The 17. SS “Götz von Berlichingen” (PA) War Journal
invasion is here! They’re coming! The long awaited and feared Channel attack
appeared to be on. The Aufklärungs Abteilung 17 of the GvB Division was part of
other units sent ahead to counter this threat held at Torrance, PA on April
22-24, 2005. Members in
Oberschutze Marc Kawalsky
Schutze Rkt. Chris Karr
Läufer Chris Tobias (runner)
housed on a large French farming
complex that was abandoned some time ago. The 9th WSS
Hohenstaufen, Hochsgebirgsjager Gruppe Groth, 12th WSS Hitler Jugend,
Grossdeutschland, Der Fuhrer Regiment, and other Heer units were also stationed
here. The weather was cool and rainy – perfect fighting weather. These units
were brought here to counter the large airborne drops that had scattered Yanks
all over the countryside. The High Command did not want these troops gathering
together in large battle groups to become a nightmare problem in the rear areas.
Slepetz chose the loft of one of the milking barns as our quarters and command.
Us Soldaten lugged our equipment and weapons up a rickety ladder and made the
best of our situation. We could see well in all directions and by pulling up the
ladder, made the position very defendable.
setting up, some of us helped Gruppe Groth string phone lines to command centers
while others visited Freunden in other units or attended tactical briefings.
and so did the rain and thunder. We knew that the Allies were close by so the
pickets were sent out and us Landsers tried to get as much sleep as one could. Läufer
Tobias had a late night errand to help a Feldpolizeiman find his unit and was
almost shot by uneasy sentries. Tension was high.
early morning hours, Uscha. Person was awakened by Tobias to report that groups
of Ami paratroopers were seen in the woods and the fields near us! Grabbing his
Browning, he looked out but saw nothing. Downstairs, Grossdeutschland and Groth
were suiting up for a wet recon. Both Oberschutze Brennemans also donned
Zeltbahns to help. The rest of the 17th GvB was in reserve so we
caught a bit more sleep.
Groth came back wet and tired to report nothing found. Grossdeutschland moved on
to occupy an old lunatic asylum nearby. By this time, the rest of our unit was
up and ready. Schutze Karr and Oberschutze Kawalsky enjoyed the typical Soldaten
breakfast – cigarettes.
enemy nearby? Patrols were kept up and OberFeldwebel Hever of Groth and Uscha.
Person decided to take a walk around the perimeter. Everything was wet from the
drizzle as our two Landsers crept through the pines and brush. Shots rang out!
Yankee helmets were seen moving about! There were too many of them to take on
from this patrol, so our two Soldaten hurried back to report their find. The
windows of our building soon sprouted rifle and MG barrels. Some shots were
exchanged and Oberschutze Kawalsky answered one barrage with a Panzerschreck!
The Amis then melted away. They were definitely here.
decided that we should send out several small groups to find and disrupt any
Yank efforts to get together. Ustuf. Slepetz had Uscha. Person, Oberschutzes
Kawalsky and Allen Brenneman, Schutze Karr and Läufer Tobias be one group and
support a patrol from Groth. Us Soldaten crossed a small creek and skirted a
cornfield before hearing voices – Yanks! Members of Groth moved to flank the
enemy while we gathered to attack. The Yanks had set up a good position near a
large river but with their mouths gave it away! A Groth Soldat tossed a
Handgranate but it bounced off a tree and the battle was on. We couldn’t move
but neither could the Amis. A rifle grenade took out a few and we moved forward.
A support group of Amis coming to rescue was spotted in the far distance and
Uscha. Person ordered a volley of fire at them. We nailed a few, no doubt
because of Schutze Karr’s 98k/ZF41 combination. They fled back.
time, members of Hohenstaufen joined the fray led by Obscha. Moran with his
trusty MP44. We slipped down a muddy escarpment wiping the Yank’s position
out. Another large group of Amis appeared across the river heading up a road
that led to our camp. We traded shots with them as our unit hurried back to warn
our post. They never materialized. (We later found out this was because the
bridge was out and the river was running too fast to wade across.)
short rest, all of GvB was sent out to cover our flanks. When we crested the top
of a small ravine we came face to face with an Allied position! Uscha. Person
quickly got everyone back down while Ustuf. Slepetz cautiously checked them out.
The Amis were behind a small crest in the middle of the field. Why they didn’t
open up on us was unknown. While Schutze Karr watched them through his scope, Läufer
Tobias was sent to get help.
in the form of the 9th’s halftrack with an MG-42 manned by Obscha.
Moran. With the Allies being pinned down by accurate Mauser fire from
Oberschutze Robert Brenneman and others, we all formed up behind the halftrack
as it moved forward. The Yanks fired some flares before they were wiped out in
the open with nowhere to go. As the halftrack moved off, a second group of
Yankee paratroopers came on the scene and were dispatched after a short, hard
Slepetz then left with Oberschutze Kawalsky to get new orders. Oberschutze Allen
Brenneman climbed a tree to watch for trouble as the rest of us took a swig from
our Feldflasche. Soon the two were back. The asylum was under attack and we were
to help. Off we trudged across a muddy cornfield to reach the building. The
weather had turned windy and colder by now. Crazy French spring! Our gruppe
could see Americans moving up towards the end of the building so we came in
through the other way. We made our way quickly through the ruins
to take up positions and started returning fire. Oberschutze Kawalsky cheerfully
called out each time he hit the enemy. Spent cartridges littered the floor.
then called out that that the Yanks were sneaking in through the basement! Down
the 17th went. Ustuf. Slepetz nailed one big paratrooper with a
grenade while Uscha. Person sent another scurrying with a barrage of pistol fire
followed by a smoke grenade.
started rocking the building as the Amis hit it with a barrage. Us Soldaten all
made it out safely as the building came down. We thanked the Yanks for doing our
job by denying them a command post! Another long march through the mud brought
us back to our quarters for a quick bite to eat and a needed smoke break. All
this happened before noon time!
attack was made on the rubble of the asylum
but it was a half-hearted affair simply to clean out any Yanks trying to dig in
there. Highlights were that an Ami General was found in the ruins. Apparently
these skirmishes were more important than we thought. The other “highlight”
was that our kleine Unterscharfuhrer misjudged the angle on his rifle grenade
and narrowly missed taking Oberschutze Allen Brenneman out of the war! Faulty
sights were supposedly to blame and Minister Speer will be hearing of this!
ended with the weather turning much colder. The 17th spent the
evening huddled around a small stove swapping stories from home or just being
alone with one’s thoughts. The morning had an actual dusting of snow making
the battle area surreal and peaceful. With that, “GvB” moved out and headed
back for redeployment. Mission accomplished!