SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 09 Jul 2016 11:25

The book will also be available in the bookshop of the December 44 Historical Museum in La Gleize...

http://www.december44.com/en/the-museum.htm

...in the bookshop of the Baugnez 44 Historical Centre...

http://www.baugnez44.be/en/news.htm

...and in the Octa Librairie Allée Verte in Stavelot...

https://www.facebook.com/avia.librairiealleeverte

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jan willem stokkers
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by jan willem stokkers » 11 Jul 2016 13:12

congrats my friend and well done!

Gr.JW

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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 11 Jul 2016 20:46

Thanks JW! Just sold the 40th copy and the comments are all very positive so far :milsmile:

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jan willem stokkers
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by jan willem stokkers » 11 Jul 2016 21:05

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

phillip burke
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by phillip burke » 13 Jul 2016 18:20

just started the book, really good so far, nice to see this finally in print, well done Harro

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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 13 Jul 2016 19:23

Good to know you received the book and enjoy reading it. Feel free to ask if something needs to be clarified. Did it take long between placing your order and delivery?

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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by phillip burke » 14 Jul 2016 11:24

hello, it took just over 7 days to get to uk, when ive finished im sure i will have list of questions, thanks again for your effort, amazing

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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 19 Jul 2016 20:19

Upon hearing their name called out, each individual defendant walked down the steps of the dock and up to the bench to learn his fate from the judges who read out their verdict. Sentencing was swift. Defendant number 1, Valentin Bersin, sentenced to death by hanging; defendant number 2, Friedel Bode, death by hanging; number 4, Willy Braun, sentenced to life imprisonment; number 5, Kurt Briesemeister, death by hanging. It only took two minutes on average to read out each sentence. Defendant number 9, Manfred Coblenz, life imprisonment; defendant number 11, Sepp Dietrich, life imprisonment. The film cameras kept rolling. Defendants number 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30, death by hanging. “Gustav Knittel!” It took him only a few big steps to get from the top row of the dock down to the bench where he stood ramrod in front of the judges as if at attention. Dalbey read out the sentence:

“The court in closed session with at least two-thirds of the members present at the time the vote was taken concurring, sentences you to life imprisonment and that's forthwith of such places that may be designated by competent military authority.”

A German interpreter translated the verdict for Knittel, who turned on his heels before the full translation was over, the only words he had needed to hear were ‘Lebenslängliche Freiheitsstrafe’. With his head held high and face impassive he marched out of the courtroom guarded by two American MPs, no doubt absorbing his escape from the hangman’s noose. The judge continued his sentencing: defendant number 42, Joachim Peiper, death by hanging; defendant number 45, Hermann Priess, twenty years. After two hours and twenty minutes, forty three death penalties and thirty prison sentences had been passed.

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phillip burke
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by phillip burke » 25 Jul 2016 18:54

hello Haro, finally finished the book, and wow ,what a book, normally i have loads questions but you neatly fill a gap between Duel in the Mist and Danny Parkers two excellent books. And yes what an odd fish Knittel seems, looking at early pictures of him you can see he lost his hair very early, maybe this was what made him compensate with his fists, its weird because he really should have filled Kurt Meyers shoes, at Kursk and later in ukraine he seems to have been made of the right stuff, but, there seems a lack of warmth. This lack of warmth seems to have put the men under his command at a distance both physically, a good officer should spend quality time with his men, and morally. Well im now going for a second deeper read, thanks Harro, ive only helped with some minor research, hello seabee, and im aware of the amount of personal time involved in projects so a big thank you again,

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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by seaburn » 25 Jul 2016 20:24

Hi 'Phillip Burke' - it was an honour to be able to assist with this book and to read and learn what happened to the LAH's AA Btln after KM had high tailed it to the 12th SS Hitlerjugend Division. As you rightly point out, KM's shoes were hard to fill, especially once the glory days were over .... I think Harro made a very good job of showing GK's lack of enthusiasm for the fight before the Ardennes and how he was left with no option but to obey his orders. What happened in that week cast a long shadow over him to the end of his life, losing his liberty and his much longed for happy family home life.

The fact that so many Vets contributed their stories and insights to enrich the narrative sets this book apart from those that rely mostly on secondary sources. Sadly those of us who may want to write a bio in the future have run out of time to gather such a rich harvest. Harro's dogged pursuit of the small details and the bringing together of all the archival documents from numerous sources are to be lauded and he should be rightly proud to have pulled it all together for our delectation.

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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 26 Jul 2016 17:50

Hi Philip, thank you very much for your positive review! It seems to me it was impossible for Knittel from the start to fill Panzermeyer's shoes. Not only because of different characters but also as a result of the turning tide at the front: he took over at the very moment when the LSSAH was to receive its first bloody nose at Kursk and from that moment on it was a downward spiral. Had he lead the battalion with the same "dashing" dare-devil command style as his predecessor it would have been an early grave for the entire SS-PzAA1. Cautiousness was the name of the game even when those subordinates who were not used to that did not like it. Germany was on the attack under Meyer but forced to defend under Knittel: it was okay for motorcyclists to storm head-first against fleeing infantry and retreating trucks and carts but bluntly attacking tanks and entrenched infantry and guns with Schwimmwagens and light armoured halftracks was an entirely different story. But that certainly isn't the complete explanation: he was misunderstood, often harsh (perhaps overcompensation for the lack of confidence he showed in front of his men according to his pre-war assessors?) and generally disliked by the lower ranks. I suppose Steinbüchel got close when he told me: “In hindsight Gustav Knittel was a bit of an odd fellow, or am I wrong? [...] In my opinion Gustav Knittel could not bring on the same enthusiasm as ‘Panzermeyer’ due to the consequences of war. There was no longer an indefatigable advance in which successes were achieved – instead, a back and forth, nobody knew exactly [what would happen]. Presumably this weighted on Knittel’s mind!? It became particularly clear in December 1944. But what the hell, ‘Friede seiner Asche!’ (God rest his soul)! Knittel had more weaknesses than ‘Panzermeyer’, who had tirelessly risked his own life. Long story short, Gustav Knittel was a bit odd, which unintentionally made him vulnerable to criticism?”

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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 04 Aug 2016 09:20

The 18th of December 1944 - After crossing Stavelot SS-Obersturmführer Manfred Coblenz paused his halftracks at the western edge of Stavelot near the ‘Les Quartiers‘ villa and waited for the rest of the Aufklärungsabteilung to follow but nothing happened. Coblenz’ company left the western edge of Stavelot in the direction of Trois-Ponts at 15.00hrs which means members of his outfit are plausible suspects in the murder of 53-year old Tony Lambert, who was shot dead at the doorstep of his villa at approximately the same time:

“Shortly after 15.00hrs, Mr. Lambert saw two SS men approach the main entrance with drawn revolvers [sic]. He calmed his frightened wife and went to open [the door]. He was gunned down without a word. After the SS had committed their crime, they asked [the people] inside: ‘are there any Americans here?’ The governess of the children answered: ‘only civilians, come see for yourself.’ The SS replied grinning: ‘You didn’t think we would come back, did you? We will recapture Brussels and Paris.’ They then turned to Mrs. Lambert, who had heard the shots but did not yet know what had happened to her husband, and asked her something to drink. The unfortunate obeyed with the help of her second daughter Claudine and offered them beer and wine. One German pushed his revolver [sic] against the girl’s chest and demanded cognac. When Mrs. Lambert went to get the alcohol, she noticed her husband’s lifeless body through the glass door of the salon. Satisfied [with the alcohol] the SS [men] left the house but almost immediately two others showed up who also demanded cognac. More dead than alive, Mrs. Lambert handed them all the alcohol she had. The two soldiers also left the house. Nobody dared to go up to the ground floor to bring in the body of Mr. Lambert before it was dark. German tanks continued to drive by and fired their machine guns soon as they saw somebody move. As it was dark by 17.00hrs, the family could get the corpse of Mr. Lambert inside and shut the door.”

Photo: the ‘Les Quartiers‘ villa photographed before the battle...

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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 16 Aug 2016 20:26

krichter33 wrote:Timo Worst's book "Career, crimes and trial of SS-Sturmbannführer Gustav Knittel" is one of the better world war 2 biographies I have read in a long time. It is an unbiased piece of heavily researched history, that presents all aspects of the man, both the good and the bad, without any judgement or over-emotional language. I have read biographies before that either try to glorify the subject by downplaying the negative aspects of the person's life, or the opposite, where they focus primarily on the negative and not much else. For example the biographies by Marcel Stein tend to focus only on the negative aspects of their lives at the expense of a more detailed history. Whereas, Newton's Model bio, and Melvin's Manstein bio present all aspects of the individuals in question. The entire life of the individual is presented in a non biased fashion, where the positive and negative are detailed in proper context. They are not hagiographies but neither are they "hit pieces." Then there are the books that are primarily focused only on the "positive" aspect of the individual's life, such as their military career, without mention of possible war crimes and other negatives. Books primarily on certain WSS personalities, though well researched, at times tend to "gloss over" these "inconveniences." This is unfortunate since it only lessens the true historical worth of the author's intense labors. Worst's book is the perfect example of how a military biography should be written. The amount of source material, and first person accounts is amazing enough as it is. But the presentation of a definitely controversial subject in such a professional manner is even more amazing. Along with the previous books mentioned by Melvin and Newton, Danny Parker's Peiper biography is another example of a professional piece of historiography. A good comparison between a professional unemotional book and the opposite would be comparing Parker's book with a previous Peiper bio that was released a few years ago. Both books contain a lot of the same material, however Parker's book comes off as being the professional piece of history, whereas the other reads quite poorly due to its extremely opinionated and emotional language. Both Parker and Worst have been able to write non biased history, presenting all the facts as objectively as possible without the emotionalism that sometimes pervades this subject. The portions of the book that Timo has posted on this message board should show adequate proof of the style and substance of the book. Worst details Knittel's life from beginning to end, with great focus on his combat career as well as post war tribulations. It is a truly fascinating story of a man living in a violent time, and the consequences of actions that can never be undone. The book is not pretentious, and does not pretend to claim any form of moral authority. It simply tells a brilliantly fascinating story of a tragedy...

http://www.boekenbestellen.nl/boek/gust ... 52?lang=en
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 6#p2032399

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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 24 Aug 2016 20:31


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Harro
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Re: SS-Aufklärungsabteilung LAH...

Post by Harro » 02 Sep 2016 17:06

The hardcover edition of the book is now available...

Binding : Hardback
Size : 176mm x 250mm
Total pages : 541
ISBN : 9789492475558

http://www.boekenbestellen.nl/boek/gust ... 58?lang=en

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