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    80 years ago today

    Good evening gents,

    I didn't see another Thread on this subject so thought I'd start this one. Today marks 80 years since WW2 began and although it's not a date that should be celebrated with fanfare, it is one that should be remembered as it has impacted in one way or another all of our lives.

    Remember the tragedies and triumphs and all those who suffered.

    vr

    Bob
    Last edited by Waffenreich; 09-01-2019, 05:37 PM.

    #2
    Blitzkrieg and the combined arms concept.

    My collection is set-up chronologically from 1 Sep 39 - Sep 45. This vignette represents the principal forces used in "Fall Weiß" (Case White - codename for the invasion of Poland).

    The pilot represents the Luftwaffe which struck the opening blows, followed by a crewman from the Schleswig=Hostein. Representing the land spearhead are an Infantry Soldat from IR 33 and a Leutnant from Pz Rgt 6. All items in this vignette (including the Heereskarte) are dated 1939 or earlier.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Waffenreich; 09-01-2019, 06:44 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      These images are from a set of slides I found at the SOS 2 years ago that appear to show various phases of the Polish campaign. The image clarity in-hand when properly illuminated is superb.

      The Sterbebild honors one of the first German casualties of the campaign.
      Attached Files

      Comment


        #4
        A friend who was a company commander in AA 3 told me the brief story about how on the first morning his men were invited to eat breakfast on the farm of his grandparents as they advanced into Poland. No other details to recall, just an unusual event on 1 September 1939. He was determined that he would not marry during the course of the war as he felt the chance of surviving was rather unlikely. Two brothers died within two weeks of one another on the eastern front in 1942, but he and another brother survived. His father was drafted into the Volkssturm and was never again seen.

        Comment


          #5
          Interesting story and thanks for posting it.

          Here are a couple of more enlargements of the slides to keep the theme of this Thread going.
          Attached Files

          Comment


            #6
            Bob, great thread and presentation. J

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jacquesf View Post
              Bob, great thread and presentation. J
              Thanks Jacques. I plan on adding items to this Thread over the next year as items in my collection correspond to the days and events.

              I encourage others to do the same as time allows please.

              Regards!

              Bob

              Comment


                #8
                Image from the slides showing a Waffen-SS medical officer and unknown officer standing before the Dirschau Bridge days after German troops seized it on 2 September.

                "Operation Dirschau was a German operation, the first genuinely military undertaking of World War II, designed to ensure the survival of the railway bridge over the lower reaches of the Vistula river at Tczew (Dirschau in German) in northern Poland, which the Germans needed for their advance across northern Poland to link East Prussia and Pomerania in ‘Weiss’ (1 September 1939).
                The strategic background to the undertaking was the need of Generaloberst Fedor von Bock’s Heeresgruppe ‘Nord’ to push General Günther von Kluge’s 4th Army eastward across the ‘Danzig corridor’ as rapidly as possible from the main body of Germany to link with General Georg von Küchler’s 3rd Army in East Prussia.
                The bridge was of strategic importance, and as the threat of war loomed increasingly closer, the Polish government in August 1939 ordered that all the bridges across the Vistula river be fitted with gates, rail locks and demolition charges. This was noted by the Germans, who planned a special forces raid to secure the bridge at Tczew. A scheduled German freight train was to cross the bridge immediately before the start of hostilities, and this would require the Poles to open the locks and gates. At this point German warplanes were to attack and destroy the local command post and the firing wires connecting it with the bridges using information which, before this, the pilots of the Junkers Ju 87 dive-bombers had fixed in their minds while travelling as passengers on the railway service. Immediately after the destruction from the air of the Poles' ability to demolish the bridge, pioneer parties of the 41st Pionierbataillon hidden on the train were to disembark, strip the detonators from the demolition charges, and drive the Polish defenders away from the target area. Finally, a following armed freight train was to destroy any surviving Polish defenders and disgorge men to hold the bridge until relieved by advancing German grounds forces.

                The Polish railway administration had been informed that on 1 September a German freight train of 65 wagons would pass over the railway bridge. At 03.08, the train crossed from East Prussia into Poland, and steamed into Marienburg (now Malbork) for the locomotive to be changed. The change was performed by German railway personnel in Polish uniforms after the Polish workers had been killed: these latter thus became the first casualties of the yet-undeclared World War II. Behind this first train which, as noted above, was operating a scheduled service, there followed a second but unscheduled armoured train, whose personnel killed most of Polish railway staff they encountered. However, in one village a Polish officer became suspicious and began to examine the first train’s cargo and transit papers, which caused a 15-minute slip in the train’s schedule and caused the second train began to close on the first. The German special forces personnel who had occupied the Polish checkpoints in the Danzig corridor became so worried that they shot 20 of the Polish railway and customs personnel they had seized, but even so one of the Poles was able to telephone and warn Tczew defenses before he was killed.

                The Polish defenders immediately closed and locked the gates, and prepared to blow the bridge before the Germans could arrive at 04.45.
                At 04.26 three Ju 87B-1 dive-bombers took off from Elbing, and seven minutes later destroyed their targets at the bridge: the first of the Stukas' bombs landed 12 minutes before the official start of the war, which was signaled by the shelling of Westerplatte at 04.45 by the 280- and 150-mm (11- and 5.9-in) guns of the training ship (ex-predreadnought battleship) Schleswig-Holstein.

                Even though the Poles could not blow the bridge, the two German trains could not start to cross, and the fixed defenses denied the special forces the ability to undertake their tasks. With the freight train halted well to the east of the bridge, the armored train could not use its firepower effectively even from a position close behind the freight train. At a point 110 yards (100 m) to the east of the bridge, the German troops clambered out of the freight train but could not successfully approach even as the Polish defenders worked feverishly to complete new firing circuits for the demolition charges. At 06.10 the Poles managed to blow the eastern bridge pier, and 30 minutes later the western pier, and the outer spans of the bridge collapsed into the Vistula river.

                German troops took the destroyed bridges one day later, and by 15 October German engineers had completed a single-track temporary rail bridge. A year after the explosion, the new double-track bridge went into operation, and this was almost wholly destroyed by the Germans during the evening of 8 March 1945 as they pulled back from the Soviet advance toward Germany."

                Source: https://codenames.info/operation/dirschau/
                Attached Files

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jacquesf View Post
                  Bob, great thread and presentation. J

                  Amen. Superb presentation.


                  The Sterbebild is unusual to me in that it names his unit (PR 35). I am used to them being vague (I believe on purpose for security measures) and just say something like "Gefreiter in einer Panzertruppe". Perhaps at the very beginning of the war they were more lax about that.
                  Todd
                  Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Very nice display Bob! I'd like to assemble a Polish Campaign display myself someday. This summer I visited the ruins of the Westerplatte fortress in Danzig/Gdansk as well as the radio station in Gleiwitz where the SS staged a phony Polish attack to help justify the invasion. Interesting to think how both cities were German before the war, and are now entirely Polish.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Gleiwitz

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Defence of Westerplatte is a very symbolic episode of the September campaign in 1939 for Polish people. 182 defenders armed mostly with small arms, 4 81mm mortars, 2 36mm anti tank cannons and one 105mm cannon resisted multiple German units supported by airpower and Schezwig Holstein's firepower. Amazingly only 15 of them were killed during fighting. Their commander Major Sucharski after surrender was honored by German captors by allowing him to carry his sword in the prison camp.

                        Posted pictures show one of 4 or 5 bunkers, which exist till today except one that was blown up during fighting and ruins are the remnants of the main building, where officers and soldiers resided.

                        Jack

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Gents,

                          Thanks for taking the time to add to this Thread. Your pics of Gleiwitz and commentary on Westerplatte are excellent.

                          Todd,

                          It was not common, but not unheard of for early "Sterbes" to identify the soldier's unit.

                          Let's keep this going please

                          Regards!

                          Bob

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Waffenreich View Post
                            Gents,
                            Todd,

                            It was not common, but not unheard of for early "Sterbes" to identify the soldier's unit.

                            Bob

                            Roger that. That's what I figured. Early and even then still not common.
                            Todd
                            Seeking photographs of Joachim Tiesler, DKiG Stalingrad, 3rd I.D. (mot.) and Clemens Freiherr von Fürstenberg, DKiG 7th Panzer Division.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Excellent! I'm glad you started this thread. I was thinking about it, great you did. This will keep us busy till September 2025. It will be huge!

                              Will need to get it pinned.

                              Comment

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