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flamethrowerguy
11-01-2008, 09:15 PM
Hauptmann d. R. (Captain of Reserves) Egon Agtha – Germany’s highest decorated Ordnance Officer

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Egon Agtha was born on January 29th, 1918 in Berlin. He joined the Wehrmacht in autumn of 1938.
In 1939/1940 Agtha successfully completed the Wehrmachts first War Ordnance Seminar at the weapon-technological school in Halle (Saale). After the final examination he was provided to the Luftwaffe (german air force).
Due to an early explosion of a british dud in early 1942 at Sachsenhausen near Berlin Agtha (by that time “Oberfeuerwerker” = Ordnance Sergeant Major) suffered severe injuries at both his eyes which left him “practically blind” according to the expertise of t he Wehrmacht’s medical service.
But Egon Agtha didn’t give up on himself, at the “Silex Business School for Blind Persons” he was reskilled and subsequently passed the Officers’ schooling. As a Lietenant he returned to the Heer (Army).
The achievements of the Wehrmacht’s Ordnance Personnel was measured with help of a point system. The disarming of e.g. a bomb with long-term detonators was honoured with 9 points. A soldier needed 150 points on his “account” to be awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class, 450 points for the Iron Cross 1st Class, 2000 points for the German Cross in gold. The award of the Knight’s Cross was not intended at all.
Egon Agtha however was awarded this decoration because of his numerous deployments on February 3, 1945 as the leader of an ordnance squad in the Luftgau III (district) Berlin. Five weeks later, on March 12, 1945, for his sustained services –due to the continuous allied bombing raids- he was even awarded the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross as 778th soldier of the Wehrmacht by Adolf Hitler. Furthermore he was decorated with the Wounded badge in Gold because of his severe eye injuries.
Unfortunately Hauptmann Agtha was not destined to live to see the end of the war. On May 2nd, 1945 he and other members of his squad were killed in action in a firefight with soldiers of the Red Army during an attemptto break out of the encircled city of Berlin. Agthas comrade, Ordnance Sergeant Major Franz Böhm burried him near the Charlotten Bridge in Berlin-Spandau where the life of this brave officer had ended. After the war german war grave ministration salvaged the mortal remains of Hauptmann Agtha and buried him in his final resting place at the cemetery “In den Kisseln” in Berlin-Spandau.

navyson
11-02-2008, 07:25 AM
He was certainly proficient at disarming unexploded ordnance. If one disarming equalled 9 points. That's at least 200 bombs for the tally of his medals, not counting Knights Cross!

Major Walter Schmidt
11-02-2008, 06:25 PM
You might be better off looking in the Allied section....

cj_ady
11-12-2008, 02:22 PM
The germans had may special forces...Actualy all of them was part of a Special force ...and they all had a good thehnique "Blitzkrig"...now body cood stop them...But hey deed a big mestake by attaking the U.R.S.S...That wath cost them the war...:(:(...wath a shaim...

navyson
11-12-2008, 02:26 PM
The germans had may special forces...Actualy all of them was part of a Special force ...and they all had a good thehnique "Blitzkrig"...now body cood stop them...But hey deed a big mestake by attaking the U.R.S.S...That wath cost them the war...:(:(...wath a shaim...
It's a shame that Germany fought in WW2 and was devastated, but it's not a shame that they lost. If Germany hadn't lost, we would have been stuck with Hitler and his cronies.........

flamethrowerguy
11-12-2008, 06:16 PM
Hauptmann (Captain) Julius Erasmus - "The gravedigger of Vossenack (Hurtgenforest)"

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Julius Erasmus was born on February 16, 1895 in Aachen. Before the war he has been a textile manufacturer. In WW2 he served as a Captain in an engineer unit and took part in the battles in the Hurtgenforest himself. His remarkable achievements however started when he returned from the war, just to find out that his entire family was killed in the Battle of Aachen. From then on he lived withdrawn in a cabin in the Hurtgenforest.
"In summer of 1945 I returned to Vossenack. I had lost my family and my entire possessions. The war had taken everything from me. And there I found them...in the roadside ditches, on the edges of the forest, beneath shot trees. I couldn't stand seeing them lying around there, unburied and forgotten. It kept bothering me."
Erasmus then started to salvage the dead soldiers, to identify and to bury them. At first he buried about 120 bodies on the edges of the forest until the local community gave him a piece of land which should later become the german military cemetery of Vossenack. Also Erasmus got more helping hands by men from the surrounding villages and by Dr. Eschweiler, Vossenacks' parish priest. The work was dangerous, the forest was still mined and burning on many spots due to the ammunition lying around and igniting in the hot summer of 1945. About 100 volunteers died in this area during the salvaging of the dead and the mine clearing - among them Vossenacks' mayor Baptist Linzenich.
When the cemetery -located on the hard-fought Hill 470- was officially inaugurated by german Federal President Theodor Heuss in 1952, Julius Erasmus had laid 1569 fallen soldiers to rest (due to findings in the course of the decades 2221 soldiers from four nations are resting in Vossenack today, 930 of them still unknown).
After the work was done Julius Erasmus just vanished without a trace. Just recently it emerged that he died on September 3, 1971 in Nideggen-Abenden in the Eifel Mountains.

http://www.huertgenwald.de/kontakt_photo/image038.jpg
Plate and placard for Julius Erasmus at the Military Cemetery at Vossenack.

http://www.huertgenwald.de/kontakt_photo/image040.jpg
Memorial for Julius Erasmus also at the Military Cemetery at Vossenack.

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The cemetery today, the "most prominent" soldier who is buried here is Field Marshal Walter Model (suicide on April 21, 1945 in the Ruhr pocket), the only german Field Marshal to be buried among common soldiers.

flamethrowerguy
11-26-2008, 06:27 PM
Feldwebel Gereon Goldmann - "There's no way I'm going to shoot!"

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Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler attends a maneuver in Eastern Germany in winter of 1940, also the so-called "Regenwurmlager" (earthworm camp) of Franciscan seminarians who were transferred from the Wehrmacht into the Waffen-SS to get them "in line".
Among others Himmler takes Gereon Goldmann to task and gets an astonishing sullen answer to his question why Goldmann would disobey an order to shoot. "There's no way I'm going to shoot! I want to become a priest and a priest doesn't shoot. Furthermore I want to get re-assigned to the Wehrmacht." Surprisingly Himmler has a certification issued to the young man allowing him free practice of his faith. And: Goldmann is displaced back to the Wehrmacht.
On January 30, 1944 Goldmann -now a medic with connections to the german resistance- is captured on Sicily by allied troops. He achieves the ordination to the priesthood on June 24, 1944 and is sentenced to death by the French in January 1946 in the prison of Meknes/Morocco. The allegation: Goldmann is a war criminal, eventually he was with the Waffen-SS. On January 27, 1946 he is supposed to step in front of the firing squad. Goldmann reacts immediately and sends a letter in latin to Pope Pius XII. on whose explicit wish Goldmann was hallowed to a priest two and a half years before. Thirty minutes before the execution a telephonic message stops the firing squad. The charge is withdrawn, Goldmann gets released. Indefatigably the Franciscan campaigns for the poor, the bedraggled and the aged. Until 1947 he acts as minister in POW camps in North Africa, from 1948-1953 as pastor in Germany. Father Gereon travels to Japan in 1954 and performs 24 years of pastoral care in Tokyo. Mainly however, he collects money, a lot of money - within 40 years of mission work he collects about 30 million US Dollar of bounties.
Father Gereon Goldmann, former member of the Waffen-SS, died on July 26, 2003 in the Franciscan convent of Fulda/Germany aged 86.

navyson
11-26-2008, 07:11 PM
"The allegation: Goldman is a war criminal, eventually he was with the Waffen SS"

FTG, Am I getting that right, that he was pressed into service with the Waffen SS after all?

flamethrowerguy
11-27-2008, 04:08 AM
"The allegation: Goldman is a war criminal, eventually he was with the Waffen SS"

FTG, Am I getting that right, that he was pressed into service with the Waffen SS after all?

Yes, together with several other fellow Christians to refuse to use weapons.

kamehouse
11-27-2008, 07:09 AM
But why would the French government would want him dead?They didn't condemned most of the soldiers of the "Das Reich" division who took part of the massacre of Ouradour-sur-Glanes,why would they want to shoot him then?

flamethrowerguy
11-27-2008, 09:01 AM
But why would the French government would want him dead?They didn't condemned most of the soldiers of the "Das Reich" division who took part of the massacre of Ouradour-sur-Glanes,why would they want to shoot him then?

Less the french government, more the french military jurisdiction. The accusations were: designated national socialist, executioner and/or head of KZ Dachau (!!!, source is Goldmann's "homepage": http://www.lumpensammler.info/sites/frameset.htm)

kamehouse
11-27-2008, 11:55 AM
Thanks for the link.Some discrepancies though it says he had contact with the german resistance responsible of the July 44 bomb plot.He was arrested (what does strafversetzt means?) in France in September 1943.Why would he be arrested when France was still under German occupation?Also what kind of courier service he has been doing in France and Italy?For the german army or resistance.
Very interesting case either way.Thanks Flamethrowerguy.

flamethrowerguy
11-27-2008, 05:46 PM
Goldmann was under arrest -due to an anew disobeying- until the end of 1943. After his release he received a disciplinary transfer (=strafversetzt;)) to France and later to Sicily.
While being on furlough he got in touch with Adam von Trott zu Solz (executed August 26, 1944 in Berlin), a german jurist, diplomat and one of the most distinguished members of the german resistance. For him Goldmann acted as a courier of secret resistance messages.

kamehouse
11-28-2008, 06:10 AM
Goldmann was under arrest -due to an anew disobeying- until the end of 1943. After his release he received a disciplinary transfer (=strafversetzt;)) to France and later to Sicily.
While being on furlough he got in touch with Adam von Trott zu Solz (executed August 26, 1944 in Berlin), a german jurist, diplomat and one of the most distinguished members of the german resistance. For him Goldmann acted as a courier of secret resistance messages.
Thanks for clarifying this for me.It makes more sense.Shame he couldn't prove his actions with the German resistance to the French tribunal.
Again top info as usual.

flamethrowerguy
01-21-2009, 01:04 PM
Hauptmann WILM HOSENFELD (*May 2nd 1895 in Mackenzell/Germany; +August 13th 1952 in Stalingrad/Russia).


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No outstanding military achievements (he was the provost of the german sport school in Warsaw)were done by this soldier but he saved the live of many jewish and polish people by hiding and feeding them. One of them was the polish-jewish pianist Władysław Szpilman known from the Roman Polanski movie "The Pianist". He wasn't given thanks for his engagement though, Hosenfeld died 1952 in a POW camp near Stalingrad from rupture of the thoracic aorta.

In the movie:
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flamethrowerguy
04-07-2009, 10:52 AM
Bernd "Bert" Trautmann aka "Traut, the Kraut"

http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/44139-4/trautkraut http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,403484,00.jpg

Bernhard Carl ''Bert'' Trautmann (born October 22, 1923 in Bremen, Germany), Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Trautmann was a paratrooper in the Wehrmacht in WW2, captured by the Red Army in western Russia. He managed to escape and was re-captured by British forces near the end of the war. It is told that during the capture British soldiers yelled at him: 'Hello Fritz, fancy a cup of tea?' Trautmann was tranfered to POW Camp 50 in Ashton-in-Makerfield.
After his captivity he remained in England, becoming a football goalkeeper at one of England's top clubs Manchester City. In the beginning he had to deal with open animosities by the British football fans. "Off with the German!", 20000 shouted in the streets and many even returned their season tickets to the club. But a letter of the Rabbi of Manchester, Dr. Alexander Altmann, and Trautmanns' distinguished performances on the pitch changed the hostile climate. In the FA Cup final of 1956 -which was won with 3:1 against Birmingham City - 'Bert' Trautmann (the English could hardly pronounce 'Bernd') broke his neck a quarter before the end of the match after a collision with an opponent. He ended the game with a broken neck and five dislocated cervicals. Doctors still call it a wonder that Trautmann survived.

Trautmann holding his broken neck after the victorious FA Cup final of 1956:
http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/multimedia/photo_gallery/0806/playing.in.pain/images/bert-Trautmann.jpg

flamethrowerguy
06-12-2009, 05:14 AM
2nd Lieutenant Ludwig Bauer (*February 16, 1923), leader 1st Company/Panzer-Regiment 33

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To me it was quite interesting to read that Lt. Bauer was lucky enough to survive 9 KO's of tanks/assault guns he had been a crew member of - although being wounded 7 times. The knock-out's are listed as follows:

1. Bauer's Panzer II received a direct hit by a KV-2 (!!!) on November 16, 1941 near Tula/Central Russia. Drive and radio operator got killed.

2. Soviet AT gun hit on Panzer III's turret at Tim River crossing, June 28, 1942. Tank commander Lieutenant Sirse killed.

3. During the tank battle near Woronesh on July 7, 1942 Bauer's Panzer III got rammed and subsequently hit by a KV-1.

4. Direct hit of Soviet 17.2mm artillery shell on Panzer III (lang) near Shisdra, August 24, 1942. Three crew members heavily wounded.

5. On December 14, 1942 near Byeloi/Rshew AT gun hits on Panzer III (lang) driver's and gunner's hatch. 1 crew member killed, 3 wounded.

6. AT hit on right side of Panzer IV (lang) near Kriwoy Rog on January 10, 1944. Loader and gunner heavily wounded.

7. 12.2mm AT shell hit on Panzer IV (lang) two days later on January 12, 1944 near Sofievka. Gunner's hip shattered.

8. Late March 1945 Bauer's Stug III gets hit by an enemy tank (US this time) near Eiserfeld/Germany. 1 KIA, 1 WIA.

9. April 10, 1945 near Erndtebrück/Germany a German Hetzer hits his Panther on the left side.

Lt. Bauer was awarded the Knight's Cross on April 29, 1945 which made him the last KC holder of 9th Panzer-Division. After the war Bauer joined the Bundeswehr and was retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

flamethrowerguy
08-15-2009, 08:01 AM
Hauptmann Franz von Werra - The one that got away

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Baron Franz von Werra was born on July 13, 1914 in Leuk/Switzerland. Due to economical reasons his parents gave him and his sister up for adoption. This way the children came to the nonparous Major Oswald Carl and his wife in Germany. In August 1917 Franz von Werra obtained German citizenship.
During the reconstruction of the German air force v. Werra volunteered and became a fighter pilot.
In WW2 he flew missions (Bf-109) in Poland and France until he was shot down during a dogfight near Winchet Hill (south of London) on September 5, 1940. He had to make a crash landing on a field and was arrested by members of the British Home Guard. Werra's opponent in this crucial dogfight was either one 1st Lieutenant Webster of No. 41 Squadron or Basil Gerald 'Stapme' Stapleton of No. 603 Squadron (different version exist).
After three weeks of interrogation in London Baron von Werra was brought to a POW Camp at Grizedale in Northern England.
Here he started several escape attempts, e.g. he tried to impersonate a Dutch pilot of the RAF and was arrested at gunpoint already sitting in the cockpit of a Hurricane at Huckknall airfield.
In January 1941 he was one of 1000 German POW's shipped to Canada on the "Dutchess of York". During a train transport through Canada v. Werra managed to escape again and made it to the (still neutral) USA by crossing the frozen St. Lawrence River. Via South America, Africa, Spain and Italy he returned to Germany where he was celebrated like a media star, Franz v. Werra (who was said to have a somewhat snobbish attitude by comrades and enemies) was received by both Göring and Hitler and was awarded the Knight's Cross.
In June 1941 he was re-deployed as commader of 1st Group/Jagd-Geschwader 53 in Russia, raising his aerial victories to 21.
In September 1941 his unit was tranferred to Holland for coast protection. During a training flight above the North Sea on October 25, 1941 his Bf-109 got in technical problems. His last radio message was reported "My engine is pissed, try crash landing". Since then Franz von Werra is MIA, his body was never recovered.

Hauptmann von Werra's Bf-109 after the crash landing in England:
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About him and his story a book was published (The One That Got Away by Kendall Burt and James Leasor, London, 1956) and a movie made (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050803/)

Panzerknacker
08-15-2009, 08:55 AM
To escape and then get killed in a routine flight, that is a strange combination of lucks. Schön info here.

flamethrowerguy
08-15-2009, 09:02 AM
To escape and then get killed in a routine flight, that is a strange combination of lucks.

Yup, isn't it. This was the main reason for me to mention the guy.


Schön info here.

No hay de que!

Rising Sun*
08-15-2009, 09:37 AM
About him and his story a ... movie made (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050803/)

Quite a good film.

I first saw it as a kid or early teenager in the early 1960s and have seen it several times since.

The film is the sum of my knowledge about von Werra, but the comment about him being a bit snobbish is interesting as Hardy Kruger came across that way in the film.

It's often the case that people who do extraordinary things in demanding occupations (such as fighter pilots, racing car drivers, surgeons, and barristers) have a large ego. Without it, many of them wouldn't achieve what they do.

flamethrowerguy
10-29-2009, 03:25 PM
Major Robert Borchardt - a Jewish Knight's Cross holder in the Wehrmacht

http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/50913-2/Borchardt_+Robert_Major

Major ROBERT BORCHARDT (*January 9, 1912 in Munich; +March 10, 1985 in Pullach near Munich). Knight's Cross received as commander of the armoured scout company/motorized recce battalion 341. The man who earned his high decoration in the hot deserts of Northern Africa actually was a so-called "unwanted person" in according to race laws of Nuremberg. His Jewish father was inmate of the concentration camp Dachau and emigrated to the UK in 1938. Why did a (half-) jew fight for Nazi Germany? Major Borchardt: "I served to prove that Hitlers race-nonsense was all wrong. I wanted to prove that people of Jewish ancestry in fact were brave and courageous soldiers."
Originally Borchardt was part of "Sonderverband 288", a special unit that was meant to secure the Persian oilfields in case of a successful German advance. Eventually he was transferred to North Africa. As a regimental leader Borchardt was heavily wounded and captured by British forces near El Alamein on October 28, 1942. After spending 4 years in British and Canadian POW camps he was send home. After the war he became press relations officer of the German embassy in Washington D.C.

flamethrowerguy
07-20-2013, 05:05 AM
Bernd "Bert" Trautmann aka "Traut, the Kraut"

http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/44139-4/trautkraut http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,403484,00.jpg

Bernhard Carl ''Bert'' Trautmann (born October 22, 1923 in Bremen, Germany), Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Trautmann was a paratrooper in the Wehrmacht in WW2, captured by the Red Army in western Russia. He managed to escape and was re-captured by British forces near the end of the war. It is told that during the capture British soldiers yelled at him: 'Hello Fritz, fancy a cup of tea?' Trautmann was tranfered to POW Camp 50 in Ashton-in-Makerfield.
After his captivity he remained in England, becoming a football goalkeeper at one of England's top clubs Manchester City. In the beginning he had to deal with open animosities by the British football fans. "Off with the German!", 20000 shouted in the streets and many even returned their season tickets to the club. But a letter of the Rabbi of Manchester, Dr. Alexander Altmann, and Trautmanns' distinguished performances on the pitch changed the hostile climate. In the FA Cup final of 1956 -which was won with 3:1 against Birmingham City - 'Bert' Trautmann (the English could hardly pronounce 'Bernd') broke his neck a quarter before the end of the match after a collision with an opponent. He ended the game with a broken neck and five dislocated cervicals. Doctors still call it a wonder that Trautmann survived.

Trautmann holding his broken neck after the victorious FA Cup final of 1956:
http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/multimedia/photo_gallery/0806/playing.in.pain/images/bert-Trautmann.jpg


Bert Trautmann died yesterday in Spain aged 89.

royal744
07-31-2013, 01:10 PM
Very interesting, FTG