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Nachrichten Zug/ Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15


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#1 Eifel1945

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:10 PM


An old group where I did a bit of (raw)research on.
This item I bought last year from Jeremy (spanferkel), just as the Wintzer SB, and I am still very thankfull for it!

This grouping consist of a Soldbuch written in “Zweitschrift”, a Erkennungsmarke: 19./Lg.Nachr.Rgt.1, bloodgroup T, number 3122, a Kennkarte, Driverslicense and a Feldpost card.
The items belong to a Oberjäger in the Nachrichten-Züg of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15.


Details of the Soldbuch holder:
Name: Gerhard Jahn.
Born: 10 October 1921 in Bad Schmiedeberg, Kreis Wittenberg.
Occupation: Electrician.
Unit: Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 – Nachrichten-Züg.
Ranks: Obergefreiter, Oberjäger.
Awards: Fernsprech-Tätigkeits abzeichen, Fallschirmschützen abzeichen, Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse, Erdkampf abzeichen der Luftwaffe.

The Soldbuch was issued on 22 September 1944 in Zweitschrift. Probably his first Soldbuch was lost or damaged during the Normandy Campaign.

=====
The Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 was the only unit in the 5th Fallschirmjäger Division that was ready for combat during the Allied landings in Normandy. The other two regiments and additional units were also ready for about 90% but the transport to bring them to the frontline lacked. So only the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 was the first to see action in Normandy.
The Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 was attached to the 17th SS-Panzergrenadier Division “Götz von Berlichingen”, and was put into action in the region of St. Lo, Avranches and Mortain during the Normandy Campaign.
Oberjäger Jahn distinguished himself during the heavy battle’s in Normandy and received the Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse during this
time period.

After the German failure in the Normandy Campaign the retreat begun for the German units, and the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 retreated back towards Luxemburg in early September 1944, and the same month was behind the “Westwall” line in Germany, in the region NW of Trier.
During the Market Garden campgain in Holland the division was partly split up, with units fighting near Groesbeek and Mook (NL), while the other half fought in the Eifel region of Wallendorf, where the Americans had pushed through towards the town of Bitburg.
After the battles in the Nijmegen and Wallendorf area his unit was pulled off the line and was refitted in Den Haag, Netherlands.
During this period the Division was regrouping, Oberjäger Jahn was send on leave to go home from 26 October to 12 November 1944.
Unfortunally this is the last entry in the Soldbuch, but due to another 5th Fallschirmjäger Division Soldbuch which I have in my collection I could find out that he was captured by the Americans on
almost the same day as the guy of my other grouping, who was captured somewhere in mid March 1945. There the POW numbers of both soldiers only had a small 300 numbers in difference, I presume they were both captured on almost the same day and spot. Probably at Nürburgring in the Eifel.

In the months of November and early December 1944 the 5th Fallschirmjäger Division regrouped in the Netherlands as mentioned, to prepare on the next big event to happen, Operation “Wacht am Rhein”, the Ardennes offensive.

In the week before the 16th of December the Division was send to the Eifel to prepare themselves for the counter offensive in the Ardennes. The Division took positions in the Westwall fortresses on the opposite side of the border of Luxembourg. Their positions lay opposite of the towns of Vianden and Stolzembourg, these towns were to be their objectives on the
first day of the offensive. And where hold by elements of the 28th US Infantry Division. To be more precise the I Company of the 110th US Infantry Regiment had taken positions near Weiler and Stolzembourg, and the F and E Companies of the 109th US Infantry Regiment had their positions in the area between Fouhren and north of Walsdorf.


On 16 December 1944, at 0530 hours all hell broke loose.

1900 German Artillery pieces of all kind of calibers began firing on the American positions between Monschau in the north up to Echternach in the south.
The barrage holded on for 90 minutes and then shifted back to hit the rear positions and road networks of the Allies in the Ardennes sector.
As the German artillery laid its fire more to the west the Fallschirmjägers of the 5th Fallschirmjäger Division began their attack. Their first goal was to cross the Our river in the region of Vianden.
Units of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 crossed the bridge in Vianden while they were under fire by American Artillery which was positioned near Fouhren and Lipperscheid, and who had observers in the Castle of Vianden from where they had a good strategic point in overlooking the terrain in and around the town. Other bridges in the region of Vianden were also used to cross the Our river. Also the Fallschirmpionier Battaillon 5 made a Bailey bridge just outside Roth a.d. Our. Due to the hard current and while under heavy artillery fire the bridge was found only completely ready on the 17th of December. With the costs of some artillery casualties and one man drowning to death in the Our river.

While the town of Vianden was taken by the 4th Company of the Fallschirmpionier Battalion 5 under the command of Leutnant Hans Prigge, (who later fell near Livarchamps) the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 moved on the next day on the 17th to seize the bridge over the Sauer river near Goebelsmühle in Luxemburg. Here it was engaged in a fight with the US 35th Engineer Battalion but the bridge was taken after a short time. The Regiment now moved on towards Wiltz and Bastogne and took the towns of Esch-sur-Süre, Harlange, Tintange, Bigonville and finally halted south of Bastogne where it helped to encircle the US 101st Airborne Division trapped in the town. Here they stayed from 21 December 1944 and dug in, trying to prevent George Pattons 3rd US Army to break through and reach the trapped US 101st Airborne Division. House to house fighting’s occurred in small towns like Lutremange, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, Livarchamps, Tintange and slowly but steady the US forces gained ground and the encirclement was broken on 26 December 1944, but the fights around Bastogne continued up to early January 1945.

The German front now collapsing on all sides, began the retreat back towards the “Reich”. The 5th Fallschirmjäger Division together with the 9. Volksgrenadier Division were exposed on the south flank near Harlange and in the area of the well-known village of Schumann’s Eck, which was early in the offensive also theater of a bloody battle between the Germans and the Americans. Were again, now in January 1945 heavy fighting’s occurred. Resulting in high numbers of casualties on both sides. After the battle the woods were littered with dead soldiers and equipment that was left behind.

The Division was able to retreat in a defensive way from Luxembourg and in the end of January reached the German border again in the region of Dasburg and took positions in the Westwall line. Shortly after
that the 5th Fallschirmjäger Division was taken off the line and regrouped in the area behind Prüm, in the region between Lissendorf on the Kyll river and at Duppach. But only for a short time…


The American troops, now also advancing in the Schnee-Eifel sector just before the town of Prüm, moved rapidly and captured a large number of villages in this sector. Bleialf fell, also the “Westwall-village” of Brandscheid was now in firm hands of the US 4th Infantry Division. Heavy fighting’s occurred near the village of Sellerich, where the Germans had took positions on the hills “Am Kopp” and on the “Knie-Berg” hill. The Germans were thrown off the “Am Kopp” hill outside Sellericherhöhe by the US 22nd Infantry Regiment, only to be taken the same day back by the Germans. In the following days of early February the
Americans succeeded in capturing the heights just outside Sellerich and finally the Germans were thrown back.
The 5th Fallschirmjäger Division now had taken positions behind the Mehlenbach creek between Olzheim and Gondenbrett. The village of Gondenbrett now lay under a strong American attack, troops of the
Fallschirmpionier Battalion 5 where engaged in a 3 day fight in and around Gondenbrett. The Americans managed to take the village of Gondenbrett in a surprise attack at night on the 8th of February 1945, which resulted in the capture of almost the entire 3rd Platoon / 2nd Company, Fallschirmpionier Battalion 5. And the Germans again were forced to retreat.

In the following days heavy fights occurred around the city of Prüm, in the area’s near Tafel and at the “Kalvarien-Berg” hand to hand close combat was a daily thing. The town of Prüm fell on the 12th of February and the entire German 5th Fallschirmjäger Division was now behind the Prüm river, were they had taken positions in the famous “Prüm-Stellung”, from Kleinlangenfeld to the north up to Niederprüm in the south. The Americans halted their advance on the other side of the Prüm river, resupplying and planning their next attack which had the goal of securing bridges over the Kyll river.

From mid till end February 1945 the 5th Fallschirmjäger Division dug in along the Prüm line and reinforced its defenses, trenches and gun emplacements were placed along the entire Prüm line.

The Staff of the 5th Fallschirmjäger Division together with the commander of the 11. Fallschirm-Sturmgeschütz Brigade, forspelled the American main attack would be to take the town of Weinsheim, just opposite the river Prüm.
Therefore the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 of Oberjäger Jahn, which had the most combat ready troops took positions in this area to secure the enemy from penetrating the line. The Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 was placed in the wooded area of Weinsheimer Hardt,and towards the hill “Hünert” south of Dausfeld, with the Gefechtstand of the Regiment in the Gondelsheimer Jagdhaus, north of Gondelsheim. The Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 had only 2 battalions left. The Gefechtsstand of the I. Battalion of Hauptmann (later Major and KC winner) Berneike was located in the Weinsheimer Jagdhaus. The Gefechtsstand of the III. Battalion under command of Oberleutnant Sniers (KC winner) was located in the Bahnwärtershaus south of Dausfelder Mühle.

As predicted the American assault was aimed at the town of Weinsheim and started on the 28th of February 1945. The I. Battalion of Hauptmann Berneike was attacked by the 2nd Battalion of the 8th US Infantry Regiment in the woods of Weinsheimer Hardt were the Americans met fierce resistance from the German Fallschirmjägers who weren’t willing to give any ground. The Americans were counterattacked several times by small groups of Fallschirmjägers equipped with automatic weapons who penetrated the US lines and attacked them from the rear. The result was that the US attack was halted at the slope of Weinsheimer Hardt on the 28th.
Now the town of Dausfeld was also under attack by the 3rd Battalion of the 22nd US Infantry Regiment and house to house fighting’s took place in this small village. US armor was committed late in the morning and the small village of Dausfeld fell late around 1200h of the 28th.
The Fallschirmjäger’s defending Dausfeld fled to the hill of “Hünert” just south of the village.
The American 3rd Battalion was now reinforced by the 1st Battalion and the attack continued towards the hill of “Hünert”. Again the Americans met fierce resistance on this strategic hill which had no natural cover leading to it, but nonetheless they managed to take the hill early afternoon.

Now all hell broke loose, from Schwirzheim the Fallschirm Artillerie Regiment 5 began firing on the hill “Hünert” now occupied by the Americans. The guns of the Fallschirm Artillerie Regiment 5 had laid a smoke screen on the hill “Hünert” so troops of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 were able to advance to the slope of the hill, and counterattacked the US forces occupying it, reinforced by an Sturmgeschütz of the 11. Fallschirm-Sturmgeschütz Brigade who kept firing round after round on the American positions until the Americans finally were thrown off the hill, and the Germans saw the chance of occupying a part of it, only to be given up moments later while the Americans counterattacked again and now held the hill firmly in their hands. In the darkness of night on the 28th, 40 Germans tried to capture the hill again but this attack was repulsed. 26 of them were found dead later by civilians of Weinsheimer Held.
The survivors of the battle for “Hünert” now retreated towards the hill of “Loh” north of Brühlborn, were they set up a new defense line.


The next week the fighting’s continued around Weinsheim and the town was finally captured by the Americans on the 3rd of March 1945, Brühlborn fell to the Americans a day before on the 2nd. Leaving around 120 dead Fallschirmjäger’s in the fields and woods around the town of Weinsheim.

The Americans managed to cross the Kyll at Ober- and Niederbettingen on the 7th of March 1945, where a group of 300 Fallschirmjägers tried to prevent the Americans from crossing the river, but without any success. The chaotic retreat began towards the Rhine river which only a few units of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 reached. Most of them where captured at Nürburgring, and at Maria Laach. Only a small Kampfgruppe of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15 and the Fallschirmjäger Pionier Battalion 5 managed to avoid capturement by the Americans and finally ended up in the Harz Mountains in central Germany.

So far the fate of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 15.




Enclosed are some scans, a sketch/map I made, and a few photo's taken earlier this year.

All the best
Nick

Interested in the German Eifel region of Bitburg-Prüm during 1944/1945.


#2 Eifel1945

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:28 PM

Had to Edit my previous post, there the text didn't wasnt copied right from my Word file.


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Interested in the German Eifel region of Bitburg-Prüm during 1944/1945.


#3 Eifel1945

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:29 PM

Map/Sketch Prüm river Line 28/2/1945.

Interested in the German Eifel region of Bitburg-Prüm during 1944/1945.


#4 Eifel1945

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:35 PM

Vianden on the Luxembourg/German border.

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Goebelsmühle in Luxembourg.

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The Prüm river in the Winter.

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Weinsheim, and the woods/hill of Weinsheimer Hardt, to the right.

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Gondelsheim, a small village 1,5 miles to the east. A vieuw from Oberst Gröschke (KC winner) commandpost.

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The Jagdhaus, commandpost of Gröschke - FJR15 still stands today, hidden in the woods...

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As if time stood still, abandonned farm house in Gondelsheim.

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And at last, the town of Duppach, commandpost of Ludwig Heilmann (KC winner) - 5. Fallschirmjäger Division.

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Interested in the German Eifel region of Bitburg-Prüm during 1944/1945.


#5 Kevin Grootaers

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 09:37 PM

Nice soldbuch. :thumbup:

With kind regards Kevin

 


#6 Kevin H

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 09:43 AM

Great item and fantastic write-up. I love the photos as they look so atmospheric and match the season that the fighting took place - and apart from the odd modern structure (windfarm etc) and signposts it looks as if time has stood still in the area.

#7 Eifel1945

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 10:40 AM

Thanks Kevin & Kevin. ;)
Yes visiting these places, call it a battlefield tour if you like I can really enjoy.

"Unfortunally" I have my own company at this moment which takes a lot of my free time, otherwise and before that I was in the Ardennes and Eifel almost every weekend.
It really is a beautiful and fascinating place.


All the best
Nick

Interested in the German Eifel region of Bitburg-Prüm during 1944/1945.


#8 Bart V.

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 10:52 AM

Thanks for sharing his story, as always wonderful informing and photographs added to show the "feel "of the battlefield..!

/Bart

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Writing first book "Die Ritterkreuzträger des Sudetenlandes". Looking for all information, scans and memories related. 

Searching material from the Sudetendeutsche 46. Infanterie-Division. 

 


#9 Spanferkel

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 05:00 PM

Well done Nick!

That group went to the right person. Once again you've done an excellent job of bringing the events to life.

Jeremy
Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

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#10 Eifel1945

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 05:20 PM

Thanks Bart, and Jeremy (again). :thumbup:

Interested in the German Eifel region of Bitburg-Prüm during 1944/1945.





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