Pages 32 and 33 will always be of great importance to any Wehrpass collector as they detail the actions the unit the soldier the Wehrpass belonged to was involved in. These come in many shapes and forms. Normally they take the form of handwritten entries but often printed entries stuck straight into the Wehrpass are also encountered, as in this particular case. In Hans’ case the war diary entries cover the progress of the 16th Infantry Division through its early participation in Operation Blau. It details the breakthrough battles and follow up operations up to the River Don. Hans also followed his Division into the Caucuses with actions at the Kuban river and the Kalmuk Steppes. The 16th Infantry (Mot) was also the unit that pushed its troops the further East as some of its recon elements came as close as 20kms to Astrakhan. As the tide turned Hans was also involved in the harsh retreat from the Caucuses after the surrounding of 6th Army at Stalingrad. His service record for 1943 is full of ‘Abwehrkampf/Abwehrschlacht’, defensive battles as the Red Army inexorably pushed Westwards. The names of the rivers (Mius, the Dontez, and the Dnepr) read as the different defensive lines where the Wehrmacht tried to make a stand and stem the Soviet steamroller. Still attached to a reconstituted 6th Army, Hans continues his service in the workshop company. In early 1944 elements of the 16th Motorised along with elements of other units are used to create the 116th Panzer Division, the Windhund Division famous for its involvement in the Normandy Campaign. Hans however seems to have to stayed deployed in the Reich as shown by the entry ‘Verwendung in Heimatskriegsgebiet’ (service on the Home Front Area of Operations).
Europa Point, the southern most point in Gibraltar, has undergone a recent beautification programme. The Gibraltar Lighthouse is located here and it offers stunning views of the Straits of Gibraltar and of Africa, a mere 14 kms away. The old toruist viewing platform has been done away with and an old 9.2 inch gun emplacement was uncovered in a very good condition. Hardings Battery allowed for three 9.2 inch coastal defence guns that would command the entrance to the straits from the south of Gibraltar. The other two emplacements lie to the right (West) of this one and have been filled in or concreted up. These photos were taken Christmas 2010 as the beautification works were starting. I havent seen the completed works yet and its an awful day weather wise here today but I do aim to go up there soon to take and add pics to this or a later post.
Here follow some photos of what was underneath!!! Kudos to the Heritage Society for fighting and winning its restoration.
06:00 Hours 9th June 1944
Allied pressure continues against both extremes of the defensive line. In the West American airborne units have been pushed back three times with heavy casualties in the River Mederet sector. In the East, several companies of Special forces units have hit the defensive lines of SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 25. Artillery support has broken up several attacks and elements of a commando battalion have been wiped out in the Capriquet area in a daring counter attack led by 1./SS.Pio.Btl.12. In the centre of the line near Balleroy, elements of Panzer Lehr have beaten back and routed elements of the US 1st Division that had gained a meager foothold over the River Drome. They are now digging in by the river bank and are closing the gap in our lines here until the 77th Infanterie Division begins to arrive in force. FJR 5 is also approaching the area to the East of Carentan to also plug gaps in our line that will soon come under pressure from American units breaking out of Utah Beach