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Thread: Soldbuch XXXIX Pz Korps - Bastogne '44/'45

  1. #1
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Default Soldbuch XXXIX Pz Korps - Bastogne '44/'45

    This Soldbuch entered my collection last week and because it is Christmas I think it is exactly the right period to show him here.

    Ewald Klein (°1912) a mechanic from Ferndorf was drafted in the army in January 1940, most likely because of his skills as a mechanic he was assigned to truck repair unit.
    First he was sent to an army truck driver school where he got his driving licence.
    In 1943 his driving licence is extended to half- and full tracked trucks such as the famous "Raupenschlepper Ost" and the Sd Kfz 3 Maultier.
    His unit, Kw Werkstattzüg 439, operates on the Eastern front as Korpstruppen of the XXXIX Armee Korps, in July 1942 this corps gets reorganized and becomes the XXXIX Panzer Korps, they are heavily engaged on the eastern front; in September 1941 he is awarded a KvKII, in July 1942 the winter war medal and promoted to NCO rank in 1944.
    So far this Soldbuch isn't very special, a typical Soldbuch of soldier in a support unit on the eastern front, this changes in the autumn of 1944, the 39th Panzer Corps is one of the armoured units that will participate in operation Wacht am Rhein, the winter offensive to recapture the Antwerp harbour.
    They are kept in reserve for the first phase of the offensive but when on Christmas 1944 the fighting around Bastogne reaches a climax they are sent to the front, more exactly to the south eastern corner of the Bastogne frontline.
    Ewald Klein is in the period before the battle of the bulge promoted to "Vorhandwerker", a NCO rank for mechanical specialists, he is also issued an instructors driving licence.
    For his actions in the battle for Bastogne Ewald Klein is awarded an EKII on January 19 1945.
    After the German capitulation he becomes a member of Division 308 (kgf) Brigade XXV, a POW unit and although no further details are known it wouldn't surprise me at all if he was used as a mechanic in this unit also.

    Soldbucher of support personnel, such as mechanics, with bravery medals like an EK aren't easy to find, mechanics have an important task in the armoured units, tanks and trucks brake down a lot and they need a lot of specialist maintenance work done to them but usually they are decorated with the more typical KvK's.

    And for the gun collectors on this forum, you can see on page 8 that he was issued a pistol type 08, the famous Luger so he would have been a prime target for the souvenir hunting GI.
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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    More images of his Soldbuch and driving licence.
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    Member sek2dts's Avatar
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    Thanks again Pete, I love reading these threads.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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    Another interesting read thanks. timothy

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    Senior Member jack944's Avatar
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    Default another good read

    Mechanics are soldiers too... I wonder what happened to his luger...maybe in my collection? I always check serial numbers.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BerlinerLuebecker's Avatar
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    Thanks as always for sharing! Love these reads.
    Life, Liberty, Property

    Always looking for any information on the 97th Light Infantry (Jäger) Division, 1940-1945.

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    Senior Member ebeeby's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your Christmas present!

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    Senior Member mauser202's Avatar
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    Interesting as always Peter, especially since by dad was a T3 (S/Sgt)in the 6th armored and was also involved in the bulge.

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