Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

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Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 02 Nov 2018 15:38

history1 wrote:
02 Nov 2018 13:25
English isn´t my mother tongue....
BTW, you can link to each post by clicking on the eg. #23" number and copying the link from the address bar.
Thank you for letting me know about how to copy the links, please continue to identify what you can even if it is redundant, because it helps to confirm the information.
history1 wrote:
02 Nov 2018 14:59
Volyn wrote:
31 Oct 2018 13:33
[...] Great job - I am curious how did you identify it as the SS Deutschland, is it written on his hat (I cannot read it)?
No, I wasn´t able to read it tough it´s written on the hat. wbfamily gave us his name, DOB and information that he traveled from Hamburg to NY and that was enough to find him in the crew list of this ship mentioned as "ordinary sailor". Further informations are his weight and size and that they arrived on July 9th 1937.
Excellent work, do you think he was still part of RAD when he was working on the SS Duestchland or would he have finished with RAD at that time?
history1 wrote:
02 Nov 2018 15:33
And based on the neat uniforms and smiling faces I place those pics into a mountineers training and and not into a battle of other activity on the front
I agree that these are training photos, can you identify the unit he is training with?
Last edited by Volyn on 02 Nov 2018 15:43, edited 1 time in total.

wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 02 Nov 2018 18:24

history1 wrote:
02 Nov 2018 08:14
wbfamily wrote:
14 Oct 2018 04:27
[...]
I asked about Greece as well. I was told that he was there, but not sure when.
It's all so confusing.
The answer is in this photo which you posted a couple days ago:
Image
"Saloniki, May 12th 1941
Walther"

I wonder to which unit he belonged at the time because the GJR 98 history doesn´t mention Greece until June 1943 on this website: https://tinyurl.com/yaryyenf
Could he have been with the XVIII Mountain/ 5.Gebirgs div at this time?
https://worldhistory.us/military-histor ... 941-44.php
"On April 6 1941 German 12th Army’s XXX Corps advanced into western Thrace against 2nd Greek Army and by April 9 XVIII Mountain Corps, with 5.Gebirgs Division in the vanguard, destroyed the Greek Metaxa Line, forcing the Greek 1st Army to surrender on April 23 and advanced until taking Athens on April 27. ...
The Axis Occupation of Greece

German forces were stationed in Athens, eastern Macedonia, the Greco-Turkish border, western Crete and some western Greek islands. The Bulgarians occupied western Thrace with most of Greece left to Italian control. 12th German Army HQ under Generalfeldmarschall List in Athens, comprised XVIII Mountain Corps, with 164th Infantry Division and 125th Infantry Regt. in Salonika, 5th Mountain Division in Athens and 65th Corps in Serbia and Croatia." Quoted from above link.

wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 02 Nov 2018 20:27

history1 wrote:
02 Nov 2018 14:44
wbfamily wrote:
26 Oct 2018 19:07
[...] Are there hospital lists that can be checked to see if he was hospitalized? I think this may be the answer.
I know that while in russia he miscalculated an explosion and it knocked him back quite a ways. I'm unsure if the extent of his injuries. [...]
There was the former "Krankenbuchlager", roughly translated "sick/injured soldiers archive" but it got transfered to the WAst a couple years ago from whom you mentioned that they don´t havy any informations about your grandfather.
https://www.berlin.de/lageso/versorgung ... buchlager/
It was several years ago that I contacted the WAst. I should try again if it was only transferred a couple years ago. He received a pretty healthy pension so there has got to be records for him. I may be looking in the wrong places.

history1
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by history1 » 02 Nov 2018 21:00

It was on Dec 31st, 2013 when the Krankenbuchlager was closed as you can read in the link. The last files (mostly from WWI) where transfered only in 2017 to the WAst.

Quite possible that he was with the 5th mountain division which was built by the GJR 100 and the Infantry Regiment 85 which was later re-named into GJR 85. Note that the GJR 100 accompanied the GJR 98 through Poland, Belgium, France and further to Greece.
Source: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... R100-R.htm

Did you check out the informations on John´s server allready? If not, you should!
And I wonder, is there no portrait photo of him from his start in the army? Normaly soldiers had such and in all cases I saw there´s also the regimental number on the shoulder tab mentioned.
Here´s an example of what I´m talking about:
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history1
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by history1 » 02 Nov 2018 21:39

Volyn wrote:
02 Nov 2018 15:38
[...] Excellent work, do you think he was still part of RAD when he was working on the SS Duestchland or would he have finished with RAD at that time?[...]
I assume he was post RAD duty at the time he was on the ship (1937 he was 20 years old), but I might be wrong. Anyway young men from 18-24 were drafted to RAD for six month, voluntary they could serve allready with 17 years.
Wiki states that it was before military service which lasted two years at the time. We know that the gradnfather did fight in Sept. 39 in Poland, when he had the normal military service before it was 1937 then when he started.
For further informations regarding the RAD and the laws referring to see (in German original only):
http://alex.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/alex? ... e=00000772
http://alex.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/alex? ... e=00001215
etc.
Source: http://alex.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/alex-iv.pl

No, I wasn´t able to ID his unit so far, otherwise I would have told you ;-)

Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 02 Nov 2018 22:20

wbfamily wrote:
02 Nov 2018 18:24
Could he have been with the XVIII Mountain/ 5.Gebirgs div at this time?
It appears that he was with GJR 98 in Poland, Pioneer 54 in France and maybe GJR 100 in Greece - GJR 100 was assigned to 5. Geb on November 3, 1940.

There were many mutual ties between 1. Geb and 5. Geb that could lead to contacts and exchanges of soldiers, especially for such specialists as a Feuerwerker, and you are correct that 5. Geb occupied Thessaloniki and Athens.

Can someone confirm if this is possible?

At some point he was transferred back to 1. Geb because 5. Geb was sent into action around Leningrad at the Volkhov Front, and all of his post-Barbarossa photos are from Southern Ukraine and Russia 1942, which is precisely where 1. Geb was operating during that time.

So far we have him at these potential battle sites:

Battle of Lvov (1939)
Battle of Monthermé (1940)
(?) Battle of the Metaxas Line (1941)
(?) Battle of Crete (1941) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of ... s_Division

Correct me if I am wrong, but even if he was at Crete he still would not be eligible for the Kreta Cufftitle?

https://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/campai ... /kreta.htm
The > KRETA < cuffband was instituted on 16 October 1942, about five months following the conclusion of the battle (Army/Heer Regulations/Verordnungs Blatt 1942, Directive 23, page 457, No. 874; Air force/Luftwaffe: 1942 Directive 40, page 1403, No. 2519; Navy/Kriegsmarine: 1942 Publication 29, page 831, No. 721 and 1942 Publication 36, page 1000, No.901). The cufftitle was considered an award and was given to personnel who made a parachute or glider landing on to the island of Crete between 20 and 27 May, took part in the air campaign over Crete, or were in active service at sea in the Crete theater of operations up to 27 May 1942.

Separate Question -
I do not think that we have been able to identify yet the RAD unit that he was part of - this link has a roster of different units (scroll to the bottom), can it be used to help? https://www.feldgrau.com/WW2-German-Nat ... eitsdienst

Lastly -
I learned that the Feuerwerker training program lasted up to 20 months and in 1929 the Heeresfeuerwerkerschule (Army Feuerwerker School) in Berlin-Lichterfelder was established. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardesch% ... hterfelde) Can someone confirm if 20 months is accurate? If so, that means he would have begun his training in 1937 in order to get into the Poland Campaign.

Can we figure out the how much time he spent in training from when he entered the Feuerwerker school combined with the mountain training that was required to be certified with the Edelweiss patch and join GRJ 98?

This photo might be an Oath Swearing Ceremony for GJR 98:
Oath Swearing Ceremony.jpg
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history1
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by history1 » 03 Nov 2018 08:57

As we don´t have in my country (contrary to Germany) a "Feuerwerker" in the army training or in civil occupations I finally learned what this train is.
"In der deutschen Wehrmacht wurden Feuerwerker der verschiedenen Dienstgrade im Heer vor allem in Stäben von Artillerie-, Infanterie- und Kavallerieregimentern eingesetzt, ferner bei der Organisation und dem Betreiben der Munitionsversorgung und des -nachschubes der kämpfenden Truppe.=
In the German Wehrmacht, E.O.D. men of various ranks were deployed mainly in staffs of artillery, infantry and cavalry regiments, as well as in the organization and operation of ammunition supply and replenishment of the fighting troops."
Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuerwerk ... _Wehrmacht
So without doubt it was his function as Feuerwerker which "caused" him to visit the ammunition factory where he met his later wife.

Volyn, not everyone who was qualified to get an award/medal did get them. My grandfather was wounded three times in action and still got only the Black Wounded Badge awarded for one time injuring. The soldier in the photo above took part in cost guard operation and anti-partisan operations in Albania and didn´t get the award you suggested either.

Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 03 Nov 2018 09:43

history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 08:57
As we don´t have in my country (contrary to Germany) a "Feuerwerker" in the army training or in civil occupations I finally learned what this train is.
"In der deutschen Wehrmacht wurden Feuerwerker der verschiedenen Dienstgrade im Heer vor allem in Stäben von Artillerie-, Infanterie- und Kavallerieregimentern eingesetzt, ferner bei der Organisation und dem Betreiben der Munitionsversorgung und des -nachschubes der kämpfenden Truppe.
In the German Wehrmacht, E.O.D. men of various ranks were deployed mainly in staffs of artillery, infantry and cavalry regiments, as well as in the organization and operation of ammunition supply and replenishment of the fighting troops."
Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuerwerk ... _Wehrmacht
See the post below which I previously wrote about the Feuerwerker.
Volyn wrote:
15 Oct 2018 01:03
wbfamily wrote:
14 Oct 2018 08:17
He has what i just found to be a pyrotechnician badge on his right arm in this photo.
You were correct about the badge on his right sleeve, it stands for - Feuerwerker in Heer - this means that he was a trained explosive ordinance specialist (pyrotechnician) as well. In the modern military this would be known as Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), but the WW2 German version might be slightly different.https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuerwerker
Based on his military occupation specialty he would have been temporarily assigned to other units depending on the nature of the mission or even the campaign that he was involved in. This is why there are so many different photos of infantry, pioneers and signals units because he had been assigned to those groups at the time of the campaign. Are you able to confirm if this accurate?
history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 08:57
So without doubt it was his function as Feuerwerker which "caused" him to visit the ammunition factory where he met his later wife.
We suspected he might have been visiting the ammunition factory as a result of his profession, however, we do not know why he was there in 1944. Do you know what would cause him to leave the Front during that time? Was this a new assignment for him or was it only temporary?
history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 08:57
Volyn, not everyone who was qualified to get an award/medal did get them. My grandfather was wounded three times in action and still got only the Black Wounded Badge awarded for one time injuring. The soldier in the photo above took part in cost guard operation and anti-partisan operations in Albania and didn't get the award you suggested either.
I am well aware of the unfortunate fact that soldiers who qualify for awards do not always receive them (it happens in every nation). I am only listing the awards that Walter would have been eligible for, without his military records we will not know for sure what he was "officially" awarded. Either way, given the complexity of dealing with awards for nations who's governments no longer exist, it is fair to point out what could have been, that is all.

history1
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by history1 » 03 Nov 2018 11:25

Volyn, you didn´t get my point referring the "Feuerwerker"-training.
You missed the bold text " organization and operation of ammunition supply and replenishment" what I wanted to point out. I just read in the newspaper "Bludenzer Anzeiger" from Sept 21st 1940, that only Feuerwerker did have the supervision in ammunition factories. This is also new to me, don´t know if the same is valid for you.
Source: http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno? ... h&seite=10
We don´t know if the grandfather got wounded either, maybe he was considered "kvH" for a certain time and that´s why he was in this factory? It´s possible but we don´t have evidence for this.
His Wehrpass would help to verify such things but it seems this document is also lost.

Don´t misunderstand my informations regarding the orders/medal, I just shared family experience with you guys and thought it might be helpful.

I agree that the photo shows an oat sworing ceremony, the raised "Schwurhand" and the honor guard presenting their arms in the background are without ambiguity sure evidence for this act.

Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 03 Nov 2018 13:23

history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 11:25
Volyn, you didn´t get my point referring the "Feuerwerker"-training.
You missed the bold text " organization and operation of ammunition supply and replenishment" what I wanted to point out. I just read in the newspaper "Bludenzer Anzeiger" from Sept 21st 1940, that only Feuerwerker did have the supervision in ammunition factories. This is also new to me, don´t know if the same is valid for you.
Source: http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno? ... h&seite=10
This is good information, thank you for pointing this out. Now we can see that there are other purposes and responsibilities for this specialty, so we need to learn how he got there and for how long he remained?
history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 11:25
We don´t know if the grandfather got wounded either, maybe he was considered "kvH" for a certain time and that´s why he was in this factory? It´s possible but we don´t have evidence for this.
His Wehrpass would help to verify such things but it seems this document is also lost.

Don´t misunderstand my informations regarding the orders/medal, I just shared family experience with you guys and thought it might be helpful.
Yes that is helpful as well, thank you. I am curious about your family's example, is it possible for you to redress the errors in his awards to upgrade to silver wound badge?

In case you missed it earlier, wbfamily wrote:
wbfamily wrote:
14 Oct 2018 08:17
As far as awards go, he was forced to surrender them all when he moved to Canada around 1950/52. We never saw them. I know he did receive some kind of marksman award/badge at some point and was wounded.
We can see at least one wound event was given, and we still have an unidentified marksman award as well (although wbfamily might have been mistaken and it was the Feuerwerker badge that was referred to). So for now we can only search based on the information wbfamily provides to us or what we discover ourselves, this is a great exercise in reverse-engineering his background.

history1
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by history1 » 03 Nov 2018 20:51

I don´t understand what you mean exactly with "redress the errors in his awards". As mentioned before, there is evidence from WAst and the Krankenbuchlager that he was wounded three times:
March 42: Infantry bullet wound right hand (Russia)
May 42: Shrapnell in left lower leg (Russia)
Feb. 43: multiple fractures of left upper and lower arm due to heavy machine gun bullets (Africa).
Nobody knew at home about the 1st and 2nd injuring, until I found them out ten years ago. He didn´t tell his family about them, I guess because he don´t wanted cause them worries. No one was able to explain why he was in Africa at the end of his service (he was ~1 year in different hospitals after this casualty). The 2nd injuring brought him back to Poland and further to Germany, while is unit got surrounded and destroyed in Stalingrad. They didn´t send him back into the pocket but did ship him do Africa. The story was also that Americans were the enemies there and cause for his wound. In reality it were only British units on the other side of them.
I wasn´t able to speak with my grandfather about his war time with him as he died when I was a baby. You see, the wounds and though only Black Wound Badge.

Regarding the "Marksman badge" of wbfamily`s grandfather I `m sure that it was the Infantry Assault Badge which got misinterpreted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infantry_Assault_Badge
I doubt that he was also engaged as sniper, his duties as Feuerwerker would have not allowed him such, IMHO. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniper%27s_Badge
You don´t risk an important NCO who cares for the supply of ammunition and other explosives or as EOD for such activity which can last hours and even days.
The other possibility might be that someone did misinterpret the whistle braid with the Wehrmacht Badge of Marksmanship called "Schützenschnur".
Nowadays: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Ar ... rksmanship
And from WWII: http://www.wehrmacht-lexikon.de/heer/La ... schnur.php

Anyway, I think the story of the surrender (to whom?) of his awards before moving to Canada is incorrect. I know a couple WWII vids showing allied soldiers stripping German POW of their awards/medals and other personal belongings what is a violation of several treaties.

Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 03 Nov 2018 21:38

history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 20:51
I don´t understand what you mean exactly with "redress the errors in his awards". As mentioned before, there is evidence from WAst and the Krankenbuchlager that he was wounded three times:
March 42: Infantry bullet wound right hand (Russia)
May 42: Shrapnel in left lower leg (Russia)
Feb. 43: multiple fractures of left upper and lower arm due to heavy machine gun bullets (Africa).
Nobody knew at home about the 1st and 2nd injuring, until I found them out ten years ago. He didn´t tell his family about them, I guess because he don´t wanted cause them worries. No one was able to explain why he was in Africa at the end of his service (he was ~1 year in different hospitals after this casualty). The 2nd injuring brought him back to Poland and further to Germany, while is unit got surrounded and destroyed in Stalingrad. They didn´t send him back into the pocket but did ship him do Africa. The story was also that Americans were the enemies there and cause for his wound. In reality it were only British units on the other side of them.
I wasn´t able to speak with my grandfather about his war time with him as he died when I was a baby. You see, the wounds and though only Black Wound Badge.
Great story! Was he awarded the Afrikakorps cufftitle?

What I meant was, can you fix his records so it is "official" that he earned the Silver Wound Badge? I do not know how Germany solved these issues. I know in America you can initiate a process to have the soldier's records corrected if awards were incorrectly forgotten or the wrong medal was given. I had to do this with several of my family members' military records, usually the retroactive awards had not been added to their official records so they needed to be updated.
history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 20:51
Regarding the "Marksman badge" of wbfamily`s grandfather I `m sure that it was the Infantry Assault Badge which got misinterpreted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infantry_Assault_Badge
I doubt that he was also engaged as sniper, his duties as Feuerwerker would have not allowed him such, IMHO. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniper%27s_Badge
You don´t risk an important NCO who cares for the supply of ammunition and other explosives or as EOD for such activity which can last hours and even days.
He was not a sniper for sure, do you think he was an infantryman before he was a Feuerwerker? I do not think he was an infantryman, even though he served in at least two infantry regiments, so he would only qualify for the General Assault Badge not the Infantry version. What do you think?
history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 20:51
Anyway, I think the story of the surrender (to whom?) of his awards before moving to Canada is incorrect. I know a couple WWII vids showing allied soldiers stripping German POW of their awards/medals and other personal belongings what is a violation of several treaties.
This is possible.

wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 03 Nov 2018 22:04

history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 20:51
Anyway, I think the story of the surrender (to whom?) of his awards before moving to Canada is incorrect. I know a couple WWII vids showing allied soldiers stripping German POW of their awards/medals and other personal belongings what is a violation of several treaties.
This is possible.
[/quote]

I will verify details of this, however, I do know for an absolute fact that he was asked to surrender all awards, medals, clothing, etc connected to his military service. Maybe there is a mistake regarding which country he was in when this happened.

When he was released from the pow camp after the war, there was an issue with his return home. His family was living in Brunntal and for some reason, he had to 'beg' to come home. Was this American occupied territory at the time? In a postcard to his family in 1947, it is addressed to Brunntal "American zone", so it leads me to believe it was the Americans who were making his return difficult after his captivity under the British. Could it be at this point that he was asked to surrender his military belongings?

wbfamily
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by wbfamily » 03 Nov 2018 22:15

Volyn wrote:
03 Nov 2018 21:38
history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 20:51
I don´t understand what you mean exactly with "redress the errors in his awards". As mentioned before, there is evidence from WAst and the Krankenbuchlager that he was wounded three times:
March 42: Infantry bullet wound right hand (Russia)
May 42: Shrapnel in left lower leg (Russia)
Feb. 43: multiple fractures of left upper and lower arm due to heavy machine gun bullets (Africa).
Nobody knew at home about the 1st and 2nd injuring, until I found them out ten years ago. He didn´t tell his family about them, I guess because he don´t wanted cause them worries. No one was able to explain why he was in Africa at the end of his service (he was ~1 year in different hospitals after this casualty). The 2nd injuring brought him back to Poland and further to Germany, while is unit got surrounded and destroyed in Stalingrad. They didn´t send him back into the pocket but did ship him do Africa. The story was also that Americans were the enemies there and cause for his wound. In reality it were only British units on the other side of them.
I wasn´t able to speak with my grandfather about his war time with him as he died when I was a baby. You see, the wounds and though only Black Wound Badge.
Great story! Was he awarded the Afrikakorps cufftitle?

What I meant was, can you fix his records so it is "official" that he earned the Silver Wound Badge? I do not know how Germany solved these issues. I know in America you can initiate a process to have the soldier's records corrected if awards were incorrectly forgotten or the wrong medal was given. I had to do this with several of my family members' military records, usually the retroactive awards had not been added to their official records so they needed to be updated.
history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 20:51
Regarding the "Marksman badge" of wbfamily`s grandfather I `m sure that it was the Infantry Assault Badge which got misinterpreted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infantry_Assault_Badge
I doubt that he was also engaged as sniper, his duties as Feuerwerker would have not allowed him such, IMHO. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniper%27s_Badge
You don´t risk an important NCO who cares for the supply of ammunition and other explosives or as EOD for such activity which can last hours and even days.
He was not a sniper for sure, do you think he was an infantryman before he was a Feuerwerker? I do not think he was an infantryman, even though he served in at least two infantry regiments, so he would only qualify for the General Assault Badge not the Infantry version. What do you think?
history1 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 20:51
Anyway, I think the story of the surrender (to whom?) of his awards before moving to Canada is incorrect. I know a couple WWII vids showing allied soldiers stripping German POW of their awards/medals and other personal belongings what is a violation of several treaties.
This is possible.
I agree, what a great story, history1!

As far as the marksmanship award badge goes, i'm sure this was misinterpreted given the information you've both given me. I think that unless we find a verified record of this, we should consider it inaccurate.

Volyn
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Re: Help with grandfather's photos. Any info, please!

Post by Volyn » 03 Nov 2018 22:31

Can someone confirm which of these photos is the correct Waffenfarbe for a Feuerwerker with the rank of Oberfeldwebel? I believe it should be red for Artillerie.
Schulterklappen Heer Oberfeldwebel Artillerie.JPG
Waffenfarbe Heer Oberfeldwebel Artillerie (2).jpg
Is this the correct collar tab to match the Waffenfarbe?
Artillery NCO EM Collar Tabs (2).jpg


Thanks to GregSingh for providing the link about the Feuerwerker training program.
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=238076&p=2167269#p2167269
GregSingh wrote:
04 Nov 2018 04:47
All in German.....
Lehrplan und Prüfungsordnung der Heeres-Feuerwerker
Now we have a very detailed description for the training courses and time requirements.
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