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Four brothers named Senft.
Old 08-11-2019, 04:02 PM   #1
TWS
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Default Four brothers named Senft.

I recently was able to acquire something that I think is fairly one of a kind: A grouping to four German brothers from Potsdam who all served in the Heer.
As best I can tell, two of them survived the war (one for sure as you'll see) and two perished. One in the fighting at Stalingrad and the other seemingly in an accident at the base in Peenemünde (site of the V2 rocker program among others).
I think to keep my presentation organized and clear, I will make a separate post for the parts of the grouping that apply to each brother. There is much depth I could go into with each of them, but I'll try to keep it to a bit of a concise overview.

First post is the portion that pertains to Feldwebel Gustav Senft.

Gustav Senft served with the signals platoon of Aufklärungs-Abteilung 3 in the Afrika Korps. This was part of the 5th Light Division which drew A-A 3 and Panzer Regiment 5 both from the 3rd Panzer Division and sent them to constitute some of the earliest units of the Afrika Korps. Gustav won the EKII and it is signed by the commander of the 5th Light Division Johannes Streich who was later sacked by Rommel for failing to take Tobruk. Interestingly the back of his EKII certificate contains a narrative on how he earned the award. It reveals how he kept a communications network intact for 5 solid weeks of fighting even while under enemy artillery fire. It appears that Gustav avoided the fate of the Afrika Korps due to medical evacuation. His Wehrpass shows him authorized to wear the Afrika cuff title. He was assigned to Versuchskommando Nord in October of 1942. That was the (in)famous Peenemünde where Hitler's "miracle weapons" were developed. Appears that he was actually quartered in the neighboring village of Karlshagen. Unfortunately Gustav died as a result of an accident - details unclear as I cannot read what might be a couple key words - on 19 October, 1944.
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Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.

Last edited by TWS; 08-11-2019 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 08-11-2019, 04:05 PM   #2
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Obergefreiter Herbert Senft served with and Pionier-Btl. 123 (123rd Infantry Division) and later Panzer-Pionier-Btl.39 (3rd Panzer Division).

The 123. Infanterie Division saw hard combat on the Ost Front and was one of the units encircled in the Demyansk pocket. After the battle of Demyansk he was assigned to training and replacement Pionier Battalion 3 and eventually to field training Pionier Battalion 153 before making his way to the 3rd Panzer Division (Panzer-Pionier-Btl.39) towards the end of the war. Luckily 3. PD surrendered to the Western Allies and we know Herbert survived the war because his post-war refugee identification card is present.
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Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.
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Old 08-11-2019, 04:08 PM   #3
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The third brother is Oberfeldwebel Heinrich "Heinz" Senft. I know less about his service and his fate than the other brothers as there is no Wehrpass, Soldbuch, or even a photo of him in the grouping. He served in Infanterie (later Grenadier) Regiment 313 which was part of the 337. Infanterie Division The division saw heavy combat on the Eastern Front and was effectively destroyed in July of 1944. It is evident that he survived this event as there is a document for his promotion to Oberfeldwebel with a Fortress Infantry Battalion in October of 1944. My understanding of "Fortress" Infantry units is that they were often comprised of a mix of convalescing, partially disabled, chronically afflicted (like the ear and stomach battalions) or more elderly soldiers and were designated as such because they were viewed as capable of defense but hardly up to the standards of conducting offensive operations.
There are some interesting papers in his grouping, however. It contains a certificate for a wound badge from May of 1940 so we can surmise he was wounded in the invasion of France and the Low Countries. It also contains documents permitting him to carry a pistol, a receipt for buying a radio from the army for personal use, and an interesting set of papers outlining a marksmanship/weapons training event that his company conducted, as well as certificate for participating in a youth competition in Potsdam in 1930 (presumably as a young boy).
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Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.
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Old 08-11-2019, 04:10 PM   #4
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More on Heinz Senft.
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Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.
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Old 08-11-2019, 04:12 PM   #5
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The fourth brother is the most interesting to me. Not only was he a Panzermann, but he was also killed during some of the initial fighting in Stalingrad. Paul Senft was at the time a tank platoon leader in 2nd company of Panzer-Regiment 36, which was the Panzer Regiment of the 14. Panzer Division. He had also previously been the Hauptfeldwebel or "Spiess" of the 1st company, but was later given command of a tank platoon in 2nd company. The most poignant document that came with his grouping is a letter from his company commander to the Senft parents describing the entire circumstances of his death as well as photos of his grave in Stalino, Ukraine (at the time, now Donetsk). His father died in January of 1943 and Paul is commemorated on his father's headstone so that the family would have a place to mourn him back home.
Roughly translated: That evening of 12 September (1942) the 2. Kompanie pulled back to an assembly area in terrain that they thought was clear of the enemy. As it grew dark, tank platoon leader Oberfeldwebel Paul Senft climbed out of his Panzer III to retrieve his flare pistol. He wanted to light up the area so his men could see if any of the enemy were approaching. He climbed back into the tank, but as he stuck his arm outside the turret and shot a flare into the sky a Soviet soldier fired at him and hit him in the right upper arm. His upper arm bone was broken and the wound bled profusely. His crew immediately applied first aid and tried to stop the bleeding. He was evacuated from the assembly area to the aid station by armored ambulance and shipped further back to a field hospital in Stalino (Donetsk).
My observation: It must have been by plane or train as that was very far back. Despite the best efforts of the hospital staff, Paul Senft died of his wound on 14 September in the field hospital. He was buried in the Heldenfriedhof at Stalino, Ukraine (now Donetsk).
Note: Paul is the only one of the brothers that I could find in the Volksbund registry, despite knowing that Gustav also died. Perhaps Gustav dying in the homeland or the fact it was a non-battle death have something to do with him not being listed. I know Herbert survived for sure due to his refugee (displaced person's) I.D. booklet. I do not know abut Heinz, but he is not listed in the Volksbund site so he may have survived.
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Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.
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Old 08-11-2019, 04:20 PM   #6
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From Paul's Wehrpass.
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Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:22 PM   #7
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Thanks for sharing these Todd!
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:56 PM   #8
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How interesting!
Different and interesting fates, quite a rare group from a family.
I find family groupings interesting, it gives certain depth how the war wasn't just an individual struggle but struggle of the nation and its families.

I sadly have just one family grouping. Let's hope for many more to both of us.

Ps. I'd love to see the extended research of each, you would have at least one reader here
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:46 AM   #9
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Amazing family group, can not wait to see what more you will find about those brothers.

Keep going.

Angel
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff V View Post
Thanks for sharing these Todd!
Thanks Jeff!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dansson View Post

Ps. I'd love to see the extended research of each, you would have at least one reader here
Thanks Dansson! I will post more information as I learn. I could already have posted a good bit more, but didn't want to make the posts into mini-novels. However, if I find out anything really important or interesting I will definitely post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel Farré View Post
Amazing family group, can not wait to see what more you will find about those brothers.

Keep going.

Angel
Thank-you Angel. I definitely intend to keep going as time permits. I always have several research project running at the same time because progress can be so uneven.
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Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:35 PM   #11
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Todd, great thread. Well presented. I really enjoy these personal histories. J
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:33 PM   #12
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Great grouping, very interesting.
I may have missed you mention it, but it seems Gustav and Paul in fact were twins as they share the same date of birth...
Martin
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:25 AM   #13
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Interesting and nice display of brother's fates.
Thank you for sharing.
derka
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacquesf View Post
Todd, great thread. Well presented. I really enjoy these personal histories. J
Thanks PJ! So do I.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Simon View Post
Great grouping, very interesting.
I may have missed you mention it, but it seems Gustav and Paul in fact were twins as they share the same date of birth...
Martin

Thanks Martin. You have a good eye. I forgot to mention it. I was juggling all of the information that I could post and trying to keep it to a manageable amount, and I now realize I completely forgot to mention that.


Quote:
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Interesting and nice display of brother's fates.
Thank you for sharing.
derka
Thanks Derka!


Quick and dirty side by side crop showing the twins:
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File Type: jpg together.jpg (123.9 KB, 139 views)
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Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:48 PM   #15
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Very, very interesting story of these brothers .thanks for sharing.
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