Jump to content
News Ticker
  • I am now accepting the following payment methods: Card Payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal
  • Latest News

    42 Days: Anonymous German Officers Group Photo

    Recommended Posts

    Guest Rick Research

    I've never shown this photograph before. It is completely anonymous and uncaptioned, but came from our own Jeff Floyd "back in the day" with the owner's medal bar and the identification from those clues led to the re-uniting of this group, which had been split by the previous owner. ( :speechless: but lucky for me, since the SECOND owner put me on to the REST of the split group in thelietreal nick of time!)

    Completely anonymous and uncaptioned, it is nonetheless possible to date it as having been taken within a single 42 day time spread-- 1 October to 12 November 1924, to identify the unit, and to put names and at least partial careers on 18 of the 21 officers posing here:

    Light card backed 138x235cm group portrait taken in a Cuxhaven barracks courtyard between 1 October and 12 November 1924. No captions, no dates, no identification. Officers are of Küstenwehr Abteilung IV in "Landmarine" uniforms. Identifications from faces in "Deutschands Admirale" volumes, and navy and army Rank Lists for the awards. Identifiable officers listed with birth and death dates, rank at time of photo, highest rank and awards held WW2 and death dates where known.

    Front row, left to right:

    1) Ernst SCHEURLEN (5.12.94-8.4.45 KIA), Kapitänleutnant zS 1.8.24 #2. Vizeadmiral zS 1.8.44. Company Commander. Served in KWA IV from 2.5.24-25.9.25. WW1 coastal ship "Odin" 1914-16, cruiser "von der Tann" 1916-18, Captain auxiliary minelayer "Kabeljau" 1917-18. WW2 Coastal and Anti-Aircraft School commander 1939-43, Commander 2nd Naval Division 1945

    2) Kurt UTKE (2.12.93-30.9.70 accident), KaptLt zS 1.1.24 #3. Vizeadmiral zS 1.2.44. Company Commander. Served in KWA IV from 1.10.24-24.9.26. German Cross in Silver 28.12.43. WW1 Cruiser "von der Tann" 1915-17, Flanders U-boats UC 71 & UC 11 (POW 26.6.18). WW2 CO Torpedo Research Station Eckernförde 1939-43, Inspector of Torpedoes 1943-44. Fell of a cliff mountain climbing--body not found until 6.8.71.

    3) Dr. med. Johannes POESCHMANN (14.10.85-between 1937-39). Mar.-Stabsarzt 12.3.15 A. Mar.-Generaloberarzt aD. Battalion medical officer KWA IV. WW1 Regimental surgeon 3rd Matrosen Regt May 1915 to January 1917. Retired 31.7.28, private medical practice in Wilhelmshaven.

    4) Unknown1stname SCHLEICHER (1879- after 1928), Major 1.7.21 #29. Had been on staff of 3rd Cavalry Division on 1.4.24. Army Liaison Officer in KWA IV. WW1 Inf Rgt 64 in 1914. Oberstleutnant 1.2.28 #15 as CO I/Inf Rgt 12. Not in Army Lists 1939 or 1944, not a General.

    5) Hans Hermann Graf von SCHWEINITZ und KRAIN Freiherr von KAUDER (21.7.83-4.3.59), KorvKapt zS 8.3.20 #J. char. Konteradmiral zS aD 30.9.31, final seniority 1.1.41. Commanded KWA IV from 1.10.21-12.11.24. WW1 navigator on many cruisers including "Emden" 1917-18. WW2 Sea Defense Commandant Ukraine/Crimea 1941-43.

    6) Ernst BERLIN (27.7.90-5.9.27), KaptLt zS 21.1.20 #N. Company Commander KWA IV. char. KorvKapt zS aD 30.4.27. WW1 Watch officer "Ostfriesland" to October 1917, then commander of UB 104 February to July 1918, and of UB 114 then to end of war. Obviously medically retired, terminally ill.

    7) Gerhard VOIGT (27.10.81-after 1939), Mar.-Stabszahlmeister 1.5.21. Paymaster of KWA IV. WW1 paymaster "Nautilus" to March 1916. In 1937 Chief Administrative Officer of Ships Machinery Inspectorate, FregKapt (V) ca 1937-38.

    8) Walter HÜLSMANN (11.3.93-after 1944), KaptLt (Ing) 1.5.24. Chief Engineer KWA IV. Retired 31.1.27, recalled as (E) officer. Kapt zS (Ing) 1.4.40 #6 in 1944. WW1 Torpedo boats and UB 67. In 1937 on staff of New Ship Construction Testing Command.

    9) Georg HAEKER (21.1.95- between 1963-80), Oberlt zS 28.9.20 #27. Company Commander KWA IV. KaptLt zS 1.7.26. On active duty in that rank 1931, but in 1935 KorvKapt zS aD (implying at least 6 years as KaptLt). Listed in MOV Directories up to 1939 without occupation. Alive 1963 as exporter/importer of tea and coffee, still KorvKapt zS aD. Apparently ran afoul of Nazi Nuremberg "race" laws or politically dismissed.

    10) Dr. med. Heinrich NÖLDECKE (16.8.96-17.6.55). Mar.-Oberassistenzarzt 1.9.23. Assistant Battalion Surgeon. Served in KWA IV 21.4.24-3.4.26. Admiralarzt 1,3,44. WW1 regular Army officer: Leutnant 22.12.16 in Inf Rgt 74. WW2 Chief Physician at naval hospitals Wilhelmshaven, Kiel-Hassee, and Stralsund 1939-44. Chief Medical Officer Baltic Naval Command 1944-45.

    Rear row left to right:

    1) Conrad ENGELHARDT (26.3.98-28.10.73), Lt. zS 1.10.23. Served in KWA IV 21.8.-25.9.19 & 8.5.24-14.2.26). Konteradmiral zS 16.9.44. German Cross in Gold 11.9.43. Knight's Cross with Swords of the War Merit Cross 24.2.45. WW1 "Ostfriesland" 1916-18. WW2 Staff of naval commands on the French coast 1940-41, Chief of Staff of Naval Forces in the East 1941-43, Chief of Sea Transport at Naval High Command 1944-45.

    2) Heinrich MANHENKE (1.1.85-after 1939). Lt. zS 1.1.21 #36 as former Petty Officer, commissioned. KorvKapt zS (E) 1.1.37 #4 , Chief Naval Signals Officer, Nordholz. Final WW2 rank before discharge in 1944 Kapitän zS. In KWA IV at least 1923-24. Cannot see the awards on his medal bar but there were only two ex-Petty Officers with 3 awards in KWA IV and he was the sole Lt. at this time.

    3) UNKNOWN officer. Because awards (or lack thereof) completely obscured, cannot make any positive identification. There were two possibles for KWA IV at this time: Hanns ISENLAR (13.6.94- before 1960) Oberlt. zS 1.7.24 #2, KorvKapt zS 1.10.36 #1 and Chief of the School Group, naval Explosives School in 1937, retired or died as FregKapt zS sometime before 1944 OR Ulrich JAKOBS (9.10.98-alive in 1991) Oberlt. zS 1.1.24 #2, Kapit?n zS (MA) 1.1.44 and aD that rank. 1937 with Artillery Inspectorate. Isenlar had 3 ribboned WW1 awards and Jakobs had none at all.

    4) August BÖNING (15.8.91-1.7.64), Mar.-Oberzahlmeister 30.5.20. Konteradmiral (V) 1.1.45?the ONLY paymaster admiral in the German navy. Served in KWA IV 19.11.20- 15.9.25. WW1: "Goeben" & Turkish Fleet Paymaster's Staff 1916-17, Paymaster of Euphrates River Flotilla 1917-18: most highly decorated naval paymaster of WW1. FIRST officer appointed to the revived U-boat arm in 1935 and Chief Administrative Officer, Submarines to 1939. Personnel Advisor at naval High Command 1940-43, Baltic Naval Command's Chief of Clothing and Provisions Department 1943-45.

    5) Friedrich SCHILY (6.6.99-after 1945), Oberlt. zS 1.1.21 #33. Orderly officer of KWA IV. Discharged from the navy as KaptLt zS 30.6.26: almost certainly for illegal aviation training with the Red Air Force at Lipetsk. Luftwaffe Oberst 1.8.41 #4 and in that rank February 1945. Did not make General. Highly decorated and qualified as a naval aviation observer-- only 19 in 1918! He had joined the navy at 16 and was assigned to II. See Flieger Abteilung from being commissioned in March 1918 to war?s end.

    6) Albert-Richard SCHERF (25.5.97-1963-80), Oberlt. zS 28.9.20 #44. Adjutant of KWA IV. Kapitän zS 1.10.39 #3 and retired at that rank. German Cross in Silver 5.11.43 as a Section Chief at the OKW. WW1?as a freshly commissioned Lt. zS, implausibly but true, immediately assigned (!!???) as an Admiralty Staff Officer to the Turkish ARMY High Command from July 1917 to war's end.

    7) UNKNOWN Oberlt. zS. I do not have a 1923 Navy Rank List, and in 1924 there was no one in the unit except Haeker with only an EK2. This cheerful young fellow is a clone for Dipl. Ing. Julius HEIMBURG (1897-1957) BUT Heimburg is never shown in Naval rank Lists with ANY WW1 awards. (His blurred smudge in "Deutschlands Admirale" is only enough to suspect the face matches--but cannot). Heimburg served in KWA IV from 1.4.24-10.10.25 and is, if this is not him, the only conspicuously absent officer from the unit then. See #9 below!

    8) UNKNOWN Oberlt. zS who was a former Petty Officer. there were actually very few such commissioned from the ranks types possible in this rank with only a WW1 EK2 and the XV Years Service Cross?but none I can place in the unit.

    9) Wilhelm BUTTERBRODT/(after 1.12.32 named changed to)TACKENBURG (29.12.93-24.3.63), Oberlt. (Ing) 1.12.21 #2. Konteradmiral (Ing) 1.7.42. Served in KWA IV 15.10.22-16.4.24 according to "Deutschlands Admirale" and so he should NOT be here in "Landmarine" uniform in October, but that is unmistakably his face, "records" to the contrary. Perhaps he was a temporary fill in for the absent Heimburg??? WW1 served on torpedo boats. WW2 Personnel Department Section Chief at the Naval High Command 1939-42, Commandant of Naval School Wesermünde 1942-43, Chief of Senior Dockyard Staff Belgium/Netherlands 1943-45 (POW to 1948).

    10) Adolph RITTER (19.1.96-10.8.84), Lt. zS 1.4.22 #21, Kapitän zS 1.6.42 # 5 and aD in that rank. In 1937 a staff officer at the Naval Signals School.

    11) Hermann FISCHER (28.9.97-after 1939), Oberfähnrich (Z) 1.5.24. Last known rank date KaptLt (V) 1.4.35, but was a KorvKapt (V) per the 1.1.39 annual Birthdays Directory of the navy. In 1937 Administrative Officer at the Naval Signals School. Oddly enough, though several officers entitled to Silesian eagles are NOT wearing them, Fischer is wearing an unofficial WW1 naval veterans' medal with bar with his EK2.

    Identifications & Information from: the three volume "Deutschlands Admirale" biographies, 1923/24 Reichswehr Einteilung, 1.11.24 Reichsmarine Rank List, other naval Rank Lists 1918-1944, as well as the February 1945 Luftwaffe Seniority List, and issues of the M.O.V./M.O.H. eV Directories from 1928 to 1991, and WW2 Knight?s and German Cross holders' lists.

    The unidentified officers did not reach Admiral or Luftwaffe General ranks. Of the 20 naval officers here: 1 died young (Berlin), 1 apparently ran afoul of the Nazis and was dismissed just as every warm body was being recalled (Haeker), 1 was an up from the ranks Petty Officer too old for highest command (Manhenke), and 1 was from a branch that only ever HAD one Admiral, ever and was retired before then at age limit or had died (Voigt). Of the remaining 16 officers, 7 became admirals or equivalent ranks (Böning, Engelhardt, Nöldecke, Scheurlen, Graf von Schweinitz und Krain etc, Tackenburg, and Utke), and 5 reached Kapitän zur See/Oberst (Hülsmann, Manhenke, Ritter, Scherf, Schily)?6 if one of the unverified turns out to be Jakobs. That is 11 of 16 at the top ranks their ages and lengths of service could bring them too-- while 1 was apparently a WW2 casualty (Fischer), and another may have been (Isenlar).

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Guest Rick Research

    Dating this all comes down to the ARRIVAL of Kapitänleutnant zur See Utke (2nd left front row) and the DEPARTURE of Commander Korvettenkapitän zur See Graf von Schweinitz und Krain Freiherr von Kauder (far right front as cropped here)

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Guest Rick Research

    Some identifications are "situational"-- I know that is Haeker 2nd right front here with "only" an Iron Cross 2nd Class because the front row is made up of the battalion staff and company commanders. the "lesser beings" are in the back row. :rolleyes:

    Then-Major Schleicher also reveals how period sources can be defective:

    apparently as a native of Anhalt, he picked up that state's House Order of Albert the Bear BEFORE the war, and their Friedrich Cross during the war. Reichsheer Rank Lists, year after year, do NOT list said Furry Albert--

    but here it is! (incorrectly AFTER his foreign ?M3K!)

    Here is the ill-fated later-Admiral Utke, who fell off a cliff and only had his body recovered a year later-- surely THE single weirdest "admirals' death" ever:

    His face is unmistakable in "Deutschlands Admirale," which conforms his presence and that of the other admirals (Heimburg and Tackenburg having pulled an unnoted temporary fill-in switcheroo, methinks)-- and the Rank Lists confirm awards:

    EK2, BMV4X, HH, EK1, UbootAbz (obscured behind sword)

    From many such pieces is a whole story assembled.

    Now if only I had the unit's duty rosters for that ? One Special Weekend ? Heimburg and Tackenburg switched off.... :whistle:

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Guest Rick Research

    And the ever amazing Glenn J has just informed me that Oberstleutnant Schleicher was OTTO, born 1 April 1880...

    and filled in these holes:

    Gee, what were the odds all those guys would have been on the same page, huh? :rolleyes::cheeky:

    Thanks Glenn! :cheers::jumping::jumping::jumping:

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now
    • Create New...

    Important Information

    We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.