headquarters were moves to Oost-Souburg (Vlissingen).

LXXXVI AK:

The own counterattack against the bridgehead northwest of Gent was unsuccessful in the face of strong enemy resistance. Here, too, the enemy is constantly being reinforced.

LXXXIX AK

In the bridgehead heavy combat was reported. A withdrawal of the corps to the Leopold canal in order to establish the Festung Schelde-Süd was being prepared (code word: Oostburg).
The headquarters of the 17 Luftwaffenfelddivision took over responssibility for crossing operations at Terneuzen.
The 70 Infanteriedivision (when crossing) would be subordinated to the Generalkommando (from 11 September)
With tanks the enemy succeeded in enlarging the bridgehead towards the north and east. 6 enemy tanks were destroyed.

11 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

Despite being faced with increased enemy pressure the AOK 15 succeeded in maintaining their positions and in advancing with an attack unit of the 712 ID out of the bridgehead eastwards in the direction of Antwerp, passing through Beveren-Waas in the process. In the course of 12 September it is planned to take back the bridgehead Breskens behind the Leopold canal. Ferrying activity was again seriously hampered by strong enemy air activity.

 

Discussions, considerations and decisions

 

At 9.30 am a telephone conversation took place between the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden and the Chef HrGr B. In response to a request about the deployment of the AOK 15, the latter that it was planned to deploy as soon as possibile parts of the AOK 15 in the Antwerp area and to the east of the city, in order to free parts of the Fallschirmarmee. Later, the AOK 15 was planned to be deployed in the sector Islands - Walcheren - east of Antwerp (with the boundary with the Fallschirmarmee at 's-Hertogenbosch-Tilburg-east of Antwerp. For the time being however the Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden would remain responsible for the entire area.

At 10.35 am a telephone conversation took place between the Chef AOK 15 and the Chef HrGr B. The former reported that the first part of the regimental combat group of the 346 ID would only arrive in the Antwerp area in the evening hours. In view of the necessity to move on foot the second half would only arrive at the earliest in the night of 11/12 September. The second half, together with the III Artillerieabteilung was still on the southern river bank while apparantly boats had been put out of  action by the enemy air force. The 711 ID, whose artillery is still also on the qouthern river bank, has unloaded with parts in Arnemuiden, since the railroad near Goes was blocked by a destroyed train: earliest possible arrival at Antwerp on 12 September. The railroad blockage near Roosendaal had not yet been removed. Due to boats being put out of action the ferrying across of equipment, especially artillery, was made extremely difficult.  The Chef HrGr B designated as future mission of the AOK 15 taking over the Antwerp sector until south of Rotterdam including the islands. in view of the situation of the Fallschirmarmee the AOK 15 had to take into account the takeover of the Antwerp sector and the right wing of the Fallschirmarmee.

 At 6.40 pm the Chef AOK 15 telephoned the Chef Hr Gr B with a situation report, consisting of the following elements:

  1. The regimental combat group of the 346 ID had arrived in the area ordered (11/9)

  2. Arrival of the regimental combat group of the 711 ID, with 3 batallions, in the area ordered in the evening of 12/9 at the latest; artillery even later

  3. Extremely heavy air attacks on Breskens have resulted in a limitation of ferry activity, which is only still possible at night. Parts of the 70 ID would presumably be ferried across only at noon on 12/9. The parts of the division crossing near Terneuzen will only arrive in the evening of 12/9

  4. In view of the strong enemy pressure, the army is considering withdrawing from the Moerbrugge bridgehead to behind the Leopold canal.

  5. Strong armoured preparations in the area north of Gent. The own advance, carried out for deception purposes, reached Beveren-Waas. There the enemy 4th Armored brigade was located.

  6. Planned change of the AOK 15 headquarters to Dordrecht planned on 12/9. Request for boundary with Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden: course of the river Waal (inlcuding Dordrecht)

  7. LXVII AK, headquarters in Essen. Mission: bringing together the 711 and 736 Infanteriedivisionen and defence of the allocated sector at the Albert canal

At 7.30 pm a telephone conversation took place between the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden and the Chef HrGr B. The latter communicated the AOK 15 proposal for the boundary with the Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden to run as follows: Maas estuary - Waal line  (including Voorne and Beijerland for the AOK 5).

At 7.45 pm the Chef HrGr B telephoned the Chef AOK 15 with the following messages:

  1. The HrGr  gave permisison of the move of the army headquarters to Dordrecht.

  2. The AOK 15 was to prepare for the taking over of the sector north of Antwerp to the Maas estuary at the earliest possible time.

  3. Boundary with the FallschirmAOK 1: The Antwerp-Brecht -Meer-Breda road

  4. Relief operation with the FallschirmAOK 1, in mutual understanding, starting on 12/9 if possible

  5. The OB HrGr B wanted to put together a unit for transfer to the Tilburg area and proposed the 59 Infanteriedivision. The Chef AOK 15 agreed to this possibility

At 8.50 pm a telephone conversation took place between the Chef AOK 15 and the Ia HrGr B. On request the latter reported that the 59 ID was to be tranferred to Tilburg as Heeresguppenreserve. The LXVII I would then further consist of the 711 and 346 ID. The boundary with the FallschirmAOK 1 would be the Antwerp-Breda road.


LXXXIX AK and LXXXVI AK:

Weak attacks to the east and west of Brugge were repulsed.
In countering enemy attacks out of the Moerbrugge bridgehead 11 tanks were destroyed. The enemy was able to gain only limited territory.
Armour-supported enemy attacks to the east and west of Gent were repulsed.

LXVII AK:

With parts of the Kampfgruppe 346 ID and parts of the Kampfgruppe 711 ID on road to Antwerp.
The crossing operations to Vlissingen were delayed by heavy bombing. Operations reduced by 40%.

12 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations


The combat action and movements of the AOK 15 were generally according to plan, even though strong enemy air activity made them occur later in time than calculated. The continuing shortaga of close-combat AT-weapons and mines severely restricts the AT-possibilities

Discussions, considerations and decisions

At 9.05 am a telephone conversation took place between the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden and the Chef HrGr B. In this conversation the latter that it was planned to extend the AOK 15 , if possible, far to the east. For the time being and despite the changed boundaries all forces deployed would remain in the frontline. Only later was a reorganisation of forces planned. He also also asked the Chef Wehmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden to request the Kommandierender Admiral Niederlande to increase ferrying capacity for the AOK 15 with all possible means.
At 9.15 am  a telephone conversation took place between the Chef AOK 15 and the Chef HrGr B. In this conversation the Chef AOK 15 reported that due to continuing air attack only little ferrying activity was possible at the crossing sites. The 711 ID had been ferried across completely, as well as the major part of the 346 ID. The ferrying across of the 59 ID was only possible slowly. The relieving of the right wing of the Fallschrimarmee, would begin in the evening, with units being relieved in stages. The redrawing of the carmy boundary would occur in mutuial communication. Later the LXXXI AK was to assume command of the water front. On request the Chef AOK 15 also reported  that ferrying activity across the Schelde was also taking place between Doel and Lillo.
At 6.25 pm the Ordonnanzoffizier of the Hr Gr B reported from the AOK 15 headquarters in Dordrecht that the entire ferrying activity had been lamed as a result of enemy air activity.
On this day the Chef LXVII AK became the new interim Chef of the HrGr B.

LXXXIX:

The corps has withdrawn behind the Leopold canal. Since then no more reports were received.

Festung Le Havre

According to the latast reports enemy armour succeeded in entering the Widerstandsnest Festungskommandant at 10.25am.

13 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

Against the AOK 15 the enemy only followed cautiously today. There were further delays in ferrying traffic due to enemy air activity.

 

Discussions, considerations and decisions

 

At 10.15 pm a telephone conversation took place between the Ia AOK 15 and the Chef HrGr B. The former reported that the defensive withdrawal to the channel position (Leopold cana) had been completed and that the enemy had so far not followed. The enemy was apparantly in the process of preparing river crossing equipment along the Maldegem street. In the last 24 hours 2,800 men, 250 horses, some 160 motor vehicles, 12 guns, 2 Flak and 170 horese-drawn carriages had been ferried across. In the coming night the 346 ID would take over a subsector.On 14/9 the AOK 15  would take over command of the right sector of the FallschirmAOK 1. Upon request, it was communicated that the LXXXVI AK was planned to be deployed in the northern sector of the army. The Chef HrGr B then pointed out that the possibility existed that the LXXXVI AK was to be ghanded over to the FallschirmAOK 1.


LXXXIX AK and LXXXVI AK:

These corps withdraw to the line Leopold canal to Boterhoek - Bassevelde - Sas van Gent - Axel - Hulst - Schelde (north northeast of Hulst). The enemy only pursued with small numbers of tanksin the area of Boterhoek.
Crossing operations to Vlissingen were continued.

14 September 1944

 

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

 

Discussions, considerations and decisions


At 0.30 am the Ia of the AOK 15 and HrGr B telephoned. The former requested for the Schiffsstammabteilung 16 to be left in the area of the AOK 15.
At 10.20 am there was another telephone conversation between the above Ia officers. The Ia AOK 15 reported that ferryng traffic was only continuing very slowly due to the absence of own air force support. Further, after information provided by the Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden, the 16. Schiffssstammabteilung, which was at the time deployed to guard the Moerdijk bridge, would be pulled out. AOK 15 requested preventhing this as the bridge was of crucial importance.
At 11.10 am a telephone conversation took place between the Chef HrGr B and the Chef AOK 15. The latter started by repeating the request to leave the 16. Schiffsstammabteilung at the Moerdijk bridge. As soon as the 712 ID would be pulled out and transferred to the Breda area it could also ensure the security of the bridge. The Chef decided to leave the unit where it was. The Chef then reported on further planned actions. For the defence of Walcheren and Beveland the 70 ID did not seem sufficient. The deployment of the 245 ID or the 712 ID at the south coast of Beveland was being considered. For the Breskens bridgehead the 64 ID remained planned. The 712 ID was to be transferred to the Breda area. The Chef HrGr B then conveyed that the takeover of a further sector of the FallschirmAOK 1 by the 59 ID would be possible. In response to a question concerning the deployment of the LXXXVI AK the Chef AOK 15 responded that a pulling out of the corps was only possible when the ferrying across of the 59 ID would be delayed.
At 11.45 am the Chef FallschirmAOK 1 reported that its right sector would be taken over (by the AOK 15) in the evening of 14 September, with the new boundary taking effect as of midnight.
At 7.10 pm the Ia officers of the AOK 15 and the HrGr B telephoned with one another. The former requested leaving the Flakabteilung 601 for AT-defences north of Antwerp. The unit had orders to leave without being replaced. Also the enemy bridgehead at Moerkerke was reported to have been eliminated since 3 pm.
AOK15 will take command of the Antwerp-Dordrecht sector on 15 September.

LXXXIX:

After strong artillery preparation the enemy enlarged his bridgehead to the north of Moerkerke. In the own counterattack the bridgehead was cleared.
Own troops repulsed attacks near Zomergem (12km to the northwest of Gent) and Kemzeke (9km south of Hulst). 7 tanks and 2 armoured reconnaissance tanks were destroyed.
Crossing operations continue as planned.
Today will presumably see the end for the crossing operations of the 70 Infanteriedivision.
Stab 331 Infanteriedivision  has taken command of the sector Voorne-Schouwen.

15 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15

 

Operations

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Discussions, considerations and decisions

At 9.05am a telephone conversation took place between the Chef HrGr B and the Chef AOK 15.  The latter reported that the headquarters of the LXXXVI AK would arrive in the sector of the FallschirmAOK 1 today. After that the arrival of the bulk of the 59 ID was to be expected.
At 12.35 pm a telephone conversation took place between the Ia AOK 15 and the Ia HrGr B. The former reported that of the 59 ID 1 regiment, 1 Füselierbataillon and 1 Feldersatzbataillon had been ferried across, albeait without vehicles. Also, the main defensive line was taken back to the line Hulst-Bassevelde.


AOK15 took command of the Antwerp-Dordrecht sector on 15 September.
The Kriegsmarine succeeded in blowing up the lock doors in the port of Antwerp.

LXXXIX AK and LXXXVI AK:

Artillery fire from both sides into the bridgehead.
New Hauptkampflinie: Leopold canal - south of St-Jan-in-Eremo - Bassevelde - Sas-van-Gent - Axel - Hulst - Meerdonk - Verrebroek - Kallo
Rearguards stil on the line Eeklo - south of Zelzate - north of Stekene.

16 September 1944


LXXXIX AK

An enemy infantry attack to the east of Axel led to the establishment of a small bridgehead. A counterattack is in progress.
LXVII AK:
Due to damage to the ferry infrastructure at Breskens only limited crossing operations.

17 September 1944


Start of Operation Market Garden
Crossing operations are running according to plan.

LXXXIX AK


Own rearguards (see above) withdrew to the Hauptkampflinie.
Planned start of the extraction of the 245 Infanteriedivision in the night 17/18 September.

LXVII AK:
331 Infanteriedivision: 1 company of paratroops was destroyed north of Steenbergen bei the Kampfkommandant Bergen-op-Zoom (sic!); 12 prisoners were brought in.

Festung Dünkirchen:
Enemy attacks against the northeast front were repulsed.

18 September 1944


LXXXIX AK:


Own rearguards (see above) withdrew to the Hauptkampflinie.
Last parts of the 59 ID, LXXXIX AK and 245 ID have been ferried across to Vlissingen.

19 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15
Today the 1st Canadian Army started operations with strong forces, among which 200 tanks, against the Terneuzen bridgehead. As a result of deep enemy attacks the 712 ID has to withdraw to a smaller bridgehead. 

LXXXIX AK:


In continuation of the of the attack of the previous dat the enmy captured Bouchoute, Assenede and Sas.van-Gent, Spui and Veert. The Spui bridge has been blown. The bridges at Othee and 3km east of Driewegen are being hept openfor the withdrawing left wing.

LXVII AK:


Own advanced troops are to the souheast of Lillo, near Oorderen and on both sides of Wilmarsdonk. In the 67 AK area own advanced combat posts southeast of Lillo, Oorderen and both sides of Wilmarsdonk. Very active enemy artillery with harassing fire on main combat line.

Festung Dünkirchen:


An attack against the western sector of the Festungsvorfeld was repulsed. Increasing artillery fire on the entire fortress.

Festung Calais:


Intense reconnaissance activity on both sides. Reinforced artillery fire on the Vorfeld and the city limits.

Festung Boulogne:


Own counterattack on the W-Hafen is being carried out. Bridges were destroyed by enemy flamethrower tanks. Multiple attacks were repulsed on the southeastern and southern fronts. Heavy combat in the northern part of Outreau.

20 September 1944


Crossing operations continue as planned.

LXXXIX AK:

Enemy attacked with tans from Bouchoute to Philippine (8km to the northwest of Sas-van-Gent).

LXVII AK:

711 Infanteriedivision: enemy has arrived in Ekeren (6km to the north of Antwerp). Enemy attacks on Wilmarsdonk and Oorderen were repulsed.

Festung Dünkirchen:

Festung Calais:

Festung Boulogne:

21 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15


More parts of the 712 Infanteriedivision were ferried across. Enemy pressure in the area northwest of Antwerp, against the left wing of the AOK 15 getting strnger.

LXXXIX AK:

The area Terneuzen-Axel-Hulst was given up as planned.

LXVII AK:

The railway bridge across the Albert canal to the west of Merksem was blown up.

Festung Dünkirchen:

Limited enemy artillery action. intense own reconaissance

Festung Calais:

During the afternoon continuous air attacks by several hundred four-engined bombers on the western part of the main front line.

Festung Boulogne:

No more telephone contact since 5pm.

22 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15


The majority of the 712 Infanteriedivision has been ferried across to Walcheren. The ferrying across the Westerschelde of the major part of the AOK 15  with all the necessary weapons and equipment was concluded on 21 September. Since 5 September the following was ferried across under difficult circumstances with the support of all naval commands: more than 82.000 men, more than 530 guns, more tha 4600 vehicles of all kind, more than 4000 horses, as well as numerous valuable equipment of all kind.

LXXXIX AK:

At 3 pm an attack was conducted from the area north of Bouchoute towards the west. Enemy incursion to the north of Bouchoute was eliminated at 9 pm. One tank was destroyed and 13 prisoners taken.

LXVII AK:

Enemy attacks to the northwest of Antwerp were repulsed, more specifically an enemy attack from Oorderen to the north.

Festung Boulogne:

Battle group Dietrich. Reservegrenadierbataillon 202 after 3 successful counterattacks fought to the end.

23 September 1944


Heeresgruppe B moved its headquarters to the south of Krefeld.
The enemy conducted a new air landing to the south of Nijmegen and to the east and west of Veghel.
In order to bring the units which are fighting to the west of the enemy incursion under a unified command, the LXXXVIII AK was subordinated to the AOK15 and the II SS-Panzerkorps, II Fallschirmjägerkorps and LXXXVI AK were subordinated to the Fallschirmarmeeoberkommando 1.
Line of separation: course of the river Waal to the loop in the river to the east of Bemmel - Berlikum (15) - 6km east of 's Hertogenbosch - Veghel (1) - Eindhoven (15)

LXXXIX AK:

Enemy conducte armoured reconnaissance against te south of the front.
An enemy incursion 10km east southeast of Aardenburg could not yet be eliminated.

LXVII AK and LXXXVIII AK:

The two corps withdraw to the canal Antwerpen-Turnhout until 9km to the northeast of Turnhout. The eemy folowed only slowly.
An own counterattack is being carried out against the incursion 7km to the northeast of Oirschot
At 5.20pm the enemy landed with some 80 gliders in the Liempde area (19km east of Tilburg). Countermeasures by parts of Kampfgruppe 59 ID and parts of the 85 ID are being taken.
The 85 Infanteriedivision has been extracted from the front and is located in te area of 's Hertogenbosch.

Festung Dünkirchen:

Own artillery successfully shelled enemy batteries and troop concentrations.

Festung Calais and Boulogne:

no new reports

24 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15

The AOK 15 stopped enemy attacks and with the left wing again conducted an attack on Veghel.

LXXXIX AK:

Own counterattack against a renewed enemy incursion to the south of Maagd-van-Gent is still ongoing.

LXVII AK:

The enemy bridgehead to the nothwest of Sint-Job-in-'t-Goor (12km to the northeast of Antwerp) was eliminated.
An enemy attack near Reusel (15km to the east northeast of Turnhout) was repulsed.

LXXXVIII AK:

Two enemy incursions 18km west southwest of Eindhoven were eliminated.
Own counterattack on Middelbeers was stopped after high losses in house-to-house combat. The new main front line now lies 500m west of the village.
Enemy attacks on the bridgeheads at Oirschot and near Steenweg were repulsed.
Combat wih the enemy who airlanded near Liempde (18m east of Tilburg) on 23 September continues
The 85 Infanteriedivision, attacking to the east, has reached the area 1km to the west of the bridge at Veghel. 50 enemy trucks were damaged and 60 prisoners were brought in.

25 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15

In the area of the AOK 15, to the west of Turnhout, the enemy succeeded in crossing the canal and forcing an incursion, 2km deep  and 6.5km wide. The battle for its elemination is still ongoing.
The own attack on Veghel managed to get closeto the bridge, despite increasingly strong enemy resistance. Heavy fighting against superior enemy is still onging there.

LXXXIX AK:

LXXXIX AK and 331 ID: no particular combat operatons. Light artillery harassing fire.

LXVII AK:

The enemy was able to enlarge the bridgehead at Rijkevorsel (12km west of Turnhout) was enlarged to 6.5km width and 2km depth. Rijkevorsel was lost. In a counterattack towards the east the Oostmalle - Rijkevorsel road was crossed at 7pm. A concentric counterattack is ongoing.with 3 battalions an 2 companies.
A local enely attack norh of Turnhout was brought unde control. Own counterattack was started.

LXXXVIII AK:

Parts of the KG Chill (85 ID) are blocking th road St-Oedenrode-Veghel on both sides of Koevering. They are surrounded by the enemy. Own countermeasures have been initiated. More specifically, the 85 Infanteriedivision is located with its right wing 100 metres of the road St Oedenrode-Veghel and blocks it by fire. The divisions's left wing, 100m west of the railway bridge west of Veghel, was atacked by enemy armour and 3 companies were encirced. A counterattack to free them was started.
An own combat troop, which ad managed to enter a factory building at the Veghel railroad bridge was beaten back. An operation for the destruction of the railroad bridge is planned for the night 25/2 September.

26 September 1944


End of Operation Market Garden

Armeeoberkommando 15

In the AOK 15 area the enemy defended his bridgeheads across the Antwerp-Turnhout canal with great determination. Own attacks will be continued o 27 September.

LXXXIX AK:

Apart from enemy artillery harassing fire and intense air reconnaissance over the bridgehead and Walcheren no particular combat operations.

LXVII AK:

Enemy attack to the northeast of Wilmarsdonk was repulsed.
Own counterattack against the enemy bridgehead Rijkevorsel was not yet successful. Combat is still ongoing.
The area of the enemy incursion to the north of Turnhout was narrowed down.

LXXXVIII AK:

After being thrown back several times, the enmy finally entered Ravels. Our own counterattack from the west has started.
A counterattack by the 712 Infanteriedivision is ongoing against the ennemy paratroopers who landed in the Nistelrode area.

27 September 1944


331 Infanteriedivision: no particular combat operations

LXVII AK:

The enemy was able to extend his Rijkevorsel bridgehead in the direction of Sint-Lenaarts after bringing forward strong enemy forces. Operations to bring the attack under control are in progress. Units of the 711 ID which were brought in from the west, were unable to halt the breakthrouh. North and northeast of Turnhout the enemy attacks only had local significance.

LXXXVIII AK:

Enemy attacks between Reusel and Netersel were repulsed.
In the area around Hees the enemy attacked in strength, leading to local loss of terrain. The Kampfgruppe 712ID was pushed back 1.5km to the west on either side of the Hees - 's Hertogenbosch road.

28 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15

The AOK 15 was able to block an expansion of the Rijkevorsel bridgehead  by the deployment of forces having arrived. However, enemy pressure remained strong in numerous locations along the front line, especially against the left wing.

LXVII AK:

The LXVII Armeekorps has taken command of the former sector of the LXXXIX Armeekorps.
Artillery harassing fire on the left sector of the 64 ID.  An enemy incursion across the canal to the north of Sint-Job-in-'t-Goor was eliminated by a counterattack.
An expnasion of the Rijkevorsel bridgehead could be prevented. The main front line in the enemy-held bridgehead Rijkevorsel was held against all attack. Single enemy tanks, which had broken through at the Sint-Lenaarts road, were destroyed.
On 27-28 September 26 tanks annd three recce cars were destroyed. Since 6.40 pm there has been an armoured assault against woodland 1.5km northeast of Sint-Lenaarts. Strong fighter-bomber activity in the Rijkevorsel area.


LXXXVIII AK:

By an own counterattack the main front was pushed forward some 500m south of Reusel. Elimination of the enemy incursion to the southeast of Liempde is going on slowly.
Intensive enemy armoured recce in the area of Kampfgruppe Chill. The own attack front was pushed back in the direction of Kameren by enemy counterattack. Strong enemy pressure (including 4 tanks and 4 armoured cars) behind the KG  from the Middelrode area.

LXXXIX AK:

Own surprise artillery attack on the eastern boundary of Hees. Enemy artillery fire on own batteries and headquarters.
Headquarters in Buurmalsen (21km to the north of 's Hertogenbosch)
The corps has taken command of the 712 Infanteriedivision.

Festung Dünkirchen:

On both sides artillery harassing fire and intense air activity. Own special action resulted in 10 British prisoners (51 ID) and equiment captured.

Festung Calais:

Fighter-bomber attack on the main dressing station (Hauptverbandplatz). Intense air activity. Weak attacks repulsed. By evening intrusion of resistance and canadians until city boundary and in strongpoints. Countermeasures have been initiated. Negotiators were not received.

29 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15

Today the enemy continued his attacks against the southern front of the army to the northeast of Antwerp from the bridgehead northwest of Turnhout with superior forces,

LXVII AK:

In addition to the two local bridgeheads between Sint-Job-in-'t-Goor and Sint-Lenaarts the enemy was able to expand his Rijkevorsel bridgehead by 2.5km to the west and 3km to the east. Sint-Lenaarts was lost after heavy combat. To close the resulting gap a regimental group will be directed here from the front north of Antwerp. The latter unit will be replaced by a regimental group of the 70 ID on 30 September.
Our own counterattack to the west of Merksplas gained ground.

LXXXIX AK:

Strong enemy armoured reconnaissance activity.

30 September 1944

Armeeoberkommando 15

Today the enemy continued his attack from the bridgehead northwest of Turnhout, this time with the main effort towards the northeast. With strong use of armour the enemy succeeded in gaining terrain. Pressure in the direction of 's-Hertogenbosch is growing. The possibility of an imminent concentric attack against the AOK 15 exists.

LXVII AK:

Eenemy reconnaissance, air attack and artillery activity intensified in front of the 64 Infanteriedivision with the main effort to the north of Maldegem.
In the Rijkevorsel area the enemy atacked via Merksplas to the northeast with strong armoured forces and reached the crossroads 7km to the north of Turnhout.
Own counterattacks against Sint-Lenaarts against strong enemy resistance are ongoing.

LXXXVIII AK:

On either side of the road from St-Oedenrode to the northwest the enemy attacked and succeeded in making local incursions. Counterattacks are being carried out.

LXXXIX AK:

Enemy artillery harassing fire on own battery position and the area  to the north of 's Hertogenbosch.
An enemy armoured attack 15km to the east of s' Hertogenbosch was repulsed.