Swiss Task Force "Division GEMPEN" - May 10, 1940

[Task and Position] [Order of Battle]

The organization, task and the setup of the division.GEMPEN is documented well in the booklet [Senn97].

Task and Position

The division GEMPEN had the task to prepare the positions for the French VIIe Corps d'Armée. It would have to delay the German advance across the Rhine river until the 2 divisions and one brigade of the French corps would arrive.

Its task was stated as follows in the Operationsbefehl No 4:

"Div. "Gempen"
- sichert den Rheinabschnitt zwischen Pratteln (inkl.) und Basel (inkl.);
- verlegt das Schwergewicht auf das Gempenplateau, das unter allen Umständen zu halten ist;
- hält westlich davon die Front Münchenstein - Binnigen - Allschwil, sperrt speziell die Eingägne ins Birs- und Birsigtal auf dieser Front.
- verriegelt mit einem Bat. das Birsdefilée S von Aesch.

"The division "Gempen"
- secures the Rhine river sector between Pratteln (incl.) and Basel (incl.);
- moves its main forces on the plateau of Gempen, which is to be held at all cost.
- holds in W the frontline Münchenstein - Binnigen - Allschwil, blocks especially the entries into the valleys of th Birs river and the Birsig river on this frontline.
- blocks with one batallion the defilée of the Birs river South of Aesch."

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For this task the division GEMPEN had the border brigade 3 (Gz Br 3) and the city command (Stadt Kdo) Basel under his command.

There was no organic artillery in this task force. I assume that the artillery support would have come pretty quickly from the 150mm, 210mm and 310mm guns located in the Maginot line in the Fortified Sector of Altkirch. All these guns could fire up to the bridges of Basel.

Order of Battle

The Division GEMPEN fielded the following force :

Men ca 20'100
LMG 792
Laf LMG 210
sMG 280
81mm Mortar 64
47mm ATG 44
75mm Feldgeschütz 0
105mm sch mot Kan 0
120mm Feldhaubitze 0
150mm Feldhaubitze 0

Commanding Officer: Oberst Du Pasquier

[Last Update 30.08.2010]