Greece/Crete 1945

General WWII era German military discussion that doesn't fit someplace more specific.
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Patrick
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Greece/Crete 1945

Post by Patrick » Sat Oct 09, 2004 5:05 am

I've frequently read about German troops trapped in the Kurland pocket but never really thought about their southern counterparts. What happened to German troops stationed in Greece and Crete towards the end of the war - where they successfully withdrawn as the Russians entered the Balkans or were they cutoff as well?
Cheers,

Patrick

When I was single, I had three theories on raising children. Now I have three children and no theories.

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Mon Oct 11, 2004 1:44 am

Hi Patrick,

after the general retreat (almost unmolested and, according Albert Speer memories, made under the protection of the same Royal Navy just to grant the British the control of Salonicco to prevent a much feared Russian mainmise of north Greece supporting the Buldarian claims) the Germans, with some Italian battalion too, remained in Crete and in the Dodecanese Is.
They were cut off, of course, without any military chance to do anythong against the new, intense traffic for USSR directed in the Black Sea as there were no more air forces and naval forces, only some small patrol vessels and landing barges to maintain the links among th eislands. The food problem was a serious one both for them and the inhabitants. Links were maintained (mainly mail) with some captured B 24 under Lufwaffe colours which made flights at night from Austria.
The eastern part of Crete was evacuated during the winter by the Axis forces and "occupied" by a very weak mixed British and Greek garrison.
There was, then, an unofficial truce between the two parties until the final surrender order issued by the OKW in May 1945 after the Reims signature of armistice.
The same order of surrender was valid for Rhodes and the other minor islands still in Axis hand. The Greece tried, at the end of April, to do a landing in Rhodes to grant their rights over the Dodecanese Is. in front of the Turkish concurrence, as the British seemed, since the end of 1940, to prefer Ankara at Athens for that prize. They were repulsed with heavy losses as the mood was: wait and see but no trickery.

Bye EC

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Post by Annelie » Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:08 am

addendum to Enrico,

Those in Greece and Kreta became POW's of the British
and sent to Egypt until l948.

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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:56 am

Thank you (Mr. or Mrs. ?I beg your pardon but the nome sounds in both ways at an Italian ear).

Bye EC

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Post by sniper1shot » Sun Oct 17, 2004 6:13 pm

I've read that the Germans in Crete were flown to Germany and surrendered their arms there. I have also read that the German war memorial in Crete still stands.
Only he is lost who gives himself up as lost.

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Post by 1871 » Sun Oct 17, 2004 9:12 pm

Indeed it does remain. And well tended.

I laid a small tribute last June.


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Post by sid guttridge » Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:46 am

Hi Snipershot1,

It is unlikely in the extreme that the German garrison on Crete was allowed to surrender its arms in Germany. After the end of the war it had absolutely no leverage to demand such a thing.

I believe Crete was almost the last place in Europe where the swastika flag was hauled down. The very last was reportedly a weather station on some Norwegian Arctic island.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Annelie » Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:59 am

Sidney
It is unlikely in the extreme that the German garrison on Crete was allowed to surrender its arms in Germany. After the end of the war it had absolutely no leverage to demand such a thing.

I believe Crete was almost the last place in Europe where the swastika flag was hauled down

The Germans in Crete/Kreta did surrender to the British, they certainly were not flown to Germany to surrender their arms.

Thankyou 1871 for the tribute you laid down last June.

Annelie

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Post by sniper1shot » Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:31 pm

Not meaning to state it as fact....sorry if I gave that impression, only read it somewhere that they were one of the last units to surrender their arms, and were sent back to Germany. I mistakenly put the 2 and 2 together and came up w/ "sent back to Germany w/ arms"
I do know better than that.....or at least I think I do.
Only he is lost who gives himself up as lost.

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Michi
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Post by Michi » Sun Oct 24, 2004 3:22 pm

My article about the Germans on the Aegean Island from October 1944 till July 1945 isn't online anymore.

Here is it. (with some minor corrections)

Some points remain unsolved
a.) more detailed informations about the RSI-Italian units on the Aegean Islands.
b.) Who received the 2 additional Knight's Cross
c.) OOB & TO/E of the PzGrenBrig "Rhodos"


Aegean Islands
October 1944 till July 1945


On 27th August of 1944, HITLER ordered the evacuation of Aegean Islands.
On 30th August the air-transports started with 106 Ju 52‘s.


From the 30th of August 1944 till the end of October 1944:
The German Kriegsmarine evacuated 37138 soldiers, with a loss of 380 soldiers.
Of 52 ships/boats 29 get lost.
The German Luftwaffe evacuated 30740 soldiers in 2050 flights.


After the 30th of October 1944


11828 Germans and 4737 Italians on Crete
6356 Germans and 4097 Italians on Rhodos
3228 Germans and 611 Italians on Kos
1102 Germans and 809 Italians on Leros
620 Germans on Milos
266 Germans on Tilos
193 Germans on Kalymnos

23607 Germans and 10254 Italians (= 33861 soldiers)

were still stationed on the Aegean Islands.
On Kalymnos was the
2./XI./Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 999 (Hptm Weiss)
CO of the isle was Hptm Albrecht Weiss.

On Tilos was the
?./IX./ Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 999.
Later the
3./VI./ Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 999 (Hptm Jenninger)
CO of the isle was Hptm Jenninger

On Milos was the
4./ Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 1011 (Olt Knauer)
1 (improved) Marine-Artillerie-Batterie (KKpt Kuhn)
CO of the isle was KKpt Kuhn

On Leros was the
Stb/ Festungs-Infanterie-Regiment 986
IX./ Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 999 [4 coys]
Marine-Artillerie-Abteilung 624 (KKpt Hufschmidt)
Hafen-Schutz-Flottille „Leros“
CO of the isle was Obst Koschella

On Kos was the
Stb/ Festungs-Infanterie-Regiment 967
XI./ Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 999 [4 coys]
parts of the Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Abteilung 960
CO of the isle was Obstlt Ruf

On Rhodos was the
Panzer-Grenadier-Brigade „Rhodos“ (GenLt Otto Wagner)
• 4 Panzer-Grenadier-Bataillone [each 2 coys]
from different Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillone 999
• 1 Panzer-Abteilung [3 coys]
• 1 Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung [3 coys]
from PanzerAufklärungs-Abteilung 999
• 1 Artillerie-Abteilung [3 btty‘s]
from IV./Artillerie-Regiment 999
• 1 Pionier-Landungs-Bataillon (Hptm Bunte) [3 coys]
from 3./Pionier-Bataillon 999 & 3./Landungs-Pionier-Bataillon 86 (Olt Biggemann) & Landungs-Pionier-Kompanie 780 (Hptm Bunte)
6. Infanterie-Boot-Grupppe/15. Landungs-Flottille (Lt z.S. BERGER)
Heeres-Flottille „Rhodos“ some 30 boats
Küsten-Jäger-Kompanie „Rhodos“ (Olt Bertermann)
Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Regiment 627 [18 btty‘s]
Hafen-Schutz-Flottille „Dodekanes“ (Kptlt Brachvogel)
+ Italian Forces:
Rhodes Island: Lt-col. Ferdinando Mittino and his troops kept the island for the Axis until May 1945...











On Crete was the
Festungs-Division 133 (GenLt Klepp)
• Grenadier-Regiment 733 {I./ & II./}
• Grenadier-Regiment 746 {II./ & III./}
• Artillerie-Regiment 619 {I./ & II.[Geb]/}
• Pionier-Bataillon 133
• Nachrichten-Abteilung 133
• ..........133
Panzer-Abteilung „Kreta“ [1 - 2 coys] from 5./PzR 31 & captured British & Italian tanks
Stabskompanie -
Panzer-Zug - 2 Pz Ib, 3 Hothckiss (f), 2 Somua (f), 1 5cm Pak (Sfl)
Nachrichten-Zug - 2 PzBefWg I.
Pionier Halb-Zug
Krad-Zug
Werkstatt-Zug
1.Kompanie - 1 PzBefWg I, 10 Pz II, 5 Pz III/kz & lg, 4 Pz IV/lg (L/43)
2.Kompanie - 12 Hotchkiss (f), 3 Somua (f), 6 Pz IV/lg (L/43)
The battalion had 11 offciers, 149 NCO, 308 men and 23 HiWi (mostly Italian it appears).
By 26 September 1944 the Pionier Halb-Zug and the Krad-Zug had been disbanded and the 6 PzKw-IV in 2. Kompanie were transferred to 1. Kompanie, while one of the Somua of 2. Kompanie went to Stabskompanie.
Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Regiment „Kreta“ {I./ II./ & III.}
Marine-Artillerie-Abteilung 520 (5 Btty‘s)
Marine-Grenadier-Bataillon „Kreta“ (personal from 2 dissolved MArtBt & other navy soldiers)
Küsten-Sicherungs-Flottille „Kreta“
Flak-Regiment 58(mot) ??? or II./Flak-Regiment 23(mot) ????
Luftwaffen-Grenadier-Bataillon „Kreta“ (personal from LuNaAbt „Kreta“ & other airforce soldiers)


CCNN CXLI
Remained in Creta. Situation January/February 45: 570 men.

The following units were supposed to be assigned to the Aegean Island:
Kreta Volunteer Legion
Merla Volunteer Legion
Piazza Volunteer Legion
3rd Volunteer Btn
Gabrieli Volunteer Btn
11th Infantry Btn
422nd Infantry Btn
33rd, 81st, 92nd Black Shirt Btn's
"San Marco" Legion
19th Black Shirt Assualt Btn














Nominally the head of the 133.FestD, Gen KLEPP, should have been the head of the German forces on Crete.
Due illness, the CO of artillery on Crete (Arko „Kreta“) Obst BENTHACK, from December on GenMjr, became CO of Crete.
On 9th May of1945 GenMjr BENTHACK signed the surrender in Heraklion.
The German forces surrendered to the 28th Infantry-brigade (CO was BrigGen P.G.C. PRESTON).
The Germans waited in vain for the British occupation troops on 11th of May.
Then an emergancy call of the British, who were in heavy fightings with „ELAS“ (a Greek communist resistance movement).
A German assult unit/task force with the tank battallion liberated the British and drove back the Greek partisans.
Afterwards, the car of BrigGen PRESTON was always escorted by two German tanks.
Till the end of June 1945 (1600 German soldiers were still in the aerea of Souda) the Germans were involved in anti-partisans war-fare.

GenMjr ordered via radio 5 KC‘s for awardings in his estimation.
On 21st May of 1945 the VERLEIHUNG for
GenMjr BENTHACK, Hans-Georg CO of „Fortress“ Crete
Obstlt KAMINSKI, Werner Ia of „Fortress“ Crete
GenMjr WAGENER, Dr. Otto CO of „Fortress“ Rhodos
??????
?????
On 11th May of 1945 DÖNITZ gave order to stop further promotions and awarding. So all 3(5??) KC winners „got“ their KC dated with 10th of May.










In Allied documents you can read very often that the German soldiers were more or less p.o.w., who were guarding themselves.
Here is a short article about the actions in the aerea of the Aegean Isles after the evacuation of the Germans.

On 19th August of 1944, the KJgKp(Olt BERTERMANN) got the order to reconnoitre the isles of Saria, Skarpanto, Stakida, Umia/Unja-Nisia, Kamilioni, Zaphrani, Syrina, Kandelousia and Perigousa. Any enemy troops should be driven off the isles. Saria, Skarpanto, Unja/Umia-Nisia, Kamiloni and Zaphrani were free of Allied units. On 26th of August, an unknown vessel, although in/under heavy camouflage, was discovered. In a real assult attack, this vessel was possessed. It was the HDML 1381 with 14 soldiers of the Special Boat Squadron on board. This heavy armed boat became later the KJ 25, of the KJgKp.
Some days later a new commando operation of the KJgKp with the KJ 25(Lt z.S. BRANDT & Fw WEBER) was started against the Isle of Calchi. At this isle was a part of the „Holy Batallion“, a unit of Greece volunteers. After a short, but heavy fight, the surviving Greeks were taken p.o.w. . One of the death, was the CO of the „Holy Batallion“. At the funeral the Greek p.o.w. and the KJg made a guard of honour.
On 17th of September, Milos was bombed by a cruiser and destroyers of the Royal Navy, because of his long-range 15cm battery.
On 4th of October, five PiLdgB were sunk by the Royal Navy in the near of the Isle of Nisyros.
In the morning of the 26th of October, 152 soldiers of the „Holy Batallion“ and 30 of the „Special Boat Squadron“ were landed on three parts of Milos. This small force was supported by artillery of the cruiser „Black Prince“ and planes of the escort-carrier „Emperor“. Two days later, 200 – 300 British navy infantry was landed. The fights raged till the 5th of November. On Milos was the improved navy battery (CO KKpt(MA) KUHN & 225 men), the 4./1011 (Hptm KNAUER & 142 men) and 26 Italians. They had only minor losses. In the evening of the 7th of November, the allied forces left the Island, leaving a disabled LTC behind.
In the night of 26th/27th of Otober, 61 soldiers of the „Holy Batallion“ and British soldiers landed on Tilos, overhelmed a coy of the IX./999. In a following night, parts of the KJgKp and the 3./VI/999(Hptm JENNINGER) was landed by the 3./LdgPiB 86(Lt BIGGEMANN) in the back of Allied forces on Tilo. After 4 days of heavy fightings against an enemy, who was supported by the Greek destroyer „Navarino“ and planes, the Allied forces were driven off the island. A German PiLdgB was sunk in an air-attack.
During November and December some large anti-partisan operations took place on Crete. The tank batallion and the mountain artillery supported this operations.
In the night of the 14th of November, an improved group of the KJgKp was landed on the Isle of Alinna. Three days later ,they were taken p.o.w. by British commandos.
On 18th of November again a troop of the KJgKp was landed on Alinna, and again –soon after the landing- taken p.o.w. .
On 5th of December a British commando killed –in a kind of vengeance- KKpt(MA) KUHN on Milos. Successor was Hptm KNAUER.
On 16th of January a small commando operation was started against the Isle of Aistipalaia with I-0-9 and I-0-91 under the command of Kptlt BARCHVOGEL. Both boats were improved/upgraded with two torpedos each. On the way back two destroyers passed both boats. I-0-91 could get very close(300m), but due a malefunction of an engine it couldn‘t turn into torpeding position.
On 1st March of 1945, a small, but heavy armed force on a few PiLdgB‘s left Rhodos for the coast of Turkey, which declared war on Germany on 20th February of 1945. They captured a lot of sheep, goats, grain and further things of long missed things.
On 23rd of March a commando operation with the KJ 25 was started against the Isle of Calchi. A coy „Holy Batallion“ was taken p.o.w., and also some small boats were captured.
In the evening of the 13th of April, KJ 25, in camoflage as a British boat, patroled west of the Isle of Castellrosso. It captured a heavy armed boat with nine soldiers of the „Levante Schooner Flotilla“ or „Special Boat Sqadron“.
The last war-operation of KJ 25, was on the evening of the 7th of May again to the aerea of the Isle of Castellrosso. After a few houres KJ 25 was called back to Rhodos, because of the German surrender.

After Allied ships have sunk on 4th Novermber „Helmut“, on 11th November „Dante Alighieri“ and on 16th December of 1944 „Calavarda“, the Germans stopped supplying the isles by ships/boats.
Some -at the first look- non-air worthy planes(Ju 52, He 111) were left behind on the Aegean Islands. The better ones were rebuild (out of 3 bad, 1 good...). So these few planes did in 1945 every month some supply flights within the Islands. They also transported field post form Rhodos to other Islands.
Every fortnight, from 7th November onwards, on Rhodos landed a plane from the KG 200, mostly captured B-17‘s or B-24‘s, seldom a FW 200 or a Ju 290, with field post.
On the way return the transported wounded soldiers. The last flight was in the beginning of May 1945. The FW 200 couldn‘t return anymore, because there was no airport left in Germany.

On 8th May of 1945, GenMjr WAGENER was brought by KJ 25 to Symi, to sign the surrender document. Leaving KJ 25, the CO of the Royal Navy destroyer „Active“, LEGGE, showed respect to WAGENER, by „Seite pfeifen“. WAGENER signed the document of surrender, in presence of Gen J. MOFFAT (British Army), Col Chr. TSIGANTES (CO of the „Holy Batallion“), LEGGE (Royal Navy) and the CO of „L‘Alsacien“ (French Navy).
On the 9th of May, KJ 25 transported first British troops to Rhodos.


Sources:

„Die deutsche Besatzungsherrschaft auf Kreta 1941 - 1945“; by Marlen von XYLANDER; published by Rombach GmbH + Co Verlagshaus KG, Freiburg i.Brsg; 1989.

„Kampf um die Ägäis“; by Peter SCHENK; published by Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn GmbH, Hamburg-Berlin-Bonn; 2000.

„Deutsche Kommandotrupps 1939 - 1945. ‘Brandenburger‘ und Abwehr im weltweiten Einsatz“; by Franz KUROWSKI; published by Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart; 2000.

„Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffe-SS 1939 - 1945“; byGeorg TESSIN; published by Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück; 1973 - 19.. .















PS:
Here is someting about the „Greek Sacred Regiment“ .
This is not from me!!!

The following are from the Greek WWII Official History volume, entitled: "The Greek Army in the Middle East (1941-1945): El Alamein-Rimini-the Aegean" [O Ellênikos Stratos stê Mesê Anatolê (1941-1945): El Alamein-Rimini-Aigaio], Army History Directorate, Athens 1995 (in Greek).
The "Greek Sacred Regiment" ["Ellênikos Ieros Lochos"], which consisted of HQ, HQ Battalion and 2 Ranger Battalions (A & B), for a total of 1084 officers and men, participated in the following operations in the Aegean, during the requested period:
1) Liberation of the islands of Chios (10-X-44), and Lesbos (10-X-44), immediately after the Germans left, without fighting.
2) Liberation of Mykonos (30-IX-44); after some initial fighting (on 25-IX-44) with the German garrison, which suffered 6 dead, 7 wounded and 6 prisoners before withdrawing to Syros.
3) Liberation of Samos (4-X-44), which resulted in the surrendering of the Italian garrison consisting of about 1000 men.
4) Liberation of Naxos (15-X-44), which resulted in the death of 1 German and the capture of 69 others.
5) Liberation of Lêmnos (16/17-X-44), which resulted in the capture of 250 Germans and 60 Italians, mainly on ships blockaded inside the port of Moudros by the British fleet.
6) Failed raid on Mêlos (26-X-44 to 4-XI-44).
7) 1st raid on Nisyros (12/14-II-45), which resulted in 2 Greek dead, 10 wounded and 10 prisoners, 4 British dead and 26 German dead and 36 wounded.
8) 2nd raid on Nisyros (11-II-45), which resulted in 1 Greek officer dead and 1 officer wounded as well as 7 German dead, 8 wounded and 20 prisoners.
9) Operation on Têlos (1/2-III-45), which resulted in 2 Indian dead and 2 Greek wounded, as well as 20 German dead, 142 prisoners (including 8 wounded), 3 75 mm. guns, 1 40 mm. gun, 4 heavy mortars, 1 armoured car and 1 truck captured.
10) Triple raid on Rodos (2-V-45), which resulted in 3 Greek wounded, as well as 16 German dead, 1 wounded and 30 prisoners and 1 Italian prisoner. In additon 1 German armoured car, 1 75 mm. gun and 2 LMGs were destroyed.

MfG Michi
eierlegende Wollmilchsau

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NicolasEll
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Re: Greece/Crete 1945

Post by NicolasEll » Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:49 pm

Hi all,

to add to Michi's information on German units in the Aegean, my grandfather, Hauptmann Ludwig Preller, who was part of the Stab V. /Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 999, was stationed on the Island of Paros until at least June 1944.

Nicolas
I am looking for any information on the Panzer-Lehrregiment (Wünsdorf, France), and the Afr. Schtz. Regiment 963 (Heuberg, Paros-Greece) in which my grandfather, Leutnant Ludwig Preller served. Thanks.

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Re: Greece/Crete 1945

Post by NicolasEll » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:41 am

Correction: My grandfather's rank was Leutnant not Hauptmann

Here the full info I got from Waast:


Ludwig Preller, geboren am 22 August 1916 in Fürth, Bayern

Dienseintritt: 04.11.1937
Ekennungsmarke: -130 – 8./Panz.Lehr-Rgt.
Dienstgrad: Leutnant
Hemeitanschrift: Ehefrau Irmgard Preller, Fürth, Tannenstr. 6

Truppenteile:
04.11.1937 14. Kompanie/Infanterie-Regiment 63
lt. Meldung v. 19.09.1940 8. Lehrkompanie/ Panez-Lehr-Regiment
lt. Meldung v. 07.06.1941 4. Kompanie/Infanterie-Regiment (motorisiert 900)
16.12.1941 Genesenden-Kompanie/Panzer-Jäger-Ersatz-Abteilung 3
15.03.1942 Restkommando II./Panzer-Lehr-Regiment
03.09.1942 1. Kompanie/Panzer Grenadier-Ersatz-Bataillon 8
25.09.1942 Stamm-Kompanie/Panzer Grenadier-Ersatz-Bataillon 8
Abgang: 14.11.1942 zur Verfügungs-Kompanie 233
26.11.1942 Stamm-Kompanie/Panzer Grenadier-Ersatz-Bataillon 8
lt. Meldung v. 05.05.1943 Stab III./Afrika-Schützen-Regiment 963
27.07.1943 20. Kompanie/Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 999
lt. Meldung v. 02.10.1944 Stab V./ Festungs-Infanterie-Bataillon 999
20.11.1944 Stab/Feld-Ersatz-Bataillon 356
Zugang: v. Führer-Reserve-Heeresgruppe C
Abgang 11.12.1944 zum Grenadier-Regiment 870
Lazarettaufenthalte:
16.10.1941 in Malizkaja schwer verwundet;
an Haupt-Verband-Platz abgegeben,
17.10.1941 in Kriegslazarett 906 aufgenomme: Pistolenschuss-
Verletzung am linken Schulterblatt,
29.10.1941 verlegt ins Reserve-Lazarett Rastenburg,
08.11.1941 verlegt ins Reserve-Lazarett Wernigerode,
02.12.1941 dienstfähig- zur Truppe entlassen.

Eine Vermissten- bzw. Gefangenen- oder Todesmeldung liegt nicht vor.

If anyone can help with the movements of these units that would be fantastic!\
Vielen Dank
Nicolas
I am looking for any information on the Panzer-Lehrregiment (Wünsdorf, France), and the Afr. Schtz. Regiment 963 (Heuberg, Paros-Greece) in which my grandfather, Leutnant Ludwig Preller served. Thanks.

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Re: Greece/Crete 1945

Post by futzelman » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:25 am

Hello: I was perusing this site for clues about my grandfather who was in the Kriesgsmarine in the Dedocaense islands area until captures in May 1945.
I noticed that Micho was wondering who received the two additional Knigh cross medals...I don't know much about this but I do have his SOLDBUCH and he did receive a EKII class in March 1945.

thanks
Cyril

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Re: Greece/Crete 1945

Post by NicolasEll » Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:56 pm

Hi Cyril,

Knights Cross (Ritterkreuz) and EKII (Eiserner Kreuz 2. Klasse) are very different decorations... the first one is rather rare, the second one is common. Your grandfather's Soldbuch sounds very interesting though, would you be ok to share it here or to send it in private message? It's interesting that he still received an EKII being in the Dodecanese islands so late in the war, do you have any idea what he received it for?

Nicolas
I am looking for any information on the Panzer-Lehrregiment (Wünsdorf, France), and the Afr. Schtz. Regiment 963 (Heuberg, Paros-Greece) in which my grandfather, Leutnant Ludwig Preller served. Thanks.

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WEMorris
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Re: Greece/Crete 1945

Post by WEMorris » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:30 am

Can anyone suggest a good book on this subject.

Thanks,
Wally

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