Who is this Ardennes soldier?

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Kippstufe
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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Kippstufe » 08 Dec 2019 19:19

Hello

i had register myself here and bring this thread back to life because our friend rash indeed found something interesting but miscommunicated it a little (no offense, rash). I guess rash is also the author of this thead on a polish message board: https://panzerlehr.forumoteka.pl/temat, ... torder=asc
In that thread one member identified the guys in the pic as "SS-Rottenführera Wernera Körtzer'a z 2. Zug, 1. Kompanie, SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 9; 9. Waffen SS Panzergrenadier Division "Hohenstaufen" and behind him "SS-Schütze Karl Heinz Grünwald". NOW THAT WAS OBVIOUSLY AN SARCASTIC JOKE BY THAT MEMBER SO DISREGARD THAT IDENTIFICATION COMPLETELY!

Nevertheless i find the similarities between the person in front of the "Krad pic" and one of the grenadiers in the Poteau clip very striking and i think it is the same guy.

Pic of unknown origin of two Kradschützen(?):
unknown_krad.jpg
Still of Poteau clip:
unknown_grenadier.jpg
Now this may be far fetched but i even see a certain similarity between the second person in the "krad pic" and the guy in the foreground in the next scene of the Poteau clip (with the previous guy on the left, eating):
unknown_grenadier_and_others.jpg
So maybe someone has an idea were that kradschützen pic came from originally?
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Harro
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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 09 Dec 2019 06:33

So we have a Kradschütze (light motorcycle-mounted infantry) from an unidentified SS unit - some say Hohenstauffen, some say Wiking - and a Panzergrenadier (heavy infantry) from the LSSAH. The share similar features. Other than that, we have nothing that links these men. Again, I think it is unwise to go solely on facial similarities. Elimar Schneider looks like one of the guys in the Poteau pics yet it is not him, Willi Gilbert looked like one of them but it is not him, Heinz Mäger also looked like one of them yet it wasn't him, see the pattern?

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Kippstufe » 09 Dec 2019 21:30

Hohenstaufen and Wiking should definitly be disregarded imo. I agree that facial similarites should never be an indicator, just looking for a low ranking soldier on two different photos when there have been hundreds of thousends served in the war is rediculous, yes. Yet i find the faces strikingly similar - and that one soldier has a remarakable face. Much more then Tragarsky / "winter fritz" for me. I guess we will never find out, but nevertheless its interesting to speculate a bit.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by PatrickBateman » 10 Dec 2019 12:18

Not that this might help, but here I have close ups of most soldiers who appear on the footage at Poteau. A nice overview. Perhaps there are more names known by now besides the real 'famous' soldier?

Soldier 1
Image

Soldier 2
Image Image Image

Soldier 3
Image Image

Soldier 4
Image Image

Soldier 5
Image Image

Soldier 6
Image

Soldier 7
Image

I am not sure if this is already mentioned here, but several "sources" say the name of the real Ardennes soldier might be Arno Funk or Arno Funke. Again, no real evidence. I think they mixed it with Otto Funke from the 12th SS Panzer Division, also a 'famous' soldier because of a photo, taken in Normandy June 44.

Edit: Several sources, without real evidence (AGAIN), say soldier number 4 is SS-Rottenführer Richard Reiter. Was this already known and can anyone confirm this?

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Harro
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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 10 Dec 2019 19:33

I've never seen any mention of a Richard Reiter mentioned anywhere - where did you find that name? There is no Richard Reiter in the Anschriftliste of the Truppenkameradschaft SS-PzAA1, no mention of him in any wartime AA LAH/SS-PzAA1 document (BA-MA, NARA, etc.) and nobody by that name listed by the Volksbund who could be him (either too old or died before December 1944). Same for "Arno Funk" - never seen or heard that name. That Rottenfhr sits next to Ustuf. Siegfried Stiewe from SS-PzAA1 and is photographed on the back of a 234/1 earlier so he's definitely Fahrradzug/Stabskompanie/SS-PzAA1 but not listed or mentioned anywhere.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 10 Dec 2019 19:38

Stiewe as an SS-Standartenoberjunker (SS officer candidate). He was identified in the Poteau footage and pics by several veterans including a fellow officer who knew him well and a soldier who was present when Stiewe went MIA and reported this to the DRK and Stiewe's father...
74906691_10220970269072275_603925049526714368_n.jpg
Image

Siegfried Stiewe was born in the Pomeranian town of Damerkow (today Dąbrówka in Poland) on the 13th of January 1924 and joined the Waffen-SS on the 1st of May 1942. After basic training he was assigned to the 3. (le.SPW) Kompanie of company commander SS-Hauptsturmführer Knittel and was promoted to SS-Sturmmann on the 1st of January 1943. He attended the SS Junkerschule in Braunschweig and graduated in October 1944. He then returned to the SS-PzAA1 and served as Knittel's aide in the Ardennes. Stiewe is listed as missing near the Hungarian city of Komárom since March 1945. The late Walter Herrmann from 2./SS-PzAA1 - was our eyewitness:

"After we had walked quite a distance we came across a road. Two Russians walked towards us from the other side of the road. We took cover and let them pass. We then crossed the road ‘im Sprung auf marsch, marsch’ (get up, on the double). The two Russians were alarmed by the noise this made and opened fire. Of all people, [SS-]Sturmmann Fischer, who earlier had fallen asleep in his foxhole, was shot through a knee. Of course we had to drag him along. One arm around Stiewe, the other around me. Since Stiewe was 1.80m tall and I was just 1.64m short, Fischer hung around his neck whereas I had to cope with his full weight. It did not take long before I collapsed and I was replaced by [SS-]Unterscharführer Warnke. He was about the same height as Stiewe which meant the wounded man was able to hobble along on his good leg. We approached a forest and hoped to be safe. Shortly before the forest someone shouted: ‘Eu Stotterkoj’ (stojte kto – halt, who goes there). Stiewe replied: ‘Verwundete’ (wounded men). On the other side the response was: ‘Nemetzkis, Nemetzkis!’ (Germans, Germans!) and then they opened fire like I had never experienced before or since. Like all comrades I immediately hit the dirt. At the barracks yard we had been drilled to turn on our belt buckles. I then crawled away. When I got the chance to look up I saw my comrades run. I also jumped up and followed them. When I noticed rifles, machine guns and overcoats laying around, I realised why my comrades were faster than me. While running I threw off my dispatch case, got out of my overcoat and then I also managed to run faster. The comrades lay in a small swale. We were totally exhausted. Fortunately the Russians did not follow. The wounded Fischer was there but Stiewe and Warnke were nowhere to be seen. I asked him, didn’t they carry you? They had collapsed the moment the shooting had started. He had turned around and just ran until someone supported him. That was [SS-]Rottenführer Prosdewitz, but he also had not seen the two. We then asked [SS-]Unterscharführer Erwin Viergutz […] He suggested I should take command. I then told the others that I would walk in the direction of the battle noises. Those who wanted to join me should do so, otherwise I would go on my own. All along we had heard the sound of tank guns as background music and Stiewe believed this to be the sound of our Tiger and Panther tanks. He refused to believe that this was the sound of T-34’s. It was clear to me that in the direction of these battle noises lay our only chance to find our lines. With the wounded in the middle we walked on. Somewhere we reached a river which we followed. We then reached a road which crossed the river. Russian tanks, jeeps and other combat vehicles moved from right to left, ambulances from left to right. We carried the wounded on our shoulders as we waded into the river on the other side of the road. At some distance from the bridge the clambered out of the water. After some time we reached a village were we found marks of SPW tracks in the sand. Two of us sneaked into the village. They met a man who stated he was German and who told them that the last German soldiers had left the village for the neighbouring village the previous evening. He accompanied them to our hideout and showed us the way to the neighbouring village. As we approached that village we spotted an 8.8cm ‘Flak’ gun. A soldier shouted ‘Sie kommen’ (they’re coming), threw his rifle away and fled. The gun crew came forth and we identified ourselves as Germans. With that we had really made it back to our lines. Our wounded were carried to an aid station and we moved on. Meanwhile it was 5.00hrs."

SS-Unterscharführer Hermann Warnke (Ribnitz, Mecklenburg, the 28th of May 1923) is also missing since March 1945, their graves are not listed by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräbersfürsorge e.V.

Walter Herrmann explained that none of the members of the group considered recovering the bodies of Stiewe and Warnke:

“in our hopeless situation all we could think about was survival”.

He continued:

“late November 1945 I was released from American captivity. Approx. 1954/55 Stiewe’s father – Oberstleutnant Josef Stiewe – paid me a visit. I had found the names of Stiewe and Warnke in the missing-persons lists and had provided the corresponding missing-in-action statements. That’s how the father got my address. I gently informed him that he should not count on the safe return of his son. I spared him the specifics."
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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Kippstufe » 10 Dec 2019 20:15

Thank you, Harro!

I assume the mentioned late comrades of Stiewe - Herrmann, Fischer, Warnke, Prosdewitz - were not part of the Poteau group?

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 10 Dec 2019 20:26

No, Herrmann was with 2./SS-PzAA1 during the Ardennes campaign as were the others. Stiewe was Knittel's aide at that time and only joined them in March 1945 in Hungary to lead a recce mission near Pápa (several 250's and an armoured radio vehicle)

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Kippstufe » 10 Dec 2019 23:54

I see. Thank you.

By the way. In some films / documentaries about the Ardennen campaign there is - among the poteau shots - always a short shot to see of grenadiers sitting in a armored vehicle driving along. I wondered if something is known about that clip or the soldiers pictured?

Here is a still:
pic.jpg
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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by PatrickBateman » 11 Dec 2019 10:17

Harro wrote:
10 Dec 2019 19:33
I've never seen any mention of a Richard Reiter mentioned anywhere - where did you find that name? There is no Richard Reiter in the Anschriftliste of the Truppenkameradschaft SS-PzAA1, no mention of him in any wartime AA LAH/SS-PzAA1 document (BA-MA, NARA, etc.) and nobody by that name listed by the Volksbund who could be him (either too old or died before December 1944). Same for "Arno Funk" - never seen or heard that name. That Rottenfhr sits next to Ustuf. Siegfried Stiewe from SS-PzAA1 and is photographed on the back of a 234/1 earlier so he's definitely Fahrradzug/Stabskompanie/SS-PzAA1 but not listed or mentioned anywhere.
Thanks for sharing the story of Stiewe.

I found the name Richard Reiter in the description of the photo of soldier 4 on a Russian WWII photo website. This link to flickR has the same description but in English > https://www.flickr.com/photos/68286707@N00/15711044427 , but again, no real source where they got that name from.

Same with Arno Funke or Funk, found that name on the same Russian website, also without no real source. I can't share the link right now because when you want to visit the site you end up on an endless ad page.

Death end with those names I guess, just a name that spreads around the internet when someone shared it somewhere on a forum. Like I said, the only thing I can come up with is that people mixed up Arno Funk(e) with Otto Funke from the 12th SS Panzer Division.

Image

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by PatrickBateman » 11 Dec 2019 10:19

Kippstufe wrote:
10 Dec 2019 23:54
I see. Thank you.

By the way. In some films / documentaries about the Ardennen campaign there is - among the poteau shots - always a short shot to see of grenadiers sitting in a armored vehicle driving along. I wondered if something is known about that clip or the soldiers pictured?

Here is a still:
pic.jpg
Not from the Ardennes offensive, but somewhere on the Eastern Front in February-March 1945.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Kippstufe » 11 Dec 2019 14:35

PatrickBateman wrote:
11 Dec 2019 10:19
Kippstufe wrote:
10 Dec 2019 23:54
I see. Thank you.

By the way. In some films / documentaries about the Ardennen campaign there is - among the poteau shots - always a short shot to see of grenadiers sitting in a armored vehicle driving along. I wondered if something is known about that clip or the soldiers pictured?

Here is a still:
pic.jpg
Not from the Ardennes offensive, but somewhere on the Eastern Front in February-March 1945.
Yes seems more like it. Maye Operation Sonnenwende.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by PatrickBateman » 16 Dec 2019 18:57

I was reading through the book "The Ardennes, 1944-1945", when I saw this photo again.

Image
Description in the book:
The soldiers in the picture have been described as SS-Oberscharführer Persin and SS-Unterscharführer Ochsner from the 3. Kompanie/ SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 1, but none of the surviving veterans of this unit can recall anyone with these names in the unit.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by Harro » 16 Dec 2019 19:10

Who's the author of the book? - because he sure had a good look at my posts in this forum. Though not too good because this photo was never linked with the illustrious Persin and Ochsner - Pallud identified the Schwimmwagen crew at Kaiserbaracke as such but - indeed - without a source and no mention of them in any wartime AA LAH/SS-PzAA1 document (BA-MA, NARA, etc.) and nobody by that name listed by the Volksbund or known by the veterans I asked.

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Re: Who is this Ardennes soldier?

Post by PatrickBateman » 17 Dec 2019 11:59

The Ardennes, 1944-1945: Hitler's Winter Offensive - released in November 2014, Christer Bergström. Great book so far, very detailed.

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