The German Soldier smell

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by sapper, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    :rolleyes:The reason the Germans have a very distinct body smell and very strong...I've even heard they smell like animals, well I lived there for a little while and saw from children to 90 year old woman and man eating grounded raw pork spread on bread. Have you ever smelled rotting pork? Well it's very close or the same way they smell.


    What a very odd post.

    I believe the pork dish you are talking about is Mett Mett - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    It has to be specially prepared - I believe under licence - and sold on the day it was made. Most would eat it only on the day of purchase and noone would eat raw rotting meat unless they were completely desperate... which my father witnessed with great pity in one place in Holland during WW2.

    I am half German and i can say i would find your post offensive - if I could work out what you were trying to say. This thread is about the German soldiers in WW2, just in case you haven't noticed.
     
    Heimbrent and von Poop like this.
  2. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Ah Mettwurst. Delicious, but very hard to get in UK - try the german deli stall in Borough Market. But no one has yet accused of smelling unusual!

    Chris
     
  3. Spencer54

    Spencer54 Junior Member

    I might be able to help here, I did some re-eanacting as German and used original gear where possible, ate the food and generally lived in a hole for a few days at a time.

    These events are taken very seriously and some people are correct right down to underwear incuding socks and personal items.

    The uniforms do definitely have a certain smell to them, the leather equipment again when wet smells. Again the rations will cause odd smells - but I think there is a possibility that what they stunk of could have been the heximine type of fuel they were using in their personal Esbit stoves.

    You chaps that were there will know if its a possibility as I've heard they were used by the Allies as well?

    Its a sweet parafin type of smell, that how I'd describe it.
     
  4. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Jägerschnitzel - mit Pommes frites und mayo. My last BAOR posting I lived in Senden.Westphalia. Of a weekend when home, a few couples would walk down to the village a few drinks pick up the Jägerschnitzel from the Schnelly (Schnellimbiss) a fast food outlet - absolutely delicious, crunchy dry chips with mayo, bread crumbed pork with mushrooms and a paprika sauce. It varied with areas but this schnelly was the tops. On one occasion I had been away and my wife and daughters were back in the UK so as I made my way to the quarter the lure of Mimi's - a beer and something to eat. I said Mimi I need to eat, how about bread with potato salad (kartoffelsalat) and sausage - fine says I. She came back with a bloody charger with slices of bread a mountain of potato salad all surrounded by various wursts -bier wurst a particular favourite. With a smile the delightful Mimi suggested that if I ate all that I would be a fat boy! German wurst brat,brot or whatever, with chips mayo and mustard - that's it we are going back for a holiday!
     
  5. walmsleyr

    walmsleyr Junior Member

    yes wills your post brings back happy memories of the food and beer.lol.
     
  6. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Senior Member

    Interesting, last time i had a nice conversation with a US Vet and he told me that it was often very easy to find german recon patrols if they where guided by an officer. Reason was that the officer always smelled after the Eau de Cologne. Must be to cover the strange odor. Some described it as a mixture of sweat, moth balls and the smell of rotting leather gear.
     
  7. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Interesting, last time i had a nice conversation with a US Vet and he told me that it was often very easy to find german recon patrols if they where guided by an officer. Reason was that the officer always smelled after the Eau de Cologne. Must be to cover the strange odor. Some described it as a mixture of sweat, moth balls and the smell of rotting leather gear.

    A Canadian infantry account from Normandy relates that some German officers, quite defiant and arrogant after being taken prisoner, became quite humble when confronted and teased about carrying perfume and Eau de Cologne.

    Was that common practice in the Wehrmacht?
     
  8. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Senior Member

    I don´t think that it was a common practice. Its more a thing to be "In" and to be different to the normal soldier. And it showed the arrogance and stupidity of some of them.
     
  9. exbootneck

    exbootneck Junior Member

    I talked with an Estonian old lady who had witnessed both Russian and German occupiers...she said the Germans smelt of aftershave and were immaculate in appearance whilst the Russians where dressed like bags of potatoes and smelled.

    This would be soldiers who were occupiers and not living in slit trenches with limited dhobi facilities.

    I would imagine when kept in front line conditions with honking piss stained trousers imbued with a stench of sweat...add to this what is called a submariners dhobi of after shave rather than washing due to limited water may have contributed to this unique smell of sweating smelly soldiers who try to cam it out like an old tart with fragrances.

    I suppose the moral of the story is perfume combined with piss and shit is worse than piss and shit.
     
    Owen likes this.
  10. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    One thing is for sure. I will never forget the smell, The best way to describe it was "Heavy and pungent" smell never to be forgotten......I recall it vividly when we entered where the enemy had been shortly before.
     
  11. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I suppose the moral of the story is perfume combined with piss and shit is worse than piss and shit.

    Words to live by! Too funny.

    Similar to those room freshener sprays which essentially produces the effect of someone shitting under a pine tree.
     
  12. Anika

    Anika Junior Member

    This thread is hilarious, the kind of detail you just don't find so easily in research!
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    This thread is hilarious, the kind of detail you just don't find so easily in research!

    Hello-Don't forget to sort the:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I see that this thread has just resurrected itself.

    Purely out of interest, I went back to it's beginnings and have just been re-reading my comment on posting #38

    I see I said this:

    To any of the vets:

    Have you visited Germany after the war? If so do you still notice such a smell?

    Mehar

    Be aware that when a veteran describes an un-forgettable smell he is talking about his memories of the time, i.e. in an un-named field in a desperately forbidding landscape surrounded by remnants of a hastily evacuated German camp-site.

    If you are seriously suggesting that should the same veteran visit, for example, a hotel in Berlin today he would notice the same smell .......forget about it ..... the smell was only indicative of the time and place and I, for one, will never forget it or the smell of death that pervaded the battlegrounds of Sicily and Italy.

    I am also hardly like to pay a visit to Berlin anyway......................

    Ron

    I now find it slightly ironical that at the time I posted this I certainly had no intention of re-visiting Germany at any time but all this went by the board when in March this year I paid a first visit to my brother's grave at Durnbach.

    And yes..... I am happy to report that I found no evocative odours in our Gasthaus in Bad Tolz.

    Ron
     
  15. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    When I started this thread. It was to find out what ever caused it? That has not been answered. I may add that the "German Smell did not occur in one location. We became aware of it in many occasions when we were in close proximity to the enemy. I cannot forget it....Scented PUNGENT and a reminder of times long past, HI Ron...
     
  16. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Brian, I have just joined this one one, and share many of your memories. Wherever possible I never dug my own slit-trench, and was always prepared to sleep where a Jerry had dossed down. I agree they had a distintive pong and put it down to the cigars they smoked. We had to live off Jerry rations for some weeks in Belgium/Holland which meant our seven free issue fags became jerry's cigars, and I thought I smelt like one of them. On another point, regardless of what was happening we were expected to be clean and shaved by 12 noon. And the smell of decaying bodies will never leave our memories, remember Falaise?
     
  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I am loth to go into what I would regard as "no-go" areas of discussion but we are talking about the smell of a battlefield and I feel a point needs to be made.

    My own experience was that the loathsome smell of decay that greeted one when you were advancing at close quarters applied equally to animals as it did to the dead of either Army.

    What I am trying to convey is that the rank smell hit you first and then you were able to see what was causing the smell. In many cases I found that we turned a corner expecting to see casualties and found rotting livestock.

    Not the nicest of memories to mull over some 67 years later but that is the price for honest discussion on this topic.

    Ron
     
  18. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    What had to be even worse was to jump down off your Tank to attend to a call of nature - and find yourself standing in the midst of a rotting cow.....thankfully it didn't happen to me BUT it did to Major Stu Hamilton M.C. of 8th RTR at Croce in the Gothic Line - which was bad enough but when your crew can't stand you ......yeuch !

    see page 119 - "Armoured Odessey"

    After all these years I can still giggle at the thought of this

    Cheers
     
  19. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    On a lighter note, I once wrote this little piece on the BBC People's War Archives:

    I must tell you of another little episode in Sicily.
    We'd been driving North and pulled off the road at nightfall. Our resting place was in a small park and as I drove the truck in I felt it go over a heavy bump. Because I'd been seeing bodies all day I knew instinctively that we'd parked on top of a corpse but I was too shattered to alter the truck's position and we so we stayed where we were. I was on duty on the set all night and the smell got progressively worse.
    When morning came I finally investigated under the truck and found to my relief that all we'd done was to park on top of a pile of horse manure.
    I can still remember the pong!

    Ron
     
  20. acerus

    acerus Junior Member

    I would say it was a mixture of the every Day smell (Sweat, Dirt, Smoke, etc.), and Koelnisch Wasser(4711)! Koelnisch Wasser was very wide spread amongst the Wehrmacht. I would realy like to know what the real Veterans would think when they are go to a perfumery and ask for original Koelnisch Wasser? Today i only smell this on very old German People....
     

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