The author describes his experiences as a soldier of the German Wehrmacht. Born in 1920, recovered as a 19 year old guy to the Reich Labor Service and deployed, including 6 years as a soldier taken prisoner at the front, he has written in the age of 81, shortly before his death, this story about HIS war. Do not expect a hero's story. You will find a story of survival. Please forgive the sometimes bumpy writing. The text was transmitted directly and provided me with some facts and data without changing the basic text. Unfortunately, there are gaps in the temporal context. It is a subjective view of his own experiences. Story takes place here in the restricted field of view. Any political opinion or ideology is not represented here. He died in February 2002. He left a wife and three children.
At the Reich Labor Service
I will never forget that day. I became 19 years old when my training as automotive technicians in Gräf & Stift completed works in Vienna. Shortly thereafter, I was briefly called up to the Reich Labor Service for the mandatory 6-month training. There I received a very strict and harsh pre-military training. In common with many young comrades from all over the former German Reich, we had at the Linz "Gugl" armed with spades and shovels to build "Führerhäuser” for senior Party members and head of the Reich Labor Service camp. Mechanical attachments were not used in the Reich Labor Service, or very little. Thus, the potency should be encouraged ... about the meaningfulness should be discussed. This was according to my record in May 1940. As part of the RAD, I also took part in a Nazi Party Rally in Nuremberg. It was for me, as opponents of this regime, an extraordinary sight - the sight of 100 000 men of the RAD, which lined up and drilled with a highly polished digging before Hitler. I can not deny it, it has impressed me. They could made parades. June 1940, I was moved then as "laborers" to strengthen the West Wall to Rastatt in Breisgau. We were welcome there, cause we encouraged the infrastructure and the purchasing power of the region. In addition, there was strict discipline. I stayed in Rastatt, started up after the war with France and France was already half occupied by the armed forces already. Shortly before the end of the fighting, however, our RAD-section of a unit was assigned assault engineers to take on the advance of the Wehrmacht 1940 not attacked Maginot Line. Already at the beginning of the war the Reich Labor Service units were used for combat, later serving the Heimatflak was mandatory.
The Maginot Line by the time of our attack had not yet surrendered. There were many more combative Frenchman entrenched in the underground defense facilities. In the following short but very tough battle in September 1940 I also saw the first casualties. It should still be many more. A memory that you will not forget. After the end of the fighting, I had the opportunity to visit with fellow bunker installations. I saw among other things, the underground, according to statements by French prisoners of war apparently 75 km long railway, the hospital facilities and the retractable turrets with heavy twin guns, machine gun bunkers and other facilities of the fortress line. Probably why the visit has enabled us to enable us to compare with the West Wall was built by the RAD. It has benefited the French, nothing.
Training at the " Hoch- und Deutschmeister"
After a brief stay in order back and relax in Rastatt I received after the end of my service in the Reich Labor Service, the position of command, I immediately Infantry Regiment 134 in association with the 44th Infantry Division, later "Hoch- und Deutschmeister" in Vienna. It was December 1940. I was able to return to Vienna. Home and family again. To understand my attitude to Hitler and his government, I need to talk about my roots. I came from a working class family from the Viennese Socialist Workers District Ottakring. My father was a resistance fighter in the February uprising 1934. I myself have smuggled at the direction of my father for the Social Defense Corps weapons in the laundry basket in the municipal buildings. The Home Guard or "Hahnenschwanzler called, then searched the apartment in our home and looking with M95-bayonets stacked up, clean clothes in the chest, after arms pierced and torn. For me there was only the socialist road and Hitler and the Nazis were not the answer for me. The official commissioning ceremony was in 10. October 1940. When Swear to the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, I ventured to make silent resistance, as I pledged allegiance to the leader was not repeated and crossed his fingers. Wehrmacht Oath 1934: "I swear by God this sacred oath that I am the leader of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces to provide unconditional obedience, and to be ready as a brave soldier, always my life for this oath to use. " This I could, because we have been sworn in as the entire department. I was sworn in during my entire time as a soldier, never on the leader. The shipments were made basically in this time with the railroad. In Strebersdorf, part of the 21 District of Vienna Floridsdorf, I received between October and early February 1940 my infantry training for the soldiers of the German Wehrmacht. My dog tag is imprinted with 3rd Company / Rifle Ersatz.Regiment 3 / 134. This dog tag still in my keeping. The Barras was definitively me. Fightings drill and practice on the former flood plain of the Danube, no longer exists, since there is now the Danube Island, was on the agenda. The training was in these early years of the war very hard and efficiently. My technical training was of no interest in training. On the agenda was, inter alia, a training ground troops to Allentsteig in Lower Austria, about 100 km from Vienna. The marching orders "UP, UP, MARCH MARCH", "TANK ATTACK", "AIR RAID" or with a gas mask with full luggage belonged to the daily bread. A torture were the daily visits and locker inspections by the spear of the company. He tested the service with the blade bayonet, whether or dust, let alone had dirt on the soles. If yes, punishment exercises. I had a dress uniform with epaulettes, "131". We called it contemptuously "Sarasanijacke" because we were like circus directors in order. Also the "marbles" was popular - he put a marble on the tightly pulled bedspread. If marble easily, everything was in order, if not, they had lost and additional service beckoned as a reward. I got a perfect and "Prussian" education. Even if this was a tough time and I cursed them, the training has certainly saved me later life many times.
Panzer Regiment 3
After my training, I was "boy," servant of a lieutenant. My work was, among other things, for the wife of the officer and go shopping for her hand. This understandable for me - for every man - nice time ended with my transfer to the tank regiment 3.The regiment was on 15 May 1935 under the codename Cavalry Regiment (motorized) 12 in Dresden, situated in the Military District IV. The regimental headquarters and the Department I have been stationed in Dresden. The II formed of several regiments of cavalry division was in contrast Kamenz also Defense District IV stationed. The regiment was the 1st Chariot-brigade of the motor Cavalry Corps assumed. On 15 October 1935 was renamed the Regiment Panzer Regiment 3rd The regiment was now the 2nd Armored Division assumed. As a preliminary location of the entire regiment was now Kamenz. The regiment also contributed at the same time establishing duties of Panzer Regiment 4th In the fall of 1937, the regiment did duty for the establishment of the First Division of Panzer Regiment 25 on the Grafenwöhr, Military District XIII. With the invasion of Austria was the regiment to Vienna-Mödling, transferred to the Military District XVII. When the war began, the regiment consisted of two sections with a total of 62 Panzer I, 78 Panzer II, 3 Panzer III, IV, 8 armored tanks and 9 command vehicles. After the Polish campaign, the regiment moved to the western frontier. On 10 May 1940, it consisted of 22 Panzer I, 55 Panzer II, 29 Panzer III, 16 Panzer IV and 8 armored command vehicle. After the French campaign, the regiment took part in the Balkan campaign in Greece. On 5 April 1941 the regiment were on this 45 tanks II, 51 Panzer III Panzer IV and 20 are available. In the early summer of 1941, the two columns of the regiment to the division supply officer 82 was released and formed the 13th and 14 large motor column. In May 1941, the ships in which the tanks should be moved from the Balkans to the Russian border have been lowered, so that the regiment had to be equipped from scratch. After the attack on the Soviet Union, the regiment was involved in the attack on Moscow. At the start of the summer offensive of 1942, the regiment consisted of 22 Panzer II, 33 Panzer 38t, 20 Panzer III, IV, 5 tanks and 2 armored command vehicle. The regiment fought at Rzhev and Orel. On 10 May 1942 had the First Division and III. Section is in the tank regiment of 33 submitted. The regiment was then only from the second division. On 1 February 1943 made the increase of the Second Division to four companies. As of 25 March 1943 was established the First Division at the military Sennelager from parts of the field-Tank Regiment and the replacement Division 4 again. It should be on 7 May 1943 to the heavy tank battalion 507 are reclassified, but was fitted on June 30, 1943 back to the First Department of the regiment and with panthers. At the beginning of Operation Citadel, the regiment consisted of the II Division II with 12 tanks, 8 armored short KwK III, 12 Panzer III with a long KwK and 20 Panzer III with 7.5-inch KwK. This purpose, a Panzer IV short, 59 Panzer IV long and 6 armored command vehicles. After the regiment was moved 1944 to France and fought in Normandy and Falaise, it had been destroyed there. After the reorganization in November 1944, the regiment fought in the Battle of the Bulge. At the beginning of the regiment consisted of two sections with 24 assault guns, 28 Panzer IV, 64 Panzer V Panther, 3 Flakpanzer 38, 4 Flakpanzer "whirlwind" and 4 Flakpanzer 4 with 3.7-inch guns. After the Ardennes offensive, the regiment was fighting in the Saar-Palatinate and Franconia. For replacements of the regiment, the tank replacement Division 4 was responsible. Source: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/Panzerregimenter/PR3.htm. I already arrived on February 3, 1941 in the workshops of the company Armor Regiment 3 in Brunn am Gebirge near Vienna. There, I should get special armor skills, took the now regardless of my technical basics as an auto technician. I got the final touch in the training of tank crew.
The maneuver teaching I received in Mödling near Vienna in March 1941 by our comrades on the so-called "blood meadow" in Hinterbrühl. Training priorities have included the co-ordination of the hands and feet when driving a tank. In the former tanks, each with a left and right levers, the driver was directed. The chain speed was reduced speeds on the respective page or so and the tank turned and slowed down or even accelerated. Controlling a vehicle at that time required a lot of chain force. The feet served, inter alia, the rotational speed of the tower. The later Panzer VI "Tiger" had already been a steering wheel instead of the steering arm in a semicircular shape. He let himself be driven like a car. In Hinterbrühl tanks under fire exit was practiced. The equipment of the Demonstration Company consisted primarily of armored tanks II and III, for short) but also from the high quality and very modern for its time Panzer IV with the 7.5 inch gun motor vehicles (which butts gun trained. Especially the low loader to transport the doppelgelenkten Tiger and parts were hard to drive. There were two drivers, had the countersteer to get the curve. At the same time I was also more in the company shops in Brunn am Gebirge, according to the translation of the Southern Railway train today - 2001 - is there a camp of a road construction company, focusing on training in the repair of engines, or tank treads, and other technical issues.
In the Balkans
March 1941 started the Balkan campaign. In the organization of the 2nd Panzer Division, the regiment was given my marching orders. We should be in the attack on Yugoslavia and to participate later in Greece. The unit was by rail through Hungary and Romania, former allies of the German Empire, brought to Bulgaria on the Black Sea. The military action in Yugoslavia was quickly stopped and went to Greece. On 8 April 1941 exceeded our unit, the border with Greece. I could not drive up to this point bike but when I asked one of the commanding officers, if I may work as a dispatch rider, I took a further ado, the advance conquered, English BSA motorcycle for a few laps to learning through the terrain . I received the same day the order to stand as a dispatch rider in my company to provide the armored regiment. My automotive technician training had helped me the first time. As a vehicle of this "organized" BSA motorcycle. A pleasant side effect was that I did not have much to go on foot musste. It for me was no significant fighting in Yugoslavia. It went into it at full speed along the coast to Greece. In the course of this military action was to me a Kodak camera in his hands, which I possess today. We marched over the past Thermopylae and on Mount Olympus, the seat of the ancient Greek gods. In Larissa was at that time, it was the 7th May 1941, JU 52 and many thousands of German paratroopers stationed. But no one knew why. They were the paratroopers who were to jump off a week later in Crete. Many have fallen there.
The heaviest fighting, which I as part of this campaign, at the 10th May 1941 witnessed was the capture of the Metaxa Line, a fortified line comparable to the Maginot Line, which was bitterly defended by the Greeks. This plant took after we had been with the tanks, heavy artillery support, an Austrian mountain troops with heavy losses.
I went with the command for loading of spare parts inventory to help the company on a train back to Thessaloniki. In May 1941 received the maritime transport of Patras to Taranto, the MS and MS Kybfels Marburg lost. In the division had reported 56 dead and 170 missing persons. We lost most of the technical equipment of the division. After the exit into the Gulf of Corinth to the east of Acra Doukáton both ships were sunk by a mine in front Leucas. There were many good comrades killed. Because of dirty because the water that we were in Greece, I got dysentery. Thus it was with the motorcyclist, I had so and so never happy. In Larissa, I had an unforgettable experience to this day. Our company had a "trouser button call" in the open, making an appeal, were controlled by which our uniforms. For example, the left edge of the coupler lock in a straight line was made to stand for the Jack bar. Everything had to be flashed. Suddenly, eight British fighter-bombers appeared and we had sought cover. I had crawled under a tank and watched the tables on the company who leaped marked in white summer uniform with all kinds of tinsel, ran into a ditch, and then tried to cover. But it was the “Latrinengraben” in which the soldiers were doing inside their needs. Although he knew this, he jumped in without hesitation. When the attack was over, it was with the white uniform over and over and over covered with human faeces, was the sergeant screaming in rage in the middle of the parade ground. He had finally had the right, "brown" to formlessness. I could not resist my laughter. The sergeant saw the quivering with anger, and of course, because of lack of respect I was allowed three days in the building. Frankly, I did not mind particularly, first, I was not fully recovered, and secondly there were no peeling drill, but only potato, and thirdly, there was really good food there ... I recovered quickly from my dysentery, also thanks to the three days in construction and was given the marching orders to go home. While driving a truck through Albania and Kosovo, to Vienna, we had one day Gusto for something other than the person Komißverpflegung and saw the truck from a single cow in a nearby field. We walked up and pushed away the cow from the field to kill them and eat them. Then came a sudden the woman and shouted "Allah, Allah, do not shoot, only cow", but that does not stop us from slaughtering the cow anyway. The farmer was given nothing from us in order to compensate for their loss. Even today I think with a guilty conscience of this incident. We went to Trieste, where I had to go first in the city headquarters I heard about the disaster of the two ships in the Aegean Sea. I received instructions to go to Vienna, to travel further from there soon after Erlangen and Nuremberg to leave and convalescence. On 23 May 1941, I arrived in Vienna and had seen a short time, my parents and tell them that I was fine before I drove on to Nuremberg. In Nuremberg, the order received, according to Vichy France to lay. There, we experienced from the radio and the newspapers, the successful attack on Russia in the night of 21 June 1941. During this time I also had a well-deserved leave from the front of 28 June to 31 June 1941. I went to Vienna to visit my parents. In Vichy France, I was from August until September 1941. As a hobby we got buses and an I went to the Spanish border, where we were welcomed by Spanish fascists, and received an invitation to the bull fights in Bilbao. It was an interesting diversion from the daily service. It was a good time. Everything indicated that we are the German Afrika Korps - 15 Armored Division should be assumed. We got a tropical in the south of France education. Our equipment now consisted of pith helmets and khaki uniforms. Our tanks, we had to sand-colored paint and fitted with sand filters. We are counting on the sun and the desert. But it turned out ... In September 1941, there was the order and I firmly counted on a translation into Africa. We were on 4.9.1941 on the loading station in La Rochelle, via Paris and transported in Leuven, Belgium. We were under at this time of the 3rd motorized infantry division.
This period also saw the beginning of the fall of Operation Barbarossa. During this time I was under with my unit of the 3rd Infanteriedivison (Motorized). Editor's Note - This time gaps in the records are. I spent 14 days on the train. Our regiment still was nothing about our destination. Next on 15.09.1941 Hamburg, then across Poland. We reached the Russian border. The march led through swamps and over corduroy roads ever eastward. I saw the Ju87 Stuka with their “Jerichotrompeten” pounce on the Russian positions. The howling was really scary. It was so cold this winter in Russia that could not think of a urinating outdoors. Many froze to death.
One day I received the order to pick up for the defective tank parts from the stage. It was in the neighborhood of Tohogi, September 1941. So back to the tank replacement company. We were shot on the way back, and chased by “Störfliegern”. After a tire failure on a fully loaded with armored truck parts Saurer, we had a contaminated by scattered forest to stop Russian troops and change the tires. The tire changes does not work as smoothly as I would have liked to be happy. The loss of the double wheel, a brake pad was damaged, and to renew this, I again had an extra tank set back to the company. To obtain the missing parts, to repair the truck again, I had to go back. But how? There was no transportation and no radio to let bring the parts to us. By chance there was a dispatch rider in the Luftwaffe. He let me rise. I made the driver's attention that we were attacked repeatedly by Russian "sewing machines", “Störfliegern”. He should turn up in any case the headlights. He ignored the warning and went with turned up the light. I suddenly heard the familiar drone in the sky than it already was a sharp explosion. I still feel with my tongue before I became unconscious, I had no more teeth in the maxilla, and saw that I was bleeding on the legs. How long I lay there, I do not know. I did not wake up in an ambulance (in short, Sanka), with four seriously wounded, and was told that I had found a Kradmelderabteilung and delivered. What happened to my driver, I have never discovered. He probably did not survive the attack. He sat in front of me and started the explosion and the shrapnel from likely. Of the four casualties in the ambulance of a wounded man was with a bullet from a Russian sniper behind the left ear. He was unconscious, "cried just now and again. In addition, two more were severely wounded, which, as I can remember, an armored personnel carrier with the wall fell on her feet. We were a shame transport, which was conducted as 40 km across corduroy roads to the hospital in Smolensk. Every movement of the ambulance was for us a torture inmates. In Smolensk, I was checked by a surgeon-general of allotting all the injured for transport aircraft. Several flights had already left and there were no planes at this time for home. I received orders to go to the hospital train in the homeland. So I came on 11 October 1941 to Spremberg in Lower rehabilitation. There I was operated on several times in the jaw. I lay there in a military hospital with 25 other men in a room. There I was three months until 05/12/1941. The wound badge was awarded for the violation, I never. To my survival in the Russian winter, I was awarded the Order of frozen meat. The most fruitful, what I experienced during the war, was not the front. That was the time) on the HVPl (Confederation Square. The screams and the wounds you can not imagine. Since I had lost several teeth in the tongue and I had a hole in the jaw that healed slowly, gave me a Russian doctor at the front, a silver teeth missing. That is later so ulcerated that I for many years, even after the war, it was afflicted. After my recovery, I was the 9th Armored Division for special purposes (in short: Special Duty) for the tank repairs allocated. I hoped when I received orders to transfer to push back to my old department, the tank regiment 3. But the Army Headquarters, which I was now directly under the "zbVler", decided otherwise. I was a serviceable replacement of the tank division assigned 4 of convalescent my unit. This was situated in Brunn am Gebirge near Vienna. December 1941 to March 1942 on the Western Railway, I was divided within the company as an armed Convalescent TrainPolice. The main thing was for me at this time, however, that I remained in the vicinity of Vienna, and finally was cured. There, I also celebrated war Christmas 1941. Spring of 1942 I received the order to sign me back in the combat unit and was back to training, especially in the handling of the Panzer IV F of 7.5 cm long with cannon vehicles sent. I completed my training as a tank driver in Vienna Neuwaldegg on the parish lawn. Then it went from there to Poland. Where exactly in Poland was the place where my next adventure took place, I really remember anymore. I only saw the whole night convoys of Jews who were recognizable by the yellow star, to come forward, accompanied by SS troops as guards. All night we heard the sound of machine guns in sustained fire. For details I could not see or determine what had happened to these people. Presumably, they were shot. This fact and also the persecution of the Jews or even the Holocaust was not up to me personally known after the war. Many friends of his youth were later in the Waffen-SS.
In March 1942 the transport direction 9th Armored Division, which was to advance on Moscow, suddenly we were ordered to dismount. There were about 75 men from various units which were used in a bridgehead Wosskreßkensgoje. There were some cadets (cadets), who died in the fighting all of them. I was promoted to corporal suburb. I should refer to the right flank of a machine gun position - a tank driver in the infantry and machine gunner. I was two months since March 1942, in which there were indeed some skirmishes in the bridgehead. Until May 1942 there was no major attack by the Russians. Then came the 1 May 1942, the "Red Army Day." The attack broke out. 3-4 companies Russians attacked our bridgehead. I was alone without a loader, plus we were just too little, but I could hold my position. As armament served me a machine gun 42nd As the fighting subsided after three days, I explained my position before. There were no enemy movement to see more. I saw several bodies in the barbed wire, were sitting on those crows. They began to peck and eat the corpses of his eyes. Several times I pointed the gun at the crows, because I could not bear the sight. A few days later we were able to produce agreement with the Russians and we began to collect the corpses and wounded with Panjewägen. I found a Russian wounded, a blond young man who had ripped a volley left shoulder. I bandaged him and sent him back. What has become of him, I can not say.
At the close combat everything was used in order to keep the Russians at bay. I have, as far as I can remember, hit an attacking Russians with the flare gun. This can not understand, but otherwise I would have been tuned. After the battles, we have searched the fallen Russians. I have saved myself a star and an officer's cap belt as a souvenir. I still have today. We were then replaced by a mortar unit. As such, their heads hanging went forward, they looked like cattle being led to the slaughter. Each of us who had survived, could return to his department. On the train to the fighting, I was used as a tank driver. One day we were going to attack. I was very scared and had a bottle of cognac from France. I have that in a short time to give me courage. drunk. I was so drunk that I could no longer stand upright. My friends put me on a tarp and pulled me under a non-deployable armored. There, I fell asleep and slept through the noise of my attack. I was the 9th Armored Division (?), The Armored Regiment 3, forwarded. Editor's Note - This time gaps in the records are.
We stood in the middle section of the Orel-arc in May 1942, where we had to keep about 50 tanks with a front of 400 km. There were no tanks or drive repair, and the men who were reassigned had no wounds that would have been to heal (sic). One of our tasks was to clean it at this time, the surrounding forests of partisans. We should occupy positions of the right of the traffic paths. We hid behind the trees, and when night came, we divided ourselves into the positions. Have realized without it, we had been overrun three of the enemies and take their own troops were not able to contact. From the bushes, lying out on the belly, we saw groups of guerrillas marching in the streets, a Maxim machine guns pulling on small carts behind them. An attack was not thought of, we were glad not to be discovered. The night passed, and on the main paths were German tanks. We gave ourselves to recognize and could rise. We came back to the runway. Smolensk, Kursk, Orel, were among the nearest major cities, through which I could survive. We were encouraged to drive slowly on the dusty road. The dust cloud was always alert, the Russian guns at us. Once we got the order to tow the bow Orel, a tank with alleged “Vorgelegeschaden”. A lie had remained a Russian T34, a tower owned by the German attack more, was perfect as a recovery tank. However, as I approached the German tanks to be towed, we experienced an unpleasant surprise. The tank was completely full of holes. It was, as far as I can remember, a Panzer IV, the Russians had captured a German 88mm anti-aircraft guns and tanks and of course the crew hit hard. The tank was sprayed inside the body by the crew and covered with blood. Suburbs, we still got fire from a Russian grenade launcher company, which had been waiting for a unit approached for salvage. The tank was blown up. In September 1942, our troops should be the 6th German army in the attack on Stalingrad support. Heavy Russian artillery was waiting for us and prevented this project. In Bryansk, I was assigned a day during a break our tank column to guard duty. I saw a Russian orbiting "sewing machines" with the engine shut the place. A soldier was leaving his quarters, to light a cigarette. The pilot of the "sewing machine" saw the smoldering cigarette holder. Two tank crews have camped in the home straight, and paid no attention to the aircraft. They slept soundly. I just went right on the edge of control, could not leave my post, as there was a violent explosion. The neighborhood fell along with all the soldiers inside. They all died. I was, when we had disposed of the remains, divided to the wake. The funeral should take place in the morning the next day, until I pointed out that for one of the fallen soldiers was missing the head. The search for the head was inconclusive. I was wrongly accused, that I had not really paying attention, and was sentenced to treat the whole night for the dead. This punishment, I will never forget. The head was never seen again. Animals, especially horses, have suffered greatly during the war.
Panzer Regiment 33
I was at 16 May 1942 workshop in the tanks of the Panzer Regiment 33 were added.
The Panzer-Regiment 33 was on 2 February 1940 for the 9th Panzer Division established. The regimental headquarters was from the headquarters of Panzer Regiment Conze, in the field post summary as a tank regiment adjutant the 8th Panzer Division, known, established. The First Division was established from the former Panzer Lehr Division, which in the invasion of Poland the Panzer Regiment 5 as III. Division was attached. The Second Division was set up by the inclusion of the tank battalion 33rd In mid-1941 were made, the columns of the two divisions of the regiment in the Panzer division supply officer 60 and then formed the 13th and 14 large motor column. On 10 May 1942, a III. Department of the I. Battalion of Panzer Regiment 3 formed. On 9 January 1943 was renamed the Second Armored Division in the Department 51st The III. Department on 8 May 1943 without the 10th Company to the heavy tank battalion 506th On 4 January 1944, the regiment was given back his Division II through the re-renaming of the tank battalion 51st In early 1944, the regiment was revived by the Reserve Panzer Division 7th In May 1944, the Second Division of the armored brigade assumed 10 and equipped with the Panzer V. In the Company of the workshop were from Division II in June 1944 the 1st Panzer V train for the jurisdiction. As of August 1944 was the 2nd Train the workshop Company responsible for the Panzer IV. On 26 September 1944, the armored division was incorporated in 2105. In October 1944 the regiment was again at Arnhem relaxing. For the replacements of the regiment was the First Armored Division 4 replacement jurisdiction. From 1 June 1940 was the Panzer-Division 33 replacement charge for this task. Source: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/Panzerregimenter/PR33.htm One night we were ordered, on time by 2300 travel to the frontline. It had to be driven without lights, to the Russians not to draw attention to ourselves. It was very difficult to drive because there was nothing to exclude. Between the tanks drove and yokes, motorcyclist and other vehicles. Suddenly, between vehicles other units added, without our knowing it. Since there was a sad incident. In a large casserole three motorcyclist have been overtaken by another tank. All three dead, and anything but, unfortunately, often come in before deployment. The tank crew of the tank for the attack was obviously no longer usable. They were also criminally prosecuted. It was in the middle section 1942 winter, when our tank battalion was pulled out and that was stored in Shklov my headquarters company, so we were able to recover something that was "recovering" at an outdoor temperature of -38 ° Celsius. The houses were full of bugs. There I got to know a Russian who was with us briefly as auxiliaries (: Student set) and with which I, as he spoke German fairly well, had good contact. He then invited me several times in his hut, when I was starting. As it once was, that I have to do there in the cabin light, took a canister with fuel tanks left over so we could make it ourselves comfortable. He gave me food for it, bacon and other small items. It was late at night. As I was then in the darkness on the "home" made me, jumped on a big black dog. I was lucky and grabbed him by the front paws, so that he could not bite me. I turned and threw the dog away, away to the wall of a farmhouse. I moved to my pistol 08 and shot the dog. He ran off howling. Supposed to have the guerrilla, I learned after the war, trained in the central sector of dogs to kill German. On the last evening, after a visit with the Russians, when I went back to the unit, was fired at me from behind, killing probably another futile attempt to "hated" Germans. In order for my trips had found a sudden end. Another experience from that period in August 1942 was as follows: An Austrian, a Burgenland, named Francis R., were loud in front of our comrades that he was forced into a farmhouse with 08-gun two Russians, a mother and daughter, to sleep with him. Later I learned that he had been taken somewhere else a sexually transmitted disease. He was picked up, probably sent to a prison camp, but not because of the rape, but for undermining military morale. We were ready in the sequel to the relief of Stalingrad army. This advance, however, took place in a row, never. Moreover, there were heavy rains in October 1942 and the roads were not usable due to sludge. Editor's Note - This time gaps in the records are. But when the encirclement of the Russians was not breaking through and it was for us to get through, then it was with the tank regiment of 33 to the end. Our company was used for the realignment of the "Tiger Division. Our unity of Russia was almost closed and the majority of fallen soldiers.
506. Heavy tank battalion
I was on 11 June 1943 the newly formed 506th Heavy tank battalion assigned. First, the 2 Company as a driver (sic), which did not bother me, because I'm not a trained mechanic, and the induction training in Russia but in Germany took place. In a row but then I was soon assigned to the Headquarters Company. On a home leave, I met the wife of a major. This has invited me to his home. Your husband was on the staff of a unit in its home territory. We came closer to us. Suddenly she realized that her husband comes up the stairs. I packed my boots and the uniform half-naked and jumped out the window in the 1st Stick. Thanks to my Prussian education I survived the jump. During this time the company is Citadel. Editor's Note - This time gaps in the records are. On the morning of the 12th July 1943 began the fierce counterattack on the positions of the II SS Panzer Corps before Prokhorovka.
During this campaign I was in Germany. There we were on the latest models of German tanks, the Panzer VI "Tiger" trained. It was an experience that me and technically fascinating. The Tigers had a 10 speed transmission, a gasoline engine, we would often make trouble, and as mentioned above, instead of the steering arms for half a wheel. To further education, I came to Frankfurt with the mission of my unit to Paderborn-Senne Commons, the storage tanks there. The training lasted about 2 months. There we were made aware of the tiger further. I got to know the true Tiger Maybach engine, got to adjust the carburetor and the service for the öilparts. I have the driver and mechanic training for the Tigers. In August 1943 we got in Warburg our tigers. Allocated to us was our Viennese nickname "Steffl" by the St. Stephen's Cathedral. We have painted a St. Stephen's the front. As a department we have a big coat of arms W (Vienna), Vienna's emblem and a tiger, which relies on the fact conducted. This 506th Heavy tank battalion was directly subordinated to the Army Headquarters, the High Command and was favorite of the "leader" and was "special purposes". It looked like we all should fill gaps in front and slowly as a "fire brigade" was burned. Our commander (name was not mentioned by the author) had a sheepdog. The officer was carrying a cane with which he constantly knocked sideways on his boots. The tiger was a powerful machine gun. Inside it was completely painted white. So he did not stay long. The department was established on 8 May 1943 in St. Pölten, Military District XVII, situated. The department has a heavy Tiger Division of the Army troop with 3 companies from the III. Department of Panzer Regiment 33 of the 9th Panzer Division established. Between 16 and 27 August 1944 received the Division 45 tigers. Between 9 and 12 September 1943, the department was loaded into the east. Between 17 and 20 September 1943 reached the Division Zaporozhe. Here, the Department of the XVII. Army Corps assumed. On 20 October 1943 was only 7 for use of 36 tigers. The remaining Tigers were on the 25th December 1943 after Kirowgrad loaded. 29 to 30 January 1944 replaced the Division 12 Tigers delivered, and so has a total of 22nd On 4 February 1944 break the department under the 1 Panzer Army from the cauldron of Korsun and Cherkassy. On 9 February 1944, the department shall re-5 Tiger. On 1 March 1944 gives the Department of the few remaining tigers in the heavy tank battalion 503 and transferred to the new equipment to Lvov. Between 29 March and 8 April 1944 will receive the Division 45 tigers. Of 2 to 10 April 1944, the Department of the 100th Infantry Division deployed. On 31 May 1944, the Department assumed the Tigers with 41 Army Group North Ukraine. On 27 and 28 July 1944 will be submitted to the 6 remaining Tiger heavy tank battalion 507th On 15 August 1944 was made the order to move to Ohrdruf to equip with Tiger II Between 20 August 1944 and 12 September 1944, the department is equipped with 45 tigers II. Between 22 September 1944 and 24 September 1944, the department achieved Arnhem and is subordinate to the II SS Panzer Corps. The department is also used in the Aachen region. On 20 October 1944 are still 18 II operational from 35 tigers. On 2 November 1944 be taken over by the II SS Panzer Corps, 2 Tiger II. On 8 December 1944 is derived from the Panzer-Company Hummel, a 4th Company with Tiger I set up. Between 8 and 13 December 1944, the department shall again 12 Tiger II "Altogether there are 47 tigers in that department. From the 21 December 1944, the department will be used at Bastogne in the Ardennes offensive. The department is on the 7th Army deployed. The end of January 1945, the department with only 30 Tigers pulled out to recover. On 16 February 1945 leaves the 4th Company of the department with 5 tigers I. On 15 March 1945 is assumed, the department with 15 tigers II Army Group B. Only 2 of them are operational. On 20 March 1945 replaced the Tiger II, Division 7 of the heavy SS-Panzer-Abteilung 501 On 14 April 1945, the department will be dissolved by their commander in Iserlohn. For replacements, the replacement tank division 500 was responsible. Source: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/PanzerAbt/PanzerAbt506-R.htm. Back in Russia - it had reached us for some time no more reinforcements. We had to Slobzowo (location can not be established, the tanks) to leave the regiment. We blew up 28 tanks, including tigers, so they would not fall into Russian hands. We had only one “Kranzug” and a tow truck, which was not all tanks will be dragged back. The rest of the crew went back with other units and I was left with four men, including the brother of my late wife, to destroy the tanks. Two men had to work, two men were allowed to sleep. We slept in a farmhouse nearby. In the short time there I learned the advantages of a simple Russian sauna know is rubbed in after the hot spell, with snow, and then promoted with birch switches, the blood flow again. Probably why the Russians have not attacked the tank space because they suspected because of the number of tigers, are a regiment with full respect to occupation. Be remembered me the many bugs and flies were everywhere in this small Russian farms and at home. The climate has supported the still. Since 1942, Charles P. was one of my unit. He later married the sister of my wife and my brother was. We agreed to supplement your diet, to hunt a wild boar. I sent the Charles in a small valley, that he was driving me wild pigs on the hill, so that I could shoot with a rifle 98k. Charles himself was the 08th gun Only the pigs did not like us and ran into the valley of the Charles. Armed only with a pistol, he could do nothing, and he quickly sought cover from the Pigs on the nearest tree. There I found him shivering. Nothing had with our food. And Karl is still talking to me badly because of the pigs. Changing the chain when Tiger was hard work. The cylinder engine in the Maybach HL 230 P 45, 12-cylinder gasoline engine, cylinder capacity 23 l, 515 kW (700 hp) (first 250 copies: Maybach HL 210 P 45 with 478 kW (650 hp) were unbelievable proportions. Was unpleasant conceal it, shot tanks. Often it was the remains of the crews. They were salvaged, if possible. But very often anymore. I still can not see the birch trees, they remind me of the many wooden crosses, which we in Russia for friends have set up. It happened one day that a Russian raiding party of about 20 men came to the house where we slept. We were just two German, were found here. The women in the rest of the best agreement with us and the house was still inhabited, woke me and my friends and made us aware of the squad. We should leave the house through the back door and hide under a thatched roof that we have Tanya and her sister had been erected about 150m away from home . But it was too late. The only way out was the coal cellar, and we two were hiding among the coals. where we now lay with the machine gun in his hand, and waited for the Russians to leave the house again. We heard how the Russians, the two women described as research assistants, as the German volunteers, and then raped the women, but not killed. Unable to take anything without being killed, I had to listen as the screaming women. The Russians are only allowed after a certain time of the women over. The squad then disappeared without killing the women and after he had ransacked the cabin. The women came to us when the Russians were gone, and led us into the forest. The women accompanied us about two months in the woods of regular troops and guerrillas over. We are fed to us by a bacon that had the Russians yet. I saw Russian and many captured German soldiers, who were driven back. Suddenly we heard the German words of command and we were facing German soldiers on us approached. As we look at our soldiers with German had nothing in common, we held up his hands and gave us acknowledge cheers. We were picked up and brought immediately to the staff and after careful questioning brought back to our units. The women remained after questioning our unit assigned as research assistants. I was the Iron Cross Second Class for suggested that I was not because I did not appear on the Order of distribution. I lost many pounds in this time. We were alive again. I was in 1943 in Zaporozhye . Editor's Note - This time gaps in the records. The so-called "DO-thrower" or "Stuka on foot are" were terrible weapons. When shooting, they gave a distinctive noise. With hits on the armor of our tanks, it was than you would get with a mallet on the head. Zaporozhye In one of our main bases. There was also a time of our workshop was located, these results then is repaired. As to me another experience. In retreating from Russia, already at the Hungarian-Russian border, we wanted an SS patrol stopped at gunpoint, so we are their cars, stuck in the mud, should pull out. The Russians in the neck and then his own people were aimed at us, we were well staffed with four men and began a firefight with the SS patrols and went while we were firing, right into the fields. As a parting gift, I've never thrown a hand grenade. As our chain, "well maintained" was, we had no trouble to shut us through the field like this. I rarely told anything about this incident. About Budapest lead us back to the road to the West. In June 1944 I again came home on leave.
In the Netherlands
September 1944 paratroopers landed in Arnhem. March was the 506th in the country Heavy tank battalion sent there. I was late September in Arnhem. Heavy fighting with the British. We had been the King Tiger. On the way we had air raid. The trucks, with which we were traveling, had side windows in the size 50 by 50 cm. Recent advent of the planes, we have the trucks allowed to stand, and managed to do with full gear through the side window, jumped into the ditch. Anxiety can also make thin.
Then we were in 1944 in the Hocheifel to lead our tanks in the Ardennes offensive on the Eifel. Editor's Note - This time gaps in the records are. I got Schwarzsucht the November 1944 and had three months to the hospital and on convalescent leave. In January 1945 I had my last home leave. I was with my 25 years old already have a "front-pig." Had survived the Eastern Front. At the time of the Western Front, I had the following experience. When we parked the vehicles in a forest, Allied artillery began to fire on us, heavy chunks. I ran to the forest, and saw that there were German infantrymen hung up to dry their clothes and underwear for all to see the forest. A great destination for the Allies. Above us, a plane circled, probably an artillery observer. I fled from the forest, because I would otherwise have fallen. Just next to the woods led by a lane. When I walked into the open, I saw two "watch dogs", the military police. I told them I was already Corporal Staff at this time that I had to sign myself in a command staff to three kilometers away. They did not believe me. I then lifted the MP and cocked a hand grenade, which I had in my belt. I threw it, while I resell on the dirt road into a field. What happened to the cops, I can not say they were gone, and certainly still alive when I returned. I reached my unit again, where everything was destroyed. I got lucky with them, our tanks were all shredded. Editor's Note - This time gaps in the records are. We were later with the remnants of our unit in the space Eickweiler, Gelsenkirchen. There were no supplies and the tanks had to hide in the woods. We were able to move freely only at night. Fighter-bombers were constantly on the hunt for us. Since we had nothing to eat at this time, we had to organize. Some of our comrades were organized in the adjacent houses ". During this time, was also an attack by P-38 Lightning. This twin-hulled aircraft were very fast and very agile. We had great respect for the hunters. I had mounted on a tractor-18to-a-Kind-2cm-Flak, and this was very helpful to the defense against these low-flying aircraft. I shot at one of the P-38, but not caught her. There was an attack by about 600 bombers in the vicinity and the earth shook. To escort just heard the P-38, and so we got to kiss on the hand. Most are run into the woods, only the infantry units are walked on, and therefore also the most liked. I was including in Hamm on the victory.
Retreat to Germany
May 1945 Iserlohn. Ruhr pocket. Next we came up with the tanks any more. Editor's Note - This time gaps in the records are. The unit was then trapped in the Ruhr pocket. We had no more fuel for our tigers, and the company received orders to leave as infantry in use. We have a bomb buried in all of our decorations, papers and records of the department in ammunition boxes. Then we parked the vehicles in the woods, blew up the internals, and we were prepared to march. On the march I noticed an ambulance, who stood with open doors. Three friends and I fought our way before that, arms or legs on edges blue, then we give medicine us to each other. We were now wounded by the P-38. The French were already in the vicinity and we were captured shortly afterwards. After I convinced her to be not an SS man who was the dead heads on the uniforms of the tank driver easily confused, I showed them still remained standing, the Bengal tiger. Thus it was done for me. I went into captivity. I've been to capture Sergeant (sic).
I have been associated with hundreds of thousands of other soldiers in the Rheinwiesenlager. We were suffering great hunger. The Americans did have some fun torturing us. I once got a cigarette that made me because of the great famine immediately unconscious. The French threw live dogs and cats over the fence. Shepherds were particularly popular. We tore the living animals with the fingers. Cats taste like rabbits, if one is hungry. Many comrades died on hunger. At roll call we had from the French Foreign Legion and the choice between freedom or imprisonment. I chose the prison. The captivity of the French was very hard. I was sent to work at a farm in Alsace. There it was hard but I felt better. As an Austrian I had it better at this time. Am 23.11. ended my prisoner of war in France. I came on 3 April 1946 in Vienna Matzleinsdorf. I had on my return just under 50 kg with a height of 1.81 cm. But I have survived, and counted. In the early 80s I got from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defense have a subpoena. There I was told that I would have me ready in case of an attack on Austria because of my specialized training as a tank technician, will be convened. I have voted overwhelmingly against it. I will never move back into the war. For whoever.
The first recordings were made 2,001th Francis E. was at that time still alive. 2009, I took the liberty to revise the text and supplement with information from my memory and my family on my father's stories.
Monitoring loud WASt:
German Department (WASt) for the notification of next of kin of casualties of the German Wehrmacht