Flak helfer

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maxpower
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Flak helfer

Post by maxpower » 30 Nov 2005 01:44

What exactly is the Flakhelfer organization? I heard that it had many branches such as Range finders, smoke generators
Gun crews, even drivers & cooks Would someone please clarify the organization of this organization? I thought that it
meant Flak gun crews!
Thanks truly everybody for all your valuable help!
John

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Scarlett
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Post by Scarlett » 30 Nov 2005 18:10

The official name was Luftwaffenhelfer (HJ).

In September 1942 Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to send 120,000 men for front-duty to the eatsern-front.
Luftwaffe tried to substitute them by high-school-boys and girls .
When no agrrement could be reached between Luftwaffe and other authorities
Hitler in January 1943 ordered , that
-only the 15 to 17 years old high-school boys should serve
-they should serve near their home-towns
-girls should only serve on a volunteer-basis, when at least 17 years old
Later girls were drafted too, for service in signalling and in searchlight-batteries.

In theory the high-school-classes should serve together and beside their service
for the Luftwaffe have 18 hours school per week. This later was quite impossible due to
needs of the military service.

A service near their home-towns for many of them was theory too, as after some time many were
transferred to places as far as 500 - 600 miles from home.

A formal training was considered unnecesssary, as all had served in Hitlerjugend.

So training was only for about 6 weeks on the systems they had to serve on.
Flakhelfer served on
-all types of Flak from 2 cm to 15 cm as gun-crews.
-all types of search-lights
--command-ewuipment
-range-finding
-sound detectors

In many Flak-Batteries there were only very few soldiers, often only one per gun.
Many of the Luftwaffe soldiers in the Flak batteries were old and exhausted, so
many batteries were managed fully by the Flakhelfer.

The Luftwaffenhelfer(HJ) had a non-combatant-status under the Hague Convention.
Their uniform was a standard Luftwaffe-uniform without all militaty insignia.
Additionally they had a working-dress, and a dress-uniform, which was the uniform
of the Flieger-Hitler-Jugend.

Near the end of the war many were involved in ground-fighting. Sometimes they were just
by a note in their service-identity-card made regular soldiers by their commanding officer.

About 200,000 boys served as Flakhelfer. There was no official statistics about their losses,
but everybody, who lived in area where they served, can report about heavy losses incurred by
direct bomb-hits in the batteries and those, who served near the eastern-front, had heavy
losses in ground-fighting or died as soviet pows.

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Grzesio
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Post by Grzesio » 02 Dec 2005 16:43

Just a drawing. :)

Image

A Flakhelfer with a 12,8 cm round. He wears a HJ uniform with a Flakhelfer badge on the right breast.

By the way - there were no 15 cm Flak guns in service. ;)

Regards

Grzesio

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Scarlett
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Post by Scarlett » 02 Dec 2005 18:33

For information about Schwere Flak (8,8 cm, 10,5 cm, 12,8 cm, 15 cm)
I recommend:
Werner Müller, Schwere Flak 1933-1945, Nebel-Verlag.

For information about Flakhelfer uniforms look at the pictures.
Luftwaffe uniform without military insiglia. Only the formal dress
was Flieger-HJ.
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Scarlett
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Post by Scarlett » 02 Dec 2005 18:35

Thia is the book I recommend.
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Xavier
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Post by Xavier » 02 Dec 2005 19:28

this will give you an idea of how young the crews were....I know this is over the top but may be true:
(from this very forum)
Image
regards
Xavier
Instandsetzungtruppfuhrer

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Grzesio
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Post by Grzesio » 04 Dec 2005 00:29

Hello Scarlett,
Scarlett wrote:Flakhelfer served on
-all types of Flak from 2 cm to 15 cm as gun-crews.
...and...
Scarlett wrote:For information about Schwere Flak (8,8 cm, 10,5 cm, 12,8 cm, 15 cm)
I recommend:
Werner Müller, Schwere Flak 1933-1945, Nebel-Verlag.
Yes, the book is well worth recomending (as all Müller's works), but how could Flakhelfers serve on 15 cm Flak guns, as these guns were never put into service as they were never produced in series because tests carried in 1939-40 proved that they are too heavy and insufficiently efective, and so only a handful of prototypes ever existed?
Scarlett wrote: For information about Flakhelfer uniforms look at the pictures.
Luftwaffe uniform without military insiglia. Only the formal dress
was Flieger-HJ.
Well, regulations were apparently not strict enough.
There are pictures showing Flakhelfers in their non-Luftwaffe HJ uniforms (like in the watercolor above) manning Flak equipment - for example in: W. Müller "Horchgeräte-Kommandogeräte und Scheinwerfer der schweren Flak" page 41 (150 cm Scheinwerfer 34) and "Deutsche schwere Flak 10,5 cm, 12,8 cm, 15 cm" p. 42 (12,8 cm Flak 40), B. Ralph Lewis "Hitler Youth, The Hitlerjugend in War and Peace 1933-1945" p. 161 (8,8 cm Flak 37; no Armdreiecks), H. Dollinger "The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan" p. 273 (most probably 10,5 cm Flak)...

Kind regards

Grzesio

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Scarlett
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Post by Scarlett » 04 Dec 2005 10:46

You are right regarding the 15 cm flak.
My source apparently was not reliable.

I also know pictures of Flakhelfer at the guns with Flieger-HJ-uniforms.
It is my impression, that all these pics were made for
propaganda purposes. As Flakhelfer were a support of
Hitler-Jugend to Wehrmacht, as the correct designation
Luftwaffenhelfer (HJ) and Marineheler (HJ) states, this had to be
made apparent to the public. On the pics with Flieger-HJ-uniform
I know of the Hitlerjugend-armband with the swastika is shown
in a way, that my impression is, that this was the main purpose
of the pic. I even know a pic of a Flakhelfer in Luftwaffe uniform
with HJ-armband
In all real-life-pics I know Flakhelfer wear Luftwaffe uniforms.

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Post by maxpower » 05 Dec 2005 04:13

Were there any Foreign troops in the flak helfers? I incorrectly assumed that they manned the flak guns
What did all of those men do? ie-Russians, Ukranians, Tartars etc
John

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Scarlett
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Post by Scarlett » 05 Dec 2005 10:29

There were no Foreign troops among the Flakhelfer, as the Flakhelfer
were all members of Hitlerjugend.

But in the Flak batteries beside the Flakhelfer there served a lot of
"Hilfswillige" or short "Hiwis", in general soviet pows, who served in
Wehrmacht on a voluntary basis. The situation of the soviet pows in the
camps was very bad, so many of them volunteered to improve their
situation.

In many Flak batteries about 10% regular soldiers, mostly old, served with about
half of the gun-crew Flakhelfer and the other half "Hiwis".

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VJK
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Post by VJK » 05 Dec 2005 11:23

Hi!
There were no Foreign troops among the Flakhelfer, as the Flakhelfer
were all members of Hitlerjugend.
This is not quite correct. On 17 April 1944, the Germans ordered 7000 Latvian youths and 400 girls to be drafted into the Luftwaffenhelfer. The Musterungskommission began work on 31 July 1944. From 2 August to 9 September, 3615 youths between the ages of 15 and 17 were drafted, of them 562 (some only 14 years old) volunteered with the written permission of their parents. All were assigned to the LW-Helfer Ausbildungsbataillon Fabig. Already from mid-August, all the AA batteries defending Riga were manned by Latvian Flakhelfer.

Source: "Latviešu kaŗavīrs otrā pasaules kaŗa laikā", Vol. 7; 1979

Regards,

VJK

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Scarlett
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Post by Scarlett » 05 Dec 2005 11:43

Many thanks for the information!

I never before heard of that!

Do you know, whether there was drafting for Flakhelfer in Lithuania too?

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VJK
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Post by VJK » 05 Dec 2005 12:00

Hi Scarlett!

I don't know about Lithuania, but a similar draft was carried out in Estonia.

Regards,

VJK

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Scarlett
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Post by Scarlett » 05 Dec 2005 14:51

All the information is in the forum already!

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=48299

NB: Never go to Google, before having searched the forum!

Mr. L. L.
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Post by Mr. L. L. » 20 Sep 2006 03:39

Mr. WJK stated that: (Latvian Luftwaffenhelfer) " All were assigned to the LW-Helfer Ausbildungsbataillon Fabig"

I do have several transcipts of documents that negate Mr. WJK's statement.

One is the minutes of a meeting of Gen. Bangerskis of Latvian Legion, and L.J.O. Chef Rullis, dated November 5th, 1944, Berlin.

This document, in part, shows that about 4,000 boys were drafted, with about 1,500 assigned to Ausbildungsbt. Fabig. About 1,150 arrived in SS-Hauptlager Eger.

Mr. L. L.

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