Who is this Ardennes soldier?

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Apr 2018 15:07

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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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 11 Apr 2018 15:41

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.
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).

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by AKahl » 05 Aug 2019 08:24

Harro wrote:
07 Mar 2018 22:38
28685500_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.

Cheers,

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 05 Aug 2019 18:53

Yes, it seems highly unlikely that these American weapons were issued prior to the offensive.

Thank you for the compliment!

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by rash » 14 Sep 2019 11:07

I am writing on this post again, because I guess I have discovered something curious completely by a chance.
I would like to present you a photo of soldier from Waffen-SS and I think it is the same man who were captured on film from called Ambush at Poteau.
Look at:
1) chin
2)cheekbones
3) nose

and decide yourself.

Image

It is I think 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking

SS-Rottenführer Werner Körtzer from 2. Zug, 1. Kompanie, SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 9; 9. Waffen SS Panzergrenadier Division "Hohenstaufen"

Image

The soldier with cigarette in middle, probably Karl Heinz Grünwald

Greetings

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 14 Sep 2019 12:27

Hohenstauffen wasn't there that day so unless Körtzer was at some point transfered to the LAH it is a no. Any info on Grünwald?

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by rash » 14 Sep 2019 13:57

Who is Hohenstauffen?

Werner Körtzer was near Reims, France in 1943, it is about 226 km to Poteau in Belgium. I think it is him.
Karl Heinz Grünwald can be a famous ardenes soldier called winter fritz, it cannot be excluded

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 14 Sep 2019 14:30

Who's Hohenstaufen? You just wrote yourself that Körtzer was a member of the Hohenstaufen division!

I don't understand your logic. Are you suggesting that a location in 1943 and the distance between locations is somehow relevant when looking at photos from December 1944? That spans a gap of twenty months in which the division travelled to Ukraine to fight there, then to Normandy, then to Germany before being deployed in the Ardennes.

The units photographed on the road between Poteau and Recht that day - the 18th of December 1944 - were from the SS-PzAA1 and SS-PzGren.Rgt.1 LSSAH. This is an established fact. The Hohenstaufen division was not there on that day. It is simply impossible to conclude anything from merely comparing faces in photos. See also the misidentification of both Heinz Mäger and Elimar Schneider.

Thanks, so Karl Heinz Grünwald is yet another unsubstantiated name among the dozen or so other names applied to that soldier.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by rash » 14 Sep 2019 18:04

I am going to check, if Werner Körtzer was moved to LSSAH regiment.
Anything can happen.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 16 Sep 2019 10:03

BTW, just noticed that you also mention "Wiking", a division fighting in the Warsaw area in December 1944. What's your story there?

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by rash » 16 Sep 2019 11:13

Hi, there

I dont know what group exactly is this, because I got it info, received from one of passionate of history.
I am well aware of, you are the smart man, knowing details in this matter and the others.
But I am still trying to verify every single informations. I am making new analysis.
I need to know more infos about LSSAH in that region(Poteau), where I can learn more? Especially about people in LSSAH?

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 16 Sep 2019 11:48

From my own research...

SS-PK-Berichter Büschel and the cameraman Schäfer accompanied Peiper's gepanzerte Gruppe to Honsfeld There the two left Rollbahn D to accompany the Stabskompanie of SS-PzAA1 as they drove over Heppenbach and Amel to reach the village of Born, connecting with the rest of the schnelle Gruppe (which had used Rollbahn E).

Members of the Stabskompanie - particularly from its Panzerspähzug (armoured recce platoon) and the Fahrradzug (bicycle platoon) which hitched a ride at the enginedecks of the armoured cars - are pictured at the abandoned American supply dump and later near 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 Helmut Merscher - a veteran from this platoon - confirmed that indeed they switched from their bicycles to the armoured cars. Among the men on the engine deck is the SS-Rttf later photographed at Poteau. In another photo a waiting column of 8-wheeled armoured cars is vicible behind the two NCO's who share cigars. Also note in the photos taken at the supply dump the mixture of men in a variety of panzer uniforms and the light gear of the other soldiers in the pics - consistent with those soldiers from the Fahrradzug.

in Born, Knittel ordered his men to halt there to refuel as they waited for the other elements of his battalion to catch up with the lead units and to switch to an offensive formation. Meanwhile part of ‘Gruppe Hansen’, namely the III. Bataillon of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 1 led by Knittel’s old friend SS-Hauptsturmführer Böttcher, overtook the Schnelle Gruppe.

The Stabskompanie left Born in the morning of the 18th and drove over Kaiserbaracke - where the 2. (le.SPW) and 3. (VW) 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. As the men waited for Knittel and new orders, Büschel took advantage of them loitering around to take pics of them advancing and "attacking" up the road towards the "ambush scene" where they came across some of Hansen's grenadiers who were also photographed. Note the distinct difference between the light gear from the Fahrradzug in the initial pics and the heavier gear of Hansen's grenadiers which appear later in the sequence.

Part of the men from the Fahrradzug are dressed in Luftwaffe gear. A massive 25 percent of the SS-PzAA1 consisted of Luftwaffe personnel at that time - ground personnel that was transferred to the Leibstandarte to make up for the huge losses the decimated division had suffered in Normandy. At that time - weeks before the Bulge, the SS lacked the means to provide proper Waffen-SS uniforms for all these men. Merscher confirmed that 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.

But while Knittel talked with Hansen he received orders from Mohnke: Peiper had managed a breakthrough at Stavelot and the Schnelle Gruppe was to follow him to La Gleize. Goltz, the 234's and their passengers from the Fahrradzug doubled back over Recht to Kaiserbaracke and so did Büschel with Goltz and his men - resulting in the photos of Hansen's Grille's in action near Recht and the pics taken at Kaiserbaracke where members of the 3. (VW) Kompanie acted out the famous Schwimmwagen pics. The Sd.Kfz. 250's from the 2. (le.SPW) 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.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 16 Sep 2019 13:49

rash wrote:
16 Sep 2019 11:13
where I can learn more? Especially about people in LSSAH?
All 21,000 of them for December 1944? There's no comprehensive list of sorts. Took me 25 years to compose a Personalliste for the AA LAH covering the whole war using the address lists from its veterans organisation, archive material from the Bundesarchiv and NARA and loads of other sources and even that list does not even cover half of the men who served in that battalion alone. Especially December 1944 is a problem with the war diaries lost and so many young recruits who only served for a couple of weeks before they perished in the Ardennes or later in Hungary and Austria. I appreciate your enthousiasm but I'm not sure whether you grasp the full scale of what you're trying to do.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by rash » 17 Sep 2019 17:56

Thanks very much appreciate your answer, having no idea about your ecxelent job in this case.
I am going to find among others solution for indetify this soldier and the rest of them.
Now It only remains for me get some infos about some people/soldiers which were transfered to LSSAH.
However it will took some times.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 17 Sep 2019 18:15

Pallud stated that the grenadiers were from 2. Kompanie, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 1 LSSAH (but mind, Pallud's book does not include his source for that info) so your search should likely focus on that outfit which was part of mentioned Kampfgruppe Hansen.

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