Sunday, December 4, 2022

Maximilian von Weichs in Lodz

General der Kavallerie Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Weichs (Kommandierender General XIII. Armeekorps) gives a military salute to his troops entering the city of Lodz on 9 September 1939, one day after the city in central Poland fell to the Germans. For three days (6-8 September 1939) both sides fought fiercely, and the fall of the city of Lodz opened the way for the invaders to continue their assault on their main goal: the capital Warsaw.

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Gerd von Rundstedt and Maximilian von Weichs Having Lunch

Two Wehrmacht generals discussing the recent situation while having a meal in the garden under a tree in newly occupied France, June 1940. from left to right: Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt (Oberbefehlshaber Heeresgruppe A) and General der Kavallerie Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Weichs (Oberbefehlshaber 2. Armee). Photo by Kriegsberichter Harren of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 670.

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Oldwig von Natzmer in Gift Ceremony

An unknown Unteroffizier (non-commissioned officer) of the "Großdeutschland" division was honored by Oberst i.G. Oldwig von Natzmer (Ia im Generalstab Panzergrenadier-Division "Großdeutschland"). The picture was taken in the end of summer 1943 by Kriegsberichter Bauer of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) Division "Großdeutschland", in the central sector of the Eastern Front.

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Divisionskommandeur Hans Schmidt during Barbarossa

From left to right: Oberst Gustav Wenninger (Kommandeur Infanterie-Regiment 470 / 260.Infanterie-Division) and Generalleutnant z.V. Hans Schmidt (Kommandeur 260. Infanterie-Division). The picture was taken during Unternehmen Barbarossa (German invasion to Soviet Union), summer of 1941.

Oberst Gustav Wenninger (Kommandeur Infanterie-Regiment 470 / 260.Infanterie-Division) using field telephone.

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Hermann Göring in Vienna

Generalfeldmarschall Hermann Göring (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe) - The later "Reichskommissar fuer die Wiedervereinigung Oesterreichs" (Commissar of the reunification of Austria) - saluting with his marschallstab. Behind Göring at right is SS-Oberführer Franz Langoth (Leiter der Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt in Österreich), while at left is SS-Gruppenführer Paul Körner (Staatssekretär, ständiger Stellvertreter und Leiter der Geschäftsstelle des Beauftragten für den Vierjahresplan). The head without the hat at the back is Dr.jur. Hans Fischböck (Minister für Wirtschaft und Arbeit zum Minister für Finanzen in Österreich). Also, SS-Brigadeführer Anton Reinthaler (Minister für Land- und Forstwirtschaft in Österreich) on the right side. The picture was taken by Agentur Schirner in Vienna, 28 March 1938.

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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Fritz Witt and Sepp Dietrich near Kharkov

SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (Kommandeur SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler") pays a visit to the headquarters of SS-Standartenführer Fritz Witt (Kommandeur SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 1 / SS-Panzergrenadier- Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler") at Olchowatka, Belgorod, near Kharkov, in March 1943. Dietrich wore a sheepskin coat which had the official name "Sous-vetementent en peau fourrée Modele 1938", with an added collar, lace and zipper. Even so, it seems that the Divisionskommandeur still felt the weather is too cold so he prepared a thicker fur coat stored in the car seat, a stark contrast when compared to Witt who looked quite comfortable even though he was only wearing a standard uniform! Dietrich's trousers were of the stiefelhose, combined with the Luftwaffe's Flieger-Pelztiefel (aviation boots) with a furry top. The car used by Dietrich was of the Einheits-Pkw Horch 40 type with a very low number plate (SS-502). In addition, jerrycans for spare gasoline have been modified so that they can be attached to the side of the car. This photo was taken by SS-Kriegsberichter Johan King, who accompanied the Leibstandarte Division in the many heavy battles on the Eastern Front in 1943 and 1944.

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Ritterkreuz Actions of Günter Goebel

Günter Goebel (14 November 1917 - 4 September 1993) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 18 October 1941 as Adjutant Infanterie-Regiment 208 / 79.Infanterie-Division. On 14 September 1941 Oberleutnant Goebel made the independent decision to take command of a Radfahr-Bataillon that was temporary leaderless. By doing this, and continuing an attack with this unit immediately afterwards, it was possible to push the enemy back and win a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time. On the very next day Goebel launched another bold attack that stormed a Soviet airfield. In the process a number of aircraft were destroyed on the ground. Along with this success an enemy army-level depot was also captured undamaged. For the sum of his achievements during this time Goebel would receive the Ritterkreuz.

Goebel received the Eichenlaub #180 for his Ritterkreuz on 18 January 1943 as Hauptmann and Führer Kampfgruppe Goebbel / 79.Infanterie-Division. On 17 December 1942 Hauptmann Goebel commanded a Kampfgruppe in the area of the 384. Infanterie-Division, specifically near Nishnij-Tschirskaja (along the Chir river). Starting on this day Goebel would hold his assigned bridgehead for weeks, up until 1 January 1943. By this action he played a major role in holding the Soviets along the Chir river and preventing them from immediately advancing further towards the west and southwest. He would receive the Eichenlaub in recognition of this accomplishment.

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Bio of Oberstleutnant Günter Goebel (1917-1993)

Günter Goebel

Date of birth : 14 November 1917 at Hagen-Haspe, Westfalen (German Empire)
Date of death : 4 September 1993 at Hagen, Westfalen (Germany)

00.00.1938 Leutnant
01.06.1940 Oberleutnant
01.02.1942 Hauptmann
01.02.1943 Major
01.03.1945 Oberstleutnant

00.00.1936 Joined Infanterie-Regiment 18
00.00.1939 Adjutant III.Bataillon / Infanterie-Regiment 208
00.00.1942 Attended Generalstabsausbildung
00.00.1943 Attended Kriegsakademie Hirschberg in Silesia
01.04.1944 Posted in the Generalstab des Heeres
00.00.1944 Ib 61. Infanterie-Division
00.00.1944 Stellvertretender Quartiermeister XXXXIII. Armeekorps
00.00.1944 Ia L. Armeekorps
00.00.1944 Ia 218. Infanterie-Division
00.00.1945 Ia 215. Infanterie-Division
00.00.1945 Kommandeur Grenadier-Regiment 189
11.05.1945 Taken prisoner by the Russians
00.10.1955 Released from the POW camp

Awards and Decorations:
04.11.1939 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
18.06.1940 Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse
00.00.194_ Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen in Silber
18.10.1941 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, as Oberleutnant and Adjutant Infanterie-Regiment 208 / 79.Infanterie-Division
06.11.1941 Ehrenblattspange des Heeres und Waffen-SS
00.00.1942 Medaille "Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42" (Ostmedaille)
00.00.194_ Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz
00.00.194_ Goldenes HJ-Ehrenzeichen
18.01.1943 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub #180, as Hauptmann and Führer Kampfgruppe Goebel / 79.Infanterie-Division
00.04.1944 Nahkampfspange in Silber

Source :,_G%C3%BCnter

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Erhard Milch during 'Tag der Luftwaffe'

Berlin-Gatow, 21 April 1936 - The dedication of pilot flags ceremony during 'Tag der Luftwaffe' (Day of the Air Force), on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the death of Manfred von Richthofen, the famous German flying ace in World War I. From left to right: General der Flieger Leonhard Kaupisch (Befehlshaber vom Luftkreiskommando II in Berlin), General der Flieger Erhard Milch (Generalinspekteur der Luftwaffe), and unknown. The picture was taken by Georg Pahl.

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Josef Peters Explains his Experiences

German flight crew sits in a field of flowering shrubs with an airplane in the background. Translated German caption from photo reverse: "This is you. Ritterkreuzträger (Knight's Cross recipient), Oberleutnant Josef Peters, one of the most successful German torpedo airmen, he explains the experiences of his missions to a new crew - series of 19 photos with 21 exposures, Photo 2. Southern France, April 1944." Peters received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 6 April 1944 as Beobachter in 12.Staffel / IV.Gruppe / Kampfgeschwader 26 (KG 26), awarded for his participation in numerous successful sorties in the maritime bombardment role. By war's end he had partaken in just about 100 sorties, but in this time was involved in the sinking/damaging of about 110000 GRT of shipping.

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Happy Moment of Heinz Kemethmüller

Group of smiling Luftwaffe members. Translation of official German caption on photo reverse: "Ritterkreuzträger (Knight's Cross recipient) Oberfeldwebel Heinz Kemethmüller, Northern France, 12 April 1944." Kemethmüller received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 2 October 1942 as Feldwebel and Flugzeugführer in 8.Staffel / III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3) “Udet”, after he scores 59 aerial victories. During his career Heinz Kemethmüller flew 463 missions, and was credited with 89 aerial victories, 71 on the Eastern Front (including 20 2-engined bombers and 26 Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik Soviet ground attack aircraft) He also claimed 18 over the Western Front, including three USAAF heavy bombers and 7 P-47 fighters shot down.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Fritz Fliegel Putting on Flight Suit

Hauptmann Fritz Fliegel (Gruppenkommandeur I.Gruppe / Kampfgeschwader 40) putting on flight suit before mission. The wing of an FW 200 long-range aircraft can be seen in the background. The picture was taken in Bordeaux, France. Translation of official German caption on the photo reverse: "Picture 4 of Photo Report No. 68. Captain Fliegel before the start of an attack on an English convoy. France, July 1941." On 18 July 1941, Fliegel and his crew—copilot Leutnant (Second Lieutenant) Wolf-Dietrich Kadelke, first radio operator Oberfeldwebel (Staff Sergeant) Johannes Rottke, second radio operator Gefreiter (Airman) Karl Becker, flight engineer Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Johann Kothe and air gunner Unteroffizier Karl Meurer—were reported missing in action over the Atlantic in the vicinity northwest of Ireland. Their Fw 200 C-3 "F8+AB" (Werknummer 0043—factory number) was shot down in an attack on convoy OB 346. During the attack on the freighter Pilar de Larrinaga, the gunners on board the freighter scored a hit on the Fw 200's starboard wing which tore it off. At the time of his death, Fliegel was credited with seven ships sunk plus further six damaged. He was promoted to Major (major) posthumously.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Bio of Oberst Paul Adam (1892-1969)

Paul Adam

Date of birth: March 23rd, 1892 (St. Arnual/Saarbrücken, Germany)
Date of death: December 1st, 1969 (German Democratic Republic)

00.00.1914 Kriegsfreiwilliger
00.00.1915 Vizefeldwebel
00.00.1916 Leutnant der Reserve
01.07.1936 Oberleutnant der Reserve
14.05.1941 Major der Reserve
07.08.1943 Oberstleutnant der Reserve
10.03.1944 Oberst im Generalstab der Reserve

01.07.1936 Officer in Artillerie-Regiment 45
31.03.1937 Chef 5.Batterie / Artillerie-Regiment 36
13.05.1940 Stab II.Abteilung / Artillerie-Regiment 36
18.08.1942 Führer Grenadier-Regiment 158
01.05.1943 Kommandeur Artillerie-Regiment 132
01.01.1944 Ia 302. Infanterie-Division
00.05.1945 Captured by the Soviets
00.00.1953 Released from POW camp

Awards & Decorations
03.02.1915 1914 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
15.04.1918 1914 Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse
00.00.19__ Kampfwagen-Erinnerungsabzeichen
29.12.1934 Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer 1914-1918
00.00.193_ Deutsches Reichssportabzeichen in Silber
26.09.1939 1939 Spange zum 1914 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
05.07.1940 Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz
00.00.1941 Kriegsverdienstkreuz II.Klasse mit Schwertern
12.07.1941 1939 Spange zum 1914 Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse
08.08.1942 Medaille "Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42" (Ostmedaille)
17.11.1942 Allgemeines-Sturmabzeichen
18.04.1943 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, as Major der Reserve and Führer Grenadier-Regiment 158 / 82.Infanterie-Division
14.10.1944 Verwundetenabzeichen in Silber
05.05.1945 Ärmelband "KURLAND"

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Ritterkreuz Award Ceremony for Three Aces of JG 2

Three Ritterkreuzträger (Knight's Cross holders) of Jagdgeschwader 2 (JG 2) "Richthofen). From left to right: Oberleutnant Erich Leie (Flugzeugführer im Stab der I. Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 2), Oberleutnant Rudolf Pflanz (Flugzeugführer in 1.Staffel / I.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 2), and Leutnant Egon Mayer (Flugzeugführer in 7.Staffel / III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen"). The picture was taken when the three Luftwaffe fighter aces from JG 2 receives the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes from Generalfeldmarschall Hugo Sperrle (Chef Luftflotte 3) on 1 August 1941: Leie awarded after 21 aerial victories, Pflanz after 20 aerial victories, and Mayer after after 20 aerial victories. Behind Mayer is future Ritterkreuzträger Oberst i.G. Karl Koller.(Chef des Generalstabes Luftflotte 3).

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Monday, November 28, 2022

Bio of General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling (1891-1955)

Helmuth Otto Ludwig Weidling (2 November 1891 – 17 November 1955) was born in Halberstadt in 1891. Weidling entered the military in 1911 and served as a lieutenant in the First World War. He remained in the reduced army of the Weimar Republic after the war. As an artillery officer, Weidling took part in the invasion of Poland, the Battle of France and during the early stages of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.

In January 1942, still on the Eastern Front, Weidling was appointed commander of the 86th Infantry Division.

On 15 October 1943, Weidling became the commander of the XLI Panzer Corps, a position he held until 10 April 1945 with a short break in his command from 19 June 1944 to 1 July 1944. During this break, Generalleutnant Edmund Hoffmeister took over during the first stages of Soviet Operation Bagration. Hoffmeister was in command when most of the German 9th Army, along with the XLI Panzer Corps, was encircled during the Bobruysk Offensive.

While Weidling was in command, XLI Panzer Corps was responsible for an atrocity committed by the Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union during the war: Up to 50,000 civilians were deliberately infected with typhus, and placed in a "typhus camp" in the area of Parichi, Belorussia, in the path of oncoming Red Army forces, in the hopes that this would cause a massive outbreak of typhus among the Red Army soldiers. This was noted by the commander of the 65th Soviet Army, General Pavel Batov, months later when it found itself facing this same corps in the Battle of Berlin.

The XLI Panzer Corps was rebuilt as part of the German 4th Army. The 4th Army, under the command of General Friedrich Hoßbach, was given the task of holding the borders of East Prussia. On 10 April 1945, Weidling was relieved of his command. He was thereafter appointed as commander of the LVI Panzer Corps.

The LVI Panzer Corps was part of Gotthard Heinrici's Army Group Vistula. As commander of this corps, Weidling began his involvement with the Battle of Berlin.

On 16 April 1945, Weidling prepared to take part in the Battle of the Seelow Heights, which was part of the broader Battle of the Oder-Neisse. Weidling's LVI Panzer Corps was in the centre, flanked by the CI Army Corps to his left and the XI SS Panzer Corps to his right. All three corps were part of General Theodor Busse's 9th Army, which was defending the heights above the River Oder. While all three corps were in generally good defensive positions, they were conspicuously short of tanks. Weidling's commander, Heinrici, recognised the shortage earlier in the day, as Hitler had ordered the transfer of three panzer divisions from Army Group Vistula to the command of recently promoted Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner.

In the middle of the Battle of Berlin, the leader of the Hitler Youth, Artur Axmann, visited Weidling's headquarters and told him that the youngsters of the Hitler Youth were ready to fight and were even now manning the roads in the 56th rear. Weidling argued it was futile for these teenage boys to be thrown into the battle. He told Axmann it was, "the sacrifice of children for an already doomed cause". Axmann did not withdraw them from the battle.

By 19 April, with Schörner's Army Group Centre collapsing, Weidling's corps was forced to retreat west into Berlin. The German forces retreat from Seelow Heights during the 19th and 20th left no front line remaining.

On 22 April, Hitler ordered that Weidling be executed by firing squad on receiving a report that he had retreated in the face of advancing Soviet Army forces, which was in defiance of standing orders to the contrary. Weidling had not actually retreated, and the sentence was called off after he appeared at the Führerbunker to clear up the misunderstanding.

On 23 April, Hitler appointed Weidling as the commander of the Berlin Defence Area. Weidling replaced Lieutenant General (Generalleutnant) Helmuth Reymann, Colonel (Oberst) Ernst Kaether, and Hitler himself. Reymann had held the position only since March.

The forces available to Weidling for the city's defence included roughly 45,000 soldiers in several severely depleted German Army and Waffen-SS divisions. These divisions were supplemented by the police force, boys in the compulsory Hitler Youth, and 40,000 men of the Volkssturm (militia). The commander of the central government district was SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke. Mohnke had been appointed to his position by Hitler and had over 2,000 men under his direct command. His core group were the 800 men of the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) SS battalion (assigned to guard Hitler). The Soviet command later estimated the number of defenders in Berlin at 180,000, but this was based on the number of German prisoners they captured. The prisoners included many unarmed men in uniform, such as railway officials and members of the Reich Labour Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst).

Weidling organised the defences into eight sectors designated "A" through to "H". Each sector was commanded by a colonel or a general, but most of the colonels and generals had no combat experience. To the west of the city was the 20th Panzergrenadier Division. To the north was the 9th Fallschirmjäger Division, to the north-east the Panzer Division Müncheberg. To the south-east of the city and to the east of Tempelhof Airport was the SS-Nordland Panzergrenadier Division composed mainly of foreign volunteers. Weidling's reserve, the 18th Panzergrenadier Division was in Berlin's central district.

Sometime around 26 April, Weidling chose as his base of operations the old army headquarters on the Bendlerstrasse, the "Bendlerblock." This location had well-equipped air-raid shelters and was close to the Reich Chancellery. In the depths of the Bendlerblock, Weidling's staff did not know whether it was day or night.

Around noon on 26 April, Weidling relieved Colonel Hans-Oscar Wöhlermann of command, and Major General Werner Mummert was reinstated as commander of the Müncheberg Panzer Division. Later that evening, Weidling presented Hitler with a detailed proposal for a breakout from Berlin. When Weidling finished, Hitler shook his head and said: "Your proposal is perfectly all right. But what is the point of it all? I have no intentions of wandering around in the woods. I am staying here and I will fall at the head of my troops. You, for your part, will carry on with your defence."

By the end of the day on 27 April, the encirclement of Berlin was completed. The Soviet Information Bureau announced that Soviet troops of the 1st Belorussian Front had broken through strong German defences around Berlin and, approaching from the east and from the south, had linked up in Berlin and northwest of Potsdam and that the troops of the 1st Belorussian Front took Gartenstadt, Siemenstadt and the Goerlitzer Railway Station in eastern Berlin.

When Weidling discovered that a major part of the last line of the German defences in Berlin were manned by Hitler Youth, he ordered Artur Axmann to disband the Hitler Youth combat formations in the city. But, in the confusion, his order was never carried out.

On 29 April, the Soviet Information Bureau announced that troops of the 1st Belorussian Front continued to clear the streets of Berlin, occupied the northwest sector of Charlottenburg as far as Bismarck Street, the west half of Moabit, and the eastern part of Schoeneberg. Soviet troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front occupied Friedenau and Grunewald in north and west Berlin.

During the evening of 29 April, Weidling's headquarters in the Bendlerblock was now within metres of the front line. Weidling discussed with his divisional commanders the possibility of breaking out to the southwest to link up with General Walther Wenck's 12th Army. Wenck's spearhead had reached the village of Ferch on the banks of the Schwielowsee near Potsdam. The breakout was planned to start the next night at 22:00.

On 30 April, the Soviet Information Bureau announced that Soviet troops of the 1st Belorussian Front had captured Moabit, Anhalter Railway Station, Joachimsthal to the north of Berlin, and Neukölln, Marienwerder and Liebenwalde. Troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front occupied the southern part of Wilmersdorf, Hohenzollerndamm and Halensee Railway Station.

Late in the morning of 30 April, with the Soviets less than 500 metres from the bunker, Hitler had a meeting with Weidling, who informed him that the Berlin garrison would probably run out of ammunition that night. Weidling asked Hitler for permission to break out, a request he had made unsuccessfully before. Hitler did not answer at first, and Weidling went back to his headquarters in the Bendlerblock, where at about 13:00, he received Hitler's permission to try a breakout that night.

After Hitler and Braun's suicides, Weidling reached the Führerbunker and was met by Joseph Goebbels, Reichsleiter Martin Bormann and General Hans Krebs. They took him to Hitler's room, where the couple had committed suicide. They told him that their bodies had been burned and buried in a shell crater in the Reich Chancellery garden above. Weidling was forced to swear that he would not repeat this news to anybody. The only person in the outside world who was to be informed was Joseph Stalin. An attempt would be made that night to arrange an armistice, and General Krebs would inform the Soviet commander so that he could inform the Kremlin.

Weidling rang Colonel Hans Refior, his civil Chief-of-Staff, in the Bendlerblock headquarters soon afterward. Weidling said that he could not tell him what had happened, but he needed various members of his staff to join him immediately, including Colonel Theodor von Dufving, his military Chief-of-Staff.

The meeting on 1 May between Krebs, who had been sent by Goebbels, and Soviet Lieutenant General Vasily Chuikov ended with no agreement. According to Hitler's personal secretary Traudl Junge, Krebs returned to the bunker complex looking "worn out, exhausted". The surrender of Berlin was thus delayed until Goebbels committed suicide, after which it was left up to Weidling to negotiate with the Soviets.

On 2 May, Weidling had his Chief-of-Staff, Theodor von Dufving, arrange a meeting with Chuikov. Weidling told the Soviets about the suicides of Hitler and Goebbels, and Chuikov demanded complete capitulation.

Pursuant to Chuikov and Sokolovsky's direction, Weidling put his surrender order in writing. The document, written by Weidling, read as follows:

    On 30 April 1945, the Führer committed suicide, and thus abandoned those who had sworn loyalty to him. According to the Führer's order, you German soldiers would have had to go on fighting for Berlin despite the fact that our ammunition has run out and despite the general situation which makes our further resistance meaningless. I order the immediate cessation of resistance. Every hour you keep on fighting prolongs the suffering of the civilians in Berlin and of our wounded. Together with the commander-in-chief of the Soviet forces I order you to stop fighting immediately. WEIDLING, General of Artillery, former District Commandant in the defence of Berlin

The meeting between Weidling and Chuikov ended at 8:23 am on 2 May 1945.

The Soviet forces took Weidling into custody and flew him to the Soviet Union. Initially, he was held in the Butyrka and Lefortovo prisons in Moscow. On 27 February 1952, the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union sentenced him to 25 years' imprisonment for war crimes committed in the occupied Soviet Union. Weidling died on 17 November 1955 in the custody of the KGB in Vladimir of an apparent heart attack. He was buried in an unmarked grave at the prison cemetery. On 16 April 1996, the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation declared Weidling non-rehabilitative.

Awards and Decorations:
09.10.1914 1914 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
03.03.1916 1914 Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse
00.00.19__ Ritterkreuz des Königlichen Hausordens von Hohenzollern mit Schwertern
00.00.19_ Hanseatenkreuz Lübeck
00.00.19__ Österreichisches Militärverdienstkreuz III. Klasse mit der Kriegsdekoration
00.00.19__ Erinnerungsabzeichen für die Besatzung der Luftschiffe
05.10.1934 Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
00.00.19__ Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnung, IV. bis I. Klasse
00.00.19__ Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938
18.09.1939 1939 Spange zum 1914 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
12.10.1939 1939 Spange zum 1914 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
00.00.19__ Königlich Bulgarischer Militärverdienstorden, II. Klasse mit Schwertern
18.08.1942 Ostmedaille
09.02.1944 Mentioned in Wehrmachtbericht
23.06.1942 Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
15.01.1943 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, as Generalmajor and Kommandeur 86.Infanterie-Division / XXXXI.Panzerkorps / 9.Armee / Heeresgruppe Mitte
22.02.1944 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub #408, as General der Artillerie and Kommandierender General XXXXI.Panzerkorps / 9.Armee / Heeresgruppe Mitte
28.11.1944 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern #115, as General der Artillerie and Kommandierender General XXXXI. Panzerkorps

Source :,_Helmuth

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Hans Buchholz with His Crew

Translation of official German caption on photo reverse: "Oberleutnant der Reserve  Hans Buchholz (Flugzeugführer in 1.Staffel / I.Gruppe / Kampfgeschwader 40), holder of the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes. He has, with the men of his crew, sunk over 78,000 gross registered tons of enemy merchant ships. France, 4/4/41." The picture was taken in Bordeaux, France, on 4 April 1941, while Buchholz already received the Ritterkreuz from 24 March 1941. On the left is Flight Engineer Oberfeldwebel Erich Kielke, on the right is Second Radio Operator Feldwebel Meinhard Milde. In the background is their aircraft, a Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3.

Source :

Bio of Leutnant d.R. Karl radermacher (1922-2016)

Karl Radermacher was born on 12 December 1922 in Aachen, the son of an ice-cream vendor. After an apprenticeship as an electrician and mechanic, and membership in the Hitler Youth, he was drafted into the Army in March 1942. After a short basic training, Radermacher was transferred to the Eastern Front in the summer of 1942. His first combat experience came with his Grenadier Regiment 45, which was part of the 21 Infantry Division, at the Leningrad front. He was later promoted to squad leader and, in October 1942, he was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class and the Infantry Assault Badge in silver. With his 6th Company, he was wounded, and returned after a short hospital stay back to the company on the Leningrad front. During the subsequent withdrawal he was wounded again. After returning to the front he was used as a battalion messenger and gave the alarm company and platoon commanders in the middle of combat important messages. For this he received the Iron Cross First Class in February 1944.

In the early summer of 1944 the regiment was in a fixed position, expecting every moment to be the impending enemy offensive. Constant patrols, apparent attacks, and persistent probing of the front by Russians denied the German soldiers any rest and the ability to find the enemies weak point at the front. The enemy managed to infiltrate the German position on the flank of the Second Battalion and fierce hand to hand combat ensued. Radermacher was placed with his group in the middle section and led the resistance, after all of the officers and sergeants had failed. As the enemy retired after heavy losses, Radermacher pulled together some of his comrades and led a counterattack, where he added still further heavy losses to the enemy. This brought the fighting front noticeable relief. For his combat leadership he was awarded the Knight's Cross, as one of the lowest rank of the German Wehrmacht on 5 April 1944, as a private and mortar squad leader.

Later promoted to sergeant, Radermacher already had more than 40 close combat days to his credit. As leader of the 2nd platoon of the 6th Company, Radermacher took part in the fighting in the Baltic region and the first Kurlandschlachten. Here he received the news of the award of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold. After this ceremony Radermacher, as a recognized specialist in close combat command, was appointed a cadet sergeant and transferred to the officer training school in Potsdam. The Golden Close Combat Clasp was awarded to him in person two months later. Together with 82 other soldiers of the Heer and the Waffen-SS, he received the award on 12 December 1944, presented at the City Council of Ulm by Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler in person. Furthermore, the presentation of the award came the promotion to Lieutenant. Along with the presentation of the Close Combat Clasp, he was also presented with the German Cross in Gold.

In early 1945, Radermacher was part of an alarm group fighting the war on the Oder front, near Frankfurt on the Oder, where he was wounded again. After the war Radermacher became a grocer and retired in 1987 after 25 years as a bank employee.

Karl radermacher died on October 9th, 2016 at Kohlscheid - Aachen, Germany.

Awards and Decorations:
10.12.1942 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
14.02.1944 Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse
00.00.194_ Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen in Silber
00.00.194_ Verwundetenabzeichen (1939) in Schwarz und Silber
04.05.1944 Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, as Gefreiter and Granatwerfertruppführer in 6.Kompanie / Grenadier-Regiment 45 / 21.Infanterie-Division
21.10.1944 Nahkampfspange in Gold, as Unteroffizier and Gruppenführer in 6.Kompanie / Grenadier-Regiment 45
27.11.1944 Deutsches Kreuz in Gold, as Fahnenjunker-Feldwebel and Kompanie-Trupp-Führer in 6.Kompanie / Grenadier-Regiment 45

Source :,_Karl

Erwin Rommel in Color

Original color portraits of Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel (Oberbefehlshaber Panzerarmee "Afrika") which was taken by Hitler's personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann on 30 September 1942 when Rommel was presented his marschallstab (Marshal baton) by Hitler at Neue Reichskanzlei, Berlin. These would be 100% agfacolor color 35mm slide film taken by Hoffmann. Then the agfacolor film would have been converted to the standard color printing process of the time. A lot of the rich colours and debt from the agfacolor film would have been lost in the printing process. Much after 1943 most of these portraits were all photographed using color film.

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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Ritterkreuz Action of Stefan Mlinar

Stefan Mlinar (13 December 1915 - 3 February 1983) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 24 June 1944 as Gefreiter and Funktruppführer in 5.Kompanie / II.Bataillon / Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 13 / 4.Gebirgs-Division. Here follows a report by the Ia of the 4. Gebirgs-Division which describes why Stefan Mlinar would receive the Ritterkreuz:

“Heroic deed of a radio operator:

On the dark night of 03-04 March 1944 the Bolsheviks succeeded in penetrating the line held by the left wing of the 2. Kompanie of a Gebirgsjäger-Bataillon (located along the road Ryschanowka—Olchowez) in company strength. As a result of the knee deep mud and incessant rain the German MGs were completely silted up and could not fire. The Bolsheviks succeeded in penetrating through the German trenches near a heavy machine-gun squad that was tasked with protecting the gap between two Bataillone.

The commander of 2. Kompanie resolutely decided to launch a counterattack with parts of his Kompanie staff and the reserve squad. In the meantime Gefreiter Mlinar stayed behind as a radio troop leader at the command post, with the role of maintaining uninterrupted radio contact with the Bataillon. In the muddy trenches the counterattack group could only make slow progress. Suddenly shots rang out in the trenches behind the Kompanie command post.

With a clear understanding of the thorny situation, in this moment Mlinar acted no longer as a communication specialist, but like an experienced combat trooper. With unstoppable energy he rallied his radio operator and messenger and on his own initiative stormed into the trenches behind the command post with his 2 comrades, with machine-pistol, rifle and grenade in hand. Knee deep in the mud, he pushed forward in the twilight 50 meters towards the enemy who had made it here. After his first grenades detonated he sprang forth without hesitation in an incomparable defiance of death. Screaming “Hurra”, he killed 6 Bolsheviks in close combat with his MP and took 3 prisoners. Behind him his radio operator died a hero’s death while fighting in a hand grenade duel. Capitalizing on his success, Mlinar continued to storm forth alone through the waterlogged trenches with only 10 rounds in his magazine, again screaming “Hurra”. Through this fearless display of ferocity he put the totally surprised Bolshevik Kompanie to flight. The enemy left behind 4 light machine guns, 14 sub-machine guns and several rifles.

Gefreiter Mlinar thus prevented an imminent Bolshevik penetration at the seam between two Bataillone through his independent resolve, personal readiness for duty and fearless attitude.

For this deed Gefreiter Mlinar, hailing from Judendorf (Kreis Loeben, Steiermark), became the 23rd man of the 4. Gebirgs-Division to receive the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes.”

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Willibald von Langermann Reading a Map

General der Panzertruppe Willibald Freiherr von Langermann und Erlencamp (Kommandierender General XXIV. Panzerkorps) reading a map in a Sd.Kfz. 251/6 halftrack vehicle, Russia, late June 1942. He would be killed in action on 3 October 1942 at Storoshewoje on the Middle Don ("in a foray in the front line"). The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Gellert of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 694.

Source :,_Russland-Mitte-Nord,_General_mit_Ritterkreuz.jpg