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Gefreiter Emanuel Tometzki
|6th Kompany, 1st Battalion, 857 Regiment, 346th Infantry Division - called up to the Hitler Youth when he was only fifteen and a half years old, he was fighting on the Russian Front at the age of 16 and was wounded outside Kiev. Whilst convalescing he was rushed to the Normandy Front within 24 hours of the invasion and survived 6 weeks of fighting outside Caen. He survived the Falaise Gap battles and was finally captured by the Maquis outside Abbeville on 2nd September 1944. Rescued by Canadian troops, he saw out the last 8 months of the War as a PoW in England.|
|Hans Hossfelder||2nd Waffen SS Division. Was part of the small group of less than ten troops who captured Belgrade along with 1300 troops in April 1941. Awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. Hans Hossfelder was born on 29 April 1920 in Tarnowitz, a small town north of Breslau in Silesia.He had two Brothers, Hannes, Hugo, and one sister, Klara. His father was a leather tanner and merchant by trade, and had worked for the Imperial stables of the Kaiser during the First World War. The Capture of Belgrade was a interesting event in the war. As partof a Motor Cycle unit Hans Hossfelder had been sent forward to look for any method of crossing the Danube. If any bridges were intact they were to report this back and try to hold it, keeping it from being blown. But all bridges ha dbeen destriyed Aftrer managing to ferry men across the Danube in a motor boat. But the boat sank onm the third crossing whihc left Hossfelder and 6 others on the other bank of the Danube completly cut of from the rest of the unit . We had a radio, four rifles, two MP-38’s, one pistol, and about twenty rounds of ammunition each. The Officer in charge Klingenberg ordered the remainder of the unit to split in two; one group would continue up river looking for a place to cross and the other would establish a security line to prevent any Yugoslav forces from attacking the units rear. Hossfleders small group was to move forward and report back on any enemy movements to our battalion commander, Obersturmbannfuehrer (SS Lieutenant Colonel) Hannes Eckhold. The small unit captures some civilians and used them as a shield as they neared Belgrade. In various captures vehicles they had passed a numbe rof Yougaslavian check points without difficulty, Just outside the city the unit were fired upon when one of the prisoners yelled out and warned his comrades. He was shot, and a 2 hour fire fight begane using up most of the units ammunition Hossfelder and his comrades managed to drive through the soldiers and entered the city where we drove to the city plaza. This was where Klingenberg showed his brilliance. He ordered Hossfelder to raise the German ensign up the flagpole. Soon the mayor arrived and began discussing the terms of surrender, thinking that they were a much larger group. Klingenberg told him that if they did not check in by radio regularly there would be a massive retaliatory bombing. Then, at that moment, German Fiesler ‘Storch’ flew overhead, and thinking quickly, Klingenberg told the mayor that the clock was ticking. What the mayor did not know was that the radio had taken a bullet; it could receive but not transmit. I faked radio traffic for hours, keeping up the illusion. The city agreed that that 1,300 soldiers and militia would surrender their weapons, and Klingenberg ordered the prisoners to quarter themselves in the various hotels and placed a curfew on the city. . The small unit fo 7 men collected every map and document at the mayor’s office and police stations. They also had every doctor and nurse report to them, and also had the chief of police disclose all criminal records for future intelligence work. They also inventoried and stockpiled all the gasoline, oil, and vehicles, and waited. The They used POW’s to repair the runway and we had the locations of all the anti-aircraft positions and mine fields. They had arrived in Belgrade on 12 April, secured the city, and the rest of our division and the headquarters of XLV Corps entered on the evening of the 13th. When the first group entered the city Hossfelder quickly explained the situation to them and had them play along. They had written them off as missing in action when the rest of the unit had not heard from us due to the radio being broken. There was a rumour that we had been captured and tortured for information. . They also found out that the High Command did not believe that Belgrade had been taken, since the force projection was for a siege, not a rapid capture, and Hausser was ordered to inspect for himself. Hossfelder and the entire unit were all decorated with the Iron Cross, and Klingenberg was presented with the Knight’s Cross. Hossfelder was offered a commission and attended the academy at Bad Toelz and was able to attend the following year. The invasion of Russia interrupted the training. Hossfelder fought at Kharkov in 1942 serving under Otto Kumm, then went to the academy, where He finishedhis Offcier trainign in August 1942. and became a platoon leader, and was wounded during an artillery barrage. Hans Hossfelder spent several months recuperating and received the Iron Cross First Class, Wound Badge, and he already had the Infantry Assault and General Assault Badges. He later was assigned to the anti-tank company of ‘Der Fuehrer’ Regiment, and stayed all through the battle of Kursk. After the war he became a schoolteacher and retired in Munich.|
Sturmann Karl-Heinz Decker
|Born in Konigsberg, Karl-Heinz Decker joined the German army in 1943, trained as a tank crewman and transferred to the 12th Waffen SS Panzer Division in Belgium in 1944. Staying with this elite unit in France during the Allied invasion he fought throughout the Normandy campaign, on D-Day, at Falaise and was eventually taken PoW.|
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