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See page 2 of this discussion. The SS-Rottenführer claimed to be Wilhelm Gilbert - but it isn't (wrong rank, wrong company) and claimed to be Elimar Schneider - but it isn't (wrong division, wrong rank, wrong awards).Cult Icon wrote:I think that is a US poncho. Also, there is a well known picture of a soldier with the close combat clasp wearing a US waterproof coat.
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Harro wrote: ↑07 Mar 2018 22:3828685500_858176871031262_3399218072238760090_n.jpg
Since this guy wears hardly any equipment I think we can rule him out as one of Hansen's grenadiers and the Fallschirmjäger attached to Kampfgruppe Peiper took a different route and were never anywhere near Poteau so I think we can rule them out too.
In fact the photos and newsreel of this guy show him in the company of Knittel's aide SS-Ustuf. Siegfried Stiewe and several members of the Fahrradzug (bicycle platoon) of the Stabskompanie, SS-PzAA1. Im quite sure that his Luftwaffe uniform identifies him as part of the huge number of ground personnel that was transferred from the Luftwaffe to the Leibstandarte to make up for the huge losses the decimated division had suffered in Normandy. A massive 25 percent of the SS-PzAA1 consisted of Luftwaffe personnel at that time. At that time - weeks before the Bulge, the SS lacked the means to provide proper Waffen-SS uniforms for all these men and many were still in their Luftwaffe gear when the Ardennes Offensive started - and even this was a hodgepodge of Luftwaffe items because the airforce was also on its last legs.
Hard to provide conclusive evidence but if I may provide a hypothesis: I think he got his M1 carabine and American ammo pouch the previous day from the supply dump near Honsfeld.
In the morning of the 17th of December 1944, members of the Leibstandarte were photographed by SS PK-Berichter Max Büschel while they ransacked this US Army supply dump near Honsfeld. There is conclusive evidence that on that day part of the Stabskompanie (HQ company) of the SS-PzAA1 used Rollbahn D between Halschlag and Losheimergraben before taking the road over Honsfeld, Heppenbach and Amel to reach the village of Born in the afternoon where they linked up with the rest of Schnelle Gruppe Knittel (which had used Rollbahn E) and remained there for the night.
At Born an Sd.Kfz. 234/1 from this Stabskompanie was photographed with a load of men from the Fahrradzug hitching a ride on its engine deck. This platoon was also part of the Stabskompanie and a veteran from this platoon confirmed that indeed they switched from their bicycles to the 234's. Among the men on the engine deck is the SS-Rttf later photographed at Poteau.
The Stabskompanie left Born in the morning of the 18th and drove over Kaiserbaracke - where the 2. and 3. Kompanie had secured the crossroads - to the village of Recht where Knittel met with Hansen. IMO, that's how photographer Büschel, cameraman Schäfer, Knittel's aide Stiewe and those 234's carrying soldiers from the Fahrradzug ended up at the famous "ambush scene" near Poteau. While the meeting between Knittel and Hansen took place, I think the Stabskompanie drove up the road to Poteau to prepare their further advance behind Hansen's battlegroup. Here Büschel took advantage of them loitering around waiting for Knittel to take pics of them and some of Hansen's grenadiers.
But while Knittel talked with Hansen he received new orders from Mohnke: Peiper had managed a breakthrough at Stavelot and the Schnelle Gruppe was to follow him to La Gleize. He, Goltz, the 234's and their passengers from the Fahrradzug doubled back over Kaiserbaracke and so did Büschel with Goltz and his men - resulting in the photos taken at Kaiserbaracke where members of the 3. Kompanie acted out the famous Schwimmwagen pics. The 250's from the 2. Kompanie can be seen in the background. Note that the first pics Büschel took at the Kaiserbaracke crossroads show Goltz in his Schwimmwagen - for me that's further evidence that Büschel arrived there with Golz.
After Büschel and Schäfer left Kaiserbaracke they caught up with Knittel in la Vaulx Richard. It's possible they accompanied Knittel to La Gleize before moving on to Stoumont on the 19th while Knittel returned to Stavelot. Again, I cannot provide conclusive evidence for this senario but I think it is very plausible.
I would venture a suggestion, Harro, that this soldier's plundered M1 carbine is more likely a battlefield pick-up; The use of the double magazine belt ammo pouch on the buttstock was a field improvisation, which by some suggestions began shortly after Normandy. It makes a nice cheekpiece when firing, and ensures that one has at least 45 rounds with the weapon. To me, it's unlikely the grenadier placed it there himself, unless he really knew U.S. weapons and kit, since it does not snap on, nor attach from the rear/butt, but rather has to be looped through the front of the stock, requiring the weapon be partially disassembled and the barreled action removed. I also doubt that a carbine would be issued in that exact configuration, at this date, above maybe company level. Post-war, in the 50's or 60's, I think that it might be more likely. Still more probable in the U.S. supply system in those days is that weapons were issued even at company level in a "stock" condition, with a sling, and it's up the individual to personalize the weapon. In the 1990's when I was an infantryman, things were still that way. This predated the commonality of daytime combat optics, lights/lasers etc..., so things are no doubt different now, to avoid re-zeroing every optic or laser, as a weapon changes hands.
The other grenadier in the camo smock and helmet cover, probably as you stated, from Kampfgruppe Hansen, looks to have his carbine in a more "as issued" configuration. In any case, it is a shrewd choice for both of them, to my way of thinking, especially if it is replacing an iron-sighted bolt-action rifle. Exactly the weapon I would grab, as long as there were a couple of ammo bandoliers handy.
This Normandy quote, by John Hooper, A&P Platoon,1st Bn, 115th Infantry regiment, 29th Infantry Division, is from U.S Infantry Weapons in Combat by Mark G. Goodwin:
"For my carbine I carried one magazine in the weapon and two in the pouch on my belt. It wasn't until about a month after we had landed that putting the ammunition pouch on the stock of the weapon caught on. A few guys started doing it and then everyone was doing it. It was a convenient way of carrying the pouch, an example of Yankee ingenuity."
Anyhow, just my thoughts. By the way I'm two chapters into your book, which is first-class.