View Full Version : Soldbuch gem Flak Abt 654 (v) - Market-Garden

Peter U
08-29-2014, 02:38 PM
Hello guys,

It has been a while since I posted a Soldbuch, so here I go with one of my newest additions.

Otto Hörrle (°1919) from Tailfingen was working as a packer/bagboy until he started his military service in November 1941; Otto was either lucky or he had connections because he escaped the dangerous life as an infantry soldier on the eastern front, instead he was trained as a Flak soldier and even better after completing his training he was based in France, in the area around Narbonne, first with the third battery of Reserve Flak Abt 195, later renamed as Gem Flak Abt 195.
In early 1944 his easy life in France came to an end, he was transferred to Schw Flak battr (v) zbv 10013 (RAD) 9/130, a unit equipped with 88's, in March '44 they became the third battery of Gem Flak Abt 654 (v), this Flak unit was a part of the 18th Flak Brigade which was responsible for the anti aircraft defence around the big towns and airfields in Belgium and Northern France; the third battery was stationed around Paris.
In December '43 he had participated in enough engagements to be awarded the Flakkampfabzeichen.
When the allies in August '44 break out of Normandy, the batteries of the 18th Flak Brigade move to the north, after a short hold up in Belgium in early September '44, they end up in Holland; gem Flak Abt 654 (v) is now based in the Dutch town of Eindhoven, this is where they end up in the middle of the next big allied offensive: Market Garden.
When the allied paratroopers land the Germans form ad hoc fighting formations to counter the threat, gem Flak Abt 654 (v) becomes a part of Kampfgruppe Köppel and they will hold up the advance of the paratroopers of the 101 AB Division on the first day.
(According to the control stamp in his Soldbuch, Otto was a member of the sixth battery.)
But it is on the second day of operation Market Garden, September 18 1944, that they will write their name in to military history; on this day there 88's will be used as anti tank canons in the streets of Eindhoven and they are successful, they manage to hold up the advance of the tanks of XXX Corps for 24 hours.
It is only when they run out of ammo that they have to abandon their 88's.
Otto Hörlle comes out of this fighting without an injury and is transferred to the Ruhr area, where he once again becomes a Flak gunner until the end of the war.

In his Soldbuch you can find a few interesting details.
For example: he was issued wooden shoes and a rifle with 99 bullets.
And it has a home made cover.


Peter U
08-29-2014, 02:39 PM

Peter U
08-29-2014, 02:40 PM
A famous picture I found on-line of a 88 left behind by gem Flak Abt 654 (v) in the Streets of Eindhoven.

08-29-2014, 03:09 PM
Amazing stuff as always, Peter!

08-29-2014, 05:20 PM
Excellent as always - thanks for sharing!