MK (MEERESKAMPFER) 700, (Swimming Saboteurs), KdK

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    Please note that owing to tight binding some of the words in the margins cannot be read, and therefore whole words or some letters have been replaced by "?"

    Extract only from TNA Catalogue Reference: WO 208/5538
    Intelligence and security services | The National Archives

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    Gallery Albumämpfer-700-swimming-saboteurs-kdk/

    Courtesy of Drew
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    C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.)
    S.I.R. 1124


    Consolidated report on information obtained from the following Prisoners of War:-

    (A) - CS/536 Matr. Gefr. DYCK

    (B ) - CS/532 Matr. Gefr. GEBEL

    (C) - CS/533 Matr. Gefr. HAWELKA

    (D) - CS/537 Steuermannsmaat KOLRUSCH

    (E) - CS/538 Mech Maat OHRDORF

    (F) - CS/534 Matr O/Gefr OLLE

    (G) - CS/539 Matr O/Maat ORLOWSKI

    (H) - CS/535 Fw SCHMIDT

    (I) - CS/531 Matr Maat WEBER

    (J) - CS/530 Matr O/Gefr WOLSCHENDORF

    MK 700 (Swimming Saboteurs),
    captured nr OCHTEN, HOLLAND,
    29 September 1944

    Attached Files:

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    1. The MK 700 is modelled on the Italian Gamma swimmers and was formed within KdK as a training unit and reserve pool of long-distance swimmers for operations against river and in-shore targets.

    2. 1st Operational Group
    13 Aug 44: Unsuccessful attempt by swimmers to destroy shipping in the ORNE Estuary.
    18-20 Aug 44: Unsuccessful attempt to destroy the locks at HOULGAGE. Carried out in conjunction with explosive beats (Linsen).

    3. 3rd Operational Group
    14 Sep 44: Unsuccessful attempt to destroy shipping in the MEDITERRANEAN near ANCONA. Swimmers working in conjunction with assault boats (Sturmboote).

    4. 2nd Operational Group
    14-15 Sep 44: Successful attempt to destroy the locks at ANTWERP. Swimmers working in conjunction with explosive boats.
    17-18 Sep 44: Unsuccessful attempt to destroy the bridges over the ALBERT/SCHELDT Kanal in ACHEL.

    5. 1st Operational Group
    26-27 Sep 44: Unsuccessful attempt by swimmers to destroy the NIJMEGEN bridges.
    28-29 Sep 44: Party successful attack by swimmers against the NIJMEGEN bridges.

    6. The operations carried out by the swimming saboteurs have been dealt with in detail by NID and comprehensive reports have already been published in NID weekly summaries Nos 96, 97 and 98. The present report attempts to describe the history, methods and command of MK 700.

    7. Although not freely cooperative, all Prisoners of War were willing within varying limits, to talk about the training unit and missions in which they had individually taken part. This information is considered reliable in the main. THe higher command, however, has not emerged clearly on account of the apparent division of control between the KdK and the Abwehr (Sonderverband SKORZENY).
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    8. According to hearsay it appears that for a time the Navy and Army disputed the ultimate command of the swimming saboteurs. Although MK 700 was essentially a water unit, the Army did not fail to appreciate the strategic importance of the ? such a force directly under its own control. In the first instance, however, administration and control of training remained ? the hands of the Navy.

    9. In the spring of 44 the SS Sonderverband SKORZENY supplied a number of specially trained SS recruits to various KdK units and from this time onwards there is evidence of increasing control of MK 700, and possibly also of other K? units, by the Security Services (former Abwehr) through H??? and SKORZENY.

    10. Hptm HELMERS, who had been engaged in Abwehr action in SPAIN for about two years, was recalled and was sent for a time with the rank of Kaleu as Comd of the swimmers in VALD?? and from time to time a number of SS personnel from SKORZENY unit were sent to interest themselves generally in the organisation and training of MK 700. He subsequently left.

    11. HELMER's command now appears to cover the operational control of the swimmer groups when they were operating in the West. He is said to be responsible only to SKORZENY (or probably HIMMLER). See also SRN 4290 and 4234.

    12. In FRANCE, BELGIUM and HOLLAND, HELMERS acted in liaison with the Operational Staff BÖHME, probably area command KdK, and was assisted by Lieutenant PRINZHORN, Comd MEK 60, who appeared to have provided ground personnel and mine specialists for the swimmers' missions.

    13. As for the training schools, in ITALY these nominal ? came under the OKM and were subordinate to the Chief of the ? Staff South as Regional Comd under the Admiral of the K-Verb? (Small Fighting Units).

    14. It should be noted, however, in this connection that SKORZENY appears to have made a tour of inspection of all KdK units, including MK 700, where members of the Sonderverband were in training, and in the early summer of 44 a new training school was ? in the SS Führerschule at BAD TÖLZ.
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    15. Early in Jan 44 a few German swimmers joined the Italian Gamma swimmers of the 10th MAS Flotilla who were in training under Kapitano di Corvetta WOLK in VALDAGNO. This German advance party, probably under Lieutenant SOWA (Prisoner of War) and O/Fähn WORZIAN, made the necessary arrangements for the intake of personnel who were already being recruited in GERMANY from all arms of the services.

    16. By the end of Jan, German strength had increased to about 15 swimmers, and the unit was designated "MK 700". As a result of further intakes of individuals and small groups in the succeeding months, up to Sep 44, about 60 German swimmers joined the unit; of these, however, 20 to 25 men left again through transfer to other units or on account of their unsuitability as swimmers.

    17. With a view to increasing the scope of the training, and approximating it more closely to operational conditions, an advanced training centre was opened on the island of ST GIORGIO (VENICE). A small advance party from VALDAGNO moved to ST GIORGIO about the middle of Apr, and the main body, 30 to 35 swimmers, was transferred under O/Fähn WORZIAN at the beginning of Jun, being joined about a month later by the Italian group. A few instructors and some of the swimmers remained behind in VALDAGNO. Prisoner of War G believes that a new intake was expected at VALDAGNO shortly after this move.

    Some time before Jul 44, another elementary training school was opened, as stated above, in the SS Führerschule at BAD TÖLZ.

    18. In the early days, Lieutenant SOWA (Prisoner of War) was administrative head of MK 700, whilst O/Fähn WORZIAN (GN) was responsible for the actual training. General duties were shared by Oblt VÖLSCH (MA) and Oblt KÜSGEN. Early in Mar, Hptm NEIZERT (GA) took over but held office only for a few weeks until the arrival of Kaleu HELMERS (GA and probably ex-Abwehr), who then became chief.

    19. HELMERS left the unit again in Jul 44 and Stabarzt Dr WANDEL (GN), the unit MO, became administrative head with WORZIAN, now promoted to Lt. as chief instructor.

    20. About this time, Oblt KÜSGEN went as Comd to the new school in BAD TÖLZ, and it is possible that Oblt VÖLSCH took over the training school in VALDAGNO.
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    21. Swimmers were recruited from the Navy, Army, SS and Paratroops.

    22. Selection depended entirely on proficiency in swimming, except in the case of the few H.Q. personnel who were drafted to the unit on the administrative side.

    23. A. Navy.

    At the beginning of Jan 44, a group of naval personnel from a variety of units was collected at HEILIGENHAFEN. These men were told, probably by Kaleu OBLADEN, that they ere being sent to ITALY to test diving apparatus. Special facilities for sport and good food were promised. The group proceeded to VALDAGNO, arriving there about 14 Jan.

    24. B. SS.
    At the beginning of Feb 44, an appeal for good swimmers was made to the men in the SS Sonder Bn SKORZENY by the Bn Adj Ustuf PETERS. The 10 volunteers who submitted their names were addressed by Kaleu OBLADEN, who informed them that they were being sent to ITALY on a special mission. A few days later, OBLADEN issued marching orders to these recruits to proceed to VALDAGNO and report to Lt. SOWA at the Schwimmhalle.

    About mid-May, another group of some 60 SS men from a special ? in BERLIN-LICHTERFELDE was sent to report to Hptm SKORZENY at ? SS Sonder Bn 502 at FRIEDENTHAL near ORANIENBURG. This party proceeded to LÜBECK, where it was split up and allocated to ? torpedo, explosive boat and assault boat units. Eight of the ? were sent to VALDAGNO to join MK 700.

    25. C. Army.
    Two Prisoners of War from the GA joined MK 700 individually. Prisoner of War C was sent from his unit to the Lehr Regt Kurfürst at BRANDENBURG. Here he was told that he had been selected for the Gamma swim? and was sent to the barracks at KAMENZ, whence the proceeded to VALDAGNO.

    Prisoner of War B, who had been for several months with a convalescent coy, volunteered for active service and was sent to join a sigs coy of the Lehr Regt Kurfürst at BRANDENBURG. At this unit, he received marching orders to join the Gamma swimmers in VALDAGNO. Both these Prisoners of War hold the certificate of proficiency of the German Life Saving Society and believe that this fact may have been noted in the records of their units.

    26. D. Paratroops.
    One group of swimmers came from the Para Bn SCHIR?ER in HALBERSTADT. In May 44 the unit requested the names of swimmers. The six men who volunteered received a Marschbefehl ordering them to report to H.Q KdK at the Pionier Kaserne LÜBECK for VALDAGNO, where they were to report to Oblt VÖLSCH at the Schwimmhalle.


    27. Swimmers recruited between Jan and May 44 passed through either the naval barracks at HEILIGENHAFEN, the Pionier Kaserne in LÜBECK or H.Q. Lehrregiment Kurfürst at BRANDENBURG. Non-navy personnel assembled at HEILIGENHAFEN and LÜBECK were issued with naval uniforms, new daybooks and identity discs and travelled to VALDAGNO as members of the navy. The two GA-men, who joined the swimmers via BRANDENBURG, did not receive their naval uniforms and new daybooks until after arrival in VALDAGNO.


    28. Before joining the MK 700, only the recruits from the Para unit were medically examined.

    29. Only one group of recruits, the first batch of SS men to arrive at VALDAGNO, was required to demonstrate its swimming ability. The test was supervised by Lt SOWA, Capitano di Corvetta WOLK and O/Fähn WORZIAN.
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    30. The Schwimmhalle in VALDAGNO is a large enclosed swimming pool. It comprises the swimming pool on the ground floor and a dance hall, bar and various rooms above. The German swimmers established themselves in the large hall, and a number of the smaller rooms were used by the officers and N.C.Os. The Italian group was billeted outside the Schwimmhalle and carried out its training in the baths at different times from the Germans.

    31. The swimming pool at the SS Führerschule has been taken over for the training of swimmers and appeared to be functioning in Sep 44 on the same lines as the school at VADAGNO.

    32. The island is approx 100 m x 120 m. There is only one main building on the island with a small boat house at the landing stage. The swimmers were billeted in wooden huts which were erected for them by Italian labourers.


    33. Field cod MK 700: Kaleu HELMERS
    Comd Adm: Stabartzt Dr WANDEL
    Comd training: Lt WORZIAN
    Adm officer (at various times):
    Oblt KÜSGEN
    Orderly room NCO: O/Maat BEHRINGER
    Comd Italian section: Capitano di Corvetta WOLK

    34. It is difficult to trace any attempt to organise the swimmers into strict groups. For training purposes, the unit was divided roughly into:-

    Officer group
    *SS group
    *Navy group
    *Parachute group
    Fatigue group (Casualties and non-swimmers)
    Independent Italian group

    *These groups were made up to an approximate strength of 10 to 12 men each


    35. It has not been possible to obtain a clear picture of the administrative organisation of the unit. Prisoners of War state that both in VALDAGNO and on ST GIORGIO the unit was run more on the lines of a club.

    36. Rations.
    Rations were drawn from the Marine Verpflegungsamt in the Arsenal at VENICE. The scale of issue was very liberal, especially in meat, eggs, butter and fats.

    37. Pay.
    After some dispute between the training unit and higher authority a diving supplement of RM 2.50 per day was granted to the swimmers. According to Prisoner of War B, pay was fetched from the Naval Kommandantur in VENICE and all matters relating to pay were handled by O/Maat BULLIN.

    38. Medical examinations
    No routine examinations were held. Men who had ? and nose trouble, or were otherwise indisposed after diving exercises, reported voluntarily to Dr WANDEL.


    39. General
    Prisoners of War state that security was not of a very high order. The swimmers had complete freedom of movement during their ? duty hours and could mix freely with the Italian civilians. ? they wore naval uniform with equivalent badges of rank. No attempt was made to hid the training exercises carried out in harbour waters at VENICE, but a rumour was circulated that they were Olympic swimmers in training.

    40. Cover names
    The island of ST GIORGIO was always referred to by the cover name of ROTHENBURGSORT. After Dr WANDEL took over the unit he introduced the designation "Einheit WANDEL" by which it was well known to all naval and military personnel in the neighbourhood.

    41. Oath
    At VALDAGNO the swimmers signed an oath of secrecy ? a form given to them by Oblt VÖLSCH. At the same time some of the men gave a voluntary undertaking to serve with the swim ? until the end of the war.

    Later, in VENICE, the swimmers were again required to take an oath of secrecy regarding all training and operations of MK 700. Dr WANDEL administered the oath himself.

    42. Correspondence
    Correspondence was not discouraged but censorship was strict. For a time the swimmers' mail was censored by Lt. K?


    43. They daybook of Prisoner of War H bears a stamp, FPN L (Number illegible) Luftgau-Poststelle VALDAGNO. This FPN appears to have been used as a temporary measure until the unit was established, the main being passed to the swimmers from the LW unit.

    Prisoner of War A dn Prisoner of War D state that the LW FPN was later changed to M24??? (or 24678) and eventually replaced, after the move to ST GIORGIO by FPN M 10907.


    44. Shore leave was allowed on Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays from 1400 hours to 2300 hours. On Mondays and Thursdays a boat was provided at 1900 hours for those wishing to go to the cinema in VENICE. From the time to time performances were also given on ST GIORGIO by KdF personnel.


    45. In Mar or Apr a combined visit was paid to the swimming bath in VALDAGNO by Admiral HEYE, Kaleu SCHOMBURG and Oblt HAERTING. These officers remained for two or three hours and watched a display of swimming and diving with oxygen vests. Prisoners of War A and D state that the unit was visited in the early spring by a German Admiral for whom both the German and Italian swimmers were paraded. On this occasion the Admiral addressed himself only to the Italian contingent. According to Prisoner of War G the unit was also visited by Major Graf THUN v HOHENSTEIN.

    About mid-July Sturmbannführer SKORZENY and other officer of the SS Sonder Bn 502 appeared at ST GIORGIO. Prisoner of War I believes that at this time SKORZENY made a tour of inspection of all KdK units were SS men were in training.


    47. In rotation the training groups did guard duties on the training ship, an old Italian tanker lying in the harbour, and on the island. These duties were not taken very seriously and during the day sentries usually wore their bathing costumes.

    48. Four old 7.5 cm A.A. guns were mounted on the island. Lt KUMMER was to undertake the instruction of the swimmers on the gun, and the defence of the island was to be finally in the hands of the swimmers themselves. During an attack on VENICE, however, when bombs dropped on the island, no attempt was made to man the guns, so as to avoid attracting attention to the island.

    49. A small WT station was fitted up on the island and one signaller was attached to the unit. Prisoners of War stat that orders were also received through the Marine Kdtr in VENICE where there was a teleprinter.


    50. 0700 hours = Reveille. Morning swim or PT.
    0730 hours = Roll call. Swimming exercises.
    0900 hours = Breakfast.
    1000 - 1130 hours = Talks, lectures or pistol practice.
    1230 - 1300 hours = Dinner.
    1300 - 1600 hours = Compulsory rest.
    1600 hours = Diving exercises.
    1900 hours = Supper.
    After this, free time until 2300 hours.

    51. Although the swimmers adhered fairly strictly to the daily timetable the actual execution of the exercises was haphazard and a great deal was left to the swimmers themselves. In the elementary stages stress was laid on physical fitness, endurance and protracted diving with the aid of oxygen masks.

    52. The criteria for transfer to sea water training at ST GIORGIO appears to have been that the man concerned should posses a high degree of confidence in the diving equipment and a good power of endurance in the water. In the advanced training the men had to accustom themselves to lengthy swims in the protective rubber suits.

    53. Although no practice of an actual mission was carried out in the harbour at VENICE, exercises were attempted on operational lines, e.g. keeping contact in the dark, under-water speech, swimming by compass, dragging mines.

    54. The group which left VENICE for the first ORNE operation stopped at TRAVEMÜNDE, where they did a timing exercise in tides. The swimmers covered a distance of 22 km in three hours, trailing mines. In SURENDORF the same group tried out swimming manoeuvres with one-man torpedoes. With the aid of lashings it was found that two swimmers could ride comfortably on the torpedo carrier.
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    55. During the training period the swimmers practised to? in loosely formed groups, but no attempt was made to form ? train teams together. When the order was received to ? a number of swimmers to the West front, Lt WORZIAN personally selected the most proficient and reliable swimmers.

    56. The 1st Operational Group has been referred to by Prisoners of War as "Einsatz Gruppe 1" or "Einsatz Gruppe Nord". With ? to anticipating the next request for swimmers, a 2nd Group formed - "Einsatz Gruppe 2" or, according to Prisoner of War B, "Endsatz Gruppe Süd".

    The designation of the swimmer group "Nord" and "Süd" is probably linked up with the organisation of command into Einsatz Stab Nord (BÖHME) and Einsatz Stab Süd (SCHOMBURG).

    57. The group leader was responsible during periods of absence from the training H.Q. for discipline, security, travelling arrangements, billets and liaison. Operational decisions were made only by the Field Commander.


    58. As details of group journeys threw a certain light on the methods of MK 700, two fairly comprehensive descriptions of journeys undertaken by the 1st Operations Group are given below:

    VENICE TO THE ORNE (dates only approx.)
    59. End of July]
    Oberfähn WIRTH as leader of the 1st Operational Group received orders from Lt WORZIAN to make immediate preparations to entrain his group of swimmers for LÜ,BECK. The order from KdK HQ is believed to have come through the Naval B? in VENICE. Each man carried his own swimming suit and ? apparatus and a minimum of personal kit. Tinned rations ? a week were carried collectively by the party. Within ? hours of receiving its marching orders the group was entrained at VENICE.

    60. The party travelled in reserved 2nd class compartments direct to VIENNA, where they changed for the stretch to ?. Oberfähn WIRTH was unable to make reservations from VIENNA to BERLIN, and the party had to divide itself up in 3rd class compartments. The swimmers spent one night in BERLIN, ? the main party used accommodation provided at the railway station whilst three of the men, ex-SS, went to the Totenkopf K? at ORANIENBURG and spent the night there.

    61. The following morning the swimmers continued their journey to LÜBECK, again in reserved 2nd class compartments. On arrival in LÜBECK
    Oberfähn WIRTH telephoned to the M? Pionier Kaserne and made arrangements to have the party picked up by LKW. In LÜBECK the summer khakis, which the swimmers had worn on the journey North, were exchanged for naval grey (MA) uniforms.

    62. After a few days' delay, WIRTH was instructed to proceed with his group to the Marine Barackenlager at SURENDORF. The trip was undertaken by rail, 3rd class to KIEL; on this part of the journey Kaleu HELMERS joined the swimmers. At KIEL the swimmers were picked up in a navy truck and taken to SURENDORF, where they remained for three days and took part in combined manoeuvres with the one-man torpedo unit. Two of the Prisoners of War were sent from here to LÜBECK to fetch oxygen vests and other equipment from the Bragewerke and met the returning group with HELMERS at the station in LÜBECK.

    63. 9 Aug 44
    Under HELMERS the swimmers proceeded by rail in reserved 2nd class compartments via HAMBURG to PARIS, where accommodation had previously been arranged in the Villa ROTHSCHILD. On account of rail disorganisations the journey from the German frontier to PARIS took five days.

    64. 12 or 13 Aug
    The swimmers set off from PARIS with their equipment and a supply of mines in an LKW, which had been placed at their disposal by a naval MT unit, and proceeded by road to TROUVILLE, where HELMERS apparently contacted some HQ and was directed to the operational HQ, and infantry pillbox, approx 200 to 300 yards from the River ORNE.

    From this HQ the attempt was made against Allied shipping in the ORNE Estuary.

    MEINA TO DOORN (dates only approx)

    65. Beginning Sep 44
    As Oberfähn WIRTH had left the group after its return from FRANCE, Prisoner of War G, appointed group leader in his place, was entrusted with the task of taking the group to HOLLAND on its second operational journey. The group was at this time in rest at MEINA. Orders were received at MEINA that the swimmers should proceed to TRAVEMÜNDE by air, but SCHOMBURG did not deem this advisable owing to Allied air activity and, since there would be a wait of three days for the next through-going train to GERMANY, SCHOMBURG offered transport as far as MUNICH on a LKW which he was sending to the school at BAD TÖLZ with swimmers' equipment. Rations, personal kit and swimming gear were carried by the swimmers.

    66. The first night was spent by the road-side in the LKW, the second in a small village near ROSENHEIM, where relatives of one of the truck drivers had a small hotel. (Meantime the 2nd Operational Group formed in VENICE had already left for LÜBECK by rail.)

    67. 8 Sep 44
    From ROSENHEIM the 1st Operational Group proceeded to BAD TÖLZ, where the supply of swimming equipment was unlocked. The group made a stop of several hours at the SS Führerschule and took the opportunity of testing their own gear in the swimming pool. In the afternoon they proceeded by LKW to the aerodrome at MUNICH-RIEM, where they found a Ju 52 which had been waiting for them for three days. On account of unfavourable weather conditions, the party was unable to take off until the next morning.

    68. 9 Sep 444
    As there was no transport to pick them up on their arrival in TRAVEMÜNDE, Prisoner of War G called up STRANDKOPPEL (TIM?? DORFERSTRAND) on the telephone and there contacted Kapt ? THOMSEN and Oblt MORTENSEN, who provided an LKW to bring the swimmers to the Pionier Kaserne in LÜBECK, where they went by KK FRAUENHEIM. The group leader then borrowed an MC and went to TIMMENDORFERSTRAND and reported to THOMSEN, who ? him for arriving late and informed him that the 2nd Operational Group had already left LÜBECK for HOLLAND.

    69. 15 Sep 44
    The group remained a few days in LÜBECK, however ? orders were issued by Oblt MOHRSTEDT to proceed to DOORN and there report to the Stadtkommandant. An LKW was provided in LÜBECK.

    70. 18 Sep 44
    A guide supplied in DOORN conducted the swimmers to billets in MAASBERG, where they remained for two days.

    71. 20 Sep 44
    The swimmers were moved to a new HQ in a chateau at RUITERSBERG, where they met HELMERS. The swimmers were stationed at this HQ until they set out on the mission again ? the NIJMEGEN bridges.


    72. On these journeys each member of the group carried three passes:

    1. Kleiner Wehrmachtfahrschein.
    Third class rail ticket si?? by SCHOMBURG, Kaleu and Chef Dienstelle FPN 24990.
    Official stamp - Kriegsmarine - Marinelazarett - RIGA - Verwaltung.

    2. Sonderausweis D.
    Marching orders, with a typewritten ? permitting travel by all types of train and/or by aircraft from KdK, Ausbildungsstab Süd, to the place of destination.
    Reason: urgent detail by order of Admiral deer K-Verbände.
    Signed by SCHOMBURG, Kaleu u Chef A.-Stabl, Säd.
    Official stamp - Kriegsmarine - Marinelazarett - RIGA - Verwaltung.

    (With reference to the official stamp: "Kriegsmarine - Marinelazarett - RIGA - Verwaltung", Prisoner of War I states that all documents issued by SCHOMBURGE bore this stamp. It was used for security reasons)

    3. Identification card (see Appendix 1) issued by OKM and signed by THOMSEN, Kaleu.
    Official stamp: Kriegsmarine - Kommando der K-Verbände.

    73. On production of the OKM identification card, group leaders were usually able to arrange with train officers for reserved compartments, 2nd class when available.

    74. All journeys from ITALY to the West front were broken at LÜBECK.

    75. At destinations accommodation was always arranged previously, e.g. in LÜBECK, PARIS, DOORN, but at intermediate halts sleeping accommodation had to be arranged at stations by the group leader. On the return journey to VENICE from the ORNE operation, Prisoner of War G refused to use the billets offered in VIENNA on the grounds "that the team spirit of the group would suffer from the military restrictions which would be imposed in army billets". Instead he went to Gestapo HQ at the Morzinplatz and secured accommodation for the men there.

    76. On the journeys meals and rations varied considerably according to circumstances. On some occasions rations for each stage of the journey were carried, on others the group leader was supplied with cash with which to make additional purchases en route. At operational HQ rations were drawn from the nearest naval rations depot.

    77. Prisoner of War G states that no provision had been made for the group leader to contact either the training school or KdK HQ whilst travelling. The OKM identification card, however, would have been sufficient authorisation to request any military authority to contact either HQ.


    78. To give as complete a picture as possible of the methods and command of swimmer groups in the zone of operations, the movements of the 2nd Operational Group are traced in detail below.

    The targets appear to be opportunist, but the method of selection does not emerge from the narrative.

    79. Appendix 2 (translation of a captured document) gives the Operational Order prepared by HELMERS for the attack in the ORNE Estuary.

    OPERATIONS IN HOLLAND (dates only approx)

    80. 13 Sep 44
    The group arrived in UTRECHT from LÜBECK and reported for duty to Kaleu BÖHME at HQ Admiral deer Niederlande, where Hptm HELMERS (as Hptm in tank uniform) and Lt PRINZHORN were also present. PRINZHORN asked for six volunteers for an operation against the lock-gates at ANTWERP on that evening. Hptm HELMERS, using aerial photographs, briefed the volunteers for the mission and instructed the swimmers on currents and drifts. At approximately 2000 hours the six swimmers left UTRECHT in an LKW with PRINZHORN and an unknown officer (Oblt).

    81. 14 Sep 44
    En route the transport broke down and the group did not reach its destination near LILLA until approx 0100 hours. PRINZHORN informed the swimmers that the mines had already been placed in the water and that all the necessary preparations had been made. When the swimmers were about to change into their protective rubber suits, HELMERS appeared and announced that on account of some difficulty with the mines the start would have to be postponed. The technical difficulties were discussed by HELMERS and PRINZHORN and finally, at 0200 hours, PRINZHORN decided that it was too late to start on the mission and took the swimmers by car to a private house near LILLA.

    82. In the afternoon the six volunteers were divided into two groups and, in the evening, PRINZHORN accompanied the men back to the same starting point and sent them off in two small motor boats (probably Linsen) dragging mines. One group succeeded in fastening the mines to the lock gates at about 0100 hours (15 Sep); the 2nd group could not find its target and had to return to the starting point where they found PRINZHORN and another officer (Oblt) waiting. All swimmers returned to their billet at LILLA.

    83. 15 Sep 44
    In the afternoon the six swimmers were sent to ? near HERTOGENBOSCH, where they were met by HELMERS and the ? members of the group who had been in billets in UTRECHT since 13 Sep.

    84. 16 Sep 44
    In the early evening HELMERS instructed the group leader, Prisoner of War H, to take his group to a place near ACHEL and ? report to the Adjutant of the SS Bn stationed there. On ? however, the swimmers were met by HELMERS, who outlined the mission - the destruction of certain bridges over the ALBERT - SCHELDT Canal. HELMERS conducted the swimmers to ACHEL, ? they arrived about 0100 hours 17 Sep. On account of the ? the operation was postponed. The group leader, Prisoner of War H, remained in ACHEL with three of the swimmers and a naval technician STEINECKE. The others returned to VUTH with HELMERS.

    85. 17 Sep 44
    Prisoner of War H and his three companions were briefed from ? for the same operation by an SS officer. On account of the enemy artillery fire in the starting area the mission had to be abandoned again. One of the trucks carrying the swimmers' gear and mines was hit and destroyed.

    86. (Independently Prisoner of War G, leader of the 1st Operational Group, then stationed at RUITERBERG, was ordered to take ? mines and proceed with his group to HERTOGENBOSCH Bucht ? up two bridges which would be indicated at the starting point. On arrival at their destination they found the area under ? fire and had to return to RUITERBERG.)

    87. 18 Sep 44
    The members of the 2nd Operational Group returned to ACHEL, where they were told that the mission against the ? had been finally abandoned as Allied troops had already ? the canal. During the night Prisoner of War H and his three men lost ? with HELMERS and the other swimmers and made their way to ? where they requested the Marine Auffangsstelle to get in touch with Kapt z.S. FRAUENHEIM at LÜBECK who ordered the Auffangsstelle to issue the swimmers with a Marschbefehl to returne to LÜBECK by rail immediately.

    88. 20 Sept 44
    Prisoner of War H and his party of three arrived in LÜBECK.

    89. 24 Sep 44
    Prisoner of War H and his party of three received a Marschbefehl to return to UTRECHT and report to Kap z.S. BÖHME.

    90. 25 Sep 44
    At 0200 hours the swimmers left LÜBECK with two LKW, both laden with mines, and arrived in UTRECHT about 2000 hours the same evening. On reporting at BÖHME's HQ the swimmers were conducted to a school (Marine Dienststelle), where they met PRINZHORN, and unknown officer and three swimmers from the 1st Operational Group. The whole party slept overnight in the school.

    91. 26 Sep 44
    In the afternoon PRINZHORN accompanied the swimmers to a house in RUITERBERG, where they met HELMERS and the other members of the 1st Operational Group. HELMERS and PRINZHORN explained the plan to attack the bridges at NIJMEGEN. For this mission the swimmers were divided into two sections, one seven strong, which was to attack the road bridge, and one five strong which was to attack the railway bridge. The briefing was done from maps and aerial photographs. According to some of the Prisoners of War the order for the mission came from HITLER; one Prisoner of War believes that the order was issued from HIMMLER's HQ. At approximatel 1900 hours the groups started off in LKW carrying their swimming gear and mines, travelled through ARNHEM and from there proceeded to the river WAAL, which they reached about 2200 hours. The party also included some naval technicians who were billeted in the same house at RUITERBERT and who may have been members of FAT 262 (see para 95). Whilst the swimmers changed in a disused barn, HELMERS and the naval technicians proceeded to the river to supervise the floating of the mines.

    92. 27 Sep 44
    At approx 0030 hours a runner from HELMERS came to fetch the swimmers. There was a long delay on account of difficulties with the mines and about 0400 hours HELMERS decided that it was too late to start. HELMERS, with five of the swimmers, including the three ex-SS men, returned to RUITERBERG in one of the trucks after instructing Prisoner of War H to take the other swimmers back to UTRECHT.

    93. 28 Sep 44
    During the afternoon PRINZHORN gave orders to the swimmers billeted in UTRECHT to meet him at the outskirts of ARNHEM. The swimmers stationed at RUITERBERG received similar orders from HELMERS. About 2000 hours the two parties met as arranged and proceeded to the same starting point on the River WAHL. HELMERS and PRINZHORN were already there. Again difficulties with the mines caused a long delay, and it was not until 0400 hours that HELMERS, after some dispute with PRINZHORN, issued the final orders and the swimmers took to the water. HELMERS and PRINZHORN remained behind.

    94. According to a number of the Prisoners of War, Kaleu or Hptm HELMERS was a member of the Abwehr. They have not, however, been able to describe his exact status but believe that he was connected with all sabotage activities in N. FRANCE, BELGIUM and HOLLAND. Some of the other members of MK 700, including Oblt ZIMMERMANN, Oberfähn WIRTH and Gefr HOFMANN (or HOFFMANN) are believed to have connections with the Abwehr also. Confirmation of this is found in SRN 4358, 4359, 4336.

    95. A possible locational link between the swimmers and Abwehr is established by the fact that certain members of MK 700 were billeted for a short time before the NIJMEGEN operation in a house at RUITERBERG which was also used as an HQ by elements of a Front Aufkälrungstrupp subordinate to Pi Lehr Kdo 262 UTRECHT. This Pi Lehr Kdo was apparently also indirectly under HELMERS' command.


    96. Prisoners of War are under the impression that if they had returned safely from the NIJMEGEN mission they would have received leave to GERMANY and then continued their training throughout the winter, probably in an indoor swimming pool. They state that the water in HOLLAND and GERMANY would not be too cold for lengthy operations but do not rule out the possibility of swimmers employed against priority targets, e.g. the RHINE bridges (of SRN 4307) even in winter and possibly in conjunction with one-man torpedoes and explosive boats.

    97. Appendix 3 gives a list of personnel who have trained as swimming saboteurs or have been connected with MK 700 and appear again in operations similar to those carried out in HOLLAND.
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    98. The Sonderverband SKORZENY with HQ at FRIEDENTHAL appears to be reserve pool of SS men on which organisation as Abwehr and KdK can draw for specialists destined for ? prospective swimmers, Neger pilots, Linsen crews and specialist anti-Partisan units. See SRN 4358 and special SR extracts Nos 9695, 9696 and 9669.

    99. In Mar 44 Prisoner of War I (SS), having volunteered for special duties, took part in a short Commando course at the LAH ? at BERLIN-LICHTERFELDE. The curriculum consisted mainly of toughening-up exercises, e.g. athletics, swimming, and tests of endurance and courage. The course was commanded by Ost? VIELHACK, last known to be with the SS Sonderverband SKORZENY. Of the 170 SS volunteers taking part in the course, only 6? were selected by Ustuf ENGELSBERGER and transferred to the KdK at LÜBECK. See also SRN 4282.

    100. The LW barracks at HEILIGENHAFEN were being used as transit camp by the KdK. Swimmers who were sent to VALDAGNO from HEILIGENHAFEN estimate the strength in Feb 44 at 50 but assume that the personnel and strength would be constantly changing. Kaleu OBLADEN appears to have been responsible for the flow of recruits to MK 700, if not to all the KdK units.

    LÜBECK FPN 08942
    101. According to Prisoner of War I, the Marine Pi Kaserne had been taken over entirely by the KdK and was functioning as a depot transit camp. The strength of the KdK personnel in May 44 was approx 200, whilst in Aug there were not more than 30 to 40 plus an MT replacement coy and a small naval records unit. Up to about Aug 44 Kaleu HASSLER was Camp Commandant at the Pi Kaserne.

    103. The same group of swimmers also spent two or three days at the naval camp at SURENDORF and took part in combined manoeuvres with personnel of the Neger (human torpedoes) unit stationed there.

    No further information could be obtained on SURENDORF or the Neger unit.

    104. The swimming pool at the SS Führerschule BAD TÖLZ has been taken over as an elementary training school for MK 700. Prisoners of War, who visited the school in Sep 44, believe that the recruits at BAD TÖLZ will not be ready for operational swimming until they have undergone advance training at VENICE.

    105. The Comd of the swimmers was Lt KÜSGEN, who had been transferred to BAD TÖLZ from VENICE. Amongst the instructors were Maat MALLE, O/Maat SCHEU, Maat BAUDISCH, O/Maat FIETZ, Maat KUBA and Maat KUBISCHEK, all of whom had previously been trained at VALDAGNO.

    In Sep 44 swimmers in training numbered about 30 naval personnel and one SS man.

    106. MEK 80, an assault boat training school, said to be commanded by Kaleu SCHOMBURG's Adjt (probably Oblt HAERTING) was stationed at ST ANNA near SESTO CALENDE on Lago MAGGIORE. MEK 80 consisted of three pls, with a total strength of about 120 men. In addition to their training, personnel of MEK 80 were also employed in an anti-Partisan role.

    107. MEK 80 came under the administrative (and in the Italian theatre probably also operational) command of the Ausbildungsstab Süd (Training Staff, South), Comd Kaleu SCHOMBURG. This also applies to MK 700 whilst in ITALY. The Ausbildungsstab consisted of a few naval officers and about 30 WT operators and clerks, including female personnel. Oblt HAERTING was attached to the staff on the administrative side.

    108. At the beginning of Sep 44, on account of Partisan activity (see SRN 4303 and 4329), Kaleu SCHOMBURG moved his HQ and the assault boat school from SESTO CALENDE to MEINA. Prisoner of War I states that some of the assault boats were to be transferred to a new HQ at STRESA further up Lago MAGGIORE.

    109. On their return to VENICE from the first operational mission in FRANCE the swimmers were sent to a rest camp, a hotel near MEINA, which appears to have been part of the accommodation taken over by MEK 80. About 50 of the assault boat personnel were billeted in the same hotel.

    110. According to Prisoner of War I, Lt PRINZHORN is Comd MEK 60, an explosive boat Kdo, with HQ (Sep 44) at UTRECHT. Boats from this unit took part in some of the operations carried out by the swimmers.

    111. The house in RUITERBERG near DOORN, which served for a short time as HQ for some of the swimming saboteurs during their operations in HOLLAND, was also HQ of another small group of naval personnel (strength varying between 6 and 12), which has been referred to as FAT 262 and Pi Lehr Kdo 262.

    112. Prisoner of War I states that there was probably another FAT at UTRECHT with Hptm KUTSCHKE i/c Pi Lehr Kdo, the higher organisation. A Hptm GEHRICKE appears to have been attached to this unit also. Prisoner of War I believes that Hptm HELMERS was KUTSCHKE's superior officer.

    113. Members of this Pi Lehr Kdo had been trained in the use of assault craft and had also a knowledge of demolition charges. They held the rank of Steuermann and wore a silver anchor on the left arm in contrast to a naval Steuermann, who wear a gold anchor.

    114. Members of this Pi Lehr Kdo claimed to have blown up the PHILLIPS Werke in EINDHOVEN (see SRN 4359). The personnel at RUITERBERG were u/c of an O/Fw MAX (whether Christian or surname is not established), who detailed some of his men to stand by to pick up the swimmers on completion of their mission at NIJMEGEN. Prisoner of War I mentioned that all these naval engineers spoke fairly fluent Dutch.
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    Kpt z.S. BÖHME
    On staff of Admiral der Niederlander (HQ UTRECHT) as KdK Chef Stab Nord (? 44).

    Locational: An officer of the name of Kapt z.S. "Fiedje" BÖHME relieved HQ at SESTO CALENDE (approx Oct 44). See Naval Summary 102, week ending 17 Nov 1944. In all probability "Fiedje" BÖHME is identical with the ? of same name and rank on the staff of Admiral deer Niederlande, but Prisoner of War I reports that HQ at SESTO CALENDE / ST ANNA were evacuated early Sep 44 and transferred to MEINA and/or STRESA (Lago MAGGIORE) on account of damage to ST ANNA by Allied aircraft. It is probably, therefore, that Kpt z.S. BÖHME if it is the same man - is now at MEINA.

    Hptm GEHRICKE (Abwehr)
    Was with Hptm HELMERS in HOLLAND and among those present when the swimming set forth to attack the NIJMEGEN bridges (28/28 Sep 44).

    Hptm HELMERS (Kaleu)
    (Now possibly promoted to Major)
    Description: Age about 35 years. Height about 1.80 to 1.90 m. Heavy build. Dark brown wavy hair. Dark brown eyes. Darkish complexion. Large head, feet, rather brutal features, small moustache. Energetic type. No permanent recognition marks.

    Appears to have been executive Abwehr chief in HOLLAND and probably ? that in similar capacity in FRANCE and BELGIUM. Apparently seconded to ? with a rank of Kaleu for an unknown period up to 1 Sep 44, when he is said to have returned to the Abwehr, but later recalled temporarily to direct NIJMEGEN operation.

    Locational: VALDAGNO. Took over comd from Oblt PIEPLACK probably in ? who returned to GERMANY under a cloud. HELMERS shortly afterwards handed over to Oblt VÖL(S)CH (probably in May and not later than Jun 44).
    Moved from there to ST GIORGIO PICCOLO. Was i/c of the swimmers' unit on the island until early Jul, when he probably returned to Admiral HEYE's ? or to LÜBECK and handed over to Stabarzt WANDEL.
    ORNE Operation: HELMERS directed this "Einsatz" (beg Aug 44).
    TROUVILLE: i/c unsuccessful attempt to destroy lock-gates at HOULGATE (? Aug 44)
    Left swimmers' unit about 21 Aug 44.
    RUITERBERG: In constant touch with swimmers again from 20 Sep to night of 28/29 Sep 44 (NIJMEGEN).

    Gefr Willi HOFFMANN (alias Paul HOFMANN or Paul Willi HOFMANN).
    Description: Age 32. Height 1.75 m. Slim build. Dark hair, clean shaven. Quiet personality. Well educated. Born in BARCELONA and lived for a number of years in SPAIN. Speaks Spanish and German with equal fluency - could be taken for a native of either country.

    Locational: Was with Hptm HELMERS in SPAIN - probably between 1 1/2 and 2 years where he took part with Hptm HELMERS in sabotage work against Allied shipping. Whilst in SPAIN said to have married a German girl employed at the German Consulate in BARCELONA.

    Belongs to Abwehr, to which organisation he probably reported back for duty in Aug 44.

    Is possibly of higher rank than Gefr.

    Oblt z.S. KÜSGEN
    Locational: VENICE as Comd of ST GIORGIO PICCOLO Jun 44, during which month he and Hptm HELMERS visited VALDAGNO. BAD TÖLZ as administrative head in Sep 44.

    Description: Age about 30, height 1.75 to 1.78 m. Slim. Dark hair. Longish face. Clean shaven. Spoke normal Hoch Deutsch.
    Probably belongs to the Abwehr and apparently i/c Pi Lehr Kdo 262 and as such was occasionally at the HQ on the RUITERBERG. Last heard of at UTRECHT in Sep 44 at the HQ of a FAT. See also Annexes 2 and 3 to SIR 1, Part II, and SIR 3, page 16. Hptm HELMERS was his immediate superior officer.

    Lieutenant PRINZHORN (MA)
    Description: Age 28. Height 1.75 m. Slim build. Lightish brown hair, oval face. Clean shaven. Prominent hooked nose.
    Said to be i/c MEK 60 at UTRECHT. On bad terms with Hptm HELMERS, to whom he was subordinate. Very unpopular with the swimmers. Deutsches Kreuz in Gold.

    Locational: Appeared at all the swimmer operations as Einsatzleiter with HELMERS. Was present when swimmers took off on NIJMEGEN sortie (28/29 Sep 44).

    SCHOMBURG (Chef A-Stab Süd)
    MK 700 and MEK 80 (Sturmboote) came under his command. Probably also i/c swimmers' equipment.

    Very unpopular with the swimmers, who resented having to act as escort for lorry loads of furniture, wine etc, fetched from N. ITALY through Partisan territory by a civilian named HÜBNER (hotel proprietor). These goods were delivered partly to WANDEL at ST GIORGIO PICCOLO or to SCHOMBURG, then at SESTO CALENDE.

    Locational: SESTO CALENDE HQ with Sturmboote at ST ANNA until early Sep 44. ? (Lago MAGGIORE). Transferred his HQ there early Sep 44, but may in the meantime have moved further up the Lake to STRESA.

    Sturmbannführer SKORZENY
    Description: Age 35 to 40 years. Height 1.90 m. Broad build. Clean shaven. Speaks with slight Viennese accent, lapses at times into broad Viennese dialect. Inspiring personality. Very good swimmer.
    Comd Jäger Bn 502 (SKORZENY Bn), of which HQ are at FRIEDENTHAL near ORANIENBURG.

    Locational: LAH Barracks BERLIN-LICHTERFELDE, 20 Apr 44. Selection of ? personnel for KdK.
    FRIEDENTHAL camp, GSGS 4081, Sheet 51 832496 (HQ Jäg Bn 502) end Apr 44. Some men reported here to SKORZENY on returning from leave and were sent on to Pi Kaserne, LÜBECK.

    ST GIORGIO PICCOLO (VENICE) mid Jul 44. Accompanied by A Hptm and a Lt of the SS Jäg Bn 502 inspected swimmers' training centre on island.

    Oblt VÖL(S)CH (MA)
    Comd and i/c training of swimmers at VALDAGNO - administered oath of secrecy to them and obtained written undertaking from Prisoner of War I and two others to serve with swimmers' unit for duration of hostilities.

    Locational: VALDAGNO. Was there at beginning Jun 44. Would appear to have taken over from Hptm HELMERS between Apr and Jun 44.

    Stabarzt Dr WANDEL
    Locational: ST GIORGIO PICCOLO. Took over as administrative head of swimmers from Hptm HELMERS in Jul 44.

    Kaleu WOLK
    Locational: VALDAGNO. i/c Italian swimmers (10th MAS) until mid Jul 44.
    ST. GIORGIO PICCOLO. Arrived on island with about 20 Italian swimmers mid Jul 44. Was still on island end Aug 44.

    O/Fähnrich WORZIAN (now Lt)
    Description: Age 27 to 30 years. Height 1.70 m. Broad shoulders. Hair medium brown and wavy. Clean shaven. Tanned complexion.

    Locational: ORNE operation. Aug 33.
    ST GIORGIO PICCOLO Aug 44 and is probably still there as chief training instructor.

    C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.)
    4 December 1944

    M.I.19.a. War Office (60 copies)
    N.I.D. Admiralty (4 copies)
    A.D.I.(K) Air Ministry (6 copies)

    Attached Files:

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    Appendix 1

    Copy of Swimmers' Identification Card

    Attached Files:

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    Appendix 2

    please note this is the only image I have from this appendix

    Attached Files:

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    Appendix 3

    Alphabetical List of Swimmers in the Reserve Pool or Personnel connected with MK 700.
    (Information as at end Aug 44.)

    BAUDISCH (rank not established) - Swimming instructor at SS Führerschule BAD TÖLZ.
    BEHRINGER (Maat) - VENICE, Admin
    BRETTSCHNEIDER (Matr O/Gefr) - Took part in ORNE operation. Missing after NIJMEGEN operation.
    BREY (Maat) - Took part in ORNE operation. Had an accident to his swimming suit and could not take part in NIJMEGEEN mission. May have returned to VENICE.
    BRUNE (Matr) - Ex SS. VENICE.
    BULLIN (O/Maat) - VENICE, Admin

    DISMANN (Fw) - Probably still in VENICE

    ECKELHOF (Gefr) - [nothing noted]
    EGERLHOF (Maat) - Returned to GERMANY.
    ENZELS (-) - Ex SS. Returned to SS Sonderbn SKORZENY
    ERNST (Matr O/Gefr) - VENICE.
    ESCHELRÖDER (O/Fw or O/Masch Maat) - VENICE.

    FIETZ (O/Maat) - Seen at BAD TÖLZ Sep 44.

    GRETHEN (Maat) - Went to hospital from HOLLAND.
    GÖBBEL (H/Gefr) - [nothing noted]

    HABERMANN (O/Maat) - VENICE Admin.
    HOFMANN (Gefr) - Took part in ORNE operation. Transferred to GERMANY Aug 44, probably to Abwehr. See under KdK Personalities.

    JÄGER (rank not established) - Missing after NIJMEGEN operation.
    JUNGE (O/Fw) - Probably in VENICE.

    KLAMMT (O/Gefr) - Died during exercises at VENICE.
    KLEIN (Matr O/Gefr) - Took part in ANCONA operation. VENICE.
    KOMISCHAU (Fw - Fähnrich?) - Probably still at VENICE.
    KUBA (Maat) - BAD TÖLZ.
    KUHNKE (Uffz) - VENICE.
    KÜSGEN (Oblt zS) - OC BAD TÖLZ.

    LAHR (O/Gefr) - Probably in VENICE.
    LASKOWSKI (Matr Gefr) - Hospital
    LINDNER (Lt) - Planned ANCONA operation. VENICE

    MALLE (Maat) - Instructor at BAD TÖLZ.
    MEYER (Gefr) - Sent back to GERMANY from VENICE.
    MICHAEL (O/Gefr) - VENICE.

    NICKE (O/Gefr) - VENICE.

    ODDEY (Gefr) - Ex SS. Returned to SS Sonderbn SKORZENY.

    PANKOW (rank not known) - VENICE.
    PIEPLACK (Oblt) - Sent back to GERMANY on account of breach of security.
    PISKOL (Gefr) - Returned to previous unit for breaking security.

    REIMANN (Matr O/Gefr) - Took part in ANCONA operation. VENICE.
    RICHARD (O/Gefr) - (Kohlen Jim). Probably in VENICE.
    ROST (rank not known) - VENICE.
    ROTHE (or RODE) (O/Gefr) - VENICE.

    SCHEU (O/Maat) - BAD TÖLZ, Admin.
    SCHÖNBURG (O/Funker) - WT operator, VENICE.
    SCHULZ (O/Fähnr) - Returned to GERMANY from VALDAGNO.
    SCHMOCK (rank not established) - Ex SS. May be instructor at VENICE.

    VÖLSCH (Oblt) - OC VALADAGNO (?)

    WALTHER (O/Gefr) - [nothing noted]
    WITJEN (rank not established) - Ex SS. Unfit for swimming; returned to SS Sonderbn SKORZENY
    WIMMERS (rank not established) - VENICE.
    WINKELMANN (rank not established) - Ex SS. Unfit for swimming. Returned to SS Sonderbn SKORZENY.
    WIRTH (O/Fhnr) - Returned to GERMANY. Abwehr?
    WISSER (Gefr) - May still be in VENICE.
    WORZIAN (Lt) - VENICE. i/c Training.

    ZIMMMERMANN (Lt zS) - Ex SS. Recalled to GERMANY, probably Abwehr.

    Attached Files:

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    From War Diaries:

    2nd Armoured Battalion Irish Guards:
    27 September 1944
    Still at rest - it seemed almost too good to be true. During the night German divers blew up both bridges, but the REs soon had the road bridge mended and assembled a pontoon to replace the railway. A great deal of work and delay was caused by a lack of vigilance and ordinary precautions. As everyone now knows the Remnants of 1ST AIRBORNE DIVISION was withdrawn from ARNHEM during the night.

    28 September 1944
    Washing and maintenance and sleeping continued. So did the German shelling and bombing of the bridges, much to the alarm of F2 Echelon in the town house. But also came the foreshadowing of more action. We were warned to take over next day from 2nd Recce WELSH GUARDS who had been supporting 69 Brigade of 50 Division in BEMMEL, while 3rd Bn was to relieve the 1st WELSH GUARDS at AAM. The 69 Brigade had been extending the bridgehead E, and trying to reach a canal called WETERINGE LINGE and the village of HAALDEREN (7566) from which the enemy had observation of the bridges. Stiff enemy resistance held them up and they were ordered to hold their present positions until further reinforcement could arrive.

    1st Battalion Welsh Guards:
    September 28
    During the night a patrol of X Company under Lieutenant STEVENSON (who commands the WELSH GUARDS Platoon in X Company) established the fact that there were a considerable number of Germans in ?RIKENSWAARD [RIJKERSWOERD] and a Prince of Wales Company, patrol under Lieutenant ROGERS found some 20 Germans, who seemed to have lost direction, smoking under a hedge.
    In the morning came news that our friends, 3rd Battalion IRISH GUARDS, were to take over from us and we were to go back to their rest area nearer NIJMEGEN.
    Lieutenant-Colonel J.O.E. VANDELEUR accordingly came to the Command Post with his Company Commanders at 1115 hours and details of the hand over were arranged.
    It had to be completed by 1830 hours with the exception of X Company who, owing to their exposed position will handover after dark.
    The Quartermaster returned today after a lengthy absence as he had been cut off when drawing N.A.A.F.I. Stores, and whenever he attempted to come back the Centre Line was invariably cut in front of him.
    The big bridge at NIJMEGEN, in spite of frequent shelling and bombing, still stands though it has been hit several times.
    By dusk all Companies except X Company were in their new positions.
    Battalion H.Q. found itself sharing a palatial mansion called HUIS OOSTERHOUT with 2nd Armoured IRISH GUARDS, and the Officers’ Mess was in real solid comfort for the first time since leaving ENGLAND.
    It was thought that the house, which was visible for miles around, must be high on the list of the Luftwaffe’s priorities but nothing unfortunate occurred.
    The Battalion have one Company at an hour’s notice and the other two at 2 and 4 hours’ notice to co-operated with 2nd Battalion WELSH GUARDS in any place they may be needed in the bridgehead.

    September 29
    The long awaited bath allotment was postponed through a large hole being made in the bridge by some resolute BOCHE coming up the river with explosive charges, and the mobile bath unit have inconsiderately established themselves on the far side of the bridge, otherwise Companies had a thoroughly peaceful day to get sorted out.
    The was plenty of enemy air activity overhead.
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    Catalogue number: B 10435
    Subject period Second World War
    Alternative Names object category: Black and white
    Creator: No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Midgley (Sgt)
    Category photographs
    DUKWs transport supplies across the River Waal at Nijmegen, below the railway bridge whose central span was broken by German frogmen using floating mines, 30 September 1944.

    Attached Files:

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    COMMANDO Senior Member

    WOW that is most intersting to read....

    Thanks for taking the time to get the correct documents, but these are just those kind of reports/interrogation reports I am looking for.... If you just can photograph them and put them on paper you will have some sort of publication about OMG everyone is looking for!!!

    COMMANDO Senior Member

    Great info !
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Stirling work again Diane !

    Pieter-The files are great aren't they? Thank you for pointing them out to me. They do contain some absolutely first class information like that above and many have sketch maps of their positions and of camps. Two excellent maps that spring to mind were of Belsen and Auschwitz. Annoyingly there doesn't appear to be any reports from 1940.

    I will copy more if Kew rebind the files so I can copy them properly.

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