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Groupings and Individual Soldier's History Archive Forum Dedicated to the personal history of individual soldiers - any war, any country. One thread per individual. No 'looking for' or general comment threads.

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Old 04-15-2017, 04:26 AM   #61
Luft 76
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Probably one of the best and complete group I have seen ! And very complete work of research. A real model ! Indeed a poignant history.

Last edited by Luft 76; 04-15-2017 at 04:31 AM.
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Old 04-16-2017, 07:59 AM   #62
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Thankyou for sharing and how very sad.

In those days they did not know about PTSD which
maybe the cause of his suicide.

The family must have been devastated but its wonderful that
your putting his story out there not to be forgotten.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:16 AM   #63
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Thank you for the replies.

As some have pointed out, it is possible that Hans-Jürgen suffered from PTSD. Unfortunately I will never know for sure.

Although it is a sad piece, I do not mind at all if people have questions or want to discuss parts of his story and items. One of the reasons I posted this grouping was to give a better insight in the individual soldier.

I am still interested if anyone knows how it is possible to catch a dolphin with a teller mine. Is it possible to throw a live one in the water and let the pressure of the explosion kill the mammal (post #45)?
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Looking for Soldbücher and Wehrpässe of the 245. Infanterie-Division & the 256. Infanterie-Division/256. Volksgrenadier-Division
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:25 AM   #64
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Thank you for sharing this story. I was not expecting the final outcome either. I bet this sort of thing occurred more than we want to think about, on all sides.
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:15 AM   #65
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That's a great grouping. Field post is an underated collecting field, but you have used it to great effect with the other documents. R.I.P Hans.... Thanks for sharing..!
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Old 04-28-2017, 05:31 PM   #66
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Thank you for the replies.

I have some good news to share. The album of his commanding officer Ernst Hartig in post #27 is now in my possession! Hartig signed Hans-Jürgen's BWB document. Seems like I found the needle in a haystack.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hartig2.jpg (151.1 KB, 176 views)
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Old 05-27-2017, 12:33 PM   #67
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Thank you all for the replies.

I have been able to find more information about the last month of Hans-Jürgen's service in the war and so I wanted to present some bits here.

When Hans-Jürgen was stuck on the train late February to early March 1945, his 338. Infanterie-Division lost the city of Erkelenz. The divisional commander Generalmajor Wolf Ewert later wrote that Erkelenz could not be defended because many pieces only arrived by March 7th by train. By late February the town had already fallen.

In mid-March, after the arrival of Hans-Jürgen, Ewert also mentioned that the AA guns were useless in the current combat situations, which explains Hans-Jürgen's letter that he was not stationed anywhere near the frontline by that time:

Quote:
To reinforce the defences along the bank of the Rhine, the light and medium anti-aircraft batteries, about 15 guns in all, were left in position. The crew served as nothing more than alarm sentries. They had hardly any combat value, they consisted mainly of anti-aircraft gunners assistants.
Also, here you can read the after action report of the American 7th Armored Division from the day he was captured on April 12th (in Meinkenbracht in the south east region of the Ruhr Pocket).By early April, his unit was moved to this region. On April 16th the remaining elements of the 338. Infanterie-Division surrendered as well.

Quote:
On April 12th, the Division was finally able to use the terrain that was encountered to break completely through the system of defenses that had been attempted, end a speedy advance was marked up. The enemy was badly organized, and advances were made without serious difficulty. A terrific toll of prisoners was taken, including most of the staff of the LXXXI Corps, which had been controlling the sector in which the Division had been operating. It appeared that communications had completely broken down as far as the enemy was concerned, for this headquarters and others were completely out of touch with one another, and it had been impossible for them to keep abreast of the situation on their own fronts or on adjacent ones.

For the first time during the operation, the terrain encountered was other than completely a hindrance to the Division's operations. By turning west in the sector, the troops were able to reach out to roads and countryside that permitted limited operations off the main axis, and with this in mind, it was possible to get around the enemy's primary defenses and neutralize them without the resulting loss of speed of advance that had been experienced thus far in the operation. The Division was able to reach into the rear areas of the enemy's forces, and was able to effect a great deal of material damage to the troops on the ground, both in personnel and in equipment. The amount of equipment that was destroyed and overrun was so enormous that an estimate was not even to be attempted.

It was strange to note that while one force of the Division was able to record all of the aforementioned advances, it was impossible initially for another force to gain anything like the same speed due to the fact that it was operating in country in which most routes were canalized and even the feeblest efforts of the enemy were sufficient to delay the forces to an immeasurable degree. While the defenses that the enemy had were not defended as in the past, the mere presence of road blocks and the like were enough to slow down the advances, for there were few detouring routes that were available for use by the attacking forces.

It was estimated that during the period, over 4,000 prisoners were taken. In this lot were prisoners from all of the formations that had been previously contacted, plus a miscellany of odd units that were more or less employed without mission and without adequate supplies. There was some armor contacted during the period, but most of the prisoners from the armored units were fighting as infantry, if fighting at all, when captured.

In spite of the striking success that the Division enjoyed during the period, it was felt that the general scheme of the enemy's tactics had not been abandoned, and it was expected that more contact with terrain defenses and defense along roads would be encountered during future operations against the pocket. It was not at this time believed that the enemy was broken, but that he had suffered a temporary setback because he had not been prepared for an attack in the direction or the speed with which it had been launched. It was felt that a continued defense of critical features would be encountered, even though it might be of token nature, and by troops that were not of the opinion that their position was unimportant in the shole scheme of defense. The quality of the prisoners pointed to this fact rather conclusively; it did not appear that the general morale of the enemy had been at all broken.
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Looking for Soldbücher and Wehrpässe of the 245. Infanterie-Division & the 256. Infanterie-Division/256. Volksgrenadier-Division

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Old 06-05-2017, 02:51 PM   #68
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Very interesting story to read.
Thanks !
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:00 PM   #69
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Thank you very much for taking the time to share this with us! Putting the story together from his letters, and sharing photos must have taken quite some time! You have helped preserve the memory of this young man who got caught up in circumstances beyond his control, and did his best to cope positively, but was overwhelmed in the end.

Thank you for helping keep his memory alive! Do you know if his brother is still alive, or if he has passed away? I feel sure he would be glad to know you have shared his brother's story with us and helped ensure he and his family aren't forgotten!

Sincerely,
John
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:00 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John A. View Post
Thank you very much for taking the time to share this with us! Putting the story together from his letters, and sharing photos must have taken quite some time! You have helped preserve the memory of this young man who got caught up in circumstances beyond his control, and did his best to cope positively, but was overwhelmed in the end.

Thank you for helping keep his memory alive! Do you know if his brother is still alive, or if he has passed away? I feel sure he would be glad to know you have shared his brother's story with us and helped ensure he and his family aren't forgotten!

Sincerely,
John
Thank you for the kind words John. Unfortunately I do not know if his brother is still alive. I haven't been able to find an obituary, so it is likely that he is still alive. The former owner lost contact after he moved to a retirement home in 2015. Although I would really like to talk to him, I think it is for the best if I don't contact him. Perhaps he'll be disappointed that the former owner (who is also a young collector) sold it to me.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:06 AM   #71
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If the brother knew you and the care you have taken to research their story
and keep his brother's memory alive, I think he'd believe the collection is in
great hands, indeed!

I understand your reluctance to contact him, though. Thank you again!

Sincerely,
John
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Old 07-12-2017, 07:56 AM   #72
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Excellent research. Unfortunately too many brave soldiers, of all nationalities end up taking their own lives. These are the uncounted casualties of war. Regards Jim
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