Last man standing................

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Michael Kenny
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Last man standing................

Post by Michael Kenny » 08 May 2021 20:27

............or last man hiding?


Dated July 5th 1944
LAST PRISONER.jpg
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Last edited by Michael Kenny on 08 May 2021 21:00, edited 1 time in total.

Knouterer
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by Knouterer » 08 May 2021 20:51

The 716th was a "static" division consisting largely of Osttruppen and "Volksdeutsche" or ethnic Germans from different countries who often didn't even speak German and were unenthusiastic about dying for the Führer. Would be interesting to know where this "last man" originally came from.
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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 08 May 2021 21:37

The 'Ossies' tended to surrender early and often. I'd lay odds on him being a German.

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Kingfish
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by Kingfish » 09 May 2021 03:24

Odd, no mention of his Netflix account
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

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AETIUS 1980
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 09 May 2021 09:56

Hi, I would like to remind you than 716.Inf.Div was of course, a static division but most of his personal were from Wehkreis VI or surrounding area. The Volksdeutsche were a minority (Volkliste III from Poland, some from Slovenia, Roumanie, Tchécoslovaquie), at least 192 Italian Hiwis and the Osttruppen units (on this sector part of 4.Schwere./Ost.Btl.642) not include within the units as a whole parts (just platoon size). If you keep a sharp eyes on fighting within the 716.Inf.Div sector on June the 6th (Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword), you didn't see mass surrender, but in fact tough fight almost every time.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by Sheldrake » 09 May 2021 12:00

Michael Kenny wrote:
08 May 2021 20:27
............or last man hiding?


Dated July 5th 1944

LAST PRISONER.jpg
Brilliant find! I shall use the anecdote whenever I get the chance.

Not quite the last man from ID 716 on the D Day beaches and landing grounds though. 1./AR 1716 was in continuous action at the Merville Battery from D Day to 15th August when they withdrew along the coast.

Re the quality of the units. The division was formed in Wehrkreis VI (Westphalia) HQ Muenster. The artillery battery that that served in Merville Battery was formed in Scharnhorst Kaserne, Osnabruck (known post war as Belfast Barracks in Osnatraz). It seems to have put up a good fight, beating off attacks by 9 Para on D Day and Commandos on D+1.

The formation was combed through for drafts for replacements for units in the East between 1941 and 1944. So the men with get up an go or neck ache for a ritterkreuz had the chance to see the elephant on the eastern front.

In response to the demands from OB West to reverse the reduction in the proportion of infantry battalions from nine to six, Ost battalion were provided to reinforce infantry divisions on the Atlantic Wall. (Even though 716 division was only formed with two infantry regiments) Ost Bns 442 and 642 spring to mind for 716th. 442nd were regarded as one of the more reliable Ost Battalions and placed on the extreme left of IR 736 on Gold beach. Their positions were on the Meuvaines ridge 1000 metres inland from Gold Beach -about the right place for them to be under the pattern of bombs and naval gunfire. 642 were not trusted as infantry troops but used for labouring work.

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AETIUS 1980
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 09 May 2021 15:21

Ost. Bataillonen 439 and 642 on October 1943 (transformed as IV. /Gr.Rgt.726-736 on April 1944), and Ost.Btl.441 between February/March 1944 as Heerestruppen, used in June by 716.Inf.Div to plug the gap (with little bite more than half of his strength) between the Landfront of 352.Inf.Div (I./Gr.Rgt.916 under Gr.Rgt.726 command) and Generalleutnant RICHTER left flank (subunits of II./Gr.Rgt.736, 7.Kp, under II./Gr.Rgt.726 command).
And still about Volksdeutsche :
Gen.Kdo.LXXXIV.AK, Abt Ia Nr 1808/43 of October 1943 4th :
Istarke : 6135 (include 121 offiziere). Among this strength, only 239 were from Volkliste III. Even if this number increased on some units (Art.Rgt.1716, 2./Pz.jg.Kp.716, 14./Gr.Rgter.726-736,.....), they were still a minority and some of them fought hard among their german comrades (some examples are thus observed with 2./736, most of the II.and III./Gr.Rgt.736, leaders and few hard nuts of II./Gr. Rgt.726, Pi.Btl.716, the biggest parts of 1./Pz.Jg.Kp.716 and 3./Flak.kp. 716, more than half of the batteries of Art.Rgt.1716 - 1,4,5,8,9,10 and 11 (Sfl)).
Regards

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jpz4
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by jpz4 » 10 May 2021 11:10

Indeed. There's a lot of talk about high numbers of Volksdeutsche in the 716.I.D. but when you ask for numbers/records to support that claim nobody seems to have any. The evidence seems to be anecdotal and Volksdeutsche of course make a good scapegoat. There was a limitation set at 8% DVL3 (used to be 5%) men in static divisions which people do not seem to be aware of.
A complicating factor is however that records typically only mention the DVL3 group, the background of the rest of the men is not typically reported, making it difficult to determine how many were Volksdeutsch. However, the absence of such numbers at least suggests it was not (considered) important enough to be reported. Which is in itself interesting.

It would be useful to conduct a proper study of the composition of these units, but little work seems to have been done except for some PW statistics which of course only tells part of the story. (PWs are typically from frontline units and non captured wounded/survivors and KIA might might produce different numbers). There are also issues with how people may have presented themselves to their captors and how talkative certain groups may have been compared to others, creating a skewed impression of the actual composition of the units.
It's a complicated but interesting subject

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 May 2021 13:03

Hi Guys,

I have seen French claims for very high numbers of Polish and Czech Volksdeutsch amounting to well over half of 148th Infantry Division in south-eastern France at this time, but I haven't been able to substantiate it either.

This is definitely a subject worthy of more study.

I do recall that three of the four Germans captured at Dieppe in 1942 were also Polish Volksdeutsch.

Cheers,

sid.

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AETIUS 1980
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 11 May 2021 13:44

Most of the recruits front 148.Reserve.Division were from Wehrkreis VIII. It's true, you had a percentage of men from Poland, some parts of Czechoslovakia (Brno, Henneberg-Opava district,....), Slovenia (Marburg an der Drau), etc..... bus as has previously been said, for raisons of structural and operational consistency, the high command would never have allowed such a quota to exist. Lots of things to review on known writings....

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Sheldrake
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by Sheldrake » 11 May 2021 14:34

Sid Guttridge wrote:
11 May 2021 13:03
Hi Guys,

I have seen French claims for very high numbers of Polish and Czech Volksdeutsch amounting to well over half of 148th Infantry Division in south-eastern France at this time, but I haven't been able to substantiate it either.

This is definitely a subject worthy of more study.

I do recall that three of the four Germans captured at Dieppe in 1942 were also Polish Volksdeutsch.

Cheers,

sid.
I wonder how many Germans reconsidered their nationality when faced with imminent capture or the prospect of German defeat. Not a unique phenomena. Brexit has created a lot of interest in Irish ancestry among Britons.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Last man standing................

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 May 2021 17:17

Hi Sheldrake,

I was recently looking at Carpatho-Ukraine in 1939. The number of people declaring themselves Hungarian more than doubled and halved twice between the 1910 Hungarian, the 1931 Czechoslovak, the 1941 Hungarian and the first post-WWII Soviet censuses of the area. All over Central Europe the populations were considerably mixed by way of ancestry and so identity and loyalties for many were not yet fixed.

I suspect Brexit has actually created a lot of interest in all EU passports for holiday convenience. It is just that for the most common EU passport available, that of Eire, some demonstrable recent Irish ancestry is required.

Irish passports are comparatively easy to come by, as you only have to demonstrate one Irish-born grandparent. I am entitled to one because my grandmother was born in Cork while here father, an English recruiting sergeant, was passing through enlisting Irishmen for his English regiment in 1892!

I suspect interest in Irish passports might wain rapidly if it made one eligible for military service on the Eastern Front!

Cheers,

Sid.

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