Battle for the Teutoburger Ridge, April 1945.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by JonDodson, May 17, 2016.

  1. stefan-s

    stefan-s New Member

    ...
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  2. JonDodson

    JonDodson Member

    Hi folks,

    just to apologise for leaving you in the lurch like that. Life has been very demanding of me during the last 12 months and i just haven't had the time (or energy) to continue my research. All in all one extremely 'slippery pole'. However i seem to at least have managed to sort my affairs to an extent that i can now return to the more pleasureable side of things. So now that i've had a bit of a cry i think there's no need to dwell on the matter further :) .

    I went back to the woods for the the first time last week. There are signs that others have been there in the meantime. So if you happen to be reading this i'd just like to say, that i wish that you'd clean up the mess that you've left behind you... in the future. Cheers.

    ltdan: Oberstleutnant Hans-Peter Knaust was obviously a very capable leader and tactician. Although i was aware of his participation in the events surrounding Hopsten und Dreierwalde i never connected him to battle in Ibbenbüren. Very interesting that. Thankyou. Having said that i can't seem to disconnect this from the enormous loss of young lives that occured during these 3 - 5 days and have mixed feelings about awarding him praise. No disrespect to you of course.

    stefan-s: Would you care to expand on your posting?

    Okey-dokey, see you all soon.

    Jon.
     
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  3. JonDodson

    JonDodson Member

    Hi folks,

    P1. A poor photograph of a poor photograph taken in 2006 at the inauguration of a memorial plinth and plaque dedicated to the fallen, at the site of the largest allied temporary burial site in Birgte. There are several veterans and relatives of the fallen present.

    P2. Brian Poole (whose brother-in-law fell during the first attack on the ridge) and Raymond Griffiths (90 yrs), from l to r. This photo was taken in the summer of 2016 after we had cut back the bushes and had a general tidy-up. Raymond was, I believe, the photographer in the first photograph – or maybe he’s in it, I can’t tell. What I do know is that he paid for plinth and plaque and organized its being built and the inauguration ceremony.

    Text Doc. Birgte Cemetery Roll Of Honour.

    On the evening of the 31.03.1945 Raymond and another private were ordered to set up a listening post in forward positions on the edge of the woods, near the main road. They did so, lying in shallow scrapes, having been told that they would be relieved at some point during the night ( I believe after an hour or so). Four or more hours later they decided to return to their coy position near the quarry between the Birgte bridge and the woods only to find that their ‘relief’ had fallen asleep and that they in turn had been forgotten about. You can imagine how they reacted to that. On the day of the Herefords attack, Raymond was LOB and thus survived to fight another day. Brian’s brother-in-law wasn’t as lucky.

    Jon.

    The Roll of Honour was compiled by Brian so any queries or questions would really have to be answered by him. I cannot help on that score and quite frankly everytime i look at that list it completely overwhelms me.
     

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  4. JonDodson

    JonDodson Member

    What a pleasant surprise! After having been in the woods all day, dotting some i's and crossing some t's, i thought i'd check on the state of things at the memorial plaque. To my amazement a new, fresh poppy wreath had been put in place, apparently by the Normandy Veterans Association. That must have been sometime this summer, presumeably in June (?). Is there a way of finding out who was responsible? I would very much like to get in touch with them. Raymond and Brian would have been thrilled. I must send them an e-mail with the picture. What an incredible coincidence.

    P.S. Went back today. Added another hook, re-wired and re-hung last years wreath, wired and hung the 'new' wreath. Sorted.
     

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  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As an aside

    ltdan: Oberstleutnant Hans-Peter Knaust was obviously a very capable leader and tactician. Although i was aware of his participation in the events surrounding Hopsten und Dreierwalde i never connected him to battle in Ibbenbüren. Very interesting that. Thankyou. Having said that i can't seem to disconnect this from the enormous loss of young lives that occured during these 3 - 5 days and have mixed feelings about awarding him praise. No disrespect to you of course.

    From my recollections of talking to my late friend "BR"nearly 20 years ago,he told me that Knast who led a contingent of officer cadets in the engagement wished to join the 3rd Mons Regiment. Association.

    Apparently there was not much enthusiasm among the 3rd Mons veterans for this.
     
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  6. JonDodson

    JonDodson Member

    Harry Ree: Raymonds motto is: I live in freedom, tolerance is the only way. He's quite right, it's just not as easy as it sounds. Even tolerant people have to protect themselves from the, ahm, how should i put it, 'self-righteous'. Oh, and his name's Knaust, my dear fellow. The word 'knast' is the german colloquial word for prison. Bit of a Freudian-slip that one :) . I'm sure your late friend BR would have enjoyed that. Very much, don't mention the war.

    Jon.
     
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Jon,

    Not a Freudian slip I can assure you....merely a lack of proficient proof reading on my part.

    "B" said the officer cadets put up a stiff resistance and from what was said, Knaust's force was put together as an ad hoc force... probably similar to the performance of the officer cadets from the Saumur Cavalry School who held up the Germans from crossing the Loire for a couple of days in June 1940.

    From "B" I got the impression that he never forgot this experience and remembered well the young men from the Black Country who had been drafted into the 3rd Mons with him and fell within sight of the end of hostilities.....that's what combatants remember....some are open with their experiences and can record it......others can be silent with the past.
     
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  8. Matthew powell

    Matthew powell New Member

    Hello Jon
    My grandfather was S.R Nash who you mentioned above, he was the Bren gunner in the 3 mons and wounded before Ted chapman won the VC I will print the pictures off to show him he will be very pleased, his memory is still sharp as ever so if you have any questions I will gladly pass them on for you.
     
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  9. JonDodson

    JonDodson Member

    Hi Matthew,

    now that is great news. Give him my best regards! Of course, i have a ton of questions... the 'biggy' would be to establish an exact location for Ted Chapman VC's defensive stand. I'll send you a PM to see if we can establish a more direct means of communication. This is beyond my wildest dreams. Your grandfather IS a war hero.

    Have to get back to work now.

    Jon.
     
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  10. JonDodson

    JonDodson Member

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  11. Matthew powell

    Matthew powell New Member

    I’m sure he will be able to point you in the right direction, I know he said he pushed bullet casings into the ground in the shape of a crucifix after he was shot as he didn’t think he would make it back. He would love to go back and find the spot so maybe we will have to arrange something :)
     
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  12. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Jonathan,
    viel Glueck.
    When I was a school boy in Hannover in the early 195tees, Teutoburger Wald had a different meaning to me - Hermans Denkmal and German history only.
    My teacher for history just jumped from the Romans and Greeks, via WW1 to 1950.
    He still made me a very keen history freak.
    Stefan.

    Stefan.
     
  13. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

  14. Seamus M

    Seamus M Member

    Hello Jon,

    Thanks for all your endeavours. My great uncle was killed on 2nd April 1945 serving with 3rd Mons. He was wounded in Normandy in August 1944 and sent back to hospital in England and spent several months recuperating but was desperate to rejoin his comrades only managing this in March '45. He was killed in action just two weeks later. I have a letter from my great grandmother to my grandfather who was serving in Egypt at the time informing him his brother was missing. Interestingly it is dated 30th April 1945 so it shows how long it took for casualty confirmations to get through to next of kin in the closing days of the war. I suspect she may have not been informed that her son was dead until very close to VE day. How sad. He was 22 and is buried in the Reichswald cemetery.

    My great uncle was Patrick O'Brien. He was a farm labourer from Tipperary in Eire as it was then and crossed the border to enlist in Belfast in 1943. He was initially posted to the South Staffordshire Regiment but after only a few weeks was transferred into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and ultimately then into the Monmouthshires in 1944 as part of the preparations for D Day where he landed with them a week after D Day.
    Many years ago I visited his grave at the Reichswald cemetery and at the time wrote to Ted Chapman VC to see if he had any memory of Patrick. Ted was kind enough to reply and I still have his letter. He told me that like my great uncle, he too had been wounded in Normandy but at that time was in 2nd Mons, and when he rejoined the regiment transferred to the 3rd Battalion. Consequently he said he only really knew the men in his company and particularly his own platoon at that time and so did not recall my great uncle. Patrick had only been back from injury for two weeks himself when killed.
    I wonder if anyone is planning on a visit to the ridge for the 75th anniversary in April.
     
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  15. Seamus M

    Seamus M Member

    Well how the world has changed in the few weeks since my last post. For obvious reasons I haven't travelled to Germany but my thoughts today are very much with those brave lads from 3rd Mons on the 75th anniversary of their last action. Never forgotten.
     
  16. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    This feels a bit strange. Without thinking about the date, yesterday I had the thought to look back through With The Jocks to look for the friendly fire incident involving allied SPs, possibly Archers. It's the chapter "Stabbed in the Back on the Dortmund-Ems"; it left an indelible mark in my memory as I found it absolutely heart-wrenching.

    As near as I can tell from rereading the chapter, White's platoon enbussed on the 3rd and got a little sleep that night (p251), so as near as I can tell it happened on the morning of the 5th. That would make tomorrow morning the 75th anniversary.

    Does anyone happen to have the war diary for 4KOSB for those dates? Sadly, if 54 Anti-Tank Regiment were involved, there is no mention in the regimental war diary.

    Looking at the 54 A/Tk Reg't war diary reminded me, though, that this was also a day of loss for the regiment. Owing to some missing communication that the leading infantry had been cut off, a troop of 215 Battery including Major Taylor (OC) drove into an ambush by an 88mm gun. The survivors were captured and had their wounds treated by the Germans, with the severely wounded left behind and evacuated by friendly infantry.
     
  17. Jamie Mitchell

    Jamie Mitchell New Member

    Hi there, just found this thread after starting some research on my great great Douglas Black, 6th battalion HLI (Glasgow), who died in this battle on the 5th April.

    Wonder if any of you could shed any light on the battalions movements and goals on the few days around his death? I have applied for his service record and have been in contact with the Mitchell Library in Glasgow about the regiments history from 44 till the end of the war.

    Also plan to visit the area next year (covid permitting) after visiting his grave at the Riechswald Cemetery.

    Any help or advice appreciated, you guys have a fantastic amount of knowledge, learned a lot just looking through this forum.
     
  18. JonDodson

    JonDodson Member

    Hi Chris C, here are the War Diary excerpts that i have in my possession. I've always thought the expression "stabbed in the back" to be harsh. I don't think for one minute that FF is ever intentional. The 1.Herefords were also on the receiving end of FF during their initial attack. In fact there is evidence of it in several stages of this battle. It may even have been quite a common occurence during the whole of ww2? However i'm not one to judge.

    Sorry about the poor quality. I've moved recently and most of my possessions are still boxed up. The photos were taken with my mobile.

    Regards,

    Jon.
     

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  19. JonDodson

    JonDodson Member

    Hello Jamie,

    here are the War Diary excerpts from the time of the battle. Again i must apologise for the poor quality. In this case, i also have poor quality 'originals', very dark photocopies. Sorry!

    Should travelling ever again become possible/tolerable, i'm always willing to meet anyone visiting the area...contact via PN

    Regards,

    Jon.
    Should you find the first page to be too illegible i can always give it another go :)
     

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  20. Jamie Mitchell

    Jamie Mitchell New Member

    Fantastic Jon, thanks so much. I'll have a good look at these tonight.

    Looking to come over next year (I hope) be great to get someone who knows the area and history to give some insight rather than walk around blindly.

    Thanks again Jon

    Regards

    Jamie Mitchell
     

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