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Peter U
04-24-2012, 04:01 PM
Hello guys,


This is a new addition to my Soldbucher collection, a Kriegsmarine example of a soldierthat got wounded in the bulge in 1944.

Willy Ratjen (1926) was drafted in to the army in July 44; he got his basictraining as a costal artillery gunner with the 2nd Marine Ersatz Abteilung in Esens part of the Wilhemshaven garrison.
By the end of the summer of 1944 WH & Waffen SS had suffered huge losses and to fillup the gaps in their ranks personnel from the KM & LW were transferred to Heer and Waffen SS units; Willy Ratjen was one of these soldiers, on September28 44 he was transferred to the 2nd company of Grenadier Regiment78, part of the 26th Volks Grenadier Division, a division that will play a prominent role in the next winter offensive on the western front.
Willy Ratjen kept his old KM Soldbuch, KM helmet & KM field grey uniform; on November 2044 he was issued his weapon, an MP44.
The 26 VGD was a classic infantry division, virtually destroyed on the eastern front it was withdrawn back to Germany and build up again mainly with KM troops in September 44; it still was a horsedrawn division, when the Wacht am Rhein offensive started they had +/- 5000 Russian horses.
The 26 VGD is specially known for the part it played in the siege of Bastogne,GR 78 fought in the area between the tiny villages of Foy and Neffe on the NE flank of the frontline around Bastogne their attacks on the American held positions were unsuccessful.
When the siege was broken and the US troops took the initiative again at the end of the year, GR 78 was in the thick of it again.
On December 31 1944 the 6th US Armored Division attacked the lines of GR 78 and drove them out of Bizory and Margeret, the first battalion of GR 78 was pushed off hill 510 which is half way between these two little villages.
It was on this day and there that Willy Ratjen was wounded by a piece of shrapnel.
On January 3 45 he is admitted to a field hospital in Germany, where he will stay untilMarch 22 1945. A few days later he is in hospital again, this time with skin problems.
On May 3 45he was discharged from military service.

Cheers,
Peter

jack944
04-24-2012, 05:35 PM
I always look at the gun Sn's to see if I have a match....thanks again for posting.

Hambone
04-24-2012, 11:53 PM
Once again, great SB Peter, and quite cool that you have his black wound badge document with it. You bring these artifacts to life with the background information and placing these things in historical context. Good stuff :thumbsup:

Peter U
04-25-2012, 03:27 AM
Thanks,


Their is so much written, in great detail about the battle of the bulge that researching Soldbucher like this one is very easy; finding some information about events and battles on the eastern front is much more difficult even of big battles like that of Charkov and the Wolchow swamps.




A nice map of the battle for Bastogne.



Cheers,
Peter

Hambone
04-25-2012, 12:33 PM
My hope is that one day soon I can stay at your new house (you should post pics of it and show the restoration!), drink some Belgian beers, and tour those battlefields with a real guide :biggrin1:

Pat
04-26-2012, 12:29 PM
Once again, great SB Peter, and quite cool that you have his black wound badge document with it. You bring these artifacts to life with the background information and placing these things in historical context. Good stuff :thumbsup:

+1, thank you for sharing both the SB and your analysis!

Pat

Peter U
05-25-2012, 02:56 AM
Here are some pictures I took last week on my hike in and around Bastogne.


First a panoramic view on Bizory from Neffe, then views on Hill 510 from Neffe and a view of the small road that goes over the ridge with hill 510.
- Hill 510 is the patch of trees on top of the little hill, Bastogne and the villages and hamlets around it are located on a plateau and the hight differences are rather small and less steep if you compare them to other areas in the Ardennes forest.

Peter U
05-25-2012, 02:58 AM
Views from the hill 510 ridge towards Bizory and Bastogne, Bastogne is located where you can see those powerlines.

Peter U
05-25-2012, 03:00 AM
The cross road between Bizory and Margeret.

Peter U
05-25-2012, 03:02 AM
The Bastogne-Foy cross road in Bizory.

mauser202
05-29-2012, 10:50 PM
Thank you Peter, outstanding research!