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Peter U
07-21-2014, 05:08 AM
Hello fellow collectors,


Recently I added this Soldbuch grouping to my collection, it is one with a strong connection to one of my favourite parts in military history: the Blitzkrieg of 1940.

Alfred Taschwer was a tank driver in Panzer Regiment 25 of the 7th Panzer Division, in 1940 his unit was commanded by Erwin Rommel, one of the most famous generals of WW2.
At the outbreak of the war he was with the 3rd light company of Pz Rgt 23, a unit with light tanks but it wasn't part of an armoured division, they were so called Heerestruppen (army troops) and for the Polish campaign they were attached to the 17th Infantry Division.
After the Polish campaign his unit was absorbed in to the newly created 25th Panzer Regiment of the 7th Panzer Division.
Erwin Rommel an infantry officer that had build his name and reputation in WW1 had missed the Polish campaign (he was the CO of the "Führerbegleitbatallions", the guard unit of A.Hitler) but shortly after the defeat of Poland he managed to get a transfer to the active army, more specific to one of the newly created armoured divisions.
The 7 Pz Div was a small armoured division with only one armoured regiment and this regiment was mainly equipped with Czech tanks, the light Pzkw 38(t); nevertheless he will build his WW2 reputation with this division; the 7 Pz Div moved so swiftly through the Ardennes and Northern France, always popping up in the allied rear that the allies gave it the nick name: the ghost division, a name that would stick because from then onwards the division was known in the German army as the Gespensterdivision.
Alfred Taschwer was one of the drivers of these Pzkw 38(t) in May 1940, you can notice that he trained with Pz Ers u Ausb Abt 35 in Bamberg with the 2nd company (T), a training unit for crews that would operate Czech build tanks;
In May '40 his unit will advance through the Belgian Ardennes and they are the first to cross the Meuse in Dinant on May 13, then they will break through the Maginot line frontier defences where they are the weakest between Sivry and Clairfayts on May 16, in Arras the BEF armoured units counter attack on May 21, the tanks of Pz Rgt 25 charge at the flank of allies, after the allied defeat in the north the tanks drove south to finish of what remained of the French army, it was in this second phase of the campaign that the division wrote one of the darkest pages in its history.
In Hangest sur Somme, according to witnesses men in black uniform (tankers?) of the 7 Pz Div murdered black French POW's of the 44th RICMS (the exact number of victims is unknown).
For his part in the Westfeldzug he got the PKA and EKII.
In January '41 Rommel left his division to take command of the German forces in Africa, Alfred Taschwer will stay with his unit and face the Russian army from 1941 till 1944.
On the eastern front he will be awarded with the winter war medal, drivers proficiency badges bronze and silver, the wounded badge in silver, an EKI and a 25 PKA.
In April '44 he is admitted to a fieldhospital in Lemberg, he was most likely wounded in the winter campaign in the Ukraine, which was nothing short of a disaster for the German army; his wound was so serious that it kept him away from frontline service until the end of the war.
After he recuperated, he became a tank driver instructor with Pz Ers u Ausb Abt 35, a tank warfare training unit based in Bamberg.

Peter U
07-21-2014, 05:08 AM
..................

Peter U
07-21-2014, 05:09 AM
Two uniform pictures of him.

Peter U
07-21-2014, 05:10 AM
His 1940 award documents; they are hand signed by Erwin Rommel!

Notice that his PKA was awarded on May 26 1940, this is during the three day period the German tanks were halted on the orders of A.Hitler himself and which gave the BEF the opportunity to escape from the beaches of Dunkirk.

Peter U
07-21-2014, 05:10 AM
His tank drivers instructor licence.
Licences for instructors are in yellow instead of the more common grey examples.

Peter U
07-21-2014, 05:11 AM
Two nice images I found on line of a Pz Rgt 25 Pzkw 38(t).

BerlinerLuebecker
07-21-2014, 10:20 AM
Thanks for sharing! Fascinating as always.

ebeeby
07-21-2014, 11:39 AM
Indeed! I always look forward to another Soldbuch posting!

LTCar2
07-21-2014, 11:49 AM
Peter,
Truly remarkable how you put these individual histories together. Please keep them coming. I love reading them.