Sunday, May 31, 2015

SS-Untersturmführer Franz-Josef Kneipp in Normandy Front

SS-Untersturmführer Franz-Josef "Franzl" Kneipp (19 September 1911 - 12 October 2002) in Normandy front, June 1944. He was a signal officer (Nachrichtenoffizier) in the III.Bataillon / SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25 / 12.SS-Panzer-Division "Hitlerjugend". The picture was taken by Wilfried Woscidlo. Kneipp was originally a signaler in the police on the staff of the High SS and Police Leader Rhein in Wiesbaden until he joined the Aufklärungs-Abteilung of the Totenkopf division in 1939. He was a signal platoon NCO as an Oberscharführer in the SS-Flak Abteilung “Ost” from August 1941 thru April 1943. Despite being kicked out of the officer course at the signal school in Metz near graduation for an affair with a French girl, he was promoted to Untersturmführer in April 1944 upon the recommendation of his regimental commander, Kurt Meyer. He was wounded on July 8, 1944 as signal officer of III./SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 25 in Normandy. He was sent out on a reconnaissance mission in a tank to look for the enemy. He was standing in the tank turret looking through his binoculars and the next thing he remembers is waking up while some Canadian soldiers were pulling him out of the tank with his arms streaming blood. His tank had taken a hit from a Canadian tank and he had been wounded in both arms. Following a brief hospitalization in Scotland, Kneipp was handed over to the Americans and transported by ship to the United States where he was brought to Washington, D.C. for questioning about his knowledge of German code machines. He had also been interrogated by the British about code machines and threatened with being shot if he did not tell what he knew. Kneipp refused. After his return to Germany Kneipp ended up on the staff of the US Air Force Wiesbaden air base commander. For many years Kneipp was the chairman of the Wiesbaden HIAG veterans association.

Sources :

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Group of Focke Wulf Fw 200 "Condor" Pilots Preparing for a Mission in 1940

 A group of Focke Wulf Fw 200 "Condor" pilots preparing for a mission in 1940. At the same time Condor operations started in the Atlantic, the strategic situation was changing for the Third Reich. Even in July and August 1940, with the Battle of Britain raging, Hitler had lost whatever enthusiasm he had for invading Great Britain, and was already dreaming of his next war, with the USSR. So when it was proposed that the Luftwaffe and Krigsmarine establish a total blockade against the British Isles, Hitler readily agreed, as it freed up the Weremarcht to get moving eastward. Hitler calculated that even if the blockade didn't knock Britain out of the war entirely, it would weaken it to the point the island nation would be unable to oppose his plans, and allow the Nazi war machine to deal with the Soviets without distraction. The key to this strategy would be cooperation between the German air force and navy – which (spoiler alert!) was never very good. In fact, at one point Nazi Germany would be waging no less than five campaigns against British supply lines, with very little coordination between any of them. The search method of the Fw 200, however, was excellent for bombing attacks: given the low visibility haze that usually obtained over the Atlantic, a Condor would be visible to a ship only for a minute or two before it was dropping its bombs. Condors until the C-4 had a very basic bomb-sight, so the attack method was a low level bombing run 'bracketing' the target with the Condor's bomb load. Initially attacking convoy stragglers, Condor crews soon learned that convoys away from land based air cover had no defenses at all against air attacks. So, even a glass bird like the Condor could be used as an effective low level bomber. Petersen, once he discovered this, knew he had found the Condor's niche. As the Battle of Britain ended and the Blitz began, the improvements made to the Condor with the C-3 began to pay dividends. The Germans had been caught off guard before the war began for the need of a maritime bomber; now it was Britain’s turn to be caught off guard. The picture presented here are from the book "Fliegende Front" by by Hauptmann Walter-Eberhard Alexander Albert Freiherr von Medem (4 May 1887 - 9 May 1945), published in 1942 by Verlag ‘Die Wehrmacht’ KG. in Berlin. The book must be regarded as typical propaganda material to show the German population how well the war was progressing. ‘Die Wehmacht’ published a series of other propaganda books during the war. They also released sets of photo postcards from the war

Source :