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Information on the 286th Security Regiment (short campaign in the works)

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Hello, I'm currently finishing up my first CM scenario that involves elements of the 286th Security Division (a company+ of the

354th Infantry Regiment) in a semi-historical scenario around Orsha during the opening days of Bagration.

I'm currently pretty pleased by how it is turning out and I am considering making it part of a short campaign (3-5 missions).

I would like a slightly more historical basis for this campaign than my current scenario offers.

All I've been able to find out currently is that the 286th was a part of the 4th Army East of Orsha. At this time it consisted of:

Grenadier Regiment 638 (French volunteers that would eventually be folded into SS Charlemagne)

Infantry Regiment 61

Infantry Regiment 122

Infantry Regiment 354

II./ Artillery Regiment 213

Alarm Battalion 704

Signals Battalion 825

Reiterhundertschaft 286

The 286th was destroyed during the offensive, although 400 men from Grenadier Regiment 638 held a crossing at the Bryobransk (sp?) river with the support of five Tiger tanks and Stuka dive bombers later in the battle.

Unfortunately this is all the information I've been able to find. Security Divisions aren't quite as cool as most everything else and information seems pretty scarce.

Does anyone have some recommended places to find some more information, have information regarding the average TO&E of a security division's infantry regiments, or any information regarding the 286th's infantry regiments in particular?

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First a general comment on German security divisions. They used a very similar TOE to a normal German infantry division, except they were lighter in artillery. Your list reflects this, with only one artillery battalion where a normal German infantry division would have 3. They were also frequently missing a Panzerjaeger battalion - though they might have an ad hoc "schnell" battalion instead, using whatever trucks they had - and might also miss some of the extra regimental companies (Pak, infantry gun, recon, light Flak etc). Many did still have the infantry guns, though.

The infantry battalions themselves had the usual HMGs and 81mm mortars, grenadier companies that each had a few more of those, all very standard. In other words, the lower echelon infantry heavy weapons were present - which were already enough to make them heavier formations than partisans and the like. Add infantry guns and some radio controlled div arty, even less of it than normal, and they could readily outmatch any rear area opponent they were likely to face. Vs Russian rifle formations, they would feel the weaker artillery arm more keenly, but could hold their own defensively at near even numbers.

Vs Russian mech, whole different story. They just didn't have the tools to fight those. Not enough big guns, not enough heavy ATGs, no StuGs or Marders, etc.

They could be quite light in the motor transport department, as well. Yes they had to cover wide areas, but their ordinary means of getting around, operationally, were the railroads. Those were what they were mostly guarding, for starters, or linked the towns, supply dumps, and HQs they were guarding. And guarding things was their primary mission, more common than offensive anti partisan sweeps. Local reaction, sure.

Now, in Bagration they were thrown into the front line fighting because the front collapsed. Your division was first engaged as early as July 25th, but pretty unsuccessful at stemming the Russian tide. A few days later it is back by the Berezina crossings south of Borisov, part of a general screen covering the river crossings and trying to hold the door open for others retreating. By the end of July, the formation is mostly dissolved into the mass of fugitives trying to get back from the Berezina positions to Minsk, but the door mostly shuts before they are clear.

So what might you find in one regiment?

Two grenadier battalions, each with 3 grenadier companies and a heavy weapons company.

Each heavy weapons company has one 81mm mortar battery with 4 tubes, and two HMG platoons with 4 HMGs each.

Each grenadier company has 3 infantry platoons and a heavy weapons platoon.

The heavy weapons platoons have 2 81mm mortars, 2 HMGs.

The infantry platoons have 3 squads each with only one LMG.

Then as regimental additions, you'd get 6 75mm infantry guns.

You might get 3 PAK, but they could by 50mm. Also infantry AT with 6 Panzerscrecks.

Maybe 4 20mm Flak, single tube, which might be mounted on light trucks. The PAK could have trucks too.

The organization of those would be as an IG company and a PAK company - the PAK company just would mix towed PAK, infantry AT team, and light FLAK platoons. All these regiment level platoons would be small.

Plus an HQ, signals, supply, etc elements.

The main firepower of the formation comes from its 81mm mortars and its machineguns.

I hope this helps.

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More info on your TOE...

In early 1944, the French 638 had 4 infantry battalions, quite large, and a pipeline of replacements as well, meaning it was significantly overstaffed. It didn't have any component artillery - personnel from previous attached arty has been used to form one of the infantry battalions. So, that part would be infantry strong but artillery light, even more so than standard Security division forces.

The Alarm battalion in your TOE seems to refer way back to the time of formation of the division and it probably wasn't still around. Normally those were ad hoc formations created on the fly from rear area personnel, men returning from leave or coming out of hospital and the like, and didn't keep a set TOE or remain around for years. When the crisis that led to their formation passed, the men went to their units or were incorporated into whatever formation the alarm unit was commanded by.

The rider hundred is basically an informal horse cavalry unit of company size, used for patrolling and as a divisional recon company. Understand that "hundred" in this context doesn't mean an actual unit strength, but refers to a traditional administrative division. Hundreds were smaller than counties, and traditionally provided a single company in feudal levy terms (whereas a county produced a regiment, way back when).

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