Mohnke and his foot

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Herr Kommandant
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Mohnke and his foot

Post by Herr Kommandant » 17 Jun 2005 17:58

Hi,

I read that Monke lost his foot in 41 on a Yugoslavian air atack. How could he manage to keep on active duty until 45 8O ? Was this commom among soldiers?

Regards!

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 17 Jun 2005 18:07

Not common among soldiers but no problem for higher ranking officers as they were able to be mobile with alocated vehicles and drivers.

\Christoph

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Luft300
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Post by Luft300 » 17 Jun 2005 19:57

Is he still alive or has he passed away? I have two autographed photos of him - very interesting... they are identical except one is of him as an SS-Standartenführer and the other his rank has been upgraded to SS-Brigadeführer by airbrushing. He has the same cap, head and face exactly the same... I also found once an autographed photo of another Waffen-SS officer with his Knight's Cross airbrushed in... it is considerably smaller than the Knight's Cross is supposed to be. I've also seen the exact same picture of him without the Knight's Cross... interesting how they did that.

As for the common soldier going back into combat, I remember seeing video footage of soldiers with limbs missing and them having artificial limbs applied... I wonder if at the end, for the defense of a city, that these men might have been rounded up and forced to fight as well?

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 17 Jun 2005 20:06

Luft300 wrote:Is he still alive or has he passed away? I have two autographed photos of him - very interesting... they are identical except one is of him as an SS-Standartenführer and the other his rank has been upgraded to SS-Brigadeführer by airbrushing. He has the same cap, head and face exactly the same... I also found once an autographed photo of another Waffen-SS officer with his Knight's Cross airbrushed in... it is considerably smaller than the Knight's Cross is supposed to be. I've also seen the exact same picture of him without the Knight's Cross... interesting how they did that.

As for the common soldier going back into combat, I remember seeing video footage of soldiers with limbs missing and them having artificial limbs applied... I wonder if at the end, for the defense of a city, that these men might have been rounded up and forced to fight as well?


Mohnke passed away on 6.August 2001.
Often soldiers with amputated limbs were assigned to special duties in offices etc...
No matter what you saw this was just a very exceptional (if not just Propaganda-footage) case to send normal soldiers into combat with artificial limbs.

\Christoph

Marc Rikmenspoel
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Post by Marc Rikmenspoel » 17 Jun 2005 22:18

Mohnke was out of action for a while, and some believe he became addicted to morphine while in severe pain during his recovery. Sepp Dietrich was always a patron to Mohnke's career. Mohnke was an original member of the LAH from 1933, and had risen to command a company by the 1940 Western Campaign. During that campaign he replaced his wounded battalion commander, and held that command despite being junior for the post.

After recovering from the loss of his foot, Mohnke was named to form and command the newly activated Panzer Abteilung for the LAH. However, during February 1942 he got into a violent argument with SS-FHA chief Hans Jüttner, and was relieved from his command (Ralf Tiemann writes about this in his book on the history of the 7. SS-PR 1). Jüttner had Mohnke sent to a military hospital, essentially for treatment of "temporary insanity" yet a month later, Mohnke had a new command, that of the Feldersatz Bataillon for LAH. I can't confirm how he got the latter post, but my guess is that Dietrich made the arrangements for it. It was certainly Dietrich who saw to it that Mohnke received one of the early German Crosses in Gold awarded, with Mohnke's dated December 26, 1941 (keeping in mind that Mohnke had basically not seen any combat in 1941). Further, I expect Dietrich had a major say in Mohnke, who only had a few weeks of field experience as a battalion commander (and that in 1940) getting command of the newly formed SS-PGR 26 during the summer of 1943, ahead of more combat experienced men of similar rank such as Wilhelm Wiedenhaupt.

A week after Kurt Meyer replaced the fallen Fritz Witt as 12. SS-PD HJ commander, he recommended Mohnke for the Knight's Cross for his leadership of SS-PGR 26 in the opening stages of the Normandy fighting. Dietrich enthusiastically approved the recommendation, and Mohnke's award was approved on July 11, 1944 (Dietrich personally presenting the decoration to Mohnke, and to Karlheinz Prinz who received it the same day). Soon after, Mohnke's regiment was withdrawn to rebuild, and in late August, he led various reforming and training elements of the I. SS-Panzerkorps in successful delaying actions at crucial Seine River crossing points. The corps was running out of officers of Lt. Colonel rank (SS-Ostubaf.) and above, since much of LAH & HJ had been caught in the Falaise pocket, so Mohnke, with only a month and half or so front experience as a regimental commander was appointed LAH commander, succeeding the wounded Teddy Wisch (and temporary replacement Franz Steineck, who had begun the Normany fighting weeks earlier as commander of the heavy artillery battalion of I. SS-Panzerkorps, and thus wasn't experienced enough to be more than an emergency divisional leader).

Mohnke was supposedly suffered ear damage in an air raid just after the Ardennes Offensive. This may well be what happened, but it is possible other issues made him stay in Berlin in early 1945 (I have NO idea what the truth is, maybe Mohnke was having morphine trouble, or perhaps his drinking bouts played a part, or it is even possible his nerves were shot, as happened to Peiper during 1944. Or maybe he really did have ear damage, but the I. SS-PK veterans were known to cover up unpleasant truths, such as how Hein von Westernhagen shot himself, rather than dying from shrapnel from a stray bomb). Mohnke returned to action in the last week of the war as the battle commander of central Berlin (zone "Zitadelle"), and then survived over a decade in the Soviet Gulag, returning to Germany in late 1955.

So how did he manage to rise to SS-Brigadeführer rank by 1945, and to command a division? As I suggested above, Dietrich apparently thought well of him, and found him good postings a couple of times, and he was in the right place at the right time at the end of August 1944. A few changes in the course of events early on, and Mohnke might be a hardly known figure, if he hadn't got the battalion command in 1940, he might not have been in the place to lose his foot in 1941. He might have died in any number of actions as a company commander, and there is room for plenty of other speculation. But, the above relates how this officer managed to get through the war with relative success, despite his injury on the first day of the Yugoslav campaign.

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Harro
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Post by Harro » 17 Jun 2005 22:23

Looks like the FEB LSSAH was the ideal post througout the war to (temporarely) get rid of "problematic cases".

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gunslinger
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Post by gunslinger » 17 Jun 2005 22:37

Great post, Marc..Thanks

Jochen S.
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Post by Jochen S. » 18 Jun 2005 11:27

Ralf Tiemann - former Ia LSSAH Dec.44/Jan.45 (sadly - just recently passed away), who had a good relationship with Mohnke during the war, wrote in a letter dated 10.07.2004:
"Brigadeführer W. Mohnke mußte sich Anfang 1945 in eine erneute Behandlung seiner nie ganz ausgeheilten, schweren Verwundung begeben, wozu er in das Klinikum Hohenlychen (Brandenburg) zur Fürsorge durch Prof. Gebhardt eingewiesen wurde. Nach seiner Entlassung wurde ihm die Führung der Abwehrkämpfe um die Reichskanzlei übertragen, bei denen er im April 1945 in sowjetische Gefangenschaft geriet."

Furthermore it was wellknown that Mohnke indeed had a morphine addiction, and because of this very often had a bad temper and was quite unreasonable.

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Reader3000
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Post by Reader3000 » 18 Jun 2005 13:43

I don't know if it is correct, but Kurt Meyer wrote in "Grenadiere", that Mohnke already in the Normandy battle got ear damage after an air raid on his regimental command post. So maybe this was the fact of getting ear damage again in Ardennes offensive even more severe....
But as "Grenadiere" has some more errors, I'm not sure.

Regarding Feldersatz-Btl. of the LAH: Getting those, either wounded or not "suitable" for front duty, men in there caused a lot of trouble for the recruits as the training was very hard then.

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Post by Charles Steiner » 20 Jun 2005 18:34

I remember that this morphine addiction of Mohnke and consequently his bad temper have led to some speculations on Mohnke being one of the responsables for the HJ war crimes in Normandy (executions of Canadian prisoners of war at Audrieu and surroundings). I believe even that there was even mention of Fritz Witt wanting Mohnke being relieved of his post. It was later on in the war that Mohnke was "ordered" some rehab...

alan
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Mohnke

Post by alan » 24 Jun 2005 20:11

Marc Rikmenspoel

Mohnke was supposedly suffered ear damage in an air raid just after the Ardennes Offensive. This may well be what happened, but it is possible other issues made him stay in Berlin in early 1945 (I have NO idea what the truth is, maybe Mohnke was having morphine trouble, or perhaps his drinking bouts played a part, or it is even possible his nerves were shot, as happened to Peiper during 1944.

Marc, I have often thought that Mohnke and Peiper may have been together in January of 1945 as Mohnke had ear damage in an air raid after the Ardennes Offensive (January 1945) and Peiper suffered a 'Comotio cerebri' (concussion) in January 1945. Peiper had been re-assigned to LAH headquarters and Ralf Tiemann in LAH IV/2 says that Mohnke and Peiper were visiting units together. This would be the most simple explanation for both injuries.
I do not favor Michael Reynolds suggestion that Peiper suffered a 'nervous breakdown' after his breakout. I do not doubt that Peiper suffered from exhaustion (exacerbated by the use of stimulants) and needed a rest after his breakout.

How well documented is it that Peiper suffered a nervous breakdown in August 1944? His medical record says that he was ill with an inlamation of the gallbladder andin LAH it is said that Peiper suffered a 'heart attack'. Having suffered an un-expected gallbladder attack, I can well understand how it could be thought to be a 'heart attack'. Gall bladder problems can come from unusual weight loss and looking at pictures of Peiper being awarded the Oakleaves he couldn't get much thinner.

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Harro
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Post by Harro » 24 Jun 2005 20:47

Several LAH veterans mentioned the nervous breakdown to me.

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Dieter Zinke
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Post by Dieter Zinke » 24 Jun 2005 20:56

Gall bladder problems can come from unusual weight loss
This information is completely new for me !! Nevertheless this is absolutely nonsense.

BTW: Jens Westemeier, the author of the book
"Joachim Peiper (1915-1976). - zwischen Totenkopf und Ritterkreuz -. Eine Biographie".
In der Reihe: Soldatenschicksale des 20. Jahrhunderts als Geschichtsquelle, herausgegeben von Dermot Bradley, Band 14: Biblio-Verlag, Bissendorf, 2004
is a member of our forum.
Ask him. He is perhaps the greatest expert for the bio of Jochen Peiper and his connection to Mohnke, - and - he is a historian !!

Dieter Z.

alan
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Peiper

Post by alan » 24 Jun 2005 21:48

Dieter, Iwillattempt to post a document listing Peiper's wounds and illnesses dated 30 January 1945. You may have to blow up the attachment, but look at number 7,the only illness among the 9 items listed. This is a fairly well known document signed by the regimental doctor ( Stickel) and Peiper's adc (Grule) .
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Dieter Zinke
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Re: Peiper

Post by Dieter Zinke » 24 Jun 2005 23:11

alan wrote:Dieter, Iwillattempt to post a document listing Peiper's wounds and illnesses dated 30 January 1945. You may have to blow up the attachment, but look at number 7,the only illness among the 9 items listed. This is a fairly well known document signed by the regimental doctor ( Stickel) and Peiper's adc (Grule) .
Thank you, alan, for this very interesting document. Unfortunately I have problems with # 7:
"......itis mit anschließender..........beteiligung".
Can you help me to close the gap !?
Best regards
Dieter Z.

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