The 65th grenadier Division 145th Grenadier Regiment I Battalion 2nd Company
|CiC SMG Panzerknacker||5|
|2iC SMG Panzerknacker||5|
|3 Squad Grenadier Platoon||155|
|3 Squad Grenadier Platoon||155|
|1 Section Machine Gun Platoon||80|
|3 Squad Pioneer Platoon||220|
|5 Panzer IV H Panzer Platoon||475|
|Replace 2 Panzer IVs with Panzer III Ms||-50|
|2 Elephant Tank Hunter Platoon||620|
|1.||Brian Maken||Free for All||4||win||6||1|
|2.||Michael Knapp||Fighting Withdrawal||15||win||6||1|
|3.||Mark Francis||Hold the Line||13||loss||3||4|
|6.||Jon Cleaves||Dare to Win||1||loss||1||6|
The 65th Grenadier Division was formed in July 1942, and was stationed in Antwerp that fall. At this time it was a two regiment division, each having 3 battalions. During the summer of '43 it under went a massive exchange of troops with the 265th Grenadier Division. The 65th, would then be attached to Rommel's Army Group B as it crossed into Italy in August 1943. It was soon in action, fighting against elements of the British 8th army in October along the Sangro River Line, part of the formidable Gustav line. The inexperienced 65th was handled roughly by the veteran British units, experiencing such heavy casualties that Lieutenant General Siegfried Westphal, the chief of staff of Army Group C, reported that, "for all intents and purposes it no longer existed."
The rebuilding of the shattered 65th Division would take place immediately. There was no time to waste as the Allied forces were moving up the boot like a slow but steady juggernaut. Like they had so many times in the past, the Germans proved themselves to be the masters of rebuilding shattered units, and by October 27th the survivors had been grouped into a veteran cadre, and given a third regimental headquarters. However each regiment was reduced to two battalions, so while the division grew nominally the number of grenadier battalions remained the same.
After a period of rest and relaxation in Northern Italy the division was rushed to Anzio in January, in light of the Allied landings. Expecting a quick dash for Rome, Kesselring had rapidly surrounded the Allied beachhead. When the thrust never came Kesselring chose instead to attack!
The first attacks were aimed at the British 1st Infantry Division, which had created a salient around the via Anziate, a road vital to the Allies when they made their dash to Rome, and the town of Aprilia, known to many of the troops as the Factory. The 65th was to play an important role in the battle. Gruppe West was to comprise of the 65th's 145th Grenadier regiment, reinforced with pioneers and assault guns from the regiment, as well at 10 of the dreaded Nashorn self propelled guns.
On February 3rd the calm was broken as the 145th and 147th Regiments attack in the dead of night. They successfully infiltrated the British lines and by the time the sun rose chaos reigned across the British sector. The next day the Via Anziate is reached, the first of the German objectives. The next few days are a whirl wind of battle as the Germans first seize the factory, only to be beaten off again later in the day. A series of counter attacks takes place which finally sees the Factory in German hand by the 10th of February. The 65th Division had repaid their debt of honor, having utterly crushed the 1st British Division.
There would be little rest for the 65th, or their battered opponents, however. In less than a week, Von Mackensen would launch a bloody counter offensive in an attempt to push the Allies into the sea. The events at Anzio had attracted the attention of Hitler, who saw the Anzio landings as a precursor to a sea borne invasion of France. Unwilling to let that happen, he urged Von Mackensen to crush the beachhead with all due haste. And while he could not spare extra divisions for the counter offensive he did supply Mackensen with a Battalion of the new panther tanks, a company of the heavy tank hunting Ferdinand assault guns, and the Berlin-Spandau Infantry Lehr Regiment. The new units would ensure German victory!
Fischfang, or fishnet, as the operation had been christened would begin on February 16th. Shored up by the US 45th infantry and the British 56th Infantry divisions, the beachhead would be a tough nut to crack. The Germans attack consisted of waves of infantry, at first overwhelming the defensive positions of the weary Allies. However, once the Allies regained their senses they rained down deadly accurate artillery on the attacking Germans, ripping huge holes in their attacking elements. Even worse the German tank support was much lighter than expected. Heavy rain had turned all the open ground into a muddy morass, limiting the movement of tanks, especially the heavier Panther and Ferdinand tanks to the roads. To further frustrate the Germans, the Allies had laced the defenses with elements of the US 1st armored division. The Sherman tanks proved a difficult obstacle for the Germans to over come and without supporting armor of their own the attacks faltered in many areas.
One of the few attacks that made any progress was made by the 145th infantry regiments, along with 2 other regiments and 60 tanks, including Tigers and the formidable Ferdinands, on the 17th. Crashing into the 45th Infantry division the assault scored a gap two miles long and a mile deep. The 45th's 179th and 157th infantry regiments were beaten and battered by the second day of the counter offensive, and were ready to break. If the 45th was over run then the only unit keeping the Allies from total defeat was the horrendously under strength British 1st Division. This was the Germans best chance so far for a stab and the beachhead. The heavy concentration of men and armor would prove its undoing however. Ever-present allied artillery observers hit the assault force with everything they had, including 90mm AA guns and naval gunfire. The effects were devastating. The veteran 14th Regiment, which had proven to be the elite Regiment of the Division, was torn to shreds. Artillery would be the queen of the battle field this day, making up for what the allies lacked in numbers.
By the end of the battle on the 19th, the 65th Grenadier division was a spent force. Its total strength was only 901 men. Most of the survivors were shell shocked and exhausted. The offensive would fail to break the Allied beachhead. However due to German manpower shortages it would be forced to stay on the line until the fall of Rome and the onset of winter. The 65th, reformed once again would fight until the end of the war, finally surrendering to the British and Americans on April 22nd, 1945