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D-Day Soldbuch - Sword Beach "Morris Battery" Normandy
Old 01-13-2018, 09:22 AM   #1
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Default D-Day Soldbuch - Sword Beach "Morris Battery" Normandy

Hello All,

I want to show this interesting Soldbuch. I already have it for 5 years in my collection and it was showed some years ago, but I think it is nice to show it with the new research Here we go:

Hans Holub was born on 13.06.1909 in Wien, Austria. He growed up in a catholic family and before the war he went to Germany where he lived in Berlin. He get a job as a Buchbinder and he met his wife in Berlin. He married with Elise Holub and lived at the Oranienplatz 6.

But times changed and Germany went into the war. Hans was called up for military duty on 19 May 1940, during the Westfeldzug. His first training he received as part of Infanterie-Ersatz-Bataillon 309 in Lübben. In August 1940 he completed his training and was send to Infanterie-Regiment 309, part of the 208. Infanterie Division. The division was based at Calais, France but in October or November 1941 he get sick in France and he stayed till 30 April 1942 in various lazarett’s. He received some new trainings in Fahr-Ersatz-Abteilung 3 in Fusterwalde an der Spree. At the beginning of June 1942 he was send to Artillerie-Regiment 152 and he was promoted to Gefreiter. On 01.12.1942 he was promoted to Obergefreiter. With the division he fought at Spass-Demensk, Orel and Newel. On 17.03.1943 he get sick again and was send to the hospital till 09.04.1943 when he was released to Artillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 75. In July 1943 he was send to Artillerie-Regimentsstab(z.b.v.) 609 who fought at the Battle of Kursk at that time. After Germany lost Kursk he was send to Artillerie-Regiment 335 of the 335. Infanterie Division. He fought with the division at Saporoshje, Ukraine till he was wounded by a bullet on 22.12.1943. He recovered till 24.02.1944 when he was send to Artillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 215 in Strassburg and from 04.03.1944 with Artillerie-Regiment 235 of the 198. Infanterie Division which was destroyed at that time in Romania. The division was send to France but Hans Holub left the unit and was send to Normandy, to become a member of the 716. Infanterie Division.

On 29.04.1944 he was send to 2./Artillerie-Regiment 1716 of the 716. Inf. Div. In Normandy he immediately received his Verwundeten Abzeichen in Schwarz for his wounds in Russia. The 716. Infanterie-Division was based in Normandy since 1941 and in the area of Caen since 1942. The division was of a weak quality and had 7771 soldiers during D-Day. The division was under command of Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter. Artillerie-Regiment 1716 had 10 batteries and was commanded by Oberleutnant Helmut Knüppe. The 2./1716 was based at Wiederstandsnest 16 (WN 16) at Colleville-sur-Orne, now Colleville-Montgomery. Most of the men in the 2nd battery were Poles. On the moment Hans Holub joined the company they upgraded the side with 4 H669 casemates. The battery was equipped with 4 x 10cm Le. F.H. 14/19(t) with a range of 9970 meters. The battery was situated only 2800 meters of Sword Beach. The Battery had some viewing points close to the beach to send coordinates etc. to the battery. The battery was called “Morris Battery” by the Allied commanders. On D-Day one casemate wasn’t completed.

The first month in Normandy is going fast for Hans Holub as the month June 1944 begins. On 1 June 1944 the battery is heavily bombed with 500kg. of bombs by the 9th Air force. On 2 June 1944 the battery is again bombed but now with 1000 kg of bombs by the 9th Air force. This are the first signs something big happened on the other side of the Canal. But what? Late on 5 June 1944 most of the German soldiers go tired to their barracks to sleep. But soon the first British paratroopers landed in the Orne-Caen area to take the Merville battery and the bridges. The British paratroopers landed not far from the Morris battery and the Germans in the battery noticed there is something wrong when they hear the airplanes, bombings, shootings and see the shine of the bombs in the distance… It’s 6 June 1944; D-Day started. The 7. Armee take their positions, ready for action… In a great uncertainty what came from the other side of the sea. When in the early morning the fog and the clouds slowly disappeared the Germans at the Normandy coast get an angry view; thousands of Allied ships and airplanes are ready to liberate Europe. The Morris battery is bombed first by the 8th Air Force and later by the Allied battleships. But most of the bombs missed their target and the “Morris Battery” is able to fire on the British soldiers who landed on Sword Beach. The battles at the beach are heavy but short. Some points at the beach are heavily defended and it takes hours to break the last resistance points. Around 09.30 the British broke through the beach defense at Colleville-sur-Orne and the 1st Suffolk Regiment cleared the town of the enemy. Around 01.00 they reached the southern part of the town and the Morris Battery. The battery is still firing on the beach and still caused losses at the landing British troops. The British prepared themselves for a heavy battle to take the battery but after a couple of artillery barrages the battery surrendered to the British without any losses. 67 Germans/Poles are taken prisoner.

But Hans Holub wasn’t with them, he and the Battery commander both escaped but how? Where they at the beach fortifications to send the coordinates to the battery? Did they leave the battery before it surrendered? We should never know. Colleville-Montgomery was liberated on 7 June 1944 when the other German Strongpoint, the Hillman strongpoint surrendered after heavy fights.

The division was heavily beaten on D-Day as they faced the Allied on Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword and the British Airborn landings. Already on 15 June 1944 the higher command decided to withdraw the 716 Infanterie Division. On that moment most parts of the I./ AR 1716 fought with the 21 Panzer Division and the 711 Infanterie Division around Caen. Between 1 July 1944 and 20 July 1944 the division was moved from Normandy to Southern France. It received 6261 casualties of the 7771 soldiers who act with the division on D-Day.

From August 1944 the division, with Hans Holub, was based in Southern France around Perpignan when the Allies started with Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France. The division pulled back towards the Vosges with many casualties. The last entry in the Soldbuch is from 15.10.1944(signed by the same battery commander as in Normandy) when the division fought in the Elsass. Most probably he was taken prisoner short afterwarts in the Colmar pocket.

Many years the Morris Battery was placed on private property but since some years parts of the Battery are able to visit. I visited the Morris Battery back in 2013.

Thanks for looking.

Aram
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File Type: jpg Holub1.jpg (44.7 KB, 149 views)
File Type: jpg Holub21.jpg (79.2 KB, 149 views)
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Last edited by mtdr; 01-13-2018 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:23 AM   #2
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:24 AM   #3
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File Type: jpg Holub25.jpg (61.5 KB, 149 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:26 AM   #4
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File Type: jpg Holub27.jpg (61.6 KB, 149 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:28 AM   #5
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File Type: jpg morris_2.jpg (48.6 KB, 150 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:28 AM   #6
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The Morris Battery then and now!

That's it for now, comments are welcome.
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File Type: jpg morris01.jpg (32.8 KB, 149 views)
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Last edited by mtdr; 01-13-2018 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:02 PM   #7
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you has good writing style ,very interesting story !
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:48 PM   #8
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Very interesting, I like it.
It is very surprising that he can escape of the destruction of his battery on 6 june, with his chief.
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Old 01-14-2018, 08:36 AM   #9
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Thanks for the compliments guys!
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:02 PM   #10
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Hello !

Very interesting Soldbuch and great presentation !
Thanks for showing !

I think it must be a very rare example of a German soldier who had to face
both invasions in France 1944:
D-Day in the North and Operation Dragoon in the South !

Best regards,

Archi
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Old 01-17-2018, 04:08 PM   #11
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Thanks Archi!

Yes, the things this man must have seen! I mainly focussed on the D-Day invasion, but indeed we can write a much bigger story when we look at all the other notorious battles he paticipated in as the Southern-France invasion, the tankbattle at Kursk and the way around Moscow.
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