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Peter U
01-20-2012, 01:45 PM
Hello,

This was my first Soldbuch purchase of 2012, one with a kind of tragic story.

Gunther Rittsche (°1924) was a mechanic from Berlin,in August ’42 he starts his military service in the Luftwaffe, and after his basic training with Flieger Regiment 26 he was assigned to several logistical units.
So far not a very exciting military career, this changes when he on November 23 1943 is transferred to the communications unit of Flak Rgt 155 (W), also known as Flak Gruppe Creil.
This Flak unit is a Flak unit in name only!
Their real task is to launch V1 rockets.
Everything about this unit is top secret; the launch units are based all over Northern France and Belgium; the unit he belongs to, the radio company is based in Brussels.
When the allies break out of the Normandy bridgehead his unit is pulled back towards the Eifel region, from there they will fire V1’son Liege and Antwerp.
Mid November ’44 there comes an end to the relatively safe life of Gunther Rittsche behind the frontline, once again the ranks of the Luftwaffe are skimmed to find men that are fit for service in infantry combat formations, he will be assigned to the 116th Panzer Division.
He first arrives with the Feld Ersatz Batallion 146, this is the reserve unit ofthe 116 Pz Div, he most likely gets some extra infantry training with this unit.
The116th Pz Div is one of the armored divisions that will participatein operation “Wacht am Rhein”; on December 16 1944 they break through the American held frontline in the Ardennes forest, Pz Gr Rgt 156 loses a lot of men specially in the fighting in and around Hotton.
On December 24 1944 Pz Gr Rgt 156 again gets the task to break the American line to find a way to the Meuse river, the loses in their ranks are filled up with replacements from the reserve battalion.
Gunther Rittsche is one of them, he arrives on December 24 1944 with the 5thcompany of Pz Gr Rgt 156, he gets serial number 635 and is issued a rifle with serial number Mg 6208.
At the afternoon of the day he arrives with his combat unit they attack again,this time in Verdenne, a sector held by the American 344th IR of the84th US ID, it comes to house to house fighting in the tiny village, at around 15.00 the Germans have won the battle for control over the village,during the evening they will unsuccessfully attempt to follow up on their success with a break through the forest of Bourdon to reach the strategic main road between Hotton and Marche.
It is on his first day in combat that Gunther Rittsche was KIA, he now is buried in the German war cemetery in Lommel (Belgium).


Btw L52899 is the fieldpost number of Luftnachrichten-Betriebs-Kompanie Flak-Regiment 155, 11.11.1943 Stab Luftnachrichten-Abteilung Flak-Regiment 155.
The unit was based in Brussels.

Regards,
Peter

Bigdibbs88
01-20-2012, 02:08 PM
another great read Peter, thank you

jack944
01-20-2012, 06:40 PM
another great read Peter, thank you

Always enjoy these Peter...I can't help feel sad for all these guys that died...great research on the V1 units.:thumbsup:

BerlinerLuebecker
01-20-2012, 10:24 PM
Thanks, as always, for posting these! Was the unit responsible for V1s or V2s? If it is V1s, were they Luftwaffe ground personnel assisting with mounting the rockets to the bomber?

Peter U
01-21-2012, 02:52 AM
Thanks, as always, for posting these! Was the unit responsible for V1s or V2s? If it is V1s, were they Luftwaffe ground personnel assisting with mounting the rockets to the bomber?

Thanks!


Flak Rgt 155 (W) launched V1 rockets (FZG-76; Flak Ziel Gerät) from static launch positions (a kind of catapult system).
A Wiki page about the V1:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-1_flying_bomb
And a U-tube clip of one being lauched from a ramp:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgpnKARvd24


Cheers,
Peter

BadAim
01-21-2012, 03:03 AM
You have some of the coolest documents around. Always a pleasure looking at them.

BSW 1937
01-21-2012, 05:48 AM
Thank you Peter.
It is always a pleasure to see such documents.

Hambone
01-22-2012, 12:38 AM
Outstanding SB and post Peter, one of the most interesting I've seen. Wouldn't Gunther have been carrying that SB when he was killed?

Peter U
01-22-2012, 03:59 AM
Thanks guys!!!



"Wouldn't Gunther have been carrying that SB when he was killed?"
- Yes, infantry soldiers carry their Soldbuch on them even in battle.
For example pilots and Fj's on a jump mission didn't, it was illegal for them to carry their Soldbuch on them during a mission, also their dogtags have only a number code on it.
The German army rules and regulations are bit double when it comes to unit camoflage, when the war breaks out they stop wearing unit numbers on their sholderboards but several units wear unit named sleeves and their Soldbucher are full of useful information.
Perhaps they were thinking of us futher collectors when they issued the Soldbuch to their soldiers in 1939. ;-)



P

BadAim
01-22-2012, 05:55 AM
Peter, are you aware or not if it was common practice for the Soldbuchs, Wehrpasses, etc. to be returned to family members after/if the bodies were retrieved, or were these kept by the military?

Peter U
01-22-2012, 06:34 AM
Peter, are you aware or not if it was common practice for the Soldbuchs, Wehrpasses, etc. to be returned to family members after/if the bodies were retrieved, or were these kept by the military?

Hello Badaim,

The Wehrpaß was an ID booklet that was issued to the soldier by his local draft office, he kept it at home until he was called up.
When he arrived at his unit the military administration (company level) took over his Wehrpaß and he was issued a Soldbuch.
Then at the end of his service he had to return his Soldbuch to the administration and he got his Wehrpaß back.
Now if the soldier was KIA his CO wrote the last entries in the Wehrpaß and mailed it to the draft office, the draft office did sent it to the family.
The soldiers family could use the Wehrpaß as a kind of deadcertificate to claim financial benefits,...etc.
If a soldier was MIA his entire file was sent to the military administration at a higher level (Berlin).
The rule was that the Soldbuch of KIA soldiers if it could be retrieved wasn't sent home to the family; but their are exceptions, their are known cases where CO did sent the Soldbuch home to the family together with the private property of the soldier and a letter in which they explained how the soldier was KIA.



Finding a Soldbuch of a KIA soldier is more difficult, they come from three main sources:
- Those of soldiers of which the CO didn't follow the rules and against regulations sent the Soldbuch to his relatives.
- Those that were souvenired by allied soldiers.
and of those that were looted from military archives.

In this case I have know idea of how this Soldbuch came in the militaria collecting society.


Cheers,
Peter

mauser202
01-30-2012, 09:01 AM
Outstanding! I would love to see a book with these tranlated with your stories for each one. You should look into writing one.

ianj
02-04-2012, 11:10 AM
Hi Peter,

I wondered who bought that one as it was of interest to me also, however luckily I managed to find one last week to the exact same unit.
Here are a few images for comparison.

As you can see, same clerk, same signatures and same black paint/ink!

FP Nr. 52889
(8.9.1943-22.4.1944) 5.10.1943 Luftnachrichten-Betriebs-Kompanie Flak-Regiment 155,
(8.9.1943-22.4.1944) 11.11.1943 Stab Luftnachrichten-Abteilung Flak-Regiment 155.

Are you aware of the following book?

NELIBA, Günter. Kriegstagebuch des Flakregiments 155 (W) 1943-1945. Deutsch Duncker & Humblot, 2006. ISBN 3428119258. 106p. 8 pages of illustrations.

/Ian

Peter U
02-04-2012, 02:00 PM
Hello and welcome ianj!


Indeed a Soldbuch from the same small unit.
That soldier had more luck, it looks that he stayed with his unit until the end of the war.
A nice catch.
:thumbsup:


The Neliba book has a place on my book shelve.


Cheers,
Peter

ianj
02-04-2012, 02:42 PM
Thanks Peter,

Unlike yours, unfortunately mine does not have a photo. The entry blackened out on page 3 mentions "Flakgruppe Creil" which was its camouflaged designation.
He did survive the war .....There are no entries on the hospital pages however the Soldbuch does come with a document stating that he was discharged from the Wehrmacht and PoW Hospital on 17.7.1945 with a fractured left lower leg.

/Ian

Hambone
02-04-2012, 10:48 PM
Wow, what are the chances of that. Welcome to the site Ianj.