Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Discussions on other historical eras.
Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 10 Aug 2020 07:48

All right a break! Two examples of Luftwaffe pilot veterans that served as French Foreign Legion paratroopers. Thanks Hohlladung.

Edward L. Hsiao

Tamari
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Tamari » 10 Aug 2020 12:56

Hello,

concerning the topic of former Wehrmacht and Axis soldiers who joined the armed forces of other countries after World War II, I remembered the book from the German author Hartmut Schauer “US Green Berets - Soldaten aus dem Dunkel” which was published in the Motorbuchverlag in Stuttgart in 2000.
In his book Schauer mentioned the story of a former Wehrmacht tanker of the Panzerregiment 33/ 9th Panzerdivision :milwink: who later became a Staff Sergeant of the US Army Special Forces (“Green Berets”).

Martin Urich – From the Panzertruppe to the Green Berets

Martin Urich was a so called Volksdeutscher whose family had originally came from the South-German region of Swabia and had settled in Yugoslavia, which was at that time part of the Austrian-Hungarian Danube monarchy.

In 1941 Martin Urich came to Vienna via Croatia and was drafted for service in the Wehrmacht. Due to his rather short stature the doctor proposed service in the Panzertruppe. At the first of July 1941 he got his draft-papers for Panzer-Ersatz-Abteilung 4 where he was trained as a tank-gunner. In may 1942 he was send to Panzerregiment 33 where he served in the beginning of his service there in the Pionierzug of the II. Abteilung of Panzerregiment 33. After his promotion to the rank of a private, he served as a loader (Ladeschütze) in the command tank of Abteilungskommandeur Major Gerhard Willing, who in 1943 lead the heavy tank battalion 506 which was equipped with Tiger and King Tiger tanks.

Urich fought with his unit in the battle of Kursk and was awarded the Panzersturmabzeichen and later on the Panzersturmabzeichen in Silver for 25 days ongoing battles. Although Hartmut Schauer doesn’t mention it in his book explicitly, it seems that Martin Urich was transferred from Panzerregiment 33 to the heavy tank battalion 506. I came to this conclusion because Schauer mentioned that Martin Urich’s unit had received the Tiger and later the Kingtiger tank, that his tank was hit by an Russian assault-gun in the area of Lemberg and that he fought against the American airborne division in the Netherlands and that he became a POW in the Ruhr pocket which fits totally with the area of operations of heavy tank battalion 506 and in addition it was the III. Abteilung of Panzerregiment 33 which was transformed into the heavy tank battalion 506.
While he was an American POW as a citizen of Yugoslavia he was send to the Tito partisans. At the end of 1946 he fled together with a comrade via Hungary to the Austrian-occupied Zone where he got his de-commission papers by US occupation forces and traveled to Stuttgart/ Swabia where the 24-year old Urich was reunited with his father.

In summer 1951 he read a newspaper article about the offer for 12.000 citizens of now communist countries to enlist for five years in the US armed forces and to get the chance to become a US citizen after their service for the USA (the so called “Lodge act” named after the future US ambassador in South-Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge). Urich passed all examinations and was in 1952 in the Sonthofen barracks sworn in into US service. After a three months language course he was transferred to the Fort Knox Armor School. Although he hoped to can go on with his tanker profession maybe due to his language skills and knowledge about Eastern and South-Eastern Europe he was after a short period of time send to Fort Bragg to the newly formed US Army Special Forces (later famous as the Green Berets). After the parachute training course in Ft. Benning his sub-unit of the 10th Special Forces Group was send to Flint barracks in Bad Tölz, the former SS-Junkerschule.

In Bad Tölz he married a German girl. He had spend 19 of his 20 service-years within the Green Berets. During this tenure he also served in Vietnam which was according to his own opinion in comparison to his experiences in WW II not that hard. There is also a hint that Urich possibly served a stint within the SF-Detachment in Berlin, which was later brought to attention by the book of James Stejskal “Special Forces Berlin: Clandestine Cold War Operations of the Us Army's Elite, 1956-1990”, but I’m not sure about this possibility.
1972 Martin Urich retired as a Staff-Sergeant and lived in the USA.

The link below offers good information about the immigrants of Europe who join the ranks of the US armed forces and especially the Green Berets. Here you can also find some pictures of Martin Urich.

https://arsof-history.org/articles/v5n2 ... age_3.html

Best regards

Robert

Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 11 Aug 2020 08:26

Excellent reply Robert! I think Martin Urich was also the holder of the Iron Cross Second Class and the Iron Cross First Class. He also had several US military decorations while in the US Army after WWII.
Edward L. Hsiao

Tamari
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Tamari » 11 Aug 2020 13:11

Hi Edward,

thank you for your gentle reply.

On the last page of the following document I have only read that Urich had received the Iron Class Second class: https://www.soc.mil/ARSOF_History/artic ... part_2.pdf

In this document is also the Romanian and later German soldier Peter Astalos named, who had also joined the Green Berets. He was mentioned years ago in this forum: viewtopic.php?t=74134

While I had yesterday conducted another small-scale research about Martin Urich I found out that he had passed away on the 5th of August 2016 and that he was definitely a member of the Berlin Team of the US Army Special Forces.

https://www.detachment-a.org/author/detasnake/page/13/


In addition I also stumbled over the name of Gerhart Kunert and one unknown guy from the Submarine-branch within the ranks of the Green Berets. Both persons had been mentioned by you before under this topic:

https://sofrep.com/news/detachment-clan ... in-part-1/


But concerning Kunert is, that neither the 7th Panzerdivision nor Panzerregiment 7 had fought in Normandy in 1944. Does Kunert meant the 7th company of a specific Panzer unit (maybe Waffen-SS) or what-else?

It’s the same with US-Major (ret.) Hermann Adler who is labeled by former comrades of the Green Berets as a SS-officer who had fought in Russia:

https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Det ... C7JFqqdm9Y

In my opinion Adler - who was born in March 1929 - was definitely too young to be a Waffen-SS officer at the end of the war.

http://sfachapterix.blogspot.com/2017/1 ... ember.html

Maybe he was "only" a SS-draftee of the last hours of the war - like the author Günter Lucks (“Ich war Hitlers letztes Aufgebot”) - and fought against the Soviets but not on Russian soil.

Best regards

Robert

Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 11 Aug 2020 23:22

Dear Robert,

I think Peter Astalos was a Volksdeutsche who was born in Rumania.

Edward L. Hsiao

Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 13 Aug 2020 05:27

Dear Robert,

There had to be plenty of German Waffen-SS veterans that served in the US Armed Forces after World War II especially the US Special Forces. Some of these WWII Germans served in the French Foreign Legion and then the US Armed Forces.
I think Egon Goldschmidts was a German from Latvia who served as a Luftwaffe pilot during WWII. After WWII Goldschmidts served with the US Special Forces for many years.
Is there anything you could add Robert?

Edward L, Hsiao

Tamari
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Tamari » 13 Aug 2020 13:22

Hi Edward, hello to all of you

really interesting what you've told about Egon Goldschmidt. So maybe I have to start a little research about him.

Although it is well known that former soldiers of the Wehrmacht had fought in the French Foreign Legion (FFL) I want to add another concrete name:

Johann Wallisch was born in Austria in 1926 and fought as a paratrooper in Normandy (Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15), he was a survivor of the Falaise pocket and later fought in the area of Arnhem in the Netherlands.

At the end of the war he became an American POW and was send to French authorities. In 1945 he joined the FFL. First he was a member of the 3rd Regiment Etranger d'Infanterie (3. REI), then of the 2nd REI and later he fought with the 2nd Bataillon Etranger de Parachutistes in Indo-China and Algeria.

He has also written a book about his life: „Kind der Donau, Sohn Frankreichs“ Johann Wallish und Laurent Grasser - Ausgabe Preuschdorf: 61 rue des Voyageurs - 67250 Preuschdorf (25 € + Porto).

sources: Thomas Gast's books (himself a German Paratrooper in the Deuxieme 2. REP of the FFL with seventeen years of service) "FÜHREN wie ein Profi: Vom Schützengraben in den Chefsessel" and "Die Legion - 2ieme B.E.P. Die Fallschirmjäger im Indochina-Krieg"

and

https://theatrum-belli.com/johann-walli ... emoignage/


Wallisch died on the 14th of February 2015. https://www.legionetrangere.fr/87-le-ca ... lisch.html

Now I've nothing further to report about this concrete topic. But I would like to add one last issue in a broader context of this topic, a really interesting story about an Italian soldier who had shared his knowledge for a later really successfull military start-up:
Bootswain Fiorenzo Capriotti was a former member of the the famous Italian naval special warfare unit Decima MAS and was hired as trainer for the newly raised Israeli naval special warfare unit Shayetet 13/ Flotilla 13. Capriotti was an expert for the Italian explosive boats which Israel had secretly bought and repared from an bankrupt Italian shipyard. His Israeli trainees had tried hard to test him and to make him angry :D It is also interesting tonote that the Israeli frogmen thought that Capriotti was still an ardent facist. 8O

Besides Capriotti one of the founding-fathers of Flotilla 13, Yossale Dror, had trained in diving by another experienced Decima MAS member named Luigi.While Dror had himself covered as a South-African sportsman they became friends.

source: Mike Eldar "Israels geheime Marinekommandos. Geschichte - Einsätze Hintergründe der Flotilla 13", Motorbuchverlag; pages 46, 48 - 49
As I found out, Capriotti was onetimes mentioned before: viewtopic.php?f=75&t=66350&p=1060219&hi ... i#p1060219

Best regards

Robert

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Hans1906
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Hans1906 » 13 Aug 2020 18:48

Good evening,

about former soldiers of the german Wehrmacht/W-SS in the French Foreign Legion, I would like to recommend the 1957 book:

Bauer, Hans E.
"Verkaufte Jahre - Ein deutscher Fremdenlegionär berichtet seine Erlebnisse in Indochina und Nordafrika"
Translation: "Sold years - A German foreign legionnaire reports his experiences in Indochina and North Africa"

Link to more books on the topic on ZVAB: https://www.zvab.com/servlet/SearchResu ... &tn=&isbn=

Hans1906

About 30 b/w photos in the 1957 book, most of the photos from Indochina, to sorry no photos here, book is in my storage in north germany.
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Aug 2020 22:33

.....and only €14 on Amazon.de!

Sid.

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Hans1906
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Hans1906 » 13 Aug 2020 22:38

Sid, you are right,

one of the very first books , I found on this topic very long ago, worth reading, but hard to find on a german flea
market, first and only edition was unfortunately only 20.000 copies.

Hans1906

*Almost no chance to find another copy...

Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 15 Aug 2020 05:44

Dear Robert and Hans,

It was not so known to find information about Kriegsmarine veterans serving with the French Foreign Legion or with the US Armed Forces after World War II. It would have been pretty different for men who served aboard U-boats to serve with the US Army. Maybe the US Special Forces needed men (U-boats) with undersea time for difficult tasks. It would be quite a find to know a name of a Kriegsmarine veteran who was awarded both the Iron Cross Second and First Classes to served with the US Armed Forces after WWII, Help is needed.

Edward L. Hsiao

Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Wehrmacht soldiers in other wars...

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 19 Aug 2020 06:18

Dear Robert and Hans,

A lots of WWII Luftwaffe pilot veterans who joined the French Foreign Legion or the US Army after the war would never fly in combat again in another war. They mostly fought as infantrymen. The French Foreign Legion does not have its own aviation section. A few WWII Luftwaffe pilot veterans would have been fortunate to fly helicopters or small planes of the US Army aviation after the war. However a lot of these Luftwaffe veterans serving in the US Army were in the infantry,paratroopers,Special Forces. These WWII Germans fought bravely on the ground either in the French Foreign Legion or the US Army. Special men indeed!

Edward L. Hsiao

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