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Issue Number 35

The 17. SS “Götz von Berlichingen” (PA) War Journal


The smell of offensive operations is in the air! This is the chance to get back at the Allies for threatening our homeland and our loved ones. Members present for this great attack were:

Unterscharfuhrer Bill Person               Oberschutze Marc Schneider (a.k.a. Kawalsky)   

Rottenfuhrer Randy Knauss                 Schutze George Skrapits

Sturmann Jim Helm                             Schutze Chris Karr

Oberschutze Allen Brenneman            Schutze Steve Karr

Oberschutze Robert Brenneman         Schutze Doug Perdick

       And joining us from the West Coast:

            Scharfuhrer Ralph Preston                  Schutze Brandon Hall

Our beloved Untersturmfuhrer Dwayne Slepetz, after many exhaustive months at the front, had been granted extended leave to head home for some well-deserved rest.

            The weather changed from cold to mild temperatures with no snow to hamper supply traffic. Unfortunately, this was “Jabo weather” and we all had to be on guard while making this journey to the assembly area. The drone of Allied aircraft was heard overhead the whole time. The vaunted Luftwaffe, of course, was nowhere to be seen. 

            With all gear stowed away, us Soldaten checked the supply buildings to locate essential equipment and luxuries. Schutze Chris Karr had made several contacts and brought many “goodies” along for us and others. In fact, he had so many items that he enlisted the help of Obershutze Kawalsky and Schutze Steve Karr to inventory some of the more expensive items. 

            As evening came, GvB members visited the Canteen, a nearby Belgian café, and Freunden in other units. We were also treated to a rare sight – a torchlight ceremony of an honor guard detachment saluting fallen Kameraden in the Prussian tradition. Many of us had not seen such a ceremony since before the war. All stood proud on hearing “Salute to the Colors” played over the loadspeakers.

             When the supply buildings shut down for the night, Uscha. Person had all members line up in the barracks for our yearly ceremony. The following Soldaten were give promotions:

   Randy Knauss – to Unterscharfuhrer

   Allen Brenneman – to Rottenfuhrer

   Marc Kawalsky – to Sturmann

   Chris Karr – to Oberschutze

    Schutze Perdick was recognized on having achieved full member status and the privilege of wearing the “Götz von Berlichingen” cufftitle.  

The following were then awarded decorations or certificates:

   Randy Knauss – the Feuerwerker specialty badge for achieving NCO status and showing proof of certification as a firearm instructor and trainer in the law enforcement profession.

   Robert Brenneman – the SA Military Sports badge for outstanding dedication to the unit. 

   Ralph Preston – The Austrian or Czech Annexation medal for completing three cross-country trips to attend events. 

            Afterwards, we started to settle in for the night. We listened to stories told by some of us who helped yesterday in probing the Allied lines for weak spots. Sturmann Helm related some of the close calls he had and Rttf. Brenneman mentioned he set down his newly issued large binoculars by a tree and forgot them there! They were probably some Amis’ prize souvenir by now!

             We were told that tomorrow the attack would be centered on the probed areas. Helm and Allen Brenneman both agreed that the enemy positions were good and camouflaged and it might be a difficult time. Uscha. Person saw to it that everyone had enough Patronen to fight the Amis and equipment and clothing were in order. The 17th GvB then tried to get some sleep. Some unit below us loudly celebrated to bolster their courage up.

             Morgan came all too quickly and we readied for battle. The weather was mild for this time of year so no bulky winter gear was necessary. Uscha. Knauss was ordered to assemble the Männer outside next to a detachment of the 9th WSS Hohenstaufen who we would be supporting. Lastwagens were boarded and off we went. 

            After a short bumpy ride all Soldaten offloaded and formed up by a road. A quick call to attention was made and none other than Sepp Dietrich made a quick troop inspection before going off and leading the attack! Our leaders were bringing in the best we had to push this allied menace back.

 The 17th GvB and others then moved out towards the front. Foxholes and barricades were soon discovered and Rttf. Brenneman said that this was the area they probed before. The Allies had abandoned their positions during the night. Rttf. Brenneman asked to leave for a bit then came back shortly with his binoculars! They were right where he left them. 

            Our commanders figured that the Allies might be back and we should hold here. Us Soldaten spread out and went about improving the defenses. Oberschutze Robert Brenneman solidly held the left flank while Schutze Perdick backed us up with the firepower of his G-43. Ustuf. Slepetz’s MP-40 was sorely missed! Scha. Preston and Schutze Hall took a forward position. Schutze Skrapits eagerly waited for targets. 

            A wave of small arms fire erupted and a short time later, the Amis were back! We hunkered down and started trading rifle fire. Uscha. Knauss calmly sighted and fired his Mauser as Schutze Perdick cranked out groups of shots. Out of the blue, a British Bren Gun Carrier made its way across the clearing towards us! A fine time not to have Strm. Kawalsky’s Panzerschreck or some rifle grenades around! The Carrier slowly waddled forward while the Amis behind it fired away. Some Soldaten pulled out while the rest held. Schutze Skrapits noticed that Soldaten behind us were firing the other way – we were being hit from both sides. The 17th hung on despite the odds.

            Suddenly, the Yanks tired out and pulled back. No stomach for further losses, we concluded. This gave us time to regroup by traveling down a road to set up a new position. The Yankee dogs and Tommies then came at us again.

Our Gewehrs heated up as they took their toll on the enemy. Uscha. Moran was seen helping an MG-42 crew in directing fire. The action grew furious with orders being barked out, Soldaten moving and firing, and the screams of the wounded were heard. The enemy got so close at one point that pistols were employed. 

            Our “tactical withdrawal” got us out of danger but kept the Allied menace from advancing any further. The battle ended in a draw as the Lastwagens returned us to the assembly barracks.

             As we gathered out things to pack and head for home, us Kameraden were glad that the Amis and Tommies were stopped at least for a bit but saddened that no advance could be made. Maybe our commanders have something else in mind in the near future? The 17th GvB Aufklärungs Abteilung 17 would be ready!

After-Action Report


Götz Heil!