German Female winners of the Iron cross at the Battle of Arnhem

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Damper
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German Female winners of the Iron cross at the Battle of Arnhem

Post by Damper » 05 Mar 2021 21:59

I recently reread Arnhem by Antony Beevor, he mentions that two female Luftwaffe switchboard operators were caught in Arnhem during the fighting, and provided reports on the British via an uncut telephone line throughout the battle.

Beevor states that Willhelm Bittrich personally awarded both of them the Iron cross after the battle.

I was wondering if anyone had any more information on them?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: German Female winners of the Iron cross at the Battle of Arnhem

Post by Sid Guttridge » 06 Mar 2021 10:53

Hi Damper,

There is a new youtube video on female Iron Cross winners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9UreiyaSws

It does not mention your recipients, but it does explain that we know little about most of them beyond a couple of lines on their citations.

Cheers,

Sid.

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hucks216
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Re: German Female winners of the Iron cross at the Battle of Arnhem

Post by hucks216 » 06 Mar 2021 12:25

Damper wrote:
05 Mar 2021 21:59
I recently reread Arnhem by Antony Beevor, he mentions that two female Luftwaffe switchboard operators were caught in Arnhem during the fighting, and provided reports on the British via an uncut telephone line throughout the battle.

Beevor states that Willhelm Bittrich personally awarded both of them the Iron cross after the battle.

I was wondering if anyone had any more information on them?
Does Beevor mention where he got that information from?

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Revellations
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Re: German Female winners of the Iron cross at the Battle of Arnhem

Post by Revellations » 06 Apr 2021 12:33

Damper,

The two female Luftwaffe switchboard operators were not awarded Iron Crosses but were awarded War Merit Crosses instead. Two female auxiliaries were acknowledged for their ‘brave and courageous perseverance under enemy action’ during the Battle of Arnhem. Stabshelferin Margret Hermes and Gerdi Lücking stayed at their post on Sunday the 17th September 1944 at the Headquarters of Feldkommandantur 642 even though there were reports of the enemy being only 700 metres away. They remained at the location so they could continue to pass on key information via the telephone system to other headquarters and both ladies were recommended (on the 20.09.44) and awarded the Kriegsverdienstkreuz II. Klasse mit Schwertern (War Merit Cross II Class with Swords) on the 12th December 1944. While Beevor does not source this piece, the source of this is my book 'A Piece of Coloured Ribbon' (sold out, unfortunately) and the original Vorshlag can be seen on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DefendingArnhem (Nov 15, 2020 post)

Damper
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Re: German Female winners of the Iron cross at the Battle of Arnhem

Post by Damper » 11 Apr 2021 21:24

Thank you that's fascinating, I don't have my copy of Beevors book anymore and wasn't able to grab the citation.

it's interesting that they were given a award intended for non combatents, seeing as how they were in uniform.

Mark Felton has a video on YouTube detailing female winners of the Iron Cross.


Sid Guttridge
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Re: German Female winners of the Iron cross at the Battle of Arnhem

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 Apr 2021 21:46

Hi Damper,

That is the one I gave you a link to above.

Cheers,

Sid.

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