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Thread: KIA wire camo M35 from May 1940

  1. #1
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Default KIA wire camo M35 from May 1940

    Hello,

    Several years ago this helmet came in to my collection, the friend I got it from bought it, believe it or not, on ebay.
    In the lot wasn't only a helmet but also the owners Wehrpass and some period pictures.
    In the past I have placed this helmet on various forums, so some of you will have seen it previously, but today I made new pictures and took the time to post it again on this forum.

    The helmet belonged to Schütze Hans Frick, he was born in 1919 and lived with his parents in Burgholzhausen where he worked as a butcher, from November 1938 till March 1939 he served with the RAD and on December 12 1939 he was drafted in to the army.
    After six weeks of basic training he was assigned to the veterinary company of the 251th Infantry Division; in 1940 a lot of the German infantry units still depended on horsepower to draw their supplies.
    On April 12 1940 he gets transfered to the 7th company of Infantry Regiment 471 (251ID).
    On May 10 1940 the 251th ID was part of the 4th army and participated in the invasion of the Low Countries, the target for the 251th ID are the Belgian forts on the right bank of the Meuse river in Liege.
    Their first goal is the old fort of Embourg, a pre WW1 fort that had been modernized by the Belgian army in the interbellum.
    At 10.00 PM on May 13 1940 his unit tries to take the fort by surprise, it is during this assult that he gets KIA; their attack was spotted by Belgian artillery observers and repulsed by artillery fire from the forts Embourg & Chaudfontaine.
    His helmet was hit by at least two pices of shrapnel, the helmet gets penetrated and the inside is blown to pieces (parts of his hair are still on the inside of the helmet), no doubt that this killed him instantaneously.
    He was buried in a fieldgrave and his helmet was used as a gravemarker.
    In the summer of 1940 his father visits his sons grave and it seems that he has taken the helmet home as a reminder of his son; perhaps the family got comfort out of the fact that their son didn't suffer when he died. The father places the helmet in a homemade shrine in the livingroom of there home in Burgholzhausen.
    After the war he is reburied in the big German warcemetery in Lommel (Belgium), also there they keep on visiting the grave of there son.
    Now I'am going to let the pictures do the talking,

    Peter
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  2. #2
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    The helmet was a applegreen M35 DD, in early 1940 he was camouflaged according to the new camo guidelines of the German army.
    All the soldiers of the 251th ID wore a similar helmet; the 251th ID went a bit further then the original guideline that stated that the tri-colour decal had to be removed and the helmet be overpainted with non reflecting rough green paint, they also added a wire as an extra camouflage aid.

    On the pictures you can still see traces of the decals and on the inside the helmet still has its original factory applied smooth applegreen paint.
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  3. #3
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    The liner of the helmet is blown to pieces.
    Little bloodstaining can be seen on the liner, the helmet was most likely rinsed out by someone before they used it as a grave marker.
    The chinstrap was cut to remove the helmet of his head.
    On the sharp edges of the shrapnel entries one still can see some of his ginger coloured hair (I don't know if it works out on the pictures).
    He also wrote his name on the liner (the handwritting is the same as that in his Wehrpass)
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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    This is his Wehrpass, it contains details about his RAD & military service time.
    When a soldier was in actif service this ID booklet would be kept in the company office. And when a soldier was KIA, his CO would sent it to the local draftoffice, the draftoffice would give the WP back to the family. The Wehrpass was an offical document and the family could use it as a deathcertificate.
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  5. #5
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Some period pictures of Hans Frick, one in his parade uniform on which you can see the 471IR insignia on his shoulderboards and one in his combat uniform:
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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Period pictures of his fieldgrave.
    The details of the helmet can be seen on it.
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  7. #7
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    His grave on the German warcemetery in Lommel, in the 1960's and today.
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  8. #8
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Forts Embourg & Chaudefontaine today.
    The field in which Hans Frick was KIA is now turned in to a housing estate, this makes taking "then & now" pictures impossible.
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  9. #9
    Moderator Of all things K43 Brian Kowalski's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing this with us...fascinating!

  10. #10
    Senior Member jack944's Avatar
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    A real reminder of the cost of war. His parents and family were casualties too. Touching and poignant grouping.

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