Humor in the Wehrmacht

General WWII era German military discussion that doesn't fit someplace more specific.
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der alte Landser
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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by der alte Landser » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:30 pm

Hi Jonathon: I thought about that too, and considered changing the ranges from the original story when I translated it. I decided to leave the ranges exactly as they were in German. A thousand meters is an awful long way over iron sights, even for an expert marksman.

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Freudian psychiatrist ...

Post by L. Kafka » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:18 am

...to shell shocked German Christmas shopper.
"So, tell me. How long have you been buying appliances from zis place called Ze Varehouse?"

Note: Borrowed from a TV commercial in the Chicago-Detroit area. A Highland Appliance (out of biz) rip on a store called The Warehouse. Get it? Bitte.)
"What are they going to do, send me to Vietnam?"
A oft heard GI refrain in Vietnam in '68.

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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by der alte Landser » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:54 pm

Thanks for that anecdote, Kafka!

Here are a couple more stories for today:

"VB-Feldpost #3, page 88, "More is Better," by Ogefr. Paul Greikamp.

It was near the start of the campaign in the East.Out of a clear blue sky, we began taking heavy incoming artillery fire. Sadly, some of our Kameraden were wounded. Men were calling for the medics from a water-logged ditch, unable to move. Suddenly, our old, reliable Hein said, "Boys, if this keeps up, I'm getting more life insurance."


"VB-Feldpost #3, page 61, "Heavy Losses," by Ogefr. Hermann Hottmann.

During an artillery barrage in France, Private Paul was buried in the dirt by a heavy explosion. Despite the danger, Kameraden immediately sprang to his aid and began digging him out. Meanwhile, the enemy fire began to taper off. Soon a leg was visible, and then the rescuers succeeded in freeing the trapped soldier. Paul stood shakily and looked up at the sun somewhat dazedly. He reached mechanically into his pocket, and then exclaimed: "Godd#@mmit! I left my cigarettes down there!"


"Drei, Vier, ein Witz," page 10, "Regardless which Caliber."

Elsbeth went for a visit with her fiancee in his garrison. He proudly showed her the troop training areas. As the couple stood near the rifle range, a volley of firing erupted. The startled girl jumped into her soldier's arms. A couple of bystanders smirked, and Elsbeth said in embarrassment: "I'm so sorry, that was dumb of me to do that."

Her fiancee replied, "Don't apologize my dear. Now let's go over to the artillery range."

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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by der alte Landser » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:29 am

sample013.jpg
Here is a little cartoon from "Stube 118" that needs no caption. This collection was printed by Verlag "Die Wehrmacht" in 1937.
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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by der alte Landser » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:53 am

Here are a couple from "Das Landserbuch," from 1942. Here are a few from a collection entitled, "Discipline."

This one is on page 22: "Soldier, don't you know that that the enlisted man is required to be silent when speaking with an officer?"


From page 23-24: A general approaches a check point in the pre-dawn darkness. The sentry calls out, "Halt! Who goes there," according to regulation. The soldier then orders the officer to give the password.

"Dammit! What was that password again?" says the officer, "I seem to have forgotten the blasted word. But surely you recognize me, my boy. Who am I?"

"The division commander, sir!" replies the sentry.

"Good, good, you can see that I'm no spy. Then you can let me through without the password."

"No, sir. I can't do that," replied the sentry, "But if you were to tell me how things are in Dresden, then I could perhaps let you through."

And so, the general made it through the check point.


Page 145, entitled "The Enemy is Listening:"

Some time ago, an order came down to post placards at all radio and field telephone sites reminding soldiers to practice communications security when transmitting. Too many of these placards were printed and soon, they were everywhere. Even soldiers using the latrine could read: ATTENTION! CAUTION! THE ENEMY IS LISTENING!"


Page 145, entitled "The Acropolis:"

In the Soldatenheim during a film called "Athens and its Monuments," among other things, there were scenes of the Acropolis, with its centuries old temple ruins. Watching the show, an artilleryman commented: "Boy, somebody must have shot the sh#t out of those old buildings!"

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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by der alte Landser » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:25 pm

"Lachendes Feldgrau," pg 184-185, entitled, "Those with Children."

The company has only been together for a short while, and for the first time, the soldiers are allowed on weekend pass. But who should be permitted to go away? Without question, those men with children.

"Alright men, listen up! announces the first sergeant. "35 of you can go on pass this weekend to visit your wives and children, but only those with large families. Those with four or more children, take one step forward!"

Three men stepped out in front of the company.

"Those with three children, take one step forward!"

Six men stepped forward.

"Those with two children, take one step forward!"

Seven men stepped forward.

"Those with one child, take one step forward!"

Ten men stepped forward.

The first sergeant tallied up the number of soldiers with children, and came up with 26. But the order from battalion clearly stated that the company would send 35 men on pass. Every first sergeant worth his pay knew that orders were holy, come down from on high. But there was always a side path to achieve the correct result.

"Alright men, who here can give me written confirmation that his wife is pregnant?"

This time, four men stepped forward.

Well, this made 30, still five short of the required number. The first sergeant chewed on his lip thoughtfully for a few seconds, surveying the remaining soldiers in the ranks. He thought to himself, "Could I send less than were authorized, indeed required to go on pass? No, absolutely impossible!" And then it came to him!

"Okay men, who can guarantee me, that if he goes on pass, that he and his wife or girlfriend will..."

The first sergeant didn't have time to get out another word. The parade square echoed with the sound of a hundred soldiers, all quickly taking one step forward!

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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by der alte Landser » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:02 pm

Here are a couple of more funny entries from the "Flieger ABC"

Kopfrollen / Head rolling (as in "Heads will roll if you don't shape up!)

Recently introduced sport in the German armed forces. Has become extremely popular, especially in the winter months.


Verfranzen / To lose one's way

Exclusive activity of those who use maps, wind correction angles, and other such chicanery in an attempt to avoid getting hopelessly lost. Is often combined with the emergency landing. (see entry for emergency landing.)


Waggonzähler / Wagon counter

Collective term for the inmates of observer schools, whose sunny youth is taken up with learning a skill that any railroad worker knows how to do instinctively, and probably much better.


Kurbeln / To really crank it, to turn and burn

Maneuver employed during aerial combat and acrobatic flying, whereby the machine is pushed into a tight spinning turn at high speed. To get the most out of the machine, and the co-pilot, this maneuver is best employed after a large meal. (see entry for upchuck)


Frühstück aus dem Gesicht fallen / to upchuck

Commonly encountered sickness of fliers, esp. little bunnies (see entry for little bunny). This condition arises after a well-earned meal followed by the urgent desire to give it away. If one is the recipient of this favor, he should always endeavor to return it in kind.

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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by der alte Landser » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:39 am

Here are a few from "Landser Lachen, Neuer Deutscher Soldatenhumor," 1940

page 61, "The Egotist"

The sergeant asks a soldier, what it means to be a good Kamerad. The recruit ponders the question for a bit, and then replies loudly and with feeling:

"Sergeant, good Kameradschaft is: when another soldier still has some sausage left over, and gives it to me when I've already eaten mine!"


page 65, "Goodbye"

Kuhnert, a trusty laborer, receives his draft notice and packs his meager belongings to leave home and his wife. She has been nothing but a plague to him since they got married, and never gives the poor man a moment's peace, but now she's stricken with grief. She's crying and sobbing uncontrollably as the moment of departure nears.

"Hey," says Kuhnert as he's walking out the door with a grin, "Don't worry yourself like that. This little vacation in the army will do me good!"


page 78, "Nothing but a Stahlhelm"

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, and the Unteroffizier vom Dienst was making his rounds through the barracks. Walking down the corridor, he heard water running in the shower room. There was a standing order in the company that soldiers weren't to run water unnecessarily, and the UvD decided to make a spot check.

The UvD opened the door to the shower room, and what did he see? There, standing under the water, was a soldier wearing a Stahlhelm, and nothing else! Staring gape-mouthed for a long while at the absurd vision, the UvD finally found the composure to ask the buck-naked soldier, "What in the hell are you doing? Have you gone insane?"

"Herr Unteroffizier! I just got back from the barber. I'm getting ready for a date tonight, and I don't want to mess up my haircut. It has to be just right for my girlfriend!"

Shaking his head, the UvD shut the door without another word and continued on his rounds.


page 71, "Misunderstanding," Gefr. Albert Kleeman

I was instructing a group of new communicators in the use of the switchboard when the following happened:

It was during a pre-test for use of the field switchboard. A recruit sat down at the switchboard, and I handed him the headset, and said, "Put this on your head and stick the plug in the socket." Then I explained that I was going to tap out some code groups and the recruit was to write them down.

I went up to my podium and sent several groups in Morse, then paused and asked the recruit to repeat them back. He shook his head and said he hadn't heard anything. I resent the code groups very slowly, and asked the recruit if he'd gotten them this time. The answer was the same, he had heard nothing.

So, I went over to his station, and checked his headset. The recruit had it positioned correctly on his head. Then I looked at the cable to make sure it was plugged in right. The problem became evident immediately. The headset wasn't plugged into the switchboard. I said to the recruit, "Where's the plug? I told you to stick it in the socket!"

The recruit looked at me with a dazed expression, and then suddenly lit up as if a lightbulb had gone off over his head. He said sheepishly, "Ohhh, I'm sorry corporal. I thought you said to put it in my pocket!"

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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by Jason Pipes » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:29 pm

Moved from Soldatenheim folder to the General WWII German Militaty Discussion folder and made a permanent sticky post.

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Christmas in the Russian Forest

Post by der alte Landser » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:33 pm

“Das Landserbuch,” published in 1940, was a collection of stories from the front newspapers for German forces in the First World War. This book was aimed at the World War II German soldier to show that his forbearers in the Great War endured many of the same things that he was going through.

This story, entitled “Christmas in the Russian Forest,” is found on pgs 108-112. It was originally written by Lt. Joachim Niedlich in 1918 for “Die Zeitung der 10. Armee.” It isn't humorous, but shows sentimentality that is familiar, I imagine, for anyone who has served far away from home during the holidays.

"First, one of the men stuck his head out the door of our bunker and sniffed the cold, clear winter air. That was my Oberschlesier. And then someone else thrust his head through the door to sniff the morning air. That was me. Then my Oberschlesier exclaimed, “Looks good, sir! It’s going to be a good day.” We pulled our heads back in, the frost nipping our cheeks.

That was on the morning of Christmas Eve, at the front in the snow-covered Russian forest.

Why did we check the weather, and do it again and again – every half-hour through the day? That was our secret, and the other men had no idea why.

And the weather stayed “good.” A still, pale winter day without a trace of mist in the air. On this third wartime Christmas in the field, our plan was unfolding just right. It was a dream really, carried out on fragile wings.

At 5pm, the company formed up. I led the way through the powdery snow deep into the dimming forest. I was a bit apprehensive to make sure everything was in order. I couldn’t be present during final preparations and was myself was so full of expectation, I felt like a child.

The snow-bedecked forest stood like a cathedral. Resembling pillars of white marble, the ice-frosted fir trees surrounded us. The canopy above us shimmered crystalline white. Like a group of pilgrims, we moved forward between the trees. Ahead, through the trunks, a beautiful light shimmered. As we moved nearer, the woods opened up and soon we were standing in a flat open spot.

There in the center of the meadow stood a three-meter tall fir tree crusted with snow. On its branches glittered numberless candles, flickering in the darkness. The surrounding trees sparkled in the shimmering light. The men of the company stood there staring at the heartwarming sight, eyes wide in silent wonder. The candles were so radiant, you could almost hear them burning.

Then, squad by squad, still as if the Christ child himself lay there, the men circled our Christmas tree. As they stood there, a hidden choir began to sing quietly:

“Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen,
aus einer Wurzel zart.
Wie uns die Alten sungen,
von Jesse war die Art.
Und hat ein Blüm'lein 'bracht;
mitten im kalten Winter,
wohl zu der halben Nacht.”

Removing their helmets, every man stood there, each in his own place, but far away at the same time.

At length, the choir fell silent and the assembly came to an end. Alone and in groups, my old veteran soldiers stood there silently, some close to the tree, others farther away. Here and there, the candles began to flicker and then go out, one after another.

One after another..."
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Christmas Tree to a Good Home

Post by der alte Landser » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:49 am

Jason: Thanks very much for making this a stickie topic and I hope folks are still enjoying these posts. There is an entire unmined wealth of humor surrounding the German armed forces and I have learned a great deal since starting this thread. Obviously, the wartime years were full of sacrifice and hardship, but the sheer amount of humorous printed material shows that the Germans did have a sense of humor, and soldiers could find the bright side in even the worst situations.

This is another Christmas story, and is from "VB-Feldpost-3," printed in 1944. The story is entitled "Christmas Tree to a Good Home," by Uffz. Ignor, pgs 57-58.

"It was a Christmas evening in Russia. The Kompanie was scheduled for two days in reserve, and we decided to celebrate Christmas. A crew went out and selected a fitting tree for our modest festivities. Everything went according to plan, and we decked out our tree with a rifle cleaning chain, and three candles.

In the midst of our celebration, new orders came down: We were to pack up and move out immediately to Point "X" for further operations. So we packed up our gear in a dark mood.

It was icy cold and frost clung to our whiskers. The objective was a long way and it was difficult marching through the powdery snow. Considering the interrupted celebration, our general outlook wasn't too rosy. We all hid our discontent beneath our snow-covered uniforms and helmets. The only sound to be heard was the rustling of snow under our feet, and our labored breathing.

In this silence, somebody said laconically: "Hey guys, I know where there's a slightly used Christmas tree — only had one carol sung around it. It's free to a good home.""

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The Christmas Package

Post by der alte Landser » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:33 pm

Here is another cute little holiday tale. This one, entitled "The Christmas Package," is from VB-Feldpost #2, (1943) pages 57-60. It was writte by Ogefr. Fritz Müller

It was only a few days until Christmas. Kanonier Heinrich Quastel trudged along carrying a large mailbag full of packages from home. He resembled a field-gray version of Santa Claus as he made his way through the evening-dim streets of a small city in northern France. He had picked up the Feldpost from the orderly room and now found himself on the return trip to his gun position at the airfield.

Heinrich was in a fine mood, and his broad face shone with happiness. As the mail orderly for his crew, he had to report every day for mail call and carry the large mailbags back and forth. But this trip was worth the effort, since he had peeked in the mail sack and discovered that his wife had sent him a surprise Christmas package.

Now Heinrich’s mind was working overtime to try and guess what Mrs. Quastel had sent him. Having taken a moment to pull out his package and heft it, Heinrich was pretty sure the package contained one of his wife’s famous smoked meat specialties, along with all sorts of other imagined treats. She understood, even so far away, that her husband, a tall, broad shouldered guy, was always hungry enough to eat a horse! Despite having plenty of food to eat from the messhall, he always seemed to have an empty pit in his stomach that just couldn’t be filled. And now it appeared that there might be something to help fill that hole, for a while, at least.

Heinrich was oblivious to the beauty of the early winter evening. Above, the cloudless sky sparkled with countless stars, and a frosting of ice on the trees shone along the path. But Heinrich wasn’t thinking about any of that. Instead, his thoughts were of cured ham, sausage, and cakes. Lost in his daydream, he almost took the wrong turn back, but caught himself just at the last minute. He arrived back at the gun position in high spirits.

Taking the mail sack from Heinrich, the gun commander sorted the small mountain of packages and letters into ordered piles. He carefully separated packages marked “DO NOT OPEN BEFORE CHRISTMAS,” and placed them under the Christmas tree located next to his bunk for safe keeping. Heinrich wore the dumbest expression in the world as the sergeant took HIS package, plainly marked, and set it far under the tree.

It was impossible for Heinrich to disguise his disappointment. He implored the gun commander with “please,” and promises to share the contents as he tried to get at his package, all to no avail. The sergeant turned a deaf ear — he knew exactly what he was dealing with; the biggest chow hound in the battery.

Dreaming of hams, bacon, cookies, and candy, Heinrich passed a sleepless night. His stomach was a black hole linked straight to his brain. The next morning, he jumped at the chance to get hold of his package at the first opportunity. Despite the sergeant’s warning, he took the chance, consequences be dashed! It was his package, after all. He could at least try and get a better idea how much it weighed, smell what was inside, find out from the outside what delicious goodies that Frieda had packed inside. And if it accidentally broke open, that wasn’t really a crime, was it?

Without a conscious thought, Heinrich untied the securing twine and unwrapped the brown paper on the outside of the box. Underneath was another securely sealed brown paper wrapper. A piece of paper was stuck on it. Heinrich read the words:

Heinrich – You should be ashamed of yourself! You are not to open this package before Christmas. Your Frieda!

Speechless, Heinrich stood there staring at the note like a kid who’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He was dumbfounded at how Frieda could have known that he would try and open the package before Christmas. Probably some secret power that women possessed — only God knew for sure. But still, how could it be that she knew beforehand? Dejected, Heinrich rewrapped his package and replaced it back under the Christmas tree.

And to spare you, dear reader, any unnecessary details, let us jump forward to Christmas. Frieda pulled off her Christmas surprise magnificently. As it turned out, Heinrich’s search for something to eat was fruitless. Because he had been constantly writing home complaining of cold feet, Frieda had sent him a warm pair of slippers and some books to occupy his spare time. It wasn’t until two days after Christmas that Heinrich received the expected — and desperately hoped for — package with all the good things to eat in it.
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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by Me-109 Jagdfleiger » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:38 pm

Thank you again for sharring these with us,
Frohe Weihnachten
Jonathan
Cheers Jonathan,
Only the spirit of attack borne in a brave heart will bring success to any fighter aircraft, no matter how highly developed it may be.

— General Adolf Galland, Luftwaffe.

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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by der alte Landser » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:38 am

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a peaceful holiday season, and are ready for some more humor from the German armed forces. Here are a few for today.

"Drei, Vier, Ein Witz - Soldatenhumor von Gestern und Heute," page 9, titled "Figuring it Out."

The company was practicing hasty assault sunder the watchful eyes of the Hauptmann. The first platoon leader had already been assessed as a casualty, and the platoon sergeant took over the drill until he too, was designated as severely wounded and unable to communicate. Each squad leader took his turn until the Hauptmann designated him as a casualty.

Finally, as the platoon was moving across their mock objective, the Hauptmann pointed to Private Schober and ordered him to take over the platoon.The soldier quickly summed up the situation, pointed his index finger at his forehead, and exclaimed cheerfully, "I just got hit in the head. I'm dead!" and fell to the ground.


"Drei, Vier, Ein Witz - Soldatenhumor von Gestern und Heute," page 10, titled "Finally."

During a troop inspection, an affable division commander stopped to chat with Private Ledig.

"Well my son, how are things going for you?" asked the general.

"Oh, so you're my father," replied the soldier. "Mother's been trying to find you for 21 years!"

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Re: Humor in the Wehrmacht

Post by B Hellqvist » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:55 am

Here's an article with some funny photos of German soldiers. I had seen a couple of them before, but many were new to me.

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