Jump to content

Amusing German war time contradictions


Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

Really? I've always heard it was the other way around. I'm willing to change my mind, but I'm gonna need some proof. It may be another of those wartime myths, but the way the story ran is that the Allies did not have enough spare divisions to pull whole formations out of the line (although you are right about them being sent to "quieter" sectors sometimes), so green replacements were being fed into units in combat where they were often killed before they could become combat hardened.

Michael

My apologies. I did not mean that entire divisions were pulled off the line regularly, nor did I mean that the Allies never suffered from manpower problems, rest/refit issues or the replacement issue you mentioned. All I meant was that, at certain times during the war, parts of divisions or in a few cases entire divisions (see: 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions after Normandy) were able to be moved to rear areas for rest and refit for a variable amount of time. 

Generally in the infantry divisions a policy of 2 up 1 back was used. Each division usually had 3 rifle regiments. Two of them would be directly on the line, while the third would be held in reserve, resting and preparing to replace one of the other regiments on the line, or plugging a gap if needed. However, this mode of operation was only under optimal conditions, which did not always exist. For example, during the Hurtgen forest campaign you had the issue of replacements being thrown into the line so fast that they were dead in a few days (or even hours in some cases) which caused a huge strain on manpower. This allowed for much less R&R time for everyone. The Normandy campaign is another good example of this. I actually have the unit rosters of the 29th ID that covers June 44 to Oct 44 (and maybe a bit more) and in the rosters there are more than a few cases of a rifleman reporting for duty and then being killed/wounded that very same day. 

What I meant was that, while it was far from perfect and highly situational (the enemy gets a vote too) the Allies were able to give more of their men more R&R time in relation to the Germans. On top of that, when units in the Allies (the US at least) were pulled off the line for R&R, it was entire units. Generally they did not pull individuals out of units, but the unit as a whole (whether it was a company or regiment) except under very specific circumstances. Examples are when Easy Company was afforded to send one of its officers home during the Battle of the Bulge (Nixon declines it and gives it to Peacock) or during The Pacific where, after Peleliu a lottery was held that allowed a few men out of a battalion to go home. I keep using BoB as a reference because it is generally well known and well researched, not because it is my only source of information. 

The Germans on the other hand had a different R&R system. Units tended to stay on the line. R&R was granted to individuals, and other individuals were pulled from the line and sent somewhere else. Either to lead a new unit as someone with combat experience, or to the Eastern/Western Front due to changing manpower needs. Add onto this that the Germans were not only surrounded on both sides by enemies and did not have strategic air supremacy, but were steadily losing the war, and you can see why their manpower/R&R issues were greater than the Allies. 

 

All of this is to illustrate the point that by late 1944 the Germans had lost the majority of their experienced and effective manpower. What was replacing the losses were generally poorly trained soldiers with little to no combat experience, led by a handful of men who did have combat experience, but who's overall effectiveness was shattered after fighting years of war.

Edited by IICptMillerII
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 52
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Re 155

Let my find my copy of McDonalds Company Commander. Im near certain its mentioned there and also in Guns at Last Light.

 

Also re whether its "myth busted" or not whose to say Col Wilck isnt full of BS or hadnt taken too many near misses to his HQ? To say that well Eisenhower ( former CinC SHAEF, American president ) is outright lying and have it come from one source who though a subordinate was high enough to have political dimensions to his career I think is jumping a little ahead of ourselves.

What we have  now is the word of Eisenhower vs Wilck. We.ll toss Citizen Soldiers out. Its biased and though much is true its been proven Ambrose lied about the cowardice of a RN subaltern for no reason whatsoever.

Id say if anythibg the fact its mentioned in more than one book and its not as if im the only person who ever heard about it (forget on this board ill settle with Ikes credentials, and other books its mentioned in. Now its for me to find if the 155 ref were in MacDonalds Time for Trumpets and/ or Company Commander, along with Coopers novel ( which ill toss as evidence, amd also if its mentioned in Atkinsons Guns at Last Light which im about 95% it is. We have a former general turned president who still went on tv to warn Americans of the military industrial complex. Idk sounds to me like Ike was a pretty honest guy... )

Whats the reason for the disbelief anyways? ( i mean is it really that unbelieveable that perhaps the complaints even had less to do with 155s and more to do with it being the first German city taken and the commander being tried and sentenced to death in absentia for surrendering. At that point wouldnt it also gain the commander to complain of beastly american practices and barbarism, anything to clear a conscience and save a reputation if only in pow camps.) Theres rife proven statements the Germans felt it was unfair that we swamped them with planes, the German soldiers saying a panther was worth 12 shermans but Americans always had 13, doing the first terror bombings of the war then crying about Allied bombings, etc. As far as the perceived usefullness of weapons in DF 155s certainly were though not often. I know in the Colmar Pocket 155s defeated in spectacular fashion a German armored attack. Of course Aacgen was more deliberate less emergency - but the Wehrmacht certainly believed colossal DF weapons had their place on the battlefield. E.g sturmtiger..

Edited by Sublime
Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Sublime said:

Whats the reason for the disbelief anyways?

It just sounds so much like an urban legend. I'm reminded of the (American) myth that using .50 cal against enemy infantry is prohibited by the rules of war. Which of course it isn't, but there was some old recommendation that it be used against enemy vehicles.

I guess the German commander originally said something like "We couldn't defend against 155mm firing directly at our pillboxes", which would probably be factually true. Then that later gets retold many times and changed slightly to "The Americans only won because they brought up their 155mm and fired straight at us". And then later, bit by bit, we end up with "Boo hoo, the nasty Amis were so unfair".

A German commander would have to be somewhat mentally retarded not to recognise the basic tactic of bypassing strongpoints, surround them, then bring up heavy weapons. Weren't the Germans the ones who came up with those 'Hutiger tactics' anyway?

 

Edited by Bulletpoint
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes they did. Of course the Germans were the first to terror bonb in history that hasnt stopped the current at the time claims of air pirates all the way to present day sections of society on both sides of the Atlantic that believe the US/Brits were just sooo evil to firebomb them back and do it better. And as I stated in above posts they also invented the sturmtiger etc. 

Of course Japanese cannibalism sounds completely like US propaganda and or urban legend and is completely true. In fact what happened to several US aviators ( un anesthesized vivisection, cannibalism )was considered so awful it wasnt used as propaganda nor were  their families informed for about 60 yrs.

 

 

Again the German commander wouldnt have to be "retarded". He would just have to be a hypocrite and or protecting his @$$ from controversy from fellow Germans (you coward you surrendered!) And maybe he wasnt so sure at the time the Third Reich may not actually win or negotiate a truce. In which case he better be crying or he wud soon.

 

Edited by Sublime
Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly what i was saying especially in light of Guernica, Warsaw, Rotterdam, (all the cities terror bombed by air in ww1 except perhaps some light end of war RFC activity) London,Conventry, Stalingrad ad nauseum.  Oh and did I forget speaking of fighter bombers the well documented Luftwaffe strafing attacks on civilian columns in France 1940? Or really anywhere when the Luftwaffe wasnt put in a position of fighting for existence?

Again this is less an idictment of the German ppl thats alrdy been done. This thread was supposed to be lightheartdd and i would have taken other nationalities as well. Still this thread is a damning indictment of the hypocrisy of the 3rd reich, the idiocy of eugenics, and the fallacy and inherent problems in a militarized warlike society that feels entitled to empire.

Also unrestricted submarine warfare.

Also the double standard of how they treated Russian pows and US Brit POWs then bitterly complaining if say a murderous SS division was handed over to the Soviets. After all the Germans disliked the Soviets so much that they tested the first batch of zyklon b on russian pows, not jews "even".

 

 

Also bullet point i believe its spelling houtier tactics tho cud be wrong too lol. But yes the Germans did famously build some huge cannons to deal with Liege and the Belgian forts.

Edited by Sublime
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

It just sounds so much like an urban legend. I'm reminded of the (American) myth that using .50 cal against enemy infantry is prohibited by the rules of war. Which of course it isn't, but there was some old recommendation that it be used against enemy vehicles.

Ah yes this one is a classic! I'm sure there are a few known origins to this myth, but the one I know of comes out of the Korean war and involves recoiless rifles. Attached to recoiless rifles was a spotting .50 caliber round, given the same ballistic properties of the recoiless rifle round. So if you fire the spotting round (tracer)  and it hits the target, the round from the recoiless rifle will hit. What ended up happening was that there were a ton of recoiless rifles in Korea, but after the initial North Korean push in 1950, there were no more enemy tanks to shoot at. So soldiers were using the spotting .50 rounds to engage enemy personnel.  A general order was issued to stop this, which later developed into the infamous myth that .50 cals could not be used against enemy personnel. In fact, it only applied to the spotting rounds, and only in Korea. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah very interesting miller thx. That makes a lot of sense also because koreas mountainous terrain  and rhe distances that were probably involved and then having ( did the recoilless? ) a sight that probably was magnified... i ppppindeed could see why soldiers would start using to snipe at enemy soldiers.

 

PZSaur-

Your mention of stukas just made me smile. German name for Allied pilots - terrorflieger. Explicit purpose of the Jericho siren on the stuka? To terrify people on the ground. Lol

 

 

And back to Ike vs Col Wilck

Did it ever occur to anyone that also Wilck perhaps wad there and took yhe surrender and his war went on whereas Ike would be much more privy to a German general whining about barbarity and war crimes post capture in England or wherever whilst Col Wilck was probably dodging shell splinters in the mud in the Hurtgen.

Edited by Sublime
Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 6:30 AM, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Re: 155MM

It looks less likely then, or at least inflated.

Pretty sure that is referenced in "Closing with the enemy" by Doubler. IIRC, the incident was at Aachen.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JonS said:

Pretty sure that is referenced in "Closing with the enemy" by Doubler. IIRC, the incident was at Aachen.

Good memory, @JonS - Doubler devotes a page or so to comment on the episode.

The complaint wasn't so much about using a M8 155mm - which is btw in game if you have the CMBN Vehicle Pack - horrible as it may sound, but rather about the damage done to the historical building, the Aachen Opera theater, that was being targeted since the German infantry had turned it into a little urban fortress.

Assuming that the liberal use of napalm wouldn't have been precisely very good for the health of the building, the only way that such a building would have been cleared out with minimal damage would have entailed either probably massive US infantrymen casualties or the liberal usage of mustard or phosphene gas. World War 2 entailed a notable degree of savagery, but at least the world was spared the horrors of chemical warfare (thermite incendiary bombs effects on civilians and buildings are pretty horrifying as well but for the sake of argument, let's consider them a conventional weapon) on urban areas. Obviously the German commander at Aachen had a preference for the former as well, but probably for more self-centered reasons.

We can count ourselves collectively lucky that cities like Rome or Paris were treated as open cities - more or less willingly - and were spared of the treatment of so many other notable cities and places across the globe.

Edited by BletchleyGeek
Link to post
Share on other sites

It´s all not about whether the 155mm M12 where more than effective and impressed the crap out of german defenders in Aachen. They surely did. It´s about the line "After his capture, Colonel Wilck protested the use of direct fire artillery at such close range, calling it "barbarous" and claiming should be outlawed, but his appeals fell on the deaf ears of VII Corps soldiers whose sensibilities had been dulled by the heavy fighting since D-Day". (Doubler, Closing with the enemy)... which is used for great "amusement" here.

Did Wilck really said the line and who to? That´s the question. Some indications for Wilck´s mood after his capture can be found here, though lacking the desired detail.

"The chief shock to the defenders, Colonel WILCK said, came from
the self-propelled 155s, and tanks. The Colonel spoke with considerable
consternation of the 155mm self-propelled rifles. A shell from one of
them, he said, pierced three houses completely before exploding and
wrecking a fourth. In fact, the Colonel was pretty well dismayed at
the vast amount and mechanical excellence of all American materiel."

quoted from:

Annex No.5 (Col. Wilck interrogation) in "Selected intelligence reports, vol 1; June 1944 - November 1944 Part 1"

http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p4013coll8/id/2054/rec/1

Col. Wilck´s own written account about events can be downloaded here (all german...sorry):

http://www.aachener-geschichtsverein.de/file_download/350

from: http://www.aachener-geschichtsverein.de/Online-Beitraege/die-schlacht-um-aachen

It´s not of concern what Eisenhower, Ambrose, Doubler and whoever described certain events in their accounts, when it´s not exactly known what particular primary references they used. The authors were not present. Wilck was and some key personnel from 1st US ID and whoever interogated him thereafter.

With regard to Eisenhowers lines in Crusade in Europe:

"The enemy was steadily forced back into his final stronghold, a massive building in the center of the city. This was reduced by the simple expedient of dragging 155-mm. “Long Tom” rifles up to point-blank range—within 200 yards of the building—and methodically blowing the walls to bits. After a few of these shells had pierced the building from end to end the German commander surrendered on October 21, with the rueful observation, “When the Americans start using 155s as sniper weapons, it is time to give up!"

Col. Wilck explicitely refers in both his personal accounts from 1954 (see link above) and 1974 (interview for the book "Die Amis sind da - Wie Aachen erobert wurde" from Charles Whiting/Wolfgang Trees) to these lines and he´s simply right when saying Ike´s lines are obvious untruth.

Just compare with some detailed sources (Baumer´s Aachen, MacDonald´s Siegfried Line Campaign, 1st US ID selected intelligence reports...) and you´ll see where Ike mixed some things up and took some "personal freedom" to describe things.

Doublers referenced books and publications in "Closing with the enemy" may contain some the needed info for clearing that up, but Doubler did not give info for the referenced line in question unfortunately.

Also of interest might be Neitzel´s "Tapping Hitler´s Generals" since Wilck was imprisoned in Trent Park and some his talks were recorded. Anybody has it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got a good point @RockinHarry there. Let me see what my copy of Doubler says see attached files: first is picture of page 100, Chapter 4, and second is the reference itself.

Doubler - Page 100.jpg

it gives reference 28 as a pointer, which is

Doubler - Chapter 4 Reference 28.jpg

one of the Green Series books on the ETO?

I went to check it here http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/Siegfried/Siegfried Line/siegfried-ch13.htm and I cannot find anything about the specific incident that Doubler mentions. Yet there is this bit describing the very end of the battle for Aachen

On 21 October, Colonel Corley’s battalion approached a big air-raid bunker at the northern end of Lousberg Strasse. Colonel Corley called for his attached 155-mm. rifle. To the attackers, this was just another building that had to be reduced. They had no way of knowing that here was the cerebellum of the Aachen defense, the headquarters of Colonel Wilck.

From this bunker, Colonel Wilck and his staff had been exercising their penchant for the melodramatic. "All forces are committed in the final struggle!" "Confined to the smallest area, the last defenders of Aachen are embroiled in their final battle!" "The last defenders of Aachen, mindful of their beloved German homeland, with firm confidence in our final victory, donate Reichsmark 10,468.00 to the Winterhilfswerk [Winter Relief] Project. We shall fight on. Long live the Fuehrer!" Such was the tenor of Colonel Wilck’s last messages to his superiors on the outside.

As Colonel Corley called for his 155-mm. rifle, Colonel Wilck, despite his exhortations, was ready to end the fight. But how to surrender? Two Germans who had tried to leave the bunker under a white flag had been shot down in the confusion of the battle.

The solution appeared to lie among some thirty American prisoners the Germans were holding. From the prisoners they solicited volunteers to arrange the surrender. Two men from the 1106th Engineers who had been captured early in the Aachen fighting responded. They were S. Sgt. Ewart M. Padgett and Pfc. James B. Haswell.

While Colonel Wilck by radio renewed his "unshakable faith in our right and our victory" and again paid obeisance to the Fuehrer, Haswell and Padgett stepped from the bunker. Small arms fire cracked about them. Bearing a white flag, the two men dashed into the middle of Lousberg Strasse. As they waved the flag frantically, the firing died down. An American rifleman leaned from a nearby window to motion the two men forward. Sergeant Padgett beckoned to two German officers behind him to follow.

A company commander returned with Haswell, Padgett, and the Germans. Their luggage already packed, Colonel Wilck and his coterie were ready to depart. Before they left, Sergeant Padgett nabbed the prize souvenir of the occasion, the colonel’s pistol.16

So Wilck is seen by the "official" history as a bit of a thespian, but given the nature of those post July 20th 1944 days in the German Army, I think that he was doing a smart move protecting his family from possible reprisal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rockin harry i think as a German youre being offended by the thread. Look we.re talking about something 70 yrs ago. Unfortunately the most hypocritical and ludicrous contradictions from ww2 come from germany japan and the soviet union. I would  accept any about any nationality whatsoever. No ones mockig these mens death and for you to seem so bitter about the 'hilarity'... does that mean you condemn yourself when you enjoy a good battle at CM? because youre potentially reliving the agonizing awful last moments of millions of 18 or 19 year olds.

I dont know man lighten up. Pretty funny that one person says " well col wilck sez " and its BAM myth busted. However when JonS and Bletchley Geek provide an internationalliy reknowned tome on combat in summer of 1944 its dismissed.

How about we leave Ambrose out. Dude was a liar. You still have more than 2 authors claiming it happened with ONE German author who served in the Wehrmacht in Ww2 at one of the most controversial ( for Germans, the rest of the world had more a problem when germans were torchong their homes not the other way around.. ) periods is after July 20th when it seems 'officially ok' for german generals to say they knew the war was lost then but still 'had' to fight a meaningless war that doomed millions to early death, famines as reprisal in Holland, and forced marches that meandered through a snowy hellscape for any prisoners of the third reich not shot out of hand.

Now you tell me why i should take the " word" of ANY officer of the 3rd Reich versus several historians when you can pick almost any field grade german ww2 officer out of a hat and find some evidence of participation in or willing disregard and not caring about obvious war crimes on a horrendous scale. And as far as Tapping Hitlers Generals no the 155 incident isnt referenced as far as I can recall. What I most definitely recall is every single officer in that building knew exactly what was going on and werent simply following orders, and ignorant of the massive scope and scale of savagery the German people perpetrated on the world in ww2.

Regarding German war time histories. Ive read alot of personal accounts. I was born in Germany and we lived off base their till i was 6 i always was interested in germany. The first best friends i ever had were 3 german brothers.

Still its pretty univerzally recognized that now most personal testimonies from 45 to.90 ( and the more lies excuses and bs you get the higher the rank)

From Germany are fundamentally tainted sources of informatiom, all flawed to exculpate the author, blame defeat on things noone could have stopped, and heaped the blame for everything (like cowards imo) on Hitlers feet as if he was a spirit every were at once that magically commiitted every atrocity in the war. Unless another dead guy did it. 

These histories led us down some remarkably wrong historical paths especially regarding the SU and whilst they shoudnt be discounted out of hand dollars to donuts any random german col.s self testimony about their experiences and actions in ww2 is way more likely to have taken "personal liberties" or outright lies than say Ikes or Doublers book. Add to that the Americans really had no reason to lie. War crimes or no, we werent on trial we didnt lose. Naturally if we had you would have strung us up and our history would be just as full of men trying to manipulate history to escape a noose or save a reputation.

Now i need to take it easy lol

 

 

P.s. " Long Live the Fuhrer" etc etc. Yes i think it was about saving his families. I noticed noones brought up the sippenhaft laws 

Second with the guy (wilck) prancing about while children old men and women died, sending out exhortatioms to resist and basically fellating hitler via radio i dont see why we shouldnt have a laugh at ol 'Wilcks expense. I mean seriously i doubt he cares just like i doubt ike cares that you more or less called him a liar. It was 70 years ago.

Edited by Sublime
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Sublime said:

Pretty funny that one person says " well col wilck sez " and its BAM myth busted. However when JonS and Bletchley Geek provide an internationalliy reknowned tome on combat in summer of 1944 its dismissed.

To be fair, it wasn't @RockinHarry calling it mythbusted, it was me. And it wasn't to be obnoxious, I just thought it was funny to slam that sign on :)

About sources, what it comes down to is that I'd like to know exactly what Wilck said. The source is not directly quoting him; it's referring to something he said. If "barbarous" is a direct quote, what was the context? If he really said "It was barbarous that the Americans shot at us with 155mm shells at close range, Germans would never fight so unfairly", then you're right! It would be an absolutely ridiculous thing to say.

But we don't know if those were the words. We have his quotes through a guy who was his enemy and who understandably didn't like him or Germans very much.

And just to be clear: I have no sympathy for the Nazis. I will happily ridicule them, but only for what they actually did. Until I come across a direct transcript of the interrogation, I think it's open to interpretation what the guy said.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair nuff. I understand you didnt mean it to be that way and I know he didnt post it. I still found it heartily ironic that one post to the contrary was seen as the end of the story but when several sources supporting what I said are brought up we play with semantics or question the integrity of the authors.  And again as others have mentioned and I have too the most biased possible source of all is Col Wilcks!

1. During the war he had maby reasons to lie. Sippenhaft. Retributions to family and ppl in his command and friends. Doubt about who would win. His reputation as a German officer.

2. Post war. Who wants to be remembered in their homeland as that guy who surrendered the first Germab city? Of course if you start saying stuff like they rammed 155mms down our throats those barbaric Americans suddenly it seems like a mitigating circumstance.

3. Im still shocked at how many people who never met ( well wait to be sure- has anyone met or does anyone know Herr Oberst Wilck? ) this guy yet absolutely seem sure of his absolute integrity ( under interrogation for some of th3 evidence no less.. ) yet are so quick to disdain several other men who I feel by default are definitely more honorable than him. We have evidence of Wilck lying to his superiors, spouting all sorts of Nazi rubbish on the radio. Fine. But then why not surrender right away? And finally this is a man who knew all about the desperate nature of his situation, yet still condemned thousands of civilians to death ( if you havent read about the evacuation then orders for everyone to go back to Aachen thanks to the military.. ) and thousands of young boys and old men who had a choice of death from their own or from Americans.. unless of course someone of honor realized it was hopeless and had the courage to surrender or resist the insanity emanating from Berlin. Wilck doesnt seem to have done anything but covered his own butt and vacillated. ( and the excuse that well everyone was doing it isnt true. Its really more a damning indictment of the entire German nation of that era that SO FEW tried to stop the madness. If absolutely noone had tried I dont know if Id feel better or worse about it. But the fact that officers did try to kill Hitler ( again though in a totally cynical way. They werent about it when they were winning ) the very very minor civilian resistance, and things like Albert Speers bravery ( despite him being an absolutely loathesome person otherwise, and again his bracery is cynical he only did it to help Germany post war ) in countermanding Hitlers end of war scorched earth policies. And again, we have ONE source that had a million and one reasons to lie versus several sources that dont really have any reason to actually lie, though of course the wording may be misremembered or forgotten.

Again maybe my reaction was strong and I know you werent trying to be obnoxious; yet when one post citing an ex Nazi is hailed as a " Case Closed! " moment, and then when several other sources are presented and are met with arguments over the semantics how it was presented and everything it comes across obnoxious. And really its derailed the whole thread which was supposed to be more a lighthearted thing and I honestly expected contradictions of all sorts to come out from all countries, not this to turn into a debate over the semantics of one event.  

I really am not trying to ruffle anyones feathers from Germany and I question why any German would get offended at the thought of Nazis and people under Hitler being hypocritical in the extreme. The reason i titled it German contradictions is because German, Japanese,and Soviet didnt ring as well and contradictions in general didnt enter my mind at the time. And lets be honest anyways the Nazis absolutely took the cake for extreme hypocrisy and contradictions. 

Regardless even though the people we cited were his enemies I honestly think MOST American war time histories from participants have a lot of healthy fear and respect of German fighting prowess. If anything it seems the Germans are the ones who had agendas about labelling who fought how and why and who the 'best' was.

Of course I wish i could say the same for all American histories post war by non participants. Sadly if you.ve read Ambrose this is not true. He actually does Allied vets a disservice by portraying the Germans as bumbling incompetents.

Edited by Sublime
Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Sublime said:

And again as others have mentioned and I have too the most biased possible source of all is Col Wilcks!

 

30 minutes ago, Sublime said:

3. Im still shocked at how many people who never met ( well wait to be sure- has anyone met or does anyone know Herr Oberst Wilck? ) this guy yet absolutely seem sure of his absolute integrity

I'm not saying he was a good guy by any means, but this is not about him factually lying or not. I think generally everyone agrees what happened: The Americans attacked. The Germans defended. The Americans brought up their big guns and the Germans surrendered. I'm just interested in what the guy actually said. It's possible that he was completely nuts and had some hypocritical ideals about what warfare should be like. But it's also possible that he said something else. Truth is the first victim in war.

So, I will take back the mythbuster sign with apologies that it came out in a snarky way. It was meant to be lighthearted. After seeing the sources, I don't consider it a busted myth as such, but I remain somewhat unconvinced if the German commander really said that, and in what context it was taken.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

You've got a good point @RockinHarry there. Let me see what my copy of Doubler says see attached files: first is picture of page 100, Chapter 4, and second is the reference itself.

Doubler - Page 100.jpg

it gives reference 28 as a pointer, which is

Doubler - Chapter 4 Reference 28.jpg

one of the Green Series books on the ETO?

I went to check it here http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/Siegfried/Siegfried Line/siegfried-ch13.htm and I cannot find anything about the specific incident that Doubler mentions. Yet there is this bit describing the very end of the battle for Aachen

On 21 October, Colonel Corley’s battalion approached a big air-raid bunker at the northern end of Lousberg Strasse. Colonel Corley called for his attached 155-mm. rifle. To the attackers, this was just another building that had to be reduced. They had no way of knowing that here was the cerebellum of the Aachen defense, the headquarters of Colonel Wilck.

From this bunker, Colonel Wilck and his staff had been exercising their penchant for the melodramatic. "All forces are committed in the final struggle!" "Confined to the smallest area, the last defenders of Aachen are embroiled in their final battle!" "The last defenders of Aachen, mindful of their beloved German homeland, with firm confidence in our final victory, donate Reichsmark 10,468.00 to the Winterhilfswerk [Winter Relief] Project. We shall fight on. Long live the Fuehrer!" Such was the tenor of Colonel Wilck’s last messages to his superiors on the outside.

As Colonel Corley called for his 155-mm. rifle, Colonel Wilck, despite his exhortations, was ready to end the fight. But how to surrender? Two Germans who had tried to leave the bunker under a white flag had been shot down in the confusion of the battle.

The solution appeared to lie among some thirty American prisoners the Germans were holding. From the prisoners they solicited volunteers to arrange the surrender. Two men from the 1106th Engineers who had been captured early in the Aachen fighting responded. They were S. Sgt. Ewart M. Padgett and Pfc. James B. Haswell.

While Colonel Wilck by radio renewed his "unshakable faith in our right and our victory" and again paid obeisance to the Fuehrer, Haswell and Padgett stepped from the bunker. Small arms fire cracked about them. Bearing a white flag, the two men dashed into the middle of Lousberg Strasse. As they waved the flag frantically, the firing died down. An American rifleman leaned from a nearby window to motion the two men forward. Sergeant Padgett beckoned to two German officers behind him to follow.

A company commander returned with Haswell, Padgett, and the Germans. Their luggage already packed, Colonel Wilck and his coterie were ready to depart. Before they left, Sergeant Padgett nabbed the prize souvenir of the occasion, the colonel’s pistol.16

So Wilck is seen by the "official" history as a bit of a thespian, but given the nature of those post July 20th 1944 days in the German Army, I think that he was doing a smart move protecting his family from possible reprisal.

BG, you´ve checked the wrong reference pages. :) It´s actually in Chapter 4: Battles of buildings and cobblestones. 28. Ibid: Daniel, "Capture of Aachen," 9-15; and Parrish, "Battle of Aachen," 27-29. I have both these files (from Ft. Benning or CARL) and at last I found the reference in Daniels (II/26th commander) account, page 14.

"The German Commander of the city, after his
capture, claimed that the use of such a gun at such close
range was barbarous and should be outlawed"

Now does that settle the matter? Daniel referred back to:

1. Report of Breaching the Siegfried Line and the Capture
of Achen, HQ. 1st U S lnf Div,7 Nov 1944

2 . Selected Intelligence Reports, Vol 1, June 1944-November 1944. Hq. 1st U S Inf Div, 6 Dec 1944.

It wasn´t Daniel´s Bn sector when Wilck surrendered (it was Corley´s 3rd) and it´s not known whether Daniel participated in any the interrogations later. So he could refer to hearsay as well.

Honestly, why should Wilck, at that time beeing active officer for 28 years (started as officier candidate in 1916) and having barely survived the destruction of his regiment (he faught back through enemy lines with remnants of his regiment from 349. ID), during the russian 1944 summer offensive, make any such statement to his interrogators? He surely had seen worse at the eastern front before.

He surely was mightily impressed by the firepower and skills of the 1. US ID and he openly admitted it. He surely was frustrated ending his career the way he did (surrendering the first german city), admitting it openly to his US interrogators as well. He certainly knew what was expected from him, beeing bound by fight to the last bullet and die Fuhrer orders, also knowing the war was long lost. He also suspected the SS Rink Bn (from 1st SS LAH division) sent into Aachen at last opportunity, not just to reinforce, but also to supervise him secretly. Interestingly it was Rink who decided to scramble the remnants of his Bn (about 45 men) and attempt a breakout, just before Wilck surrendered. He made it to german lines late evening on october 21 with about 20 men left and with no further consequences to his career (assuming he actually was as well bound to the Fuhrer order to fight and die). Wilck suspected Rink´s men to receive independent orders from higher SS channels and fight their own war. (Rink was finally captured during the Bulge)

I have digital copies of Rinks after action report and it indicates, that Wilck did his "job" according to the "expectations" from highest HQ. No wonder he´d sent that final pathetic Nazi believer radio messages to HQ, while also feeling "threatened" by Rink´s presence. The report though does not indicate that Rink in fact was to ascertain, that Wilck acts according to the Fuhrer order. Looks rather like coincidence to me, but who knows...

With Aachen beeing of highest value for both, german and US propaganda at that time, I wouldn´t wonder if the mentioned "barbarous and inhuman use of 155 guns..." phrase came rather from deliberate inflation, than reality. From common sense POV it´s still little believable for Wilck having said that phrase, but personally I found it quite interesting to have a deeper look at that matter and dig sources yet unknown to me and set them in relation.

MacDonald´s account pretty well summarizes the actions written up elsewhere in first hand AAR´s and the like, incl. Wilck. Some detail that raises another question is the situation very shortly before Wilcks actual surrender. Did the US actually shell Wilcks air raid command shelter with (direct) 155mm, or where they just threatening to do so? Was Wilck aware, or did this had any influence on his surrendering generally? Some quotes:

MacDonald "As Colonel Corley called for his 155-mm. rifle, Colonel Wilck, despite his exhortations, was ready to end the fight."

Parrish "On the morning of 21 October, members of the 3d Battailon brought their 155mm gun forward to attack a large air raid bunker. The bunker proved to be the headquarters of the German defense, and the German commander was eager to surrender before the gun was employed."

Baumer "The end came on Saturday morning, 21 October, when Captain Botts’s Company I and
Corwell’s Company K closed in on a bullet-riddled three-story air raid bunker south of
Lousbergstrasse. They set up the 155 SP gun; Lieutenant Colonel Corley had no desire to
risk the casualties that would result by fighting it out with the remaining Germans holed
up inside."

Inside were Oberst Wilck, his staff officers and their men, as well as a cadre of
prisoners. Wilck purportedly said, “When Americans start using 155’s as sniper weapons,
it’s time to give up.” 40

(40 - Right of the Line, A History of the American Field Artillery, World War II, US Army Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma )

Eisenhower (CiE) "The enemy was steadily forced back into his final stronghold, a massive building in the center of the city. This was reduced by the simple expedient of dragging 155-mm. “Long Tom” rifles up to point-blank range—within 200 yards of the building—and methodically blowing the walls to bits. After a few of these shells had pierced the building from end to end the German commander surrendered on October 21, with the rueful observation, “When the Americans start using 155s as sniper weapons, it is time to give up!"

Wahlman (Storming the City) "The 155s also played a role in securing the final surrender of the German commander by shelling his command bunker."

From Wilcks account, as well as interview for Whitings/Trees book in 1974, the US didn´t employ the 155mm on the air raid shelter and Wilck would have surrendered anyway (no troops or ammo left, no LOC to remaining troops anywhere else in Aachen, bunker filled with rather few soldiers, many wounded and civilians, few prisoners, hopelessness).

"After the Battle 42 - Battle for Aachen" has a number of pics showing that huge air raid shelter (Wilcks CP) having 11 big (~7 foot diameter, 1 foot deep) shell holes in the front facade. The quotations say these were from the direct fire 155mm and part of a shell still buried in the wall. Same so in Whiting/Trees book.

The latter book explains that after conclusion of the Aachen battle, an M12 was test fired on the bunker to see if it can be cracked (in case during further battles another that type bunker would be encountered). It couldn´t.

From Wilcks interview and beeing asked about the shellholes his answer was, he heard about them and the Amerikaner had to make them so Eisenhower wouldn´t be blamed.  This also in response to Ike´s phrases about Aachen and his surrender in CiE, a book that Wilck obviously knew. At least the Aachen section.

Obviously Wilck felt a bit offended, but not without expressing bits or irony.

All these examples are just to show that certain incidents need to be viewed at from many angles, many sources checked and even then, you can´t always be sure to know any sort of "truth". With regards to the "barbarous and inhuman use of 155mm direct fire" phrase I keep thinking it to be very unlikely unless someone digs the original interrogation protocols (NARA maybe?). Even if the phrases are true and clearly related to Wilck, I´d be interested in the context then.

@sublime: No, I don´t feel offended by this thread while beeing german. I did quite a lot of research about the Aachen and hurtgen forest battle previously. I´m just interested in more details and while understanding the (intended) humor, the quoted phrases didn´t quite fit into the big picture I have of the particular events, thus I did a bit of further research. I´m also not interested in any sort of ideological or political discussions, or credibility of certain persons and authors, unless i find something contradicting or doubtful as in the Aachen/Wilck case.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @RockinHarry good catch with the ref  and thanks for sharing those pointers, you're right that Aachen was a big deal for the propaganda machines of both sides, and who knows whether some stories were made up and passed along as facts. It's not like similar things haven't ever happened in WW2 historiography. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

@RockinHarry I read your long post with interest, but this detail puzzles me:

22 minutes ago, RockinHarry said:

The latter book explains that after conclusion of the Aachen battle, an M12 was test fired on the bunker to see if it can be cracked (in case during further battles another that type bunker would be encountered). It couldn´t.

Is it really possible that the bunker could not be cracked by 155mm fire? I take it the 3-story bunker was a kind of "Flakturm", so the walls would have been very thick, and withstood a lot of damage. But still, repeated shell impacts of that calibre surely would have cracked the concrete eventually?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, RockinHarry said:

BG, you´ve checked the wrong reference pages. :) It´s actually in Chapter 4: Battles of buildings and cobblestones. 28. Ibid: Daniel, "Capture of Aachen," 9-15; and Parrish, "Battle of Aachen," 27-29. I have both these files (from Ft. Benning or CARL) and at last I found the reference in Daniels (II/26th commander) account, page 14.

"The German Commander of the city, after his
capture, claimed that the use of such a gun at such close
range was barbarous and should be outlawed"

Now does that settle the matter? Daniel referred back to:

1. Report of Breaching the Siegfried Line and the Capture
of Achen, HQ. 1st U S lnf Div,7 Nov 1944

2 . Selected Intelligence Reports, Vol 1, June 1944-November 1944. Hq. 1st U S Inf Div, 6 Dec 1944.

It wasn´t Daniel´s Bn sector when Wilck surrendered (it was Corley´s 3rd) and it´s not known whether Daniel participated in any the interrogations later. So he could refer to hearsay as well.

Honestly, why should Wilck, at that time beeing active officer for 28 years (started as officier candidate in 1916) and having barely survived the destruction of his regiment (he faught back through enemy lines with remnants of his regiment from 349. ID), during the russian 1944 summer offensive, make any such statement to his interrogators? He surely had seen worse at the eastern front before.

He surely was mightily impressed by the firepower and skills of the 1. US ID and he openly admitted it. He surely was frustrated ending his career the way he did (surrendering the first german city), admitting it openly to his US interrogators as well. He certainly knew what was expected from him, beeing bound by fight to the last bullet and die Fuhrer orders, also knowing the war was long lost. He also suspected the SS Rink Bn (from 1st SS LAH division) sent into Aachen at last opportunity, not just to reinforce, but also to supervise him secretly. Interestingly it was Rink who decided to scramble the remnants of his Bn (about 45 men) and attempt a breakout, just before Wilck surrendered. He made it to german lines late evening on october 21 with about 20 men left and with no further consequences to his career (assuming he actually was as well bound to the Fuhrer order to fight and die). Wilck suspected Rink´s men to receive independent orders from higher SS channels and fight their own war. (Rink was finally captured during the Bulge)

I have digital copies of Rinks after action report and it indicates, that Wilck did his "job" according to the "expectations" from highest HQ. No wonder he´d sent that final pathetic Nazi believer radio messages to HQ, while also feeling "threatened" by Rink´s presence. The report though does not indicate that Rink in fact was to ascertain, that Wilck acts according to the Fuhrer order. Looks rather like coincidence to me, but who knows...

With Aachen beeing of highest value for both, german and US propaganda at that time, I wouldn´t wonder if the mentioned "barbarous and inhuman use of 155 guns..." phrase came rather from deliberate inflation, than reality. From common sense POV it´s still little believable for Wilck having said that phrase, but personally I found it quite interesting to have a deeper look at that matter and dig sources yet unknown to me and set them in relation.

MacDonald´s account pretty well summarizes the actions written up elsewhere in first hand AAR´s and the like, incl. Wilck. Some detail that raises another question is the situation very shortly before Wilcks actual surrender. Did the US actually shell Wilcks air raid command shelter with (direct) 155mm, or where they just threatening to do so? Was Wilck aware, or did this had any influence on his surrendering generally? Some quotes:

MacDonald "As Colonel Corley called for his 155-mm. rifle, Colonel Wilck, despite his exhortations, was ready to end the fight."

Parrish "On the morning of 21 October, members of the 3d Battailon brought their 155mm gun forward to attack a large air raid bunker. The bunker proved to be the headquarters of the German defense, and the German commander was eager to surrender before the gun was employed."

Baumer "The end came on Saturday morning, 21 October, when Captain Botts’s Company I and
Corwell’s Company K closed in on a bullet-riddled three-story air raid bunker south of
Lousbergstrasse. They set up the 155 SP gun; Lieutenant Colonel Corley had no desire to
risk the casualties that would result by fighting it out with the remaining Germans holed
up inside."

Inside were Oberst Wilck, his staff officers and their men, as well as a cadre of
prisoners. Wilck purportedly said, “When Americans start using 155’s as sniper weapons,
it’s time to give up.” 40

(40 - Right of the Line, A History of the American Field Artillery, World War II, US Army Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma )

Eisenhower (CiE) "The enemy was steadily forced back into his final stronghold, a massive building in the center of the city. This was reduced by the simple expedient of dragging 155-mm. “Long Tom” rifles up to point-blank range—within 200 yards of the building—and methodically blowing the walls to bits. After a few of these shells had pierced the building from end to end the German commander surrendered on October 21, with the rueful observation, “When the Americans start using 155s as sniper weapons, it is time to give up!"

Wahlman (Storming the City) "The 155s also played a role in securing the final surrender of the German commander by shelling his command bunker."

From Wilcks account, as well as interview for Whitings/Trees book in 1974, the US didn´t employ the 155mm on the air raid shelter and Wilck would have surrendered anyway (no troops or ammo left, no LOC to remaining troops anywhere else in Aachen, bunker filled with rather few soldiers, many wounded and civilians, few prisoners, hopelessness).

"After the Battle 42 - Battle for Aachen" has a number of pics showing that huge air raid shelter (Wilcks CP) having 11 big (~7 foot diameter, 1 foot deep) shell holes in the front facade. The quotations say these were from the direct fire 155mm and part of a shell still buried in the wall. Same so in Whiting/Trees book.

The latter book explains that after conclusion of the Aachen battle, an M12 was test fired on the bunker to see if it can be cracked (in case during further battles another that type bunker would be encountered). It couldn´t.

From Wilcks interview and beeing asked about the shellholes his answer was, he heard about them and the Amerikaner had to make them so Eisenhower wouldn´t be blamed.  This also in response to Ike´s phrases about Aachen and his surrender in CiE, a book that Wilck obviously knew. At least the Aachen section.

Obviously Wilck felt a bit offended, but not without expressing bits or irony.

All these examples are just to show that certain incidents need to be viewed at from many angles, many sources checked and even then, you can´t always be sure to know any sort of "truth". With regards to the "barbarous and inhuman use of 155mm direct fire" phrase I keep thinking it to be very unlikely unless someone digs the original interrogation protocols (NARA maybe?). Even if the phrases are true and clearly related to Wilck, I´d be interested in the context then.

@sublime: No, I don´t feel offended by this thread while beeing german. I did quite a lot of research about the Aachen and hurtgen forest battle previously. I´m just interested in more details and while understanding the (intended) humor, the quoted phrases didn´t quite fit into the big picture I have of the particular events, thus I did a bit of further research. I´m also not interested in any sort of ideological or political discussions, or credibility of certain persons and authors, unless i find something contradicting or doubtful as in the Aachen/Wilck case.

I must say that the compression of relevant information, your command of english, and your knowledge of the battle and of Oberst Wilck greatly exceeds mine and therefore I will defer to your judgement on the matter. I cannot bring to bear that amount of knowledge or off the top off my head and in my collection citations. I bow to your mastery of the subject.

 

I must also say I admire your cool and respect your historical knowledge. So i apologize if i came off confrontational and bulletpoint i think i came off snarky too. I honestly figured we had a name and perhaps some information on Col Wilck but as usual with German info RockinHarry is the person to go to and knows a lot about Col Wilck the man which I find important. See I disagree with what I see as you saying its apples and oranges whether he was a villainous figure in regards to his telling of events. Of course evil people tell the truth about things all the time, however in my experience ( however narrow minded and short ) the more odious and rogue like a person, his life and affiliations is a direct reflection of the credibility and intentions of the man.

 

Also onto the matter - idk. I never heard of Ike mentioning the 155 use AT THE TIME they were used rather later in a history. When was the history written? Ar least several years later. What did the Amis wheel up some long toms in 1954 and shell Aachen to make a history book correct? I highly doubt the Americans would have shelled something just to verify Ikes story in 1944. If you said some 155 SP crews were bored and started blowing holes in buildings? Id find that way more credulous.

As far as 155mm direct use it certainly happened on the western front 44 to 45 on several occassions. And I know in early 45 they were absolutely crucial in stopping an important German attack in the Colmar pocket - winkelried had some very interesting info about it a couple years ago and what stuck with me particularly was the descriptions of the long toms causing panther turrets to fly off like you.d hear about happening to Iraqi tanks in Desert Storm/OiF

Edited by Sublime
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

@RockinHarry I read your long post with interest, but this detail puzzles me:

Is it really possible that the bunker could not be cracked by 155mm fire? I take it the 3-story bunker was a kind of "Flakturm", so the walls would have been very thick, and withstood a lot of damage. But still, repeated shell impacts of that calibre surely would have cracked the concrete eventually?

The only thing I can say is the bits of stuff from Whiting/Tree´s book. I haven´t seen any other sources about the post battle test firing the M12 at this particular bunker yet. Maybe firing 11x 155mm shells was enough to convince the US, that it´s not worth the effort. Maybe they didn´t have enough ammo for the gun, or it was needed at active frontlines again. Would be interesting to dig more info. According to a quick Wiki search, the walls were between 1 to 1.5m thick reinforced concrete.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-raid_shelter

Here´s a pic of the bunker and the 155mm shell marks:

http://www.aachener-geschichtsverein.de/images/1179.jpg

One can see most the shell holes are pretty much dispersed in width and at same height, indicating these really came from high caliber (155mm) flat trajectory shooting. The gun was said to be positioned at "Westbahnhof" (Aachen western railroad station), but I don´t know how far it was from the bunker. Could be the US gun crew was only testing for weak spots, but repeated hits on exactly the same spot surely would have penetrated the wall in full depth I presume.

I also have no idea about particular ammunition used. Was it ammo piercing (if something like that existed for the gun) or just delayed fuze HE?

@sublime: If the post battle test shooting happened, it surely was within few days from the actual Aachen battle end (the days after october 21, 1944). Maybe there exists a VII. corps artillery battle account, giving more details. The guns were pulled from a particular unit and I´ve seen the exact Arty.unit mentioned anywhere.

And to explain Eisenhower: He mixed different actions into a single one and added the questionable "155s as sniper weapons" phrase. While making it a good read, it´s still far from the truth, as any other the available sources confirm. But it´s not of real relevance for his overall work, beeing the high commander and his view of the big picture, with the Aachen battle just a very small piece of the whole thing. (his reference appeared to have been a FUSA report dealing with Aachen)

That the 155mm pierced 3 masonry buildings and crushed, or pentrated a fourth one in one occasion, is confirmed from both sides, the US and Wilck/Germans (while anyway beeing entirely credible). But it was not the air raid shelter, serving Wilck as command post. And since the air raid shelter wasn´t blasted before Wilcks surrender, it couldn´t have been the reason for giving up.

If Wilck remarked with a big sense of irony in 1974, I find it quite understandable. He wasn´t shot to pieces with 155mm while beeing in the bunker and then surrendered. That´s fact.

I never ever doubted the M12 beeing used in direct fire role, either before or after Aachen. That would be as ridiculous as telling the 88 was never used in anything but AA. I read about the Colmar pocket actions as well btw. and there´s surely lots of other incidents with the M12´s in direct fire roles to be found. Just like the russians dealing german armor heavy blows with their 152mm SU´s, crushing Tigers and city blocks alike. It´s all well documented and little to be doubted.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

To be fair, it wasn't @RockinHarry calling it mythbusted, it was me. And it wasn't to be obnoxious, I just thought it was funny to slam that sign on :)

About sources, what it comes down to is that I'd like to know exactly what Wilck said. The source is not directly quoting him; it's referring to something he said. If "barbarous" is a direct quote, what was the context? If he really said "It was barbarous that the Americans shot at us with 155mm shells at close range, Germans would never fight so unfairly", then you're right! It would be an absolutely ridiculous thing to say.

But we don't know if those were the words. We have his quotes through a guy who was his enemy and who understandably didn't like him or Germans very much.

And just to be clear: I have no sympathy for the Nazis. I will happily ridicule them, but only for what they actually did. Until I come across a direct transcript of the interrogation, I think it's open to interpretation what the guy said.

Wilck actually praised the US forces and particularly the 1st US ID highly and attributed them to have fought "fair" (ritterlich) in all his available accounts (known post battle interrogation quotes plus his personal accounts from 1954 and 1974). Why doubting that he really means what he said? Thus the quoted phrases about "barbarous" and "inhumane" use of US firepower (M12) appears more than contradictory, even when assuming Wilck was in a shattered state of mind during and right after his surrender.

And to make it clear as well. I´m neither a Wehrmacht nor Nazi fanboy, nor do I have any symphaties for extreme and unethical world views, in any past or present politcal systems. I´m just another wannabe historian and passionate wargamer like other forum members are. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Harry,

In the many - 10? 12? - years since I first met you on the Internet - some Matrix Games' Steel  Panthers edition forum perhaps? - I have never ever remotely entertained the notion you were some kind of insincere revisionist. 

In these times where so many, in the Internet and out of it, seem bent on re-enacting the rethoric of the late 20s and 30s you do stand out in a good way.

 

Cheers, 

 

BG.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, RockinHarry said:

 I read about the Colmar pocket actions as well btw. and there´s surely lots of other incidents with the M12´s in direct fire roles to be found. Just like the russians dealing german armor heavy blows with their 152mm SU´s, crushing Tigers and city blocks alike. It´s all well documented and little to be doubted.

 

Though such actions are rightfully still regarded as they are. Rare instances ( with the m12s) of them being used in emergency or specially called in. Not a common direct fire tool like a Su76 or StuG.

I could see the US maybe test shooting 155s ( werent the m12s new to the ETO being introduced with DDay or am I wrong? Not the 155 but the SP gun carriage..? ) because this would perhaps have left a foreboding feeling amongst US troops about their chances clearing out more urban  German areas and a desperation to find any exceptional weapon that they could blast positions with instead of sending men into.

The idea frankly that US forces would shoot something up with 155mm shells ( and especially when in the fall of 44 the US has a severe shortage of artillery shells and gasoline for frontline ETO units ) just to make it jive with a story. Especially a story that really hadnt been written if it was in the few days after the battle. I could only see Wilck being hugely sarcastic, insane, or senile to say the US was going around blasting buildings with 155mm SP guns for the express purpose of making a story work after the fact. To test it on heavy structures for the West Wall and urban fighting? Sure.  Vandalism via gun? An army past time of all nations as long as war existed. Youre giving large children dangerous toys.  Blowing up some building with 155mm fire to make "comrade eisenhower" correct after the fact? Please.

Link to post
Share on other sites

random stuff:

1. I don't think what was said is really likely to ever be resolved to anyone's satisfaction.  It's well within the sort of thing Wilck had said in terms of being melodramatic, and again he wouldn't have been the first to have complained about something "unfair."  On the other end of the spectrum, it is an odd sort of thing for someone to say, and it's almost too funny to believe.

2. The use of the M12 in a direct fire role is pretty well documented, both in the urban fight at Aachen, and firing against bunkers on the Siegfried Line.  The use of other SP guns (M7, M8, Sherman 105) in direct fire anti-structure roles is also well recorded across all theaters.  

As far as post battle engagements, I wouldn't rule it out.  The US Army did lots of firing tests against captured German hardware, testing the 155 MM against the sort of structures that were expected to be encountered down the road wasn't entirely out there.

On the other hand the amount of damage a 155 MM would cause in terms of fragmentation and chaos in a place the US is occupying/has civilians returning to makes it seem unlikely it would be done in an urban location, occupied by Americans.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...