Invasion ist com. Normandie!

16:00 Hours 8th June 1944

Urgent message was received by 84th Army Korps sent by 8./G.R.916 stationed at Balleroy. It reported being under heavy attack by elements of 1st US Division. It had repulsed two attacks at company strength but only did so due to heavy artillery support, something the Americans were sure to counter. Reinforcements were urgently being requested. Elements of Panzer Lehr Division were on their way to plug the gap between the Schnelle Brigade 30 and the 352nd Infanterie Division.

 

Panzer Lehr moves to counter 1st US Division at Balleroy

Invasion ist com. Normandie!

14:00 Hours 8th June 1944

84th Army Corps is urgently requesting the presence of another HQ to help coordinate the battle as the number of divisions increase. Though I SS Panzer Corps has already been deployed in the theatre the bulk of the German divisions on the Invasion Front are Heer units. With Panzer Lehr already on the scene and the 77th Infanterie Division arriving, command and control issues are sure to arise. On the battlefront itself Canadian and British troops are converging on Caen. the 12th SS Panzer has already been engaged by British units in the vicinity of Capriquet Airfield

 

Wehrpass Hans Meier

Page 3 of the Wehrpass held the personal information of the soldier, his place and date of birth and boxes 3 and 4. His nationality in box 5, more often than not it was Deutsch Reich (often abbrieviated to DR). However there are many cases of Volksdeutsch (people of German origin) Wehrpass holders that also have which country they hail from (I have a Wehrpass in my collection to a soldier whose nationality is DR Rom, ie a Volksdeutsch from Romania). Hans Meier was from Silesia in Prussia, now a part of Poland. Boxes 6 and 7 tell us his religion and marital status (Hans was a Lutheran and was single at the time of issue and if a soldier married this section was updated). Box 8 tells us what the soldier’s civilain occupation was and in Hans’ case he was an ‘Autoschlosser’, ie a car mechanic. This makes total sense with his posting in the motor pool of the 16th ID.

The soldier’s photograph was attached on page 2, normally stuck to the page and stamped at both corners. The soldier was also required to sign his photograph. Page 4 would detail the soldier’s education and any skills or qualifications obtained in civilian life. Being an auto mechanic (Autoschlosser in Box 8) Hans had a full drivers license and as such was issued with a military divers license that also came with this grouping. This were printed on seal paper and usually also carried the soldier’s photo, though not in this case.

Cover Page

The number you see on the stamp is the Feld Post Nummer of the unit he served in. Sort of a military postal address for correspondence, FPN 41944 belonged to :

(30.7.1941-28.2.1942) Kraftwagen-Werkstatt-Zug 550,

(12.3.1943-7.9.1943) Kraftwagen-Werkstatt-Zug 566,

both the units he served in as we shall see. This FPN can also be seen on the stamp of his Ost Medaille Urkunde.

Inside view. Photo would have gone on the right.

The word ‘verbrennungsmaschine’ means combustion engines, so he could drive petrol driven motorbikes, cars and lorries.

Wehrpass Hans Meier

Wehrpasse were issued to all men of military age that were called up by their Wehrkries, a regional unit that controlled recruitment across the areas of the Reich. They managed the flow of replacements into the Ersatz und Ausbildung Battalions (Training Units) defore the recruits entered front line service. There are three types of cover for Wherpass. The early and pre-war Wehrpass had an stylised eagle with dropped wings. The mid and later war Wehrpass had a more military looking eagle with straight wings, The main difference is that the late war Wehrpass has the word ‘Wehrpass’ printed in Latin print rather than the Gothic used in the earlier versions. Hans Meier’s Wehrpass is of the Mid-War Type, an example cover is shown below.

Mid-War Wehrpass

 

In the small box occupying the top right hand corner of the pass the owners initial would be printed, this would aide clerks rifiling through filing cabinets at the units depot. The branch of service would often be stamped on or written in the alrge rectangle under the eagle. The words ‘Heer’ (Army), Luftwaffe (Air Force), Kriegsmarine (Navy), or Waffen SS (Armed SS) would normally be printed here but not all the time.

The first page would include the soldier’s Wehrnummer, that would be replicted in the Unit’s Stammrollen. His name as well as his ID Number (If applicable not in this case), his Workbook number (Nummer des Arbeitsbuches) and his dog tag number (Erkennungsmarke). In Hans’ case his dog tag was stamped Kw.Werkstattzug.550/5. The bottom half of the page held all the administrative information of the Wehrbezrikskommando.

Aldershot 0 Manchester United 3

Match corresponding to the League Cup, 4th Round. Aldershot play in League Two, ie three divisions lower than United as teams from all Leagues participate in this competition. Sir Alex Ferguson ends to shuffle his sqaud for these games and traditionally the League Cup has served as a blooding ground for young layers and it also serves as game time for those senior squad members not getting regular games for the first side. As such there were eleven changes from the debacle at Old Trafford against City on Sunday and there was a fair mix of youth and experience. The result was never in doubt though as United were clearly superior to their lower league opponents. Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia scored United’s goals.

Manchester United Team

40 Ben Amos

51 Ezekiel Fryers

15 Nemanja Vidic

4   Phil Jones

20 Fabio Da Silva

32 Mame Biram Diouf

23 Tom Cleverley

13 Ji-Sung Park

25 Antonio Valencia (Goal)

10 Dimitar Berbatov (Goal)

9   Micheal Owen (Goal)

SUBSTITUES

Paul Pogba for Tom Cleverley

Micheal Keane for Ezekiel Fryers

Ravel Morrison for Mame Biram Diouf

 

Wehrpass Hans Meier

Hans Meier was also awarded the Ost Medaille. The ‘East Medal’, Winterschalcht im Osten, was a highly coveted award that was given by soldiers that had served on the Eastern Front between November 17th 1941 and April 26th 1942. The award criteria was as follows:

  • 14 days served in active combat within the specified area between November 15, 1941 – April 15, 1942
  • 60 days served in specified area between November 15, 1941 – April 15, 1942, non-combat
  • Wounded in action
  • Killed in action (posthumous award)
  • Injury caused by frostbite (or another injury related to the climate) severe enough to warrant the issue of a Wound Badge

As Hans joined his Division in January 1942 he more than met the second criteria for its award. Due to the large numbers of frostbitten cases during this period it was  know as ‘The Order of the Frozen Flesh’ by the troops, unofficially of course! Over 3,000,000 were awarded and a ribbon in red, white and black was won in the same button hole as the ribbon for the Iron Cross Second Class, the Ost Medaille ribbon worn at an angle just below that of the Iron Cross. The award was introduced on the 26th May 1942 and there are a plethora of dates and issuing units on the many Urkunde issued. Here is Hans’:

A photo of Hans’s Medal

War Merit Cross with Swords

from Wiki

Grounds for award

This award was created by Adolf Hitler in 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars (same medal but with a different ribbon). The award was graded the same as the Iron Cross: War Merit Cross Second Class, War Merit Cross First Class, and Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross. The award had two variants: with swords given to soldiers for exceptional service in battle above and beyond the call of duty (but not worthy of an Iron Cross which was more a bravery award), and without swords for meritorious service behind the lines which could also be awarded to civilians. Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level. There was also another version below the 2nd class simply called the War Merit Medal (German: Kriegsverdienstmedaille), set up in 1940 for civilians in order to offset the large number of 2nd class without swords being awarded. It was usually given to those workers in factories who significantly exceeded work quotas.

One notable winner of the War Merit Cross was William Joyce (aka Lord Haw-Haw) who received both the second and first class, both without swords. Recipients of the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross customarily received the medal from holders of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, to symbolize the link between the combat soldier and their supporters, who helped maintain the war effort.

There was one extra grade of the War Merit Cross, which was created at the suggestion of Albert Speer: The Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross in Gold, but this was never officially placed on the list of national awards as it came about in 1945 and there was no time to officially promulgate the award before the war ended. The Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross in Gold (without swords) was awarded ‘on paper’ to two recipients on 20 April 1945: Franz Hahne and Karl-Otto Saur.

The ribbon of the War Merit Cross was in red-white-black-white-red; that was, the red and black colors being reversed from the ribbon of the World War II version of the Iron Cross. The ribbon for the War Merit Medal was similar, but with a narrow red vertical red strip in the center of the black field. Soldiers who earned the War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords wore a small crossed-swords device on the ribbon. The War Merit Cross 1st Class was a pin-backed medal worn on the pocket of the tunic (like the Iron Cross 1st Class). The ribbon of the War Merit Cross 2nd Class could be worn like the ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd Class (through the third buttonhole).

Combat soldiers tended to hold the War Merit Cross in low regard, referring to its wearers as being in ‘Iron Cross Training’, and prior to 28 September 1941, the War Merit Cross could not be worn with a corresponding grade of the Iron Cross, which took precedence.

A total of 118 awards of the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross with swords, and 137 awards of the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross without swords were awarded. Considering the relative rarity of the award compared with the grades of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, it took on extra meaning. For example, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring made a concerted effort to get Hitler to award him this order, much to Hitler’s annoyance. In response, Hitler outlined a series of criteria governing the awarding of this decoration and the philosophy of such awards, and directed that “prominent party comrades” were not to be awarded with the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross (or similar decorations), and withdrew the proposed awards of this order to Gauleiter Erich Koch and State Secretary Karl Hanke. Directing his comments at Göring personally, Hitler ordered that such attempts to gain this award be stopped (from a letter dated 27 August 1943 from Führerhauptquartier). Also, the scarcity of the award of the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross compared with the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross gave it an “air of exclusiveness” it did not really deserve, as it ranked below the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.

Six persons received two Knights Cross’ of the War Merit Cross (one with Swords and one without Swords): Walter Brugmann, Julius Dorpmuller, Karl-Otto Saur, Albin Sawatzki, Walter Schreiber, and Walter Rohlandt.