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LW Soldbuch to 5th FJ Div, Bastogne


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Soldbuch to a Gefreiter who served with Flieger Horst Kdtr Neuberg, the book was opened December 1943.

In October 1944 he was transferred to 15/FJR 13, part of 5 FJ Div which had suffered heavily in Normandy, the division was being rebuilt at the Hague & Amsterdam.

The unit fought during the "Battle of the Bulge", including at Bastogne.

Although issued jump smock etc, he is not listed as having been awarded para qualification badge, & has no other awards or any wounds listed.

Edited by leigh kitchen
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Thanks for posting this book... I thought that I read somewhere that they stopped running troops through the jump course in 1944. If this is true(Fj experts help!), that would explain the lack of an Fj badge.

I look forward to hearing the voices of the more experienced! :jumping:

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Fallschirmj?ger-Rgt 13 was destroyed at Saint-L? and reformed in Holland in November 1944. He was examined on 19.10.1944 and passed as fit for parachute training. Even though parachute training had been suspended in July 1944, recruits to parachute units still had to undergo the appropriate medical because it was envisaged that once Hitler had turned things around and they were marching towards victory again, all non-airborne members of airborne units would be sent to jump school. Furthermore, because of regulations, only men passed for parachute training could be issued with FJ kit so all new recruits to the Fallschirm-Armee being reformed in Holland late in 1944 were put through medicals in order to be able to wear the jumpsmocks, helmets and other kit. Your man was duly issued with a jumpsmock and other para kit in November 1944. He is described as arriving at 15./Fallschirmj?ger-Rgt 13 on 21.10.1944.

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Here is a document group relating to an NCO medic from 5. Fallschirmj?ger-Division. Obergefreiter Walter Barth was awarded the Parachutist Badge on 5.7.1944 at Fallschirmschule I, based at Dreux some 75km due west of Paris. In fact, he was awarded the cloth version of the badge, as the document states. Barth must have been on one of the very last - if not the last - parachute training courses through the jump school at Dreux. They must have been able to hear the artillery at the front as they jumped. In fact, I'd imagine that everyone on board was thinking of Allied fighter planes as the Junker 52 or Heinkel HeIII climbed to jump height over the fields bordering the aerodrome!

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Barth, who had been with a Heavy Flak unit before his transfer to 5. Fallschirmj?ger-Division as a medic, was issued with his Military Parachutist Licence on 20.7.1944. Note that he is wearing the cloth badge awarded to him three weeks before at Dreux and that this FSS, which is the ultra-rare late war cardboard type, was issued to him at his unit in Normandy, during the heavy fighting there. Walter Barth, who would have been one of the last para-trained Fallschirmj?ger of WW2. By late July 1944, parachute training had been indefinitely suspended at all the schools in France (obviously!), Germany and Hungary. However, the Luftwaffe retained a limited parachute training capability until the end of 1944, as accounts of a very small number of men hastily trained for forward insertion during the Ardennes counter-offensive indicate. However, it is reasonable to say that parachute training per se was over by mid-July 1944. Oddly enough, a couple of veterans of SS-Fallschirmj?ger-Btl 500 who found themselves with the battalion's training company at the Hungarian airborne depot in Papa in July 1944 recalled watching with envy as Hungarian paras completed training jumps while they were unable to get the aircraft to do the jumps to earn their badges.

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Compare these photographs of Barth to gain some idea of what the Normandy fighting was like. Coming back to the FSS, Walter Barth probably lost his soldbuch and other documents during the retreat from France as his FSS appears to have served as an ID document on which his promotion to Stabsgefreiter in January 1945 was recorded. Note also the entry for July 1945, closing off the document. This was when Barth and his surviving comrades from the rebuilt 5.FJD went into the bag.

Had your man joined the unit earlier, in the summer of 1944, it could easily have been the case that he qualified as a parachutist but that, like Barth, his paybook was lost, possibly captured by Allied forces overrunning 5. FJD?s positions in Normandy and during the retreat across the Seine, hence the lack of an entry for the Fallschirmsch?tzenschein. However, I doubt that this chap qualified as a parachutist. 5. FJD fought in the Ardennes at Bitburg, Donkholz and Martelange before being withdrawn for rest and refitting. Most of the division went surrendered in April 1945 in the Ruhr Pocket but some elements were still in the field when the final surrender was ordered.

It?s a perfectly good late war FJ paybook to a man in a unit that saw some hard fighting. I?ll bet he saw some hard fighting too. It is better than many late war paybooks, whose holders were only in FJ units for five minutes. As soon as I decipher his surname, I will run a check to see if he shows up in the war graves lists.

PK

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It's a good question, Chris. Barth could have worn a metal badge when he received or acquired one and perhaps he did. The reason for the cloth badge document is simple. Sometime during 1943, the OKL realised that a lot of newly qualified paratroopers were joining operational units and their award documents and presentation badges - in other words, the metal badges - were frequently taking months to catch up with them as units moved around. In many cases, guys were being killed without ever having received a badge.

Some guys who were lucky enough to go on leave before joining their units were able to buy badges. To give you some idea of how long it could take, members of SS-Fallschirmj?ger-Btl 500 who qualified early in 1944 did not receive their award documents until November and December 1944. Mind you, their documents and badges came through the SS-F?hrungs-Hauptamt, which might have been a bit slower in this respect than the relevant OKL office. Two fellows I knew told me that they had to buy their badges and, in one case, one of them had to go back to his billet to fetch his Fallschirmsch?tzenschein before Herbert Jobsworth's German cousin in the shop would sell him a Fallschirmsch?tzenabzeichen, even though he showed them the entry in his soldbuch.

So the authorities decided to award cloth badges, which were freely available from various unit and retail outlets as an interim morale-boosting measure, so that a fellow had something to wear on his chest when he passed out from the Fallschirmschule. The cloth badges were of course unofficial but permitted up to that point and the upgrade was recognised by the institution of this special award document. There was another type on A4 paper, folded in two, with a portrait of Hitler opposite the printed bit. This is the A5 type.

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This portrait of Walter Hummel, who served with SS-Fallschirmj?ger-Btl 500 and, later, 600 was taken when he was on leave after completing his parachute training at Fallschirmschule III early in 1944. You can see the cloth badge on his tunic, given to him by the CO of the jump school after the last qualifying jump. Later photographs of Hummel show a metal badge.

PK

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To give you some idea of how long it could take, members of SS-Fallschirmj?ger-Btl 500 who qualified early in 1944 did not receive their award documents until November and December 1944. Mind you, their documents and badges came through the SS-F?hrungs-Hauptamt, which might have been a bit slower in this respect than the relevant OKL office.

PK - were the docs always dated as of the date the FJ members won their badge or were they dated when the docs were actually processed?

Edited by Brian R
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The documents were issued at the end of the 1944 to men who had qualified during or before the summer of 1944. I have a paybook to an officer who qualified in the spring of 1944 and was one of the relatively few members of the battalion to receive the Army Parachutist Badge. His paybook contains a July 1944 date, just as his FSS bears a July 1944 date, but also shows an amendment to December 1944. The surviving members were by then with SS-Fallschirmj?ger-Btl 600, which seems to have received a batch of award documents from the SSFHA at the end of the year. I have seen two such documents, for the Army Parachutist Badge, one of which is to Walter Redeker and can be seen in Antonio Munoz's book Forgotten Legions. Oddly enough, despite years of searching, I have yet to see a Luftwaffe award document to a member of SS-FJ-Btl 500. I know there are a couple out there, including the one to Walter Hummel whose FSS I have, but attempts to trace them have so far proved fruitless.

Returning to Leigh's paybook, Page 4 contains an interesting entry for Fallschirm-J?ger-Ersatz- und Ausbildungs-Regiment 2, giving its location as N?rnberg-Buchenb?hl. This was where Fallschirm-J?ger-Ersatz-Bataillon 3, which provided replacements for 5. FJD, was based. Fallschirm-J?ger-Ersatz- und Ausbildungs-Regiment 2 was ordered to be formed in October 1943 and began forming in France in February 1944. The unit was subsequently reformed at Wittstock on 1.1.1945. Fallschirm-J?ger-Ersatz-Bataillon 3 was formed in November 1943 at Wittstock, which was the home base at the time of Fallschirmshule IV. The two dates at the top of the page in the same handwriting suggest that Friedrich Soder or Roder [is this his surname] was with Fallschirm-J?ger-Ersatz- und Ausbildungs-Regiment 2 from October 1943 to October 1944. If the prior date is an error and ought to have been "1944", then our man spent just twenty-four hours there. Yet on Page 3, there is a promotion dated 1.8.1944 bearing the Flieger Horst Kdtr Neuberg unit stamp. So the 22.10.1943 entry on Page 4 must be a clerical error, especially as the Flieger Horst Kdtr Neuberg pay office signs off in September 1944 on Page 11 and he handed his kit in on 2.10.1944. The unit details at the bottom of the page also appear to contain an error in terms of location. Both replacement units came under the Fallschirm-Armee umbrella and from January 1945 were on the ORBAT of the Fallschirm-J?ger-Ausbildungs- und Ersatz-Division, which was used as cadre for 20. Fallschirm-J?ger-Division in April 1945. Seems to have survived the war as his paybook cover is not crossed and no Roder or Soder appears in the German war graves register.

Interesting anomaly regarding the replacement unit.

PK

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

Hi everybody,

I am just new on the forumboard here.

My name is Nick and from the Netherlands, and also have a vacation home in the Schnee Eifel (Germany).

I am very much interested in the battle of the Bulge, mainly in the 5th Fallschirmjäger division, during this offensive and after.

So you guys understand I am very facinated to see these items listed above, I myself also own several 5th FSJ SB's.

And I am always looking for more, to add to my collection.

I am currently working on a book about the 5th FSJ, which is very hard to do because information is scarce.

So SB's and other items are always a big addition to this.

I have dirrectly a perhaps bold question to Leigh, and Peter, if they perhaps wan't to sell these items to me? Or perhaps trade.

I will pay good money for it.

Peter I allready contacted you, but for some reason I cannot PM Leigh, allthough I got the membership for 22 pounds here?

Well I am eager to hear something.

Yours friendly,

Nick Trommelen

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