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Thread: Special German Soldiers

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    Bernd "Bert" Trautmann aka "Traut, the Kraut"



    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:
    Last edited by flamethrowerguy; 06-11-2009 at 06:42 PM.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

  2. #17
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    2nd Lieutenant Ludwig Bauer (*February 16, 1923), leader 1st Company/Panzer-Regiment 33

    BL-Lt.jpg

    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.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    Hauptmann Franz von Werra - The one that got away

    Werra, Baron Franz von_Hauptmann.jpg

    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:
    werra109.jpg

    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/)
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

  4. #19
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    To escape and then get killed in a routine flight, that is a strange combination of lucks. Schön info here.

  5. #20
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Panzerknacker View Post
    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!
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

  6. #21
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    Quote Originally Posted by flamethrowerguy View Post
    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.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  7. #22
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    Major Robert Borchardt - a Jewish Knight's Cross holder in the Wehrmacht



    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.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

  8. #23
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    Quote Originally Posted by flamethrowerguy View Post
    Bernd "Bert" Trautmann aka "Traut, the Kraut"



    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:

    Bert Trautmann died yesterday in Spain aged 89.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

  9. #24
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    Default Re: Special German Soldiers

    Very interesting, FTG

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