Author Topic: The only ones we caught were the wounded  (Read 881 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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The only ones we caught were the wounded
« on: April 25, 2020, 17:56:55 »
Below is an account from a German soldier on the British Airborne during the battle of Arnhem.

They Were Like The Bulldogs Their Leader Talked About
– Osker Kronebusch

Ever since the battle started the British had fought like trapped rabid dogs, not willing to give a centimetre even though we constantly bombarded them day and night. But those last two days before the final surrender were among the worst days I’ve ever experienced. I’d faced these very same Falchemjagers (Paratroopers) at Normandy and knew they didn't understand the meaning of defeat, even then they were like the famous British bulldog that their leader liked to talk about, fearless.

They must have known the end was near and it was now only a matter of time before we would finally overrun them. They had no way of getting food or ammunition and were fighting in small groups cut off from outside support.

Our orders were to destroy the houses they were in by using our heavy guns, Panzers and the new Sturmgeschütz III that had arrive by train a few days before. Initially they had some heavy anti-tank weapons, but the ones capable of destroying our biggest Panzers had either been destroyed or had run out of ammunition, as had their shoulder fired ones. But still many of them refused to give in and consequently they died in cellars, in houses, in their trenches, firing their weapons until they had no more ammunition, after which they often charged us with bayonets, screaming like madman; we had no option but to cut them down, or in many cases literally blow the houses down around their ears with them still inside when they refused to come out.

Some of our comrades who had fought at Stalingrad said it reminded them of fighting the Russian who fought like cornered rats. We learned our lessons early on when we went into the houses after them. They would come from nowhere with their small shovels as weapons and cut down the first men through the door, then yelling at the top of their voices they would launch themselves at those of us trapped in the hallways. After that we threw in grenades first, then went in, but they would retreat to the house next door through holes they had made in the walls, or run up the stairs and wait, and as we came in after the grenades had exploded, they would roll grenades down the stairs or through the gap in the wall, and then attack us.

In many instances the best weapon to use in such confined places was a pistol. We found whole streets with the walls knocked down so they could go from one house to the next without going outside. It reminded me of chasing rabbits with my father and his little dogs he would send down the holes. The rabbits would come out of half a dozen holes to escape so we would have to look for them first and cover them with traps.

They would also wait for our Panzers to go by, risking getting the house they were in blown up just to catch us following it. They would throw these special bombs, and grenades then fire their weapons in a long burst, and then they would disappear down their holes, having killed and wounded many of our comrades. The only ones we caught were the wounded. Even then you had to be careful as some of them would have a grenade hidden on their body and when you went near them they would drop the grenade and and wait for it to kill you and them.

My great friend Herman Ackermann died like that. If one of them surrenders now we make him stop ten metres away and take off his jacket and undershirt before we search them, if they refuse they get one warning then we shoot them. I never thought I would do something like that, but you simply cannot trust them unless they are under a flag of truce. It is a curious rule of war that nobody violates a flag of truce, and waving the flag has saved many comrades lives when they were lying in the open, it is the one time the British will not fire their weapons, and neither do we.

Yesterday one of them tried to blow up one of our Sturmgeschütz III with a hand grenade. He had no other weapons, just a hand grenade. He rushed out of a house and was clambering up the side of the Sturmgeschütz when he was cut down, a very brave but foolish act. How he expected to damage it was beyond me as he must have seen my comrades and I following it.

It was a terrible while it was going on and I am glad it is over even though we are getting moved to another part of the front. Over half of my comrades who started with us on the 18th are now dead, and many others are in hospital with their wounds. The dead included Hauptsturmfuhrer Beck, our leader, and Untersturmführer Haibcht, both very well loved Officers. Hauptscharführer Tetzloff, who fought at Stalingrad, said the British were better than the Russians in street fighting, who he considered to be stupid as they sacrificed themselves needlessly. Although he did say he couldn't understand why the British went for the bridge with such lightly armed troops as they had no hope of holding on to it unless their ground troops could force a way through to them within 24 to 48 hours.

"Now listen to me you benighted muckers. We're going to teach you soldiering. The world's noblest profession. When we're done with you, you'll be able to slaughter your enemies like civilized men." Daniel Dravot

Offline Dan M

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Re: The only ones we caught were the wounded
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2020, 19:39:44 »
Below is an account from a German soldier on the British Airborne during the battle of Arnhem.

They Were Like The Bulldogs Their Leader Talked About
– Osker Kronebusch

Where is this from?
An officer in The Canadian Guards should at all times, by intelligent study, conscientious application to his work and continual observation, seek to make himself so competent, so confident and so correct in all matters connected with the Profession of Arms that if he were to state in the presence of any military audience that "Pigs have wings", he would at once be both understood and believed. The wise officer, of course, will weigh all his statements carefully before he makes them. (ASAG 1960)

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: The only ones we caught were the wounded
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2020, 11:17:02 »
Where is this from?

I pulled it off of a regimental FB site, but there wasn't any other link or attribution than the author's name.
"Now listen to me you benighted muckers. We're going to teach you soldiering. The world's noblest profession. When we're done with you, you'll be able to slaughter your enemies like civilized men." Daniel Dravot