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Peter U
10-03-2013, 11:17 AM
Hello fellows,


It has been a while since I posted a Soldbuch thread here but I was busy and on vacation but to make up for it I’ll present you guys this example I recently added to my collection.

Richard Marbach (°1924) began his military career in October 1942 with basic training for tank crews with 2/Pz Ausb Abt 7 in Böblingen, after he finished his basic training he was transferred to 1/Pz Ausb Abt 18 to get more specialized training, it was with this unit that he got his motorcycle drivers license, he would become one of the motorcycle dispatch and recon drivers of his company in the future.
In April ’44 the personnel of Pz Ausb Abt 18 is used to build Sturmpanzer Abt 217, a newly created unit that is equipped with the formidable Sturmpanzer IV Sd Kfz 166 beter known as “Brummbär”, a Pzkw IV chassis armed with a casemate style superstructure and armed with a 15cm Sturmhaubitze 43/L12 canon.
This combat vehicle was originally designed to give the infantry armored support when they fought in the streets of Russian cities such as Stalingrad and Charkov, when they eventually were issued to the army the fighting in Russian cities was something of the past and these heavy fighting vehicles were then just used to give extra fire power to units in the field, a task for which they aren’t designed, they are difficult to maneuver on narrow roads but nevertheless the allies fear them, the canon is a heavy puncher and the armor is thick so they are difficult to knock out.
At the end of June ’44 the three companies of Sturmpanzer Abt 217 are ready for action and they are assigned to the 5th Panzer Armee that operating in Normandy; the Abteilung doesn’t operate as complete unit, its vehicles are assigned to various units operating in Normandy, for example the Brummbär of the 3th company are allocated to units of the 1st and 12th SS Pz Div; because the individual vehicles are spread out over a large front and with many different units there is lots of work for the motorcyclists like Richard Marbach.
German troops in the field are usually very happy to see the Brummbär arriving, there presence is felt when they put there firepower in to action, it has a devastating effect on allied infantry but these big tanks also attract lots extra allied air strike and artillery bombardments, so the feeling is always double when they arrive somewhere.
According to the equipment list that is kept in the National Archives, the third company has no motorcycles in his arsenal but two Kettenkrad, rough terrain motorbikes, so we can assume that Richard Marbach is one of the drivers of these Kettenkrader.
For his actions in Normandy he is awarded the KvK II in December ’44.
Sturmpanzer Abt 217 escapes from the Falaise pocket and is kept on the frontline to provide firepower to units of the 7th Armee.
For operation “Wach am Rhein”, the bulge offensive, they are attached to the 6th SS Pz Armee, their first task is to provide the 12VGD with the necessary firepower so that they can breakthrough the frontline in Rocherath.
Although they appear in the propaganda movie as giving the opening shot of the offensive, the Brummbär tanks fail to appear; the heavy tanks have it extremely difficult maneuvering on the narrow roads and they only advance as far as Saint Vith.
Just before the offensive Richard Marbach is issued a MP40 but he also keeps his K98k rifle.
On January 20 1945 they are back behind the frontline in a resting area, he hands in his MP40 and writes a final letter home; on February 1 1945 he is KIA in the hamlet Frauenberg near Euskirchen (Germany), most likely he falls victim to an allied air strike, eventually he will be buried in the German war cemetery in Lommel (Belgium), where he still rests now.
Two days after he is KIA his battalion commander, Hauptmann von Trotha awards him an EKII.
His Soldbuch is, against all regulations, sent home to his parents; they will glue the last letter he sent home to the cover together with a letter his mother has written to find the little village where her son was KIA.


Cheers,
Peter

Peter U
10-03-2013, 11:18 AM
More Soldbuch images.

Peter U
10-03-2013, 11:19 AM
His motorcycle driving license.

Peter U
10-03-2013, 11:20 AM
The last letter he wrote to his parents and the repley his mother got from the city of Düren where she was looking for the place where her son was KIA.

Peter U
10-03-2013, 11:22 AM
Some still pictures I found from the propaganda movie made of the start of the bulge offensive.

pzjgr
10-03-2013, 12:06 PM
Wow, thats some amazing stuff, and fantastic research....It really puts a face and an individual story on what is generally just another nameless/faceless soldier of the second world war...very sad too.

As an aside, how many Soldbuch's (roughly) do you think you have in your collection.

I have been partial to Soldbuchs myself, and have a dozen or so in my collection...some of which I have posted here for a more "in-depth" analysis than I am able to do!

waffenmeister
10-03-2013, 01:32 PM
Thanks for another great read. I would love to be able to read those two letters.

Peter U
10-03-2013, 04:04 PM
Thanks for another great read. I would love to be able to read those two letters.

Hello WM,

I have read the letter and it is a typical letter that a soldier writes to his parents, he is asking about there health, his father is doing some paint work inside and he asks how the work progresses and he has sent 50.00 Marks home to put in the family budget.
These fieldpost letters all went through a censor so they seldomly or even never have details about the military live in them.


Cheers,
Peter

Peter U
10-03-2013, 04:12 PM
Wow, thats some amazing stuff, and fantastic research....It really puts a face and an individual story on what is generally just another nameless/faceless soldier of the second world war...very sad too.

As an aside, how many Soldbuch's (roughly) do you think you have in your collection.

I have been partial to Soldbuchs myself, and have a dozen or so in my collection...some of which I have posted here for a more "in-depth" analysis than I am able to do!


Hello Pzjgr,

These items indeed put a face on an otherwise anonimous story.


In my collection I have +/- 75 Soldbucher which is actually quite modest for a Soldbuch collection; but I must add that I'am not only a collector of Soldbucher, I also collect WW2 helmets, Pickelhaube....etc and documents from that span a period from the French revolution till WW2.
The oldest paybook in my collection is a "Livret Militaire" from 1807 of a Belgian soldier that served as a conscript in Napoleons army for seven years.


Cheers,
Peter

jack944
10-03-2013, 08:33 PM
Keep them coming...always fun to read.:thumbsup:

BerlinerLuebecker
10-04-2013, 06:29 PM
The oldest paybook in my collection is a "Livret Militaire" from 1807 of a Belgian soldier that served as a conscript in Napoleons army for seven years.


That is awesome! Do you happen to have pictures taken of that one? I'm very interested in foreign conscripted troops in the Grande Armee.

Peter U
10-05-2013, 02:21 PM
That is awesome! Do you happen to have pictures taken of that one? I'm very interested in foreign conscripted troops in the Grande Armee.

Hi BL,

One of these days I'll make a thread about these first empire paybooks.
Present day Belgium was a part of the French empire and Belgian departments were equal to other French departments, although French wasn't their native language technically these conscripts weren't foreign troops in the Grand Armee.


Cheers,
Peter

CanadianAR
10-05-2013, 06:18 PM
thanks for sharing, these items give us a glimpse into the soldiers life, more so then a k98 or helmet can do.

Peter U
02-15-2015, 04:53 AM
Recently I visited his grave in the German army cemetery in Lommel.

Peter U
03-31-2018, 06:39 AM
An update on this thread.

Last week I was able to add an EKII document of the 3th company of Sturmpanzer Abteilung 217 to my collection.
The signature is a printed version of Hasso von Manteuffel, he is alas one of those personalities that only seldomly handsigned this type of award document, nevertheless I find an interesting piece of this small unit.