Bart V.

My 212. Infanterie-Division / 212. Volksgrenadier-Division Collection

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Thought to update my older thread from the collection. Since a few months as you know I've dedicated myself to collect 212. Infanterie-Division / 212. Volks-Grenadier-Divison material as well as researching the division.

I have collected other material and divisions before but a few months ago I was able to honour a friends collection and interest, the reason why I started dedicating myself to this division. The Division took part in the Sitzkrieg, Westfeldzug, Occupation of France, Ostfeldzug (Leningrad, Wolchow, Luga, Pleskau ..) and was pratically destroyed in Lituania, September 1944. The Division was disbanded and end of September it was rebuild as 212. Volksgrenadier-Division. It took part in the Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge) and kept on fighting at the Rhein and Trier until it went into US Captivity at end of April, begin of May 1945 after suffering unbearable losses during the last few months and the entire war.

Currently I have (in total) 18 Wehrpasse / Soldbücher (excl. one that is in the mail on its way to me), various Award documents and Death Cards, 1 Photoalbum, 1 Erkennungsmarke and some other material.

-- I'm always searching for any material (uniforms, documents and photographs, literature etc.) related to the Division. All tips are appreciated. For my research I am also interested in scans or copies!

My collection -- as on the day of starting this topic (June 1, 2017).

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Small collection I have of Infanterie-Regiment 316 / Grenadier-Regiment 316. The book was signed by Hauptmann Mittelbach (DKiG Holder, he earned the DKiG two days after signing this book!). A few photographs and death cards of Leutnant Gerbel who posthumously earned the DKiG. 2 Wehrpasse and 2 Soldbücher of soldiers who served in the Regiment.

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Unteroffizier Wilhelm Urlbauer served in the 7. Kompanie/ Grenadier-Regiment 316 when he met his fate on July 2, 1944 near Wilna (Vilnius). Shot right through the heart, according to memories of his comrades. When the wife asked for more information a few weeks later. The Hauptfeldwebel -- 'father of the company' -- can only recalls what his comrades told him since each and one of them were Killed in Action on the same day and after. 

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"Leider befindet sich in der Kompanie kein Kamerad mehr, der es gesehen hat wie Willi von der tödlich Kugel getroffen wurde. Der Einzige der es gesehen war der Obgefr. Karl Meier, er war neben ihn, leider ist er selbst noch am gleichen Tage wie ihr Gatte gefallen. Nun lassen Sie mir Frau Urlbauer, als Kamerad und als Hauptfeldwebel ihres Gatten einiges vom Heldentode schildern. Leider war ich nicht selbst zugegen als Willi gefallen ist, aber einige Kameraden haben es mir geschildert, wie es gegangen hat. Leider ruhen auch diese in fremde Erde, als unvergeβliche Helden wie ihr Mann.

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The fact you dedicate yourself to an individual unit allows you to perform research and for example contact family to learn more about a particular soldier. Obergefreiter Andreas Riebler, was a seasoned veteran from the Eastern Front and served in the 2. Kompanie, when he went missing near Michelshof (Luxemburg) on December 24, 1944 - Christmas - after severe fightings. 

Since nothing was written in the Wehrpass or no other document came with the Wehrpass, I did my own research and contacted his family. I found out he became a Prisoner of War and survived the war, he passed away in 2014! Sadly I contacted the family too late.

As you can see how severe the fightings were in 1944. Only 25 years young, however Riebler became wounded 3 times in 1944, earned the Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen, Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse and the Nahkampfspange in Bronze.

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Here is another example of writing to the family and learning more about a soldier. Obergefreiter Josef Baudrexl started his service in 1939 and served in the 7. Kompanie (same Kp. as URLBAUER) for almost his whole career. Near the end of 1944, he was transferred to Divisions-Füsilier-Bataillon 212. Most likely took part in the Ardennes Offensive and got (severely) wounded either during the Offensive or the fightings after (have no date) and was captured. 

Just like Riebler, he was a seasoned veteran of the Eastern Front, seeing some of the worst fightings. Some of the awards he earned are the Eisernes Kreuz 2. and 1. Klasse, Nahkampfspange in Bronze and Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen

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P.S. Remember the Hauptfeldwebel that wrote to the wife of Wilhelm Urlbauer about his death? He signed the Soldbuch of Josef Baudrexl too. That's the fun and cool part of collecting an individual unit, you can connect items and stories.

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Each item has its story, it is your work to uncover it. Maybe to end my small collection of the Grenadier-Regiment 316 for the moment, here's the small lot of Leutnant Anton Gerbel, 23 years old when he was KIA on April 1, 1944. Posthumously awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold for bravery as Ordonnanz-Offizier in the Bataillonsstab der III./ Grenadier-Regiment 316To be honest, I bought this with incredible luck, as I didn't even know that he was a DKIG holder or from the 212. Infanterie-Division. Luckily I did a fast search and gave it a good home.

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I don't have much from the second infantry regiment of the Division, Infanterie-Regiment 320 / Grenadier-Regiment 320. Currently 2 Soldbücher and a Award Document.

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The Two Soldbücher I have also belonged to the same unit, both served in the 1. Kompanie/ Grenadier-Regiment 320Obergefreiter Georg Probst was discharged in 1943 after his right tumb was shot off by an explosive bullet on May 15, 1943. Some of his awards include the the Eisernes Kreuz 2. and 1. Klasse and Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen, earned in less then a year. Little interesting note in the Soldbuch "verlegt mit Lazarettzug" (hospital train).

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The second Soldbuch from the same Kompanie - as PROBST - can also tell a story. Gefreiter Herbert Michael joined the Kompanie end of December 1943 or early January 1944 and started his making his career. He participated in the severe fightings in July and Augustus 1944; earning him 9 Nahkampftage, a Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse and Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen. On December 24, 1944 - Christmas - Michael would get wounded by artillery shrapnell, meaning the end of war for him. The wounds were severe enough for an immediate Verwundetenabzechen in Silber

The signatures on his documents tells the severe fightings of the Battle of the Bulge. The officer who signed the Nahkampftagelist, Heinrich Anthes, fell on December 21, 1944 near Rodenhof (South of Echternach). The officer who signed for his last leave, Hans Rahm would meet his fate on December 16, 1944 - start of the Offensive - in the Woods of Manertchen (near Echternach).

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Infanterie-Regiment 423 / Grenadier-Regiment 423, the third and final infantry regiment of the Division. Most of the material I have comes from this regiment. Also the only two IDs I have from officers, belong to this Regiment. 

The photoalbum and Wehrpass belonged to Albert Zimmermann, posthumously promoted to Hauptmann after he was Killed in Action on January 19, 1942 as Kompaniechef of the 3. Kompanie. It is also my earliest KIA Wehrpass / Soldbuch I have (but the death card from Lugeder is the earliest KIA item I have -- June 1, 1940.) The Urkunde belongs to a soldier that fell during the Battle of the Bulge as well as the second Wehrpass you see, which belongs to a young soldier that fell in the Ardennes, 1944. 

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Hauptmann Albert Zimmermann, a veteran of the First World War (where he was shot through his hand) was Kompaniechef of the 3. Kompanie and took good care of his men. He participated with his men during the French Campaign, where he distinguished himself, earning him the Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse (which he earned during the First World War) and the Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse. However not long after being put into action on the Eastern Front, in the ugly sector of the Wolchow, he fell on January 19, 1942 near Pogostje.

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Some actions photographs from during the French Campaign:

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Small, tragic lot of Grenadier Georg Jedelhauser, born in 1925. He didn't see any action on the Eastern Front however he would receive his baptism of fire, when on December 16, 1944 the Germans surprised the US Forces with the Battle of the Bulge.

On the first day of the offensive, the leading companies of the Grenadier-Regiment 423 crossed the Sauer in Rubberboats and aimed to capture Berdorf. Days later they aimed to capture Consdorf... It proved to be a slaughter, several attacks were launched... Practically decimating the Grenadier-Regiment 423. According to Fred Karen, after December 24, the I. Bataillon had only around 100 men left. One of the casualties at Consdorf, on December 21, was 19 year old Georg Jedelhauser, while serving within the Granatwerferzug of 4. Kompanie. He sadly himself met his fate by enemy mortar fire. He was taken to the Monastery of Helenenberg, which at that time was a Hauptverbandplatz, however he quickly died suffering from severe wounds and was buried next to Monastery.

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Monastery of Helenenberg, where Georg Jedelhauser

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 died and is buried.

 

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Award document from Grenadier Johann Kvetinowski of the 5. Kompanie/ Grenadier-Regiment 423, dated 5. Januar 1945. Earned for actions during the Battle of the Bulge (Posthumously). Since his name is not a common one I thought why not run it through the Volksbund database.. I found a match.. There is only one Kvetinowsky listed.. First name: Johann... Rank: Grenadier ... Killed in Action on December 22, 1944. His final resting place is the Military Cemetery in Sandweiler (Luxemburg). He most likely fell during the attack on Consdorf (just as Georg Jedelhauser a day earlier). Award document is signed by Generalleutnant Franz Sensfuß.

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Second Officer ID I have, pretty interesting career. Worked his way up from Schützen to Leutnant, (from Gefreiter to Leutnant in just more then a year). Interesting to note is that he was shot, probably on July (2), 1944 and ended up in Reservelazarett Berchtesgaden-Platterhof. He first served in the 1. Kompanie and afterwards transferred to Bataillonsstab der I./ Grenadier-Regiment 423. Since he was equipped with personal gear and a pistol in November 1944, I can only assume he participated in the Battle of the Bulge. However I don't know more.

Slighty interesting: I only discovered after going through the Soldbuch that on the last leave entry - permitted by Reservelazarett Berchtesgaden-Platterhof - is written in pencil 'Pervitin' (known under the German troops as 'Stuka Tabletten' or 'Hermann Göring Pillen'), Pervitin was another brand name for Methamphetamine. 

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A small grouping I have from the logistics of the Division (and the only one currently), Fahrkolonne 212. Although much underrated, these guys had a pretty important task. If logistics can't follow its army, problems arise pretty quickly (I serve in the Army and not it in the logistics but dare to say it). It is also the sole Erkennungsmarke I have from a soldier of the Division and the earliest Award document I have for the Division. Can't add much else history other than to say these soldiers kept on driving, sometimes on impossible roads or with vehicles that barely still drive, during severe (winter) temperatures and being easy targets for partisans or aircraft.. Each day of the war.. So all the soldiers on the front line receive their food, gasoline, letters from home and everything else they need and may desire. 

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Artillerie-Regiment 212, pure terror and one of the main reasons for soldiers to get wounded, missing or die on the front. I currently have only a death card and a Wehrpass to this unit. Wehrpass is nothing special only that he was a Hauptwachtmeister and served a small period in the regiment (he started on the creation date of the Regiment, that's why it is a little interesting) however he afterwards joined the reserves. The Death Card is from Major Kurt Köhler, Führer of the I. Abteilung/ Artillerie-Regiment 212 who was awarded the DKiG. (Three days KIA after his Awarding)

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For those that don't know what Artillery can do with a human and the reason why I stated that artillerie is 'terror' earlier.. Meet the fate of Grenadier Johann Kernspecht of the 10. Kompanie/ Grenadier-Regiment 423. As of today, he is still listed as Missing. Simple fact because his body was never recovered. What 99,9% happened is shown below taken from the Divisions' Dairy:

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In other words, he was hit by a Artillerievolltreffer and blown to pieces. They were only able to find his bloodstained buckle.

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Have two Soldbücher of the Pionier-Bataillon 212, one that also came with his Award documents and a few other documents. He (Rossmark) was captured by US Forces on February 17, 1945 and served with the 2. Kompanie. The other one (Reichl) earned the Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse during the Battle of the Bulge while serving with the 3. Kompanie.

Just a side note: I am seeking the estate of Walter Wohnhas that was sold by Butscheq earlier. All tips are appreciated!

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Two Soldbücher from Divisions-Füsilier-Bataillon 212 (actually have 3 but I keep the Soldbuch of Baudrexl with Infanterie-Regiment 316 since he earned all his awards there and served with that unit for years). They both participated in the Battle of the Bulge and were captured by US Forces.

For those interested, veteran Friedrich Gürge who served with this unit has a website with his memories: http://www.friedrich-guerge.de/friedrichguerge.htm?/erinnerungen/texte/ardennen1944.htm

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I'll be ending with the Wehrpass of Stabsfeldwebel Josef Kagleder, he started his service in 1935 and ended ... May 10, 1945! On this date he was discharged by the 212. Volksgrenadier-Division, he was at the end with the Stab/ Panzerjäger-Abteilung 212. Reason why I like this one a lot is because he served with the Division from the beginning until the end.. Going through various units! Earning the KVK 1. Klasse on January 30, 1945 for his efforts and service.

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Thanks 'Simon H', 'Lutfen' and 'Rick Admiraal' for your kind comments! Today, my 19th Wehrpass / Soldbuch arrived. The Soldbuch belonged to Gefreiter Josef Seidl, he served with the 3. Batterie/ Artillerie-Regiment 212 (still didn't have something from this battery). Nothing special, it is pretty beat up and few entries. Only interesting part is that he took part in the Battle of the Bulge.

I'm happy with the period book that arrived, Von der Saar bis an die Mosel, which describes some of the actions of the 212. Infanterie-Division during 1939-1940. Note on the front of the book the divisional symbol which depicts the "Frauenkirche" in München.

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