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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Hohlladung » 28 Dec 2020 18:04

Report of Feldwebel Kurt Ebener, Continuation:

December, 24th, 42:
Yesterday and today no flying weather. C/O of 9. Flak Division Generalmajor Pickert and his Ia Oberstlt. i.G. Heitzmann show up almost daily at our airfield, inquiring about our needs and successes. They can't help us against the merciless cold and hunger. We are missing technical equipment and spare parts, which have to be cannibalized from wrecked airplanes. At least the General brought a bottle of Hennessy with him.
This time Lt. Schentke has the preference of the first sip after his 90th air victory.
In the afternoon telephone communication with Pz.Jg.Abt. 4 of 14. Pz.Div. The C/O Hptm. Eitel wants to give me a ride from Dubiminski to the front line behind Baburkin to meet my brother. He can't wait any longer after my vehicle got stuck in snowdrifts several times.
Making half the way I send my driver back and reach by foot the recovery squad of the tank destroyers, supervised by Fw. Reichmacher.
I spend an unforgettable Holy Evening with them. The march back 6 km in fur boots through snow metres high took the whole night. The way is terrible marked by burned vehicles, frozen horses and bodies of dead soldiers, the more the closer it gets to the airfield, their strength and hopes to survive leaving them before.

December, 25th, 42:

During the last evening sortie Lt. Schentke was shot down near the northern edge of the cauldron. The wind drove his parachute over the railway line at Kotluban onto enemy territory.
Every few days a tractor of the tank destroyers arrives with some 20 l jerry cans to pick up gasoline, for us little, for them already incapable to change fighting positions with their PAK guns, a tremendous amount.
From time to time an Oberfeldwebel, a friend of our Willmann, picks up dispensable ammunition from us with an American Jeep captured from the Russians.

December 28th-29th, 42:

Together with Fw. Frese securing the airfield, having enemy contact. LAGG 3 doesn't fall. While attacking the 2nd time from above behind too much speed, while pulling-out I sag and ram the vertical tail of the Russian.
The tin belly of my Me 109 is slashed alongside. It has to be repaired and in the afternoon I fly alone to Moro to our group. I report to the C/O. Hptm. Brändle wants to know everything about the situation in the cauldron. I regretfully have to smoke a cigar with him and learn, that I am not supposed to return. I was able to change his mind. I spoke to participants of the relief Army, they were so close to a reunion with the 6th Army a week ago.
The trunk of my new airplane is stuffed with provisions for the tank destroyers when I flew back to Pitomnik on December 29th. be continued....
"Ihr verfluchten Racker, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?" Friedrich, II. in der Schlacht von Kolin am 18.Juni 1757 zu seinen zurückgehenden Grenadieren.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Hohlladung » 29 Dec 2020 13:05

Report of Feldwebel Kurt Ebener, Continuation:

December 30th, 42:

In spite of multiple warnings of the Russian ground control: "Attention Messerschmidt", I am able to shoot down 4 enemy planes. Our "Hiwi"( Russian volunteer) monitores the fighter frequency, translates and notes down every word in a book.
Out of an enemy formation attacking the airfield in low altitude, light Flak is able to shoot down a Russian fighter airplane. The pilot bails out, too low. The parachute can't open properly. The body bounces next to our command post vehicle with a hull sound into the snow, which colors bloodily. The medic opens his flight combination, a highly decorated officer, who dies during the transport.
Fw. Frese and I are officer cadets and registered for the Luftkriegsschule ( Airwar School) in Berlin-Gatow for 11.1.43 a long time ago. Just now arrives the radio message from C/O Major Wilke, that the promotion course is canceled for us.

January 5th, 43:

Today we accompany Stukas for 55 minutes. My assigned wingman first didn't show up, he had his washings made. Before the encirclement civilians from the town were scattered during the fightings into the outerskirts. Since then 3 "Hiwis" live with us, Iwan is cooking and Tatjana, allegedly an actress, and a girlfriend of her, do the washing for a piece of bread.

January 7th-10th, 43:

Together with Uffz. Wirth cover for our recce aircraft. He had engine failure and landed before me. Now I am coming in, landing gear extended. By pure chance I take a look back. Far away I notice 6-8 single engine airplanes, coming closer. That many fighters at one time can't be our planes. Landing gear and flaps retracted and with full throttle low altitude flying. They are coming closer. I have never seen these kind of birds before. Airocobras. With methanol power my airplane is hanging steep on its propeller into a rescuing bank of clouds. Red light! In and out of the clouds trying a return curve. They are still there playing cat and mice with me. Then in the cloud downturn and low level from the Wolga to our airfield, shortly before landing gear extended and steep slip. I hardly rolled out and jumped out of the airplane, they were there attacking low level.

In the afternoon I take a break. My brother picks me up to the frontline. His bunker at 300 m distance from the Russians, I stay overnight.

January 9th, I am in pursuit of a condensation trail in a vertical flight in for German airplanes unusual Northwest course. In great hight I recognize a Ju-88 long range recce aircraft over the Don bend.

January 10th, since dawn the Russians break up the Westfront with heavy weapons. We fly as often as possible. Thereby Uffz. Obst does not return.

January 12th, 43:

Around noon General Pickert is send by the Army Leadership to the Army Group at Nowotscherkask to report about the tactical situation. During his take-off Lt.Daspelgruber and I fly expanded airfield protection and shoot down 2 fighters. Sometimes only 3 combat-ready airplanes, we even fly alone, while the Russians romp back and forth all over the fortress.

January 14th, 43:

Audible battle sounds from the West. Stukas, only 3 left, fly non-stop sorties at the breakthrough sites. Uffz. Eisele is assigned to fly with me today, the warming device for the engine, the only one we have, has to start again. Eisele takes-off, the ground-run lets the engine run too hot, he is waiting for me above the airfield 500 m high. I see black spots in the sky coming closer and yell into the radio. Too late, tracers approaching him, he crashes like a stone onto the edge of the airfield, burning impact.
"Ihr verfluchten Racker, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?" Friedrich, II. in der Schlacht von Kolin am 18.Juni 1757 zu seinen zurückgehenden Grenadieren.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Hohlladung » 30 Dec 2020 17:54

Report of Feldwebel Kurt Ebener, Continuation:

January 15th, 43:

On January 10th, my brother suffered a head injury caused by a multiple rocket launcher ( Stalinorgel). I search for him at the main casualty station in vain. The Army medic can't help, as per January 10th, registration of wounded soldiers is not possible anymore.
In the morning I flew 2 sorties. My last air victory is a LaGG-3, which impacts vertical out of an uncontrolled looping onto the airfield in front of everybody watching.
My departure out of the cauldron is settled.
In the afternoon I visited the tank hunters the last time.
Depressive mood. They hand me over little souveniers, money, even wrist watches and remaining belongings for their families.
In the night of January 16th, 4 Ju arrive, 2 burn out, in one of the remaining airplanes I arrive at Ssalsk, where the Russians are also coming close. Again the transporters have to be deployed, so I arrive with them at Swerewo, only 30 km away from Schachty, where my squadron meanwhile is stationed.
I call them and am supposed to be picked up with a vehicle. Again and again the driver is stuck in snowdrifts, so it took 3 days to finally arrive.
Meanwhile I take part in the briefings of the transport pilots with Air Transport Leader Oberst Morzik and even see Field Marshall Milch arriving with special power for air supply. But he can't improve things any better.
It was not lack of air transport leadership or missing commitment of the air crews.
Still uncertain if my comrades will be able to leave Stalingrad in time. Thank God, I met them on January 18th in Schachty.

Fw. Kurt Ebener

Olt. Langer reports:

On December 17th, 1942 I flew with our squadron leader Major Wilke and Uffz. Hellfritsch escort for 16 Ju-52.
Everbody packed his trunk full with army bread for our men in the cauldron. Like shephard dogs guarding a flock of sheeps we circle around the transport plane formation. At Pitomnik 12-15 LaGG-3 are attacking our Ju's during their landing. The dog fight begins and in spite of the cold, sweat is running down the back. 2 Russians are downed in flames, Wilke shot one closely off the tail of a Ju. We land without losses and roll through high snow to the parking positions of our fighter wing. They had to fight with enormous difficulties. Almost all warming vehicles to warm up the airplanes are damaged, spare parts are missing, cold and insufficient food for flight and ground personal.
After boosting machines for the second time, ground personal broke down exhausted. At the same time non-stop attacks against the airfield.
How has Pitomnik changed. In autumn we built earth bunkers all around the airfield next to the parking lots of our fighter wing, which now are occupied up to the brim with wounded soldiers.
On the return flight I am tactical no. 3 and after 50 m of rolling suddenly a bang....blood is running all of my face.
The tail unit with the hull until the midth of my airplane lies torn on the runway, where hundreds of unexploded bombs and grenades had to be cleared.
The responsible officer for flight operations at Pitomnik airfield, Flak-Oberst Rosenfeld arranges my transport in a He-111.
When I escape the fiery borders of the cauldron, I regret the arrogance we fighter pilots sometimes had against other flying branches.

to be continued....
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"Ihr verfluchten Racker, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?" Friedrich, II. in der Schlacht von Kolin am 18.Juni 1757 zu seinen zurückgehenden Grenadieren.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Hohlladung » 01 Jan 2021 14:36


Feldwebel Hans Frese reports:

On January 16th, Russian artillery already fires onto the airfield, like yesterday. Under infantry fire I can't get my airplane started. Terrible pictures on my march to provisionally airfield Gumrak. I am supposed to fly out with a He-111, but I can't displace a wounded soldier. So much human misery and horror I have never seen in my life before. I start accepting the fact to find my end here.
The night of January 17th is awful. In the morning a Ju arrives, I can't board, then 3 He-111, again I am not able to board. Together with Willmann we are propably the last two pilots in the cauldron. Then 2 He-111 arrive and when I am on board of one of them, I send a thank prayer.

Feldwebel Grünberg reports:

During the night 15th to 16th of January, Russian artillery fires onto Pitomnik, unfamiliar for us fighter pilots. We slept in our clothes and got up early. With only one warming device the ground personal can't get all airplanes ready for take off. While boosting, some of them were shot down from the airplanes by Russian infantry. We are able to destroy the airplanes not ready to start. Only 5 airplanes were able to fly to Gumrak, where they all crash landed, nobody cleared the runway from snow. The day before, Lt. Frielinghaus landed after enemy contact over the Don. Due to a defect with his MG, the propeller was damaged. He delivered the order for all pilots to leave the cauldron, too late. I am sitting in my airplane, which can't be started due to the cold.
The weapon sergeant jumps on the wing and yells: "Out, the Russians are there". They attack in German uniforms and fire blindly, a Condor airplane burst up in flames. Now to Gumrak by foot. On the march dead and exhausted soldiers. At Gumrak I find a deserted Fieseler Storch. I want to start at twilight, but no gasoline. In the morning a Ju arrives, the crew will take me with them, but does not want to start because the weather is getting clearer. I explain to them, that the airplane will be destroyed by strafing attacks, if we don't start right now.
Finally we take off. Outside soldiers are jumping onto the wings, some try to climb over the tail into the rear gunner stand of the totally overloaded airplane. Low level flight course South. Above the cauldron front line machine gun salvos into the fuselage. It's getting clearer, Russian fighters show up, but the don't notice us. We miss the course and land next to a road, where our Army marches back from the Caucasus. It took me 5 days hitchhiking to finally find my squadron in Schachty.

Pilots of Platzschutzstaffel Pitomnik

KIA or MIA during assignment to Pitomnik:
Lt. Schentke, Georg (MIA 25.12.1942)
Uffz. Obst (MIA 10.01.1943)
Uffz. Eisele (KIA 14.01.1943)

KIA or MIA in 43-45
Hptm. Germeroth, Rudolf( KIA 14.10.1943)
Olt. Lucas, Werner (KIA 24.10.1943)
Lt. Daspelgruber (KIA 16.07.1943)
Ofw. Dilling ( KIA 14.6.1944)
Fw. Frese ?
Fw. Eyrich ?
Fw. Traphan ?
Fw. Reiff, Hans (KIA 02.12.1944)
Uffz. May ?
Uffz. Wirth ?
Uffz. Pisserski ?

Survived the war:
Lt. Langer, Karl-Heinz
Ofw. Willmann, Walter
Fw. Grünberg, Hans "Specker"
Fw. Ebener, Kurt
Uffz. Bringmann
Uffz. Buschmann
Uffz. Kaiser

Additions welcome.

From the 209 known men of the ground personal, called "Schwarze Männer"( "Black men" due to their black overalls), which had to be left behind in the cauldron, only 2 men survived and came back from Russian captivity. ( Hptm. Munscheid/ Ogfr. Severin).

(Source: From letters to Fw. Kurt Ebener printed in "Jägerblatt 1972")

That's it.
Best regards
"Ihr verfluchten Racker, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?" Friedrich, II. in der Schlacht von Kolin am 18.Juni 1757 zu seinen zurückgehenden Grenadieren.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by tigre » 15 Jan 2021 02:21

Thanks for sharing here Armin :wink:. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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