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  • Jinan
    replied
    Originally posted by ~Alan~ View Post
    I was just checking to see that I wasn't making a duplicate thread, and came upon the above story.

    I was at Duxford on Tuesday for the BoB Flypast arrivals, and had lots of time to kill when I came upon this exhibit which
    I hadn't noticed before. It ties in well with this particular thread.


    The date is interesting: 29 december 1944

    Those were 6.5 ton one-man vessels which could carry two underslung torpedoes of which 324 were built by Flenderwerke in Lbeck in 1944. They had the range of 130 miles at 6 knots surfaced and 8.6 miles at 5 knots submerged. This boat had the diving depth of 65 feet but could not launch torpedoes submerged due to depth-keeping problems.

    The Biber (beaver) was a one-man submarine developed from the capture of Welman W46 captured at Bergen, Norway on 22 November, 1943. Developed by Korvettenkapit�n Hans Bartels. He began negotiations with Flenderwerke of Lubeck for the construction of the craft. The first prototype known as either the Bunte-Boot (after Director Bunte of Flenderwerke) or Adam was completed on 15 March 1944. Much of the testing was done by Bartels on the River Trave and on 29 March 1944 the craft were accepted for service.

    24 production models were ordered as a first batch out of an eventual run of 324. Deliveries throughout 1944 comprised three units in May, six in June, nineteen in July, 50 (fifty) in August, 117 (one hundred and seventeen ) in September, 73 (seventy three) in October and 56 (fifty six) in November. Some components destroyed by air raids on Kiel but on the whole Allied bombing failed to disrupt production.
    http://uboat.net/types/biber.htm

    K-Flotille 261 consisting of 20 Biber one-man submarines, commanded by Korvettenkapit�n Hans Bartels arrived eventually at Fecamp (Belgium) 28 August 1944.

    29/30: August 18 Biber sailed, all eighteen returned safely. Claims of a landing ship and a Liberty ship sunk were not substantiated by Allied records and no official reference of the attack.

    August 31: K-Flotille 261 forced to abandon Fecamp. Most of the Biber were destroyed and abandoned and those which were taken away were subsequently destroyed in a night action with an Allied armoured column. This marked the end of K-Verband operations in Normandy.

    An advanced base was prepared at Poortershavn and Hellevoetsluis [Netherlands] at the head of the Waal/Maas estuary. The main base being Rotterdam. 30 Biber and 30 Molch were sent here. A further 60 Molch and 30 Biber were sent to Assens from Heligoland and Groningen respectively. 60 more Biber would arrive in the area in January 1945.

    22/23 December 1944 - 18 Biber sailed from Poortershavn and Hellevoetsluis. This operation ended in failure. British MTBs surprised the Biber whilst still being towed and instantly sank four. One was mined and one returned damaged. The remaining 12 disappeared. One success - Alan a Dale 4,700 ton - sunk.

    23/24 December 1944 - 11 Biber sailed - none returned.

    24/25 December 1944 - 3 Biber sailed - none returned.

    By the end of 1944 - 31 (thirty-one) Biber lost in return for one merchant ship sunk. Only 8 (eight) of the Biber lost were claimed by the Allies.

    27 December 1944: - 14 Biber preparing to sail. Two torpedoes accidentally fired into the lock, 11 (eleven) Biber destroyed. Remaining 3 (three) sailed - none returned but Biber 90 found drifting off the North Foreland on 29 December by HMS Ready with the operator dead at the controls. It was attempted to tow this Biber to Dover but due to deteriorating weather the Biber sank . On its recovery 10 (ten) days later a post mortem on the operator established that he had died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

    At the end of 1944 only 20 (twenty) Biber remained at Rotterdam
    http://uboat.net/ops/midget.htm

    On the 27th the accidental release of a torpedo in the Voorneschen resulted in the sinking of 11 Bibers (although they were later recovered).[10] The 3 undamaged bibers later sailed again; none returned.
    ...
    Surviving examples
    Biber No.90
    This craft is displayed at the Imperial War Museum, London. It was one of three Bibers launched from the canal at Hellevoetsluis in late December 1944.[10] It was found sinking 49 miles (79 km) NE of Dover on 29 December 1944, its crewman had failed to properly close the engine exhaust system and died from resultant carbon monoxide poisoning. The minesweeper HMS Ready took it in tow and, even when it sank close to Dover harbour entrance, the Royal Navy still raised it and subjected it to extensive trials. One oddity discovered during the initial search of the boat was:

    a bottle hidden under the seat and inside was a document in English, which, romantic as it read, appeared to have some bearing upon the capture of the submarine, and possibly the explanation of why the pilot met his end.
    That is all that the report says about that finding, any further details appear to have been lost.The pilot of the Biber was later identified as Joachim Langsdorff, who was the son of Captain Hans Langsdorf of the Admiral Graf Spee.
    So, CoD was carbon monoxide poisening, caused by improperly closed engine exhaust system. If the message in the bottle had some bearing upon the capture of the submarine, and possibly the explanation of why the pilot met his
    end, then - given the impossibility of the crewman to know where he would end up if dead and drifting - it may be that it is some sort of suicide note or at least a 'farewell note' from a sailor that realizes he is very likely about to die in action. I could understand him feeling he had to compensate for the actions of his father, or also just the opposite. I.e. being forced to serve in 'kleinkampfverbnde' as punishment or seeking to serve there because of the risks.

    Area map (North Foreland is of the coast near Ramsgate)
    Click image for larger version

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    The story of the development of the Biber, and, in particular, the capture of the Biber 90 can be read in more detail in the IWM Review No 4 (1989)
    http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30004028
    For sale: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Imperial-War.../dp/0901627526

    This is in German about 'kleinkampfverbnde' but with google translate give a reasobaly readable result. It explains for example : " The first 40 pilots of the future flotilla consisted of members of the army and the Waffen-SS. Because of their lack of experience in the fields of nautical science, the navigation and the torpedo shooting these subjects had to be trained intensively."

    It was tough duty: on board human needs such as urination and defecation were difficult. Many pilots also suffered from severe flatulence, which they sought to meet with a strict "no flatulent" diet before and during use. While driving their midget subs, their secretions collected in vessels and containers which were then emptied on occasion in the course of surface running. Often this was not possible, and in particular the crews of the Seals were exposed to a mixture of seawater, diesel distillate, spilled oil, feces, urine and vomit. To some extent it prevailed so extreme hygienic conditions that crew members seriously ill. To prevent this, went through the budding lone a hard training, in which they should increase their mental and physical fitness. Training routine consisted of a morning 10,000 Metres run, followed by combat exercises or night marches over 30 km. Preparations also included in the K-seat exercises means that could take 20 hours.

    K-pilots, colloquially referred to as captains, suffered serious psychological problems such as claustrophobia and panic attacks and anxiety disorders. The physical problems of pilots was met with the "D-IX" tablet of which a drugmix of oxycodone (brand name Eukodal, an analgesic opioid) cocaine and methamphetamine (trade name Pervitin was). Extensive experiments with this preparation showed that the pilot in a two to three days lasting euphoria fell and then in total exhaustion
    Later seal -Besatzungen whose missions could take several days later were also given pure pervitin or the identical isophane which after days of oral hallucinations could cause. The use of pervitin was first investigated in September 1938 by the Navy on 90 subjects in the Military Medical Academy in Berlin. In 1944, these experiments were extended on athletes as well as inmates of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Result of these experiments was that the doctors of pervitin dissuaded because it could cause a failure of the central nervous system after the full effectiveness. They suggested, therefore, that the pilots instead mainly Kola chocolate (Scho-Ka-Kola addition) and should take Pervitin to only in small doses. The Chocolate consisted of 52.5% cocoa and 0.2% caffeine.

    Compared to the failures of other service branches throughout the war considered, the loss of K-associations are considered to be exceptionally high. Averaging 42% for all types minisubs januari-may 1945, with peaks to 69% for the Biber and Molch. In an interrogation after the war, he [Donitz] said that the K-associations have been considered from the outset as "consumption". They were cheap to produce and replace quickly.

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleink...r_Kriegsmarine
    Last edited by Jinan; 29th September 2015, 08:58.

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  • ~Alan~
    replied
    I was just checking to see that I wasn't making a duplicate thread, and came upon the above story.

    I was at Duxford on Tuesday for the BoB Flypast arrivals, and had lots of time to kill when I came upon this exhibit which
    I hadn't noticed before. It ties in well with this particular thread.



    Leave a comment:


  • Forestin
    replied
    I can ensure you that no one in Germany is trying to forget WWII. Actually it is pretty impossible to do so since almost every where you go you will find something remembering you of what happened (Cemeterys, Dedication plaques in the Villages of there fallen sons, Restored Building, Bunkers in the Forest, even still completely destroyed buildings,)

    For a long time everything related to violence & war was an absolute TABU en Germany. But with the world order changing, Germany & the Germans learned that they can not hold back any longer & that they have to keep up with there responsibilities as a leading country & that is what Germany is trying to change, to get people accept that a Military is not necessarily bad or for an invasion, but that it also can perform Humanitarian missions, assistance & protect people.

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  • Corsair166b
    replied
    I say..unless his FAMILY want him moved somewhere...let him be. He was honorable....treat him as such.

    M

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  • pred
    replied
    Having grown up and served there I got the impression that the reminders of that past were constant and over time served to paint everything to do with it in a bad light. Unfortunately the efforts outlined in this thread (renaming and purging names) may be part of a re-inforcing of that trend and counteract progress that may have been made over the years.

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  • Ja Worsley
    replied
    Pred: mate anything to do with the war is now outcasted in German society, they are really trying to foget the bad past and pretend that it never happened. Sadly though a phrase that has been in the center of my life lately comes to mind in this matter; "Those who can not remember the past are condemed to repeat it"

    I hope that they don't repeat it at all. Sadly they should remember those military people who did try to do their best in difficult situations, Rommel and Langsdorf were two such men. (I am proud to be a relative of Rommel, He was my Grandfather's cousin's Son, not that my grandfather had much to do with him but the blood line is there).

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  • pred
    replied
    Hmm, a couple of names like Mlders, Ltjens and Rommel have become free after decommissioning of Ltjens (US Charles F Adams class) destroyers... add Langsdorf and you have four. By pure coincidence there will be four brand new F 125 frigates coming up over the next decade in need of names... would be fitting I am thinking. That said, with the current purge of names and their main role of supporting multinational operations abroad for long periods of time the selection of names may be ever more politically sensitive. As an alternative (also to names of major towns and states currently used), how's about islands, somewhat appropriate to their role. Beginning with FGS Helgoland - stubborn red rock in the north sea (then Rgen, Sylt etc).

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  • bwa
    replied
    Originally posted by fightingirish
    No, let him rest in peace as is, with respect.

    Living in Germany and served in the GAF, I repest him with a bow for savng his men from a useless battle with the british fleet and serving in honour for friends and foes.
    If his family want his remains back to Germany, they shall be allowed.
    But I don't expect full military honour or even medals from the German goverment and the German Navy.

    The german red-green government are in moment very critical with Germans who served during WW2. Since March 18th the fighter bomber wing 74 (JG 74) of the German Air Force has lost its honour wing name "Mlders". Mlders was a famous pilot in WW2, killed on a plane crash on his way to Udet funeral in 1941. On April 28th 1998, a red green majority in the german parlament decided that members who served in the Legion Condor during the Spanish Civil War, can't be paid honour anymore. Barracks have to change their names.
    The MoD said, because Mlders served in Legion Condor and took part planning the bomd raid of Guernica on April 26th 1937, barracks, steet names and JG 74 have to delete the name Mlders.
    Far left groups want even to change barracks called after Rommel or Manstein. The history of the German military should begin in their eyes past 1945.
    Source in German: Die Welt - Handwerker des Krieges

    Fisher, minister of Foreign Affairs won't honour former employees, who worked committed in Ministry of Foreign Affairs past 1945 but were members in the NSDAP before.

    In my service time, the German military had problems, if or not it should honour deserteded german soldiers.
    To sum it all up:

    Some german politians want to clean German history "germfree".
    "Germ free", what a word!!!

    Ja Worsley, this is my opinion:
    From my german perspective, people have to be very sensitive honouring a german who served in the military or in the government between 1933 and 1945 .
    Hey there,
    just found this thread by browsing the Forum.

    I agree with fightingirish - let him rest in peace!
    Our government still tries to whitewash Germanys worldwide reputation - and overshoots that aim by broad-brushing anything that has sth. to do with german military before 1955 and claim that as evil (except from them, who directly acted against the Nazis like Stauffenberg p.e.).

    Lately, after misstating the members of the "Legion Condor" as "thugs" by the government, they also changed every single street-name at the air base Frstenfeldbruck into "Strae der Luftwaffe" (Street of the Air Force).
    Not only those which were namend after members of Legion Condor, like Boelcke, Immelmann, Oesau, but even the street named after Antoine de Saint-Exupry!

    Article from "Die Welt"

    No wonder the whole world is headshakin bout us...

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  • Ja Worsley
    replied
    Mog: Mate thanks for your contribution, it's been a while mate, hope things are doing well for you!

    As I may have stated, I saw a documentry here one night and Langsdorf's grave wasn't looking that great, but I have been corrected on this issue, also I've been corrected in the matter of his honour, I now know that at least the consulate staff do have a memorial for him.

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  • Moggy C
    replied
    I don't often post here but I've been very impressed with this thread and felt I had to add my contribution.

    From the image it would appear that the Captain lies with members of his crew.

    Faced with this question about the repatriation of remains of aircrew who died together I've always supported the 'leave them together where they died' faction.

    I see no reason to change my view in this case.

    Equally the emotion I've experienced at the US and German cemeteries here in the UK, and the many cemeteries in Normandy confirms me in this opinion.

    Moggy

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  • wizardS1969
    replied
    Great topic of discussion guys. Hans Langsdorf, whether you love or hate the German's, was a German hero who fought and died for what he believed was right at the time. As with any patriotic person, you and I included, in similar situations and time frame, may have done the same. I do hope that his grave is treated with due respect as he did give the ultimate sacrifice. Unlike what Turkey is doing in desecrating the allied beach landing at Gallipolli, disturbing not only Australian, New Zealand and British graves, but also Turkish one. But that is another story.

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  • Tiornu
    replied
    I may very well be wrong, but as far as I know, Langsdorff was not particularly anti-Nazi. Non-Nazi perhaps, but not anti-Nazi. Unfortunately the specifics of his situation are mixed up with a fair amount of mis- and disinformation, like the story about his wrapping himself in an Imperial flag before committing suicide.
    Does his family have an opinion on the reburial suggestion?
    I would warn against sentimentalizing his decision. What did he accomplish with his scuttle order? He preserved the lives of many crewmen, a number of whom managed to get back to Germany and back into the war effort. He also preserved the lives of the British sailors who would have died in the ensuing battle. I have little doubt that Spee would have been defeated, given the state of her main battery and ammunition, not to mention her lack of speed. One benefit to her defeat in battle would be her sinking in deep water where the British would not be able to explore her for intelligence purposes, as was the case outside Montevideo.
    The greater repercussions of his choice were less tangible. He gave a great boost to British morale, simultaneously painting his fellow KM personnel as quitters. The result was an ossifying of command initiative in the KM. I don't think it's fair to saddle Langsdorff with the entirety of blame, however, as he had received permission for his action.
    In the end, I tend to think his actions were ultimately detrimental to the German war effort. But that's okay by me.

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  • Ja Worsley
    replied
    Very interesting call Wanshan, very interesting.

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  • Wanshan
    replied
    Returned home: yes
    Full military honors: trans corpus mortuum!

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  • Ja Worsley
    replied
    WOW that is very different to a report that I saw on the tv here. Indeed that picture would seem to present a different case as to what I saw. It is good to hear that Langsdorff's grave and indeed those of the other members of the crew, are respected by the German diplomats there.

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  • King Jester
    replied
    Ja wrote:
    The Nazi government wanted the Spee to get back into the fight and take out as many ships as possible whilest trying to get back to Germany for repairs. Langsdorff knew that half the British fleet was now bearing down on him
    Well, general agreement seems to be that he was indeed given the choice between fighting OR scuttling the ship, but under no cirscumstance the ship had to be captured. He choose to scuttle it to make sure Graf Spee would not be captured.

    so he requested assylum for his crew in Uruguay, they refused but Argentina didn't (Argentina were back then, pro Nazi). So Langsdorf sent his men ashore to be smuggled out of Uruguay and sent his officers in to scuttle the ship.
    No, that is not the case. He was indeed refused permission to keep Graf Spee in uruguayan waters, but he did not ask for "assylum", not in Uruguay nor Argentina. Under international law once Graf Spee was scuttled, the german crewmembers became shipwreckers, and allowed and entiteld to assistance on ANY country. Argentina assited those shipwreckers. As they were also members of a belligerant party stranded on neutral soil, they were accordingly to international law, interned in Argentina for the remainder of the war. All crewmembers were indeed interned in prison camps in the province of Cordoba till 1945 (except for a few who managed to escape). Many of'em decided to stay and married in Argentina.
    Langsdorff choose Argentina simply because Uruguay had proven not be "all that neutral".
    Just a "small data pearl" to understand what I'm talking about...HMS Achilles harboured in Buenos Aires just two days after Langsdorffs death for repairs, supplies and burial ceremonies, the same way Graf Spee had harboured in Montevideo fior the same reasons.
    Indeed one dead Achilles sailor was buried in the britsh sector of the Chacarita cementery, only a 100 meters away from Langsdorff.

    Actually Argentina burried him and his grave is just like any other, there is no special care taken. Weeds sometimes grow over his grave, grass grows and then is cut, but no extra special care for someone so important.
    Ja, how exactly would you know what Langsdorffs grave looks like?

    What about a handy picture:


    I get to see Langsdorffs grave every now and then when I pay a visit to my own family grave, in the german sector of the Chacarita cementery. It is indeed well taken care of, and every December 17th a small number of Graf Spee survivors gather to pay respect to their former captain. The only "blemish", if you wish, is that the small swastikas inside the Iron Crosses were removed some years ago, due to a BRD (Bundes Republick Deutschland) regulation which called for every Iron Cross to be "sanitized". Indeed, the german embassy pays for the maintanience of the general WWI and WWII mausoleums in the german cementery in Buenos Aires, and also for Langsdorffs grave. Langsdorff and the other Graf Spee crewmembers are not buried on a "war cementery" per se, simply because Argentina was not a war theater in 1939-45, but for all tense and purpose they get the same respectfull treatment.

    King Jester

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  • Ja Worsley
    replied
    Aurel: Thanks for you input mate. Actually Argentina burried him and his grave is just like any other, there is no special care taken. Weeds sometimes grow over his grave, grass grows and then is cut, but no extra special care for someone so important.

    But I guess you are right, it's a decission the family must make. Sure Germany is trying to forget the nazi past, but here is one hero of those times that they can be proud of.

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  • Aurel
    replied
    I think it is the decision of the family. If his remains come home, then he should get full military honors. And no, I don't think medals are the right way to honour him. Better send every year some sailors to his grave (where ever this is).
    The Argentinians really take care about his grave.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ja Worsley
    replied
    Fightingirish: Mate I fully respect the stance you have taken and thank you deeply for braving this subject.

    I know too well about German politics and history, family

    Perhaps a clean slate would be a good idea, but you can not deny the past. IMHO German politicians should take note of what was done in the past, and heed it as a warning for the future!

    Leave a comment:


  • fightingirish
    replied
    "Germ free"

    No, let him rest in peace as is, with respect.

    Living in Germany and served in the GAF, I repest him with a bow for savng his men from a useless battle with the british fleet and serving in honour for friends and foes.
    If his family want his remains back to Germany, they shall be allowed.
    But I don't expect full military honour or even medals from the German goverment and the German Navy.

    The german red-green government are in moment very critical with Germans who served during WW2. Since March 18th the fighter bomber wing 74 (JG 74) of the German Air Force has lost its honour wing name "Mlders". Mlders was a famous pilot in WW2, killed on a plane crash on his way to Udet funeral in 1941. On April 28th 1998, a red green majority in the german parlament decided that members who served in the Legion Condor during the Spanish Civil War, can't be paid honour anymore. Barracks have to change their names.
    The MoD said, because Mlders served in Legion Condor and took part planning the bomd raid of Guernica on April 26th 1937, barracks, steet names and JG 74 have to delete the name Mlders.
    Far left groups want even to change barracks called after Rommel or Manstein. The history of the German military should begin in their eyes past 1945.
    Source in German: Die Welt - Handwerker des Krieges

    Fisher, minister of Foreign Affairs won't honour former employees, who worked committed in Ministry of Foreign Affairs past 1945 but were members in the NSDAP before.

    In my service time, the German military had problems, if or not it should honour deserteded german soldiers.
    To sum it all up:

    Some german politians want to clean German history "germfree".
    "Germ free", what a word!!!

    Ja Worsley, this is my opinion:
    From my german perspective, people have to be very sensitive honouring a german who served in the military or in the government between 1933 and 1945 .

    Leave a comment:

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