View Full Version : Afrika Korps Soldbuch Pz Rgt 5

Peter U
09-27-2015, 04:49 AM

It has been a while since I posted a Soldbuch on this forum but today I found some time to write a text and I'll think you will enjoy reading it.

This is the Soldbuch was issued on September 23 1938 (the earliest Soldbuch in my collection) by the first company of Panzer Regiment 5 to Kurt Freter.
Before the war Kurt Freter (°1915) was a labourer from Berlin; he was rather small only 160 cm (5.25 ft) tall, most likely this made him an ideal crewmember for a Pzkw I or II light tank which his company was equipped with.
He participated in the occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938 and the invasion of Poland in September 1939 in which his unit saw limited action.
In May 1940 his regiment as a part of the 3th Panzer Division had the task to perform a feint attack, assaulting the allies where they expected the main German armoured assault would take place, in the open plain in central Belgium, to tie up as much French tanks as possible way North so that they couldn't intervene where the real assault took place: in the Ardennes.
The German plan was a success, the allies walked in to the trap with their eyes wide open and on May 14 & 15 the first tank versus tank battle took place in the open fields in and around Gembloux.
Some of the best units in the French army were engaged in this battle and they halted the German advance, it was a victory for the French 1st Army of Blanchard but alas it wasn't a victory against the main German armoured assault force and on the 16th they realized they had walked in to a trap and they soon quitted the battlefield to prevent from being surrounded by the massive breakthrough the Germans had forced further South on the Meuse river in Dinant.
The German losses in the battle of Gembloux were high but they had done their task and a month later the French army capitulated.
For his part in the battle of Gembloux, Kurt Freter was awarded the tank assault badge on May 20 1940 and the EKII on June 20 1940.
In the winter of 1940 his unit is used to form Panzer Abteilung C and later Pz Rgt 28 but in early 1941 he is back with his original regiment, Pz Rgt 5 but now not longer in the first company but with the staff company.
In February 1941 his regiment was transferred from the 3 Pz Div to the 5th Light Division and in March 1941 they departed to Libya to aid their Italian allies that had a difficult time in the North African dessert against the British.
He arrived in Africa already on March 10 1941 and they went in to action almost immediately driving back the British; Pz Rgt 5 was the armoured backbone of the Deutsche Afrika Korps and they took part in all major battles in the dessert.
On November 20 1941 his unit participates in the battle of Sidi Omar (operation Crusader), they hold there ground against the British attack but there own operational/offensive capability is limited because of a lack of ammunition; it is on this day that Kurt Freter is granted a three weeks leave to visit his family in Berlin, he arrives in Berlin on November 25 1941.
After his leave he stays with his replacement unit in Neurüppin for a while, just before Christmas he departs for Italy, he now is barracked in Naples and awaits to be shipped back to Northern Africa.
On February 1 1942 he lands in North Africa again to join his old unit.
The last German entry in his Soldbuch is from May 12 1942, a cholera inoculation; the next entry is a Canadian censor stamp; what exactly happened with Kurt Freter I don't know but I presume he was taken POW in the battle for El Alamein in which his unit was virtually destroyed.

His Soldbuch is a very typical DAK Soldbuch, it has lots of entries related to service in the desert such as Africa pay, tropical clothing such as a white shirt, the Italian African campaign medal,...etc.
Like most DAK Soldbucher there is no photo attached to the cover but this Soldbuch came with a picture postcard that he sent home on December 24 1941 from Naples, on it we can see him in DAK uniform, the signature on the back of the postcard is the same as that on page 2 in his Soldbuch so I'am pretty sure it is him we are looking at.

Peter U
09-27-2015, 04:50 AM
More images from his Soldbuch.

Peter U
09-27-2015, 04:51 AM
The post card he sent to his family on December 24 1941

Peter U
09-27-2015, 04:53 AM
A group picture that also was part of this little set.
Most likely taken just prior to May 1940, in the background you can just make out the Pzkw II tanks his unit was equipped with.

Peter U
09-27-2015, 04:54 AM
Some images I found online of Pzkw II tanks of Pz Rgt 5 in the dessert.

Peter U
09-27-2015, 04:54 AM
And a link to another Pz Rgt 5 DAK member Soldbuch I posted on this forum:


09-27-2015, 10:48 AM
Captivating as always! Thanks for sharing!

09-27-2015, 12:45 PM
Thank you Peter, great read as always.

09-27-2015, 03:25 PM
Fascinating Peter!
Great soldbuch!

09-27-2015, 03:51 PM
Indeed another find piece Peter always love reading them when you post them. I wonder if he was shipped to POW camps in the U.S since alot Africa Korp members were being kept here during the war.

09-27-2015, 04:55 PM
Another home run Peter, great read!

09-27-2015, 08:43 PM
Outstanding Peter, as usual. Great reads always. What I like is that in reading this we know that he was carrying this SB on him during all of this. :happy0180: