The 17. SS “Götz von Berlichingen” (PA) War Journal
winter of war is upon us and still the Allied dogs have not let up. Their air
pirates make daily raids deep into the Heimat and our families live in fear. We
hope that our leaders are planning an attack soon to rid this menace. Meanwhile,
we Soldaten in the “GvB” do our part in holding the line. This time it’s
at Torrance, PA on November 18-20, 2005. Members making it to the front were:
Schutze Chris Karr
Schutze Rekrut Doug Perdick
We watched supply and refugee trains thread their way cautiously through the mountains as our convoy made the long trip to the assembly point – abandoned farm complex. The weather was already windy and cold with the promise of a “cozy” night ahead sleeping in a barn. Being that our beloved Ustuf. Slepetz was the overall commander for this action, we had the pick of locations.
our equipment, weapons, and sleeping gear were laid out and the room secured
against most of the cold drafts, us Soldaten went to greet other Freunden in
other units or check the area out. Units of the 10th WSS Freundsberg,
1st WSS LAH, 352nd and 501st Grenadiers, and a
Fallschirmjager unit (6th Rgt.), plus others were present.
Evening came and Ustuf. Slepetz and Uscha. Moran of Command called a
meeting to discuss strategy. This area was under pressure from the Allies and
they needed to be taken care of. On a map, a location was marked as to where we
wanted to push the line back to. All types of units (Airborne, GI’s, Polish,
and Commonwealth) were rumored to be in the vicinity, so night patrols were
needed to gather information. “GvB” was to be one of those patrols with
Oberschutze Kawalsky acting as squad leader. Uscha.
Person, Oberschutze Allen Brenneman and Schutze Rkt. Perdick made up the squad.
The night deepened with overcast
covering the moon when our little patrol set out. Oberschutze Kawalsky gave a
few tips on adjusting to seeing at night then of we went, stopping at times to
Our brave Soldaten made it to a railroad line, and then backtracked to a
stream crossing, past a field, then to a bridge where tomorrow’s attack was to
spearhead. No sign of the enemy.
Oberschutze Allen Brenneman then spotted the dim headlights of a Jeep
heading our way and we tensed. Schutze Rkt. Perdick readied his Gewehr 43. The
jeep then dropped off two people who headed our way. Scouts! So the Allies knew
something was up! Oberschutze Kawalsky had “Rabbit” run ahead to warn other
patrols heading out as we made it back safely. Oberschutze Marc Kawalsky’s
patrol was a success!
With the ominous signs of much fighting on our hands in the morning, all
members of “GvB” went to bed early. The cold forced everyone deep down into
their covers and blankets to get warm.
Distant gunfire erupted periodically during the night. Ustuf. Slepetz was
awakened to interrogate a large Canadian prisoner and had to leave his warm bed,
making him very testy. “Reichsbahn” Kawalsky snored happily away, oblivious
to the weather!
The pre-dawn hours finally came and the 17th fumbled in the
dark to get ready for battle. Our kleine Unterscharfuhrer had his usual cup of
tea making the others wonder if he was British at heart! We then moved out,
leading the Fallschirmjagers to the bridge. Other units went to the rail line to
Oberschutze Allen Brenneman on point spotted the Amis around the bridge,
but only a few! The Fallschirmjagers then moved up and pressed home the attack
before the morning twilight gave us away. A short firefight ensued and then -
breakthrough! Leaving a few to cover the bridge, we skirted the stream down to
the next objective, a silobarn. All eyes were on a patch of woods in the middle
of the fields where death was expected to come from at any time in the form of
mortars and machinengewehr. Nothing like that happened and the Fallschirmjagers
stormed the silobarn. No wonder they earned the name “Green Devils”!
Where were the Amis? Fearing a surprise counter attack, Ustuf. Slepetz
ordered the 17th back to the bridge. Sturmann Helm and Oberschutze
Allen Brenneman went out into the field to take up vantage points to observe.
Their camouflage gave perfect concealment.
Meanwhile, Ustuf. Slepetz pressed his units forward to find the Allies.
An enemy sniper moved up to locate any targets and a Fallschirmjager was
observed to calmly walk up behind him and take him out! Small firefights
occurred but no main battle. Was all this a ruse? Soldaten and grenadiers
pressed on to the far side of the wooded patch.
The rest of the 17th continued to watch from the knoll.
Freundsberg men came out from the railroad tracks and moved across the fields
towards the gunfire. We too then got the call to hurry into the wooded patch.
Uscha. Person, upon arriving, saw the Allied main line was found! Scores
of enemy troops plus a small cannon and an MG Jeep were observed. We had to
cross an open filed to engage, but rifle grenades and a frontal assault proved
futile. Ustuf. Slepetz then backtracked down a slope, through the woods and
surprised the enemy in the rear. The cannon was captured then turned around and
a Canadian group was blown to bits. Uscha. Moran ran to the jeep and fired off a
belt of ammo into the survivors.
A small counterattack was stopped thanks to Sturmann Helm’s accurate
Mauser fire and Schutze Rekrut Perdick lobbing several Handgranaten into them. A
Polish Brigade unit tried crawling out into the field to get at us but it was
decimated. (Didn’t they learn their lesson way back in 1939?)
After a rest, our commanders gathered together to discuss strategy and
how to press on. We knew our objective was getting near. Allied resistance was
stiffening, though at least there were no Jabos to contend with. Landsers moved
into the brush and started scaling a steep hill. Small arms fire started up
The Yankees and Tommies were really mad now and didn’t give ground
easily. Oberschutze Allen Brenneman, Schutze Rkt. Perdick and others slowly
picked their way through the trees and along the road, picking targets and
flanking them. Another MG Jeep caused problems until the gunner fell and Uscha.
Person closed in and nailed the driver with his Browning.
At this point, any more fighting would just produce useless losses and
Ustuf. Slepetz called a halt. We had advanced far enough and this certainly
would delay the Allies’ timetable. The 17th moved off the line and
back to our quarters.
Some townsfolk had invited us to their Kaufhäuserbund Hall (Veteran’s
Hall) in the evening to provide some warm food and hospitality for keeping the
Allied menace away. It felt good to be inside and forget the tensions of
today’s battle. Some Jazzmusik and tunes from the American Benny Goodman were
played. Although the hierarchy in Berlin had said that this entertainment was
verboten, we enjoyed it anyway. Oberschutze Allen Brenneman seemed to know the
words to most of the songs!
The party ended all too soon and we reluctantly went back to the barn to
try to get some rest. Dawn did slowly arrive and we began to pack the Lastwagons.
Schutze Karr, thanks to his connections in the quartermasters corps, did a brisk
business trading needed items and luxuries to other Soldaten. We all see him in
a good sales job after the war!
Anyway, we pulled out and said farewell to this section of the front.
Another fine job done by the 17th “GvB”!
minute announcement – Rkt. Perdick’s event tally has been reached and he is
now entitled to wear the coveted “GvB“ cuff title and have the rank of
Schutze. Welcome “Rabbit” – and start sewing...Darn! Darn!