by Brad Hubbard
a pen name used by the veteran for personal
privacy, is a veteran of
and a personal friend. Awhile back he shared
his experiences on the Wehrmacht list on the
Reenactor's net. The spelling has been
corrected as best as possible as his
computer English is still coming along.
Horst is currently writing a book about his
Horst was born March 1926 outside the town
of Stettin which was in Prussia, Pommerania
(Eastern Germany). He attended public
School, junior college and then the Adolf
Hitler School (NAPOLA) Military Academy in
Bad Toelz, Prague, Berlin, and Lichterfelde.
He graduated in 1943 and began training in
Sennelag on Panthers and later on the Tiger
II (better known as the "Koenigstiger")
Horst's first action was in Ploesty against
Russian T-34's then in the Battle of the
Bulge (Wacht am Rhein). He regrouped in
Sennelager and was sent to Hungary and
fought in Stuhlweissenburg and later the
battle of Budapest. He retreated to Vienna (Wien)
where he fought his last battle against
General Patton's 3rd Army in Czechoslovakia.
He was in a prison camp until 1946 and moved
to the United States in 1956.
On the issue of Italian Camoflage and
equipment storage and loss:
Yes, it was only given to the 12 SS
Hitlerjugend Division. But by the end of 44
and the beginning of 45, you had no choice
of what you were given, things were scarce.
As a tanker we did not have much contact
with the Infantry, only Panzergrenadier and
they wore anything they could get their
hands on. As you know the Panzers had a box
behind the turret, the so called Rommel box,
In some firefights we would lose them, in
there was spare uniforms and so on. When we
came back, we had to sign a paper, [saying]
that we lost it in battle, or the
Quartermaster would not give us our
uniforms. We had to take whatever was in
stock. When you see some pictures [of]
soldiers having all kinds of uniforms, they
were remnants from other units. There is so
much to write about, of what went on.
Did you ever wear your HBT uniform in
If by HBT you mean the Summer uniform, yes,
did some dog tags lack the blood type?
I never seen one which did not have the
blood type on.
you carry your soldbuch in the field?
You carry your Soldbuch ALL the time, and
songs did you sing?
Most all of the German marching songs
there are too many to name.
how a squad was organized.
A squad normally are 12 men, but if it is a
heave machinegun squad, there are 14 men. If
it is a MG44 [I believe he means 42] there
is #1 the gunner #2 the holder of the belt,
#3 the extra man with ammunition, because of
the high rate of firing of the 44 [again, I
beleive he's referring to the MG42] You have
a squad leader, mostly a NCO with a MP38 or
40 and the rest are riflemen.
They are goodies sent from home, or from
your Quartermaster extras for the troops
like Zigaretten, Zigarren, Candy and all the
goodies a Soldat dreams about.
the wear of Fusslappen.
Fusslappen are pieces of soft cloth, to wear
with or without socks. There is a special
way of putting them on, you only wear them
with boots or as we called them
Horst's Basic Training:
The day finally came, I had my
Stellungsbefehl (my draft orders). I had
been accepted in the SS Armour Units, and
[was] to report at once to Paderborn
Sennelager. (Gott schuf in seinem Zorn das
Sennelager bei Paderborn) God created in a
mad moment, the training camp at Paderborn.
On the way, in the train soldiers were
asking, where are you going, so I told them.
YOU WILL BE SORRY. I was only smiling, what
could happen, I went from Adolf Hitler
Schule to HJ to preliminary training. [We
were] 17 years old, we knew it all. At the
arrival at the camp, at the rail station 2
NCOs picked us up, by now we were 75 guys.
[As] soon as we came to the gate, all hell
broke loose. You idiots, you assholes, those
were the nicer words they used on us. We had
to crawl with our suitcases in front of us
through the gate. After we got squared away,
we asked when do we eat? This is now 4
o'clock in the afternoon. Were we sorry we
asked that question, here we learned more of
the finer words [the] drill seargent knew.
It was 8 o'clock that night we got our first
meal. After that we were alowed to go to
bed. That was day one.
Here we go for day two of Basic:
At 6 o'clock they woke us up. Not very
gentile as you can imagine, [using] whistle
and other noise makers. We almost fell out
of bed. We did not have a chow hall, so 2
guys were selected to go get coffee and our
morning ration of bread and jelly and bring
it back to the barracks. I still don't know
why they called that "coffee", it
was black and hot. Then everybody fell out
to get our uniforms and gear, They did not
trust us with a rifle. We got three complete
uniforms: camo, a grey, and our black Panzer
uniform, but being told,"do not touch
the black, but it in your locker". Then
we were looking at the bulletin board [to
see] what the day will bring for us. Today
was marsching and close order drill. We did
not know we had two left feet and two left
hands, we could do nothing right in the eyes
of our drill instructors. I will spare you
the choice [of] words he was using, we did
not that was German to the lowest form on
Earth [??] was one of the gentle ones,
Scheisskopf [and] Arschloch were already
more severe. At noon time we had lunch; bean
soup, 3 boiled potatoes, and a piece of
bread (kommissbrot). We had a metal bowl for
our soup. Since we did not have a mess hall,
you had to find a place where you could eat.
Imagine, 1 bowl of soup, 3 potatoes and a
piece of bread, and you only had two hands.
If you dropped one or the other, which was
easy to [do], our lovely drill sergeant was
right there and said you A and more choice
words follow. You don't want the food? Go
dump the rest next to it. So you go hungry
until the night meal. We had one hour lunch
period. In the afternoon we had classes
about weapons, tactics, and for sure Nazi
doctrine-what a good Nazi is all about. 6
o'clock the day was over as far as classes
were concerned. You had free time until 10
o'clock when it was bed time. Between 6
o'clock and 10 o'clock you were not allowed
to go near your bed or leave the barrack.
Finally it was 10 o'clock [and] we could go
On infantry riding on tanks:
In the early war years in Russia, riding on
tanks was good, because of the long
distances infantry had to travel. But in 44
in the West, nobody wanted to ride on the
tank anymore, because of the air [being]
completely taken over by American and
English air forces. When there was a chance
you could get 15 to 20 men in a Tiger II
[and] on a Panther about 15. The Russian
tanks were more in the roll of infantry
support. They had handrails welded on their
tanks, mostly on the KV1 and KV2, not so
much on a T-34. Most of the infantry was
saying 'I am not riding on that death trap'.
There is a bit more to it, but this should
answer most questions.
What was "Putz und Flickstunde"?
A time set aside to clean your weapons,
rearrange your locker, mend your uniform,
and get ready for inspection.
What was Checked during Appel?
Everything! In the barracks you locker, your
bed, your uniforms. Outside your weapons,
combat gear, sturmgepack. [You must] pass
uniform appel for a pass into town!
Uniform, comb, handkerchief, wallet,
Soldbuch, money, and make sure you have a
rubber in your wallet, and your pass. Clean
hands, sparkling boots, and proper haircut,
and then they let you loose.
Was there differences between troops from
various regions in Germany?
The guys from the east and north did not
like the guys from the south (sound
familiar) After basiks, if possible they put
people from the same region in the same
How where you paid? What kind of
Always in German Marks; if you were in
occupied countries, you could exchange
monies by the quartermaster. You get paid
every 10 days, you only get a portion of
your pay, the rest goes to your family.
Describe a typical role call.
The company would go to the parade field;
the Squad Leader would report to the Platoon
Leader and the Platoon Leader would report
to the Company Leader: Example: First
Platoon with 42 men; 35 present, 3 men out
sick, 4 men on guard duty. After that, you
will get the orders for the day.
Did you ever get a Führer Geschenk?
Yes I did. When you are going on leave from
the front line, at the next bigger railroad
station in Germany you have to show your
papers and they will give you a big packet,
with all kinds of goodies in it like cans of
all kinds of meat, coffee, sugar, marmalade,
bread, cake, cigarettes, and all kinds of
goodies you always dreamed about, heard
about, and never have seen.
What were your relationships with the
At home and German friendly countries: very
good. In occupied countries it was forbidden
to mingle with the civilians and like
France, Poland, Russia, but most of the time
noone gave a damn. We were thousands of
kilometers away from home.
How were your uniforms laundered in the
I had to laugh when I read this. Imagine you
are in the field fighting. Your gear is 100
kilometers behind you, you only have the
bear stuff with you. You make sure you have
plenty of ammo with you, let alone cloth,
but when you get back to the rear you
exchanged your cloth to the quartermaster,
if he had the guts to come that close to the
front lines. Otherwise you find some water,
dip your clothes in it and hope the lice
will drown, running around bare ass until
your stuff will dry. Or, if you were in
possession of a spare uniform, you out that
on. As a tanker we had it better - after the
battle we always came back to our place
where there was ammo, gas, food clothes, and