Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Kriegsmarine except those dealing with the U-Boat forces.
Inspector Krogh
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Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Inspector Krogh » 07 Nov 2017 14:50

Greetings Colleagues,
Do any of you know of any activities that the Kriegsmarine was engaged in during the occupation of the Sudetenland in the fall of 1938, or the occupation of Bohemia-Moravia in the spring of 1939?
Thank you!
G.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Ironmachine » 07 Nov 2017 17:15

Well, there were the deployments to Spain of U-boats and surface vessels during the Spanish Civil War. See for example:
http://dubm.de/en/the-spanish-civil-war/

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Ironmachine
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Ironmachine » 07 Nov 2017 19:02

From the book La Kriegsmarine en la Guerra Civil Española by Raúl Arias Ramos, the following Kriegsmarine ships were deployed in Spain in the fall of 1938 (apparently there were no warships deployed in the spring of 1939):
Deutschland: from 20-9-1938 to 23-10-1938
Admiral Graf Spee: from 12-11-1938 to 24-11-1938
Emden: December 1938 (exact dates not available)
U-27: from 30-9-1938 to 4-12-1938
U-30: from 5-9-1938 to 22-10-1938
U-32: from 15-10-1938 to 24-11-1938

Inspector Krogh
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Inspector Krogh » 09 Nov 2017 20:37

Thank you very much for your replies Ironmachine, and the information in them. My question revolves around the evidence (photographic and in award documents) of Kriegsmarine sailors being awarded the "Sudeten Medaille". Perhaps the ships were put "on alert" or, some form of readiness during the occupation(s).
Thank you again for taking the time to reply.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Ironmachine » 10 Nov 2017 08:59

Sorry, Inspector Krogh, I missunderstood your question thinking that "during the occupation of the Sudetenland" meant "at the same time" but not necessarily directly related with that operation.
As for your question, then, maybe the following information can help you:

During September 1938, the eve of Chamberlain's visit to Munich, Germany's U-boat had been placed on full alert pending political results. This was the second time that hasty deployments for "exercises" had been ordered by Dönitz, the first accompanying German occupation of the Sudetenland earlier that year"

(Source: First U-Boat Flotilla by Lawrence Paterson)

During the second patrol, U-27 almost found herself in a real war. In September Adolf Hitler demanded that Germany be permitted to occupy German-speaking portions of western Czechoslovakia. It was the start of the Sudetenland Crisis, and U-27, along with the rest of the German fleet, was put on full war alert.

(Source: U-Boat Ace: The Story of Wolfgang Lüth by Jordan Vause)

But I think the real reason the Sudeten Medal was awarded to Kriegsmarine sailors is simply that it was liberally awarded, with no regard for the merits needed. See, for example:
Rudolf Bahr is bitterly disappointed by the outbreak of the war. Apparently not in need of every available lieutenant, the Kriegsmarine detaches him to Kiel for almost three months of further training in anti-aircraft warfare. He is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Oberleutnant z. S.) on 1 October 1939. Almost as if to add insult to injury, he is awarded the "Memel Campaing Medal" in October and the "Sudeten Campaign Medal" in November 1939 - two campaigns he did not take part in!

(Source: Deadly Seas: The Duel Between The St.Croix And The U305 In The Battle Of The Atlantic, by David Bercuson and Holger H. Herwig)

Inspector Krogh
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Inspector Krogh » 12 Nov 2017 02:19

Thank you again, Ironmachine. I have the first two books you referenced in my library, although I can't say that I have even looked at them after reading them when they were acquired, many years ago. I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to look these matters up.
I have in my collection an award document for the "Memellandes Medaille" to a crewman of the "Deutschland". The participation of the "Deutschland" in the reclaiming of Memel by the Reich is well documented (having brought Hitler to Memel).
I also have a document for the "Sudeten Medaille" to a crewman of the "Graf Spee". Attached is an image of this document.
My search will have to continue, and again, many thanks Ironmachine!
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Ironmachine
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Ironmachine » 12 Nov 2017 08:45

Wikipedia claims that 1,162,617 medals and 134,563 bars were awarded. That is a very high number of decorations, and I think it supports the idea that the medal was awarded to people who was not directly involved in those operations, which may explain why some Kriegsmarine sailors were awarded it.
Further confirmation that the "Sudeten Medaille" was awarded to people that was not involved in those military operation can be found in Osprey's Flags of the Third Reich (1): Wehrmacht by Brian L. Davis:
To commemorate the total occupation of Czechoslovakia which took place 164 days after the initial entry into the Sudetenland a streamer displaying the same colours was planned. To distinguish the streamer, a clasp in bronze-coloured metal displaying in relief a view of the Hradschin castle in Prague (the centre of German administration in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia) was to be fixed to the streamer braid. This "Prager Berg" bar was a larger versión of the clasp worn on the ribbon for the commemorative medal for 1 October 1938, which had, after 1 May 1939, been extended to include those persons who had rendered valuable service in organising the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia".

bertamingo
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby bertamingo » 13 Nov 2017 05:28

Not sure about Sudetenland, but the Donau flotilla participated in the occupation of the remainder of Czechoslovakia in 1939. FR boats and probably FHR boats were involved. Some Czechoslovak river warships were captured and pressed into Kriegsmarine.

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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Inspector Krogh » 14 Nov 2017 02:07

Hello bertamingo, thank you for your reply, which I find very interesting. The second part of my question was participation in the Bohemia-Moravia occupation.
I have not seen it yet, but there was recently published a book about these Kriegsmarine riverine units (among others). Written by Lawrence Paterson. I am sure I will acquire it at some point. Perhaps you have? If so, I would like to hear your opinion of it.

Ironmachine, thanks for your further replies and your continued interest. The Sudetenmedaille was indeed bestowed liberally. It is not difficult to find documents to Police, Railway, Labor Service, Post Office, SS, etc.
The previously mentioned organizations had personnel participating in coordinating the absorption and smooth running of their counterparts in the Sudetenland areas, and later in Bohemia-Moravia.
No doubt just as in the military, not all recipients crossed the border, but were involved in an administrative capacity, or as I contend for military units, some fashion of an "alert status" during the actions.
The note about the streamer and plaque on it is of interest, and Is a new thing to me. In the text, whose were the flags with the streamers flown by? The military units that participated in the occupation? I'm unclear on that.
The "Sudetenmedaille" is correctly known as "Die Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1.Oktober 1938". It is interesting and (sometimes confusing) that the same medal was conferred for the Bohemia - Moravia operation in 1939 as well. There is no way to be able to tell either by looking at the medal when worn, or, even by the award document, which operation an awardee participated in. The Spange ,,Prager Burg" was conferred on those who participated in both actions.
Thanks again.

bertamingo
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby bertamingo » 14 Nov 2017 04:58

Hello, Inspector Krogh, you're welcome :)
By Lawrence Paterson's book, I guess you mean this one: Hitler's Forgotten Flotillas: Kriegsmarine Security Forces. I haven't read it yet, but from online descriptions, this book covers all sorts of security craft, including the riverine ones. Exactly how many contents are dedicated to the Donauflottille is uncertain though.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Ironmachine » 14 Nov 2017 08:24

Inspector Krogh wrote:The note about the streamer and plaque on it is of interest, and Is a new thing to me. In the text, whose were the flags with the streamers flown by? The military units that participated in the occupation? I'm unclear on that.

The streamers were intended for the units that took part in the operations, but they were never presented. From the same source:
During 1939, on a date not precisely established, the Führer ordered that those units of the armed forces which had taken part in the entry into Austria, the occupation of the Sudetenland and Bohemia-Moraiva, and the "Homecoming" of Memel were to carry commemorative streamers on their flags and standards, one streamer for each operation. Although special regulations were issued by the Army High Command laying down that the commemorative streamers would be issued for the appropriate Army flags and standards at the end of hostilities, these streamers were not presented. However, despite their not being issued, the official description of these streamers was promulgated.


Inspector Krogh wrote:No doubt just as in the military, not all recipients crossed the border, but were involved in an administrative capacity, or as I contend for military units, some fashion of an "alert status" during the actions.

For the Kriegsmarine, I think the "alert status" may have been the main reason for the awards:
The autumn of 1938 brought the Sudetenland crisis, and the Fleet was put on alert between 28 and 30 September,

(Source: German Destroyers of World War Two, by M.J. Whitley)
The German Navy had been on full war alert since early August 1939, and many ships had been sent to their war stations. But this in itself was nothing new, because full war alert had been ordered on several previous occasions, such as the re-occupation of the demilitarized Rhineland, the Austrian Anschluss and the crisis in the Sudetenland.

(Source: Hitler's Navy: A Reference Guide to the Kriegsmarine, 1935-1945)

Inspector Krogh
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Re: Kriegsmarine and the Sudetenland

Postby Inspector Krogh » 16 Nov 2017 04:32

Thank you colleagues, for all the valuable and interesting information you have shared with us.
In all the years I have been on the hunt, I have never seen a Kriegsmarine document to the Austrian Anschluss medaille. I hope I run across one some day! Cheers!


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