Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

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erikbozwo2
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Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by erikbozwo2 »

Last week the members of "Der Windhund" travelled to the Belgian Ardennes to take part in "Unternehmen Herbstnebel". Together with the "Panzer Lehr" and "Die Freiwilligen" from Poland, and 1 very exited Belgian FJR2 member we formed a Volksgrenadier Zug. This consisted of 1 Zugtrupp, 2 Sturmgruppen and one Feuergruppe(2xMG42). The name "Sturm"-Gruppe originated from the fact that these Gruppen where allmost completely armed with semi or automatic weapons(G43/stg44).

15 December 1944
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Hauptfeldwebel Schwalbe gives the orders Zugführer Schmidt and Gruppenführer Zuckerbauch. Just like in '44 the weather for us was bad. On the first day of the offensive we had a lot or rain, mud and strong wind. Temperatures where near freezing, the mud formed a muddy surface on the road that rendered the roads allmost useless for our Kubelwagen.
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With the NCO's busy in conversation the members of the gruppen share their sigarettes. One of the older troops recognises this and he hands out some of his last sigarettes. He knows something is about to kick off, but what?

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The young Volksgrenadier Rudolf Ochse, well equipped but he looks worried. His thoughts are with his family far, far away. In one of the last feldpost letters he learned of the death of his brother on the Russian front. This was going to be his first offensive, he is assured by his Gruppenführer. A task of the Gruppenführer is to keep the morale up. He sends Rudolf of with Theodor "Schnelle" Voss on a "Spahtrupp" 1 km further to clear his mind.
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Gruppenführer Unteroffizier Zuckerbauch, his task was to lead his men into combat, and get them out alive. He would have been given orders by the Zugführer to take a certain point on the map, at a certain time. But How he would succeed this is up to the Gruppenführer. He is the man that thinks of the precise tactics and movements in the field. In comparison to normal Grenadiers he does carry additional equipment as:
-MP(MP40/STG44, in this case a Beretta)
-Signal Flute
-Binoculars
-Compass

Some other stuff that can be encountered (but not allways there!) on a Gruppenführer:
- Pistol
- Mapcase
- Wirecutters( As the war progressed this isn't hardly as much encountered as in 1940 )


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Stellvertreter Henri Schreyer, the deputy Gruppenführer. Whenever something happens to the Gruppenführer he is the one that takes over the gruppe. As the war progressed Stellvertreter where given semi-automatic rifles. This was because the Stellvertreter was on the far end of the Gruppe, and mostly was one of the more experienced riflemen in the gruppe. He had to be able to give covering fire quickly.
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Theodor "Schnelle" Voss returns from his Spah, he reports to his Zugführer that the American lines are positioned about 800 meters from the our lines. He allso states that visibility is about 250 meters and heared heavy petrol engines.

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The Zugtrupp, a small Gruppe consisting of a Funker with fieldphone, a linesman, melder and a "Kränkenträger". Sanitäter weren't a common thing on the front and where mostly concentrated behind the front as they where too "expensive" to lose at the front. "Kränkenträger" had a basic medical knowledge and knew how to stop a critical bleeding, after that it was his task to get the wounded man to the back of the front, to the "verwundetennest". Here the wounded would be prioritized and divided into 2 groups. The one that needed instant help by expert medical care and another that had light fleshwounds or concussion.

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Leutnant Neumann learned of the Spahtrupp that had been sent forward. He dissaproves and orders not to send another one out without his orders. This because he says we where going to be the "Spitze" of a big offensive. It was critical the big units that where formed behind our lines where not discovered and ordered to go back in "Stellung".

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"Ohne MG, Keine Armee!"
MG-schutze #2 (Lader) Hans Krug spotted something moving, his report is short but sound: "500 meter, auf der weg, fahrzeug"
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MG-schutze #1 Jarich Neuner looks at his Gruppenführer, he states he is ready to fire if needed.
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Gruppenführer Michal Karpinski views the scene through his binoculars, he orders fire as he sees the Jeep pointing at their direction. The discovery of the forward lines could be a disastrous start of the new offensive. Michal is one of the "voluntary" Polish troops out of many. The Volksgrenadier-divisionen consisted up to at least 1/4th out of Polish "Volunteers".
"MG1 und MG2, 25 Schuss, Feind auf weg, Feuer Frei!"
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The MG fire the ordered 25 rounds onto the jeep, the jeep gets riddled by the 2 MG's in the Feuergruppe. The crewmembers are dead.


Photo's by J.T. Bruyn, to be continued!
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Franz repper
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by Franz repper »

Very nice good sir :)
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GRFJ
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by GRFJ »

Impressive!
"Always keep your words soft and tender, one day you may have to eat them".

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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by Hoffman Grink »

These photo story threads are becoming more prevalent and are indeed a GOOD way of both giving a group a project to keep them motivated - as well as improve their knowledge and attention to correct detail - AND of engaging in worthwhile Living History.

Please keep them coming.

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A.Weiss
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by A.Weiss »

super photos, congratulations!!!

A.Weiß

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funker50
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by funker50 »

saw these on your lots FB page, love the snowed in photos with the kubelwagen....
Vorwärts und aufwärts!

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erikbozwo2
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by erikbozwo2 »

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It's early in the morning when the Zug awakes from a big artillery barrage. As Leutnant Neumann gives the orders to the Zug- and Gruppenführer the offensive is about to start. During the night snow fell in the ardennes. Some with a dry Wendejacke and Wendehose turn it around to the white side. Original photo's in snow show both sides on the outside(white/camo).

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After the first 500 meters are pushed forward they find the riddled Jeep they shot before. Holes through the petrol tank and jerrycans render the vehicle useless. Gruppenführer Zuckerbauch searches for rations and sigarettes. He hands them out to his men.
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Obergrenadier Schreuder(melder) shows Zugführer Schmidt the map that he found in the back of the Jeep. The map shows to be of importance the American lines and artillery positions are marked well on the map. Schmidt and Zuckerbauch draw all of the positions to their own maps and send Melder Schreuder back to hand over the map to the Leutnant.

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When the "Abteilung" pushed forward the Leutnant promptly halted. "This wasn't on the map?!" he claimed. Whilst the Germans where well equipped with very detailed maps, some dated back to 1940. In the meantime somebody decided to clear this field of trees and leave a 100 meter open field. Stelvertreter Gerd Mayer notes he can see little puffs of smoke coming from the woods. The Americans are smoking and don't seem to notice the German advance.

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Erste Gruppe takes the far right flank and crosses the field under cover. They crossed the field unseen. Their task is to distract the American eyes whilst the "Linke flanke" goes even further then them. With the "Linke Flanke" far behind the enemy lines they wait for the signal. The flute signal was only to be given when the other units in the area would start the major attack at the left flank. Half an hour has passed, still the troups are unseen. The Americans are still smoking in their lines.
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Melder Schreuder was sent with a message to the Erste and Zweite gruppe. Being unexperienced he crosses the field on the wrong spot, a quick American MG burst shot and hit his helmet, it ricochet and broke his lower arm.
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After being bandaged up and given a sigaret by his kamerad Markus Beermann he will soon be sent to the back of the front. As his wounds are not life threatening he will travel back with the Leutnant's kubel.

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The rest of the "Linke Flanke" decide to push on 50 meters to have an eye to see if they can provoke the Americans.
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"PANZER, DECKUNGSFEUER!" is shouted by Feldwebel Schmidt, a American halftrack broke through the lines and he orders the "Linke Flanke" to grab a few Panzerfausts to knock it out.
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MG Schütze Hans Krug takes the MG and shoots a burst with armor penetrating ammunition. The bullets can be heared as they strike the hard faced armour.

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The "Linke Flanke" awaits the halftrack to be in range.

Image "VOLLTREFFER!" One of the grenadiers hit the back of the halftrack. The rear armour is blown off and 4 Americans fell.

Now that the Americans are pushed out of their lines the target of the day is held, Zugführer Schmidt orders the men to take position in the old american line.
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2 Americans where caught whilst trying to fix their Jeep, they where easily overrun and didn't make any effort to run off. Some of them had rations and sigarettes. The americans did not really expect the Germans being in their lines so soon.
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Even more left behind vehicles.
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Gruppenführer Zuckerbauch shares the cigarettes and rations he found in the left behind trucks. While their own rations are eaten and gone, these small "gifts" are a instant morale boost. Whilst not being a smoker himself, Zuckerbauch shares a cigarette. Cigarettes are much wanted posessions in wartime because they can take away some stress of combat. Same for chocolate they are the first things enemy POW's are searched for.
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After the battle Leutnant Neumann and Kraftfahrer Rheinhardt Klubertz showed up. For some of the older Grenadiere it became clear that Neumann and his driver allways had "important things to do back at HQ" whenever gunshots could be heard. Many officers where like this, only a few took the men into combat. Although the Leutnant wasn't always on the front line, the men knew he put his men first and that the NCO's would take care of them in the field.

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Stellvertreter Theodor "Schnelle" Voss, after 2 years on the front line he gained a lot of experience. He has not been wounded but had a close call when a bullet richochet from the front of his helmet. Today he saw 2 of his old "kameraden" fall. He heard the POW's talking about "Berlin by Christmas". He wished that he could be there by christmas. It would be his 3rd "Kriegsweihnachten" on the front.

I would allso like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Polnische Kameraden of Die Freiwilligen and Panzer Lehr. And offcourse Nick from FJR2. We stayed 'fighting' the enemy together despite rain, snow and wind. We pushed forward and helped those in need. We shared our rations, water, cigarettes, amunition. Things that battle brothers do - a true Waffenbruderschaft that we learned in just a few hours, not having any previous experience, not knowing ourselves before (not to mention the language difficulties!). These Polish lads have a very broad knowledge and have high quality kit. I think I speak of the rest of our guys that we will not hesitate inviting you guys again. The new battle cry will never be forgotten; KURVA!
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Photographs: Johan Bruyn and Taeke Hiemstra
Text : Unteroffizier Friedrich Zuckerbauch - 277VGD
Last edited by erikbozwo2 on Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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dagda
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by dagda »

Excellent stuff as always!
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Egyptian Kings packing their things!!

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Oberschnaepser
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by Oberschnaepser »

Very nice report from that event!

..whas a pleaseure to fight side by side with you guys!

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Max
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by Max »

An excellent work, great pictures Fredrik. :)
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Jonny
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by Jonny »

By far the best on here this year, eye for detail, scenario, impression, and forethought...

One thing I notice always is your NCOs and junior officer are a good age, and suits the role, most groups have a fat guy in his 50s :lol:

People may spend a fortune on their impression, but sometimes it all looks rubbish on a guy that doesn't suit it...

The story along with the photos are great, not only does it give you an insight but, people that have never had any military experience etc... don't really understand the mechanics behind it all, but your efforts through the narration is great.


Well done, 110% as always, keep it up!

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Otto Kohl
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by Otto Kohl »

Great report Erik.

Thanks once again for invitation . I hope that next year we would be attending in a larger squad :wink: . That was really great experience for us, im quite sure that this event shall be our "must be there" every year :) !

See you soon in Finland !

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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by Ernst »

Excellent photos guys, well done!

mauser98
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by mauser98 »

Excellent Job! Well done indeed!

mauser98

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von Olsson
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Re: Unternehmen Herbstnebel, St. Vith

Post by von Olsson »

Second to none!

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