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Commander of the Sea Defence Gascony

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The Commander of the Sea Defence of Gascony, or Seekommandant Gascogne, was a regional coastal commander of the German Kriegsmarine in World War II, based initially in Bordeaux, and from March 1942 in Royan. He was subordinate to the Naval Commander Western France.[1]

History

Following the German occupation of France in World War II in June 1940, the Kriegsmarine established a command structure for the French coasts, including the Naval Commander Western France. This command initially had many of the Kriegsmarine’s port services and artillery divisions reporting directly to it. In the course of a reorganization in December 1940, the establishment of the naval commands of Brittany, Loire-Gironde, and Gascony were ordered as intermediate levels. While the first two naval commands were established immediately, the establishment of the Gascogne naval command was delayed until the summer of 1941.[1][2]

During the build-up period, the Bayonne port commander and the Loire-Gironde naval commander temporarily performed the additional duties of the Gascony naval commander. Subsequently, the divisional boundary between the Loire-Gironde and Gascony naval commands was moved from the Gironde to the mouth of the Seudre opposite Île d’Oléron. To the south, the Gascony command area extended to the Spanish border.[1]

After the Allied landings in Normandy, the naval commander’s area of command was quickly taken by Allied troops. The naval commander remained in the fortress Gironde Nord in Royan, of which he was commander, until their capture on 17 April 1945.[3]

Subordinate departments and associations

The following units and services were subordinate to the naval commander:[1][A 1]

  • Harbour protection flotilla Gironde, from January 1942 again established (former harbour protection flotilla Gironde went as harbour protection flotilla La Pallice to the sea commander Loire-Gironde)
  • Port Commander Bordeaux of the Naval Commander Western France
  • Port Commander Bayonne of the Naval Commander Western France
  • Naval Artillery Division 284 (Royan), formed from Naval Artillery Division 206 and commanded by the Naval Commander Western France; in April 1943, the parts south of the Gironde were separated as Naval Artillery Division 618
  • Naval Artillery Division 286 (Bayonne, Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz), from Naval Artillery Division 206 and from Naval Commander Western France; disbanded in September 1944
  • Marine Artillery Division 618 (south bank of the Gironde), reorganized in April 1943 from parts of Marine Artillery Division 284
  • 16. Naval Kraftfahrabteilung (Royan), from April/May 1942
  • 1. Naval Intelligence Division (mot.), June 1942 from Sea Commander Loire-Gironde, September 1943 to Commanding Admiral Adria
  • Naval Equipment Centre Bordeaux
  • Naval Flak School II (Dax), technically subordinated to the Inspectorate of Naval Artillery, converted to a Naval Artillery Division after the invasion.

Other naval services in the area of responsibility

  • Bordeaux Naval Station
  • Naval Special Service Bordeaux, as of May 1944
  • Bordeaux Navy Yard

Sea Commanders

The following officers held the post of Sea Commander Gascony:[1]

  • Captain (See) Hans Lipinski, July 1941 – August 1943
  • Rear Admiral Hans Michahelles, August 1944 – April 1945

Literature

  • Walter Lohmann, Hans H. Hildebrand: Die deutsche Kriegsmarine 1939-1945. Collective work in three volumes. O.O. 1956. Volume II, Main Chapter XIV, Chapter 5

Individual references

  1. a b c d e Walter Lohmann, Hans H. Hildebrand: Die deutsche Kriegsmarine 1939-1945. collective work in three volumes. O.O. 1956. vol. II, main chapter XIV, chapter 5, p. 19 ff.
  2. Walter Lohmann, Hans H. Hildebrand: Die deutsche Kriegsmarine 1939-1945. collective work in three volumes. O.O. 1956. vol. II, main chapter XIV, chapter 5, p. 1 ff.
  3. Walter Lohmann, Hans H. Hildebrand: Die deutsche Kriegsmarine 1939-1945. collective work in three volumes. O.O. 1956. vol. II, main chapter XIV, chapter 9, p. 8

Notes

  1. The brief changes of subordination due to the official dissolution of the Loire-Gironde Sea Command from November 1942 to January 1943 are not taken into account here.