Booty, Looting etc.

Discussion in 'General' started by Ron Goldstein, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Just remembered a story my Dad told me about a man who was determined to beat the thieves. On a trip to Brussels by jeep he took with him a heavy duty chain and lock. After he parked up, he wrapped the chain around a rather substantial tree and threaded the chain through the steering wheel before locking it tight. He then left to enjoy his day.

    Upon his return he found the chain still around the tree and threaded through the steering wheel. But the jeep was gone.
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  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I somehow doubt that though I guess you wrote that with your tongue in your cheek ^_^

    One thing I remember a Dutch friend saying was that if the Dutch want to annoy or reply sarcastically to a German then they use the phrase "can we have our bicycles back" other Dutch members on here may be able to corroborate that.

    TD...just seen this thread post referred to was as reported by the DT's correspondent,H D Zidman

    After reading the account of the winding up of the Donitz Flensburg government in relation to the research being undertaken of Else Kruger,Bormann's secretary,I can comment on the action of the British Army relieving the Germans........estimated to be 6000 POWs into the bag of all their personal possessions. (ATB Number 128.... Operation Blackout)

    The account goes on the prisoners were told to hand over watches and money...caches of liquor and ham were emptied...cameras,radios and Nazi souvenirs taken.

    When Donitz turned up at British Army Headquarters on 23 May 1945,the usual British guard of honour was missing and he was arrested..Donitz's field marshal baton and his interim baton were taken from his luggage by a British Field Security Officer and put into the safe of Brigadier Churcher the C.O of the 159 Infantry Brigade.Two days later,Donitz wrote a letter of protest on losing his batons but received no reply.

    Churcher was a King's Shropshire Light Infantry officer and Donitz's main baton ended up in the KSLI Regimental Museum in Shrewsbury.

    Unable to accept being a POW,Admiral von Friedeburg had committed suicide and while he was laid out in his room,his Knight's Cross with Swords of the Kreigsverdienstkreuz were taken from round his neck.This brought a complaint from the Germans against this "dishonourable treatment"Despite a thorough investigation,the culprit was not found.

    Apparently the British authorities found the robbing of a dead Admiral after surrender,a different matter for this was the only case that the Germans received an official apology.It was accepted that the looting of corpses was common practice during the war and at Flensburg,soldiers had been appropriating war souvenirs from their prisoners all day but as said the Admiral's case was considered a different matter.

    Will the Knight's Cross with Swords of the Kriegsverdienstkreuz ever surface?....probably in someone's private collection.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Harry

    No, it wasn't written tongue in cheek, I have known Pieter for 20 years and he is as honest as they come.

  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    A variation on looting in wartime Germany...Eastern workers,Soviet POWs and also Germans

    There is a very good insight to the late wartime situation in Cologne from the summer of 1944 to the end of hostilities in Ulrich Herbert's Hitler's Foreign Workers.

    It is recorded that the Gestapo had a difficult time in controlling the phenomenon of foreign workers Soviet POWs and Germans,dubbed terrorists and gangs who went underground and survived by theft.

    A Gestapo report at the beginning of July 1944 gave the first detailed reaction of the Gestapo heads to the gangs......rings of foreign labourers living for the most part in the ruins of bombed out areas of industrial cities.

    It followed on....The enemy propaganda aimed at encouraging the formation of gangs is no longer in this war, a total failure,which is now reaching its zenith.Russian civilian workers in particular are attempting to endanger the German war effort by forming sabotage and terror gangs,in order to create an alibi for themselves vis a vis the anticipated Red Army.The formation of sabotage and terror gangs,especially in heavily wooded and mountainous areas, would appear to be an obvious move,since detection and pursuit in such regions is particularly difficult.

    A table of Resistance Groups of foreign workers and POWs,based on Gestapo reports from Gestapo Head Offices of March -September 1944 indicates the formation of such groups across Germany and Austria composed of "Eastern workers and Soviet POWs"

    The individual incidents recorded make interesting reading....for instance,.Hoffman the Cologne Gestapo chief was killed in a shoot out with Eastern workers in December 1944.
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

  7. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Canadian soldiers in Italy have described how they "acquired" new jeeps from Americans who left them parked without supervision. In order to guard against that possibility, American soldiers began to remove the distributor caps from vehicles left unattended. The inevitable response was Canadian soldiers carrying their own distributor caps and carrying on with the previous activity. From your Dad's story, it would appear that bringing along extra steering wheels was in vogue as well.
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  8. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Back in the 50s I had a ride in a Kubelwagen - in Cheshire. It 'belonged' to the step father of a friend and the former had served as a pilot in the RAF (but originally from Eastern Europe - a Czech I think) ) and 'liberated' it in the Netherlands and wangled its transport back to Britain. AFAIK it later appeared in a great many films.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
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  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I believe a wrench was more portable...
  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Indeed, as long as you weren't negotiating any tight turns and it was firmly attached to thew steering column.
  11. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    A Mole Wrench then
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  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    The subject of my book related a story that I included.

    In early December, while the division was on R&R prior to the Bulge, Mr. Sanford had access to a jeep and drove back to Heerlen one afternoon to visit 'his' Dutch family. They had sorta taken him in earlier and he visited them as he could, bringing them food and what not.

    Mr. Sanford and his friend, Wilkerson, arrived in Heerlen one afternoon and found the folks in town having a street party. The pair joined in and soon noticed that there was no meat being served. When they asked about it, he was told that there was none to be had; the Germans had taken it all when they retreated a few months earlier.

    Mr. Sanford remembered a farm a few miles away, over the border and they drove back over there. One of the men held the German owners at gunpoint while the other shot a jeep full of chickens to carry back to their Dutch friends in Heerlen.

    He said it livened the party up.
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  13. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

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  14. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    "The First and the Last"

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  15. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    I was told that perhaps the strangest 'captive' taken by the DLI during their time in the desert was a chair taken from Field Marshall Rommel's Headquarters. Known as 'Rommel's Throne' . The press ran a story in 1957 about it but it appears it`s `capture` was reported in 1943.
    Rommel's Chair in English Home - Army News (Darwin, NT : 1941 - 1946) - 26 Dec 1943

    Army News December 24th 1943

    Rommel's Chair in English Home

    LONDON, Sunday.-The chair in which Nazi Field Marshal Rommel sat when he planned the capturg of Egypt is in the drawing room
    of a house in Thaxted, Essex.Every morning a 2 1/2 -year-old girl sits in the chair and drinks milk from an aluminium mug.
    The mug was part of Rommel's desert kit.
    She is the daughter of Major Kirby, of the Eighth Army, which drove Rommel's forces from Egypt in November last year.
    After the battle of Alamein a battalion of the Durham Light Infantry of the famous 50th Division, occupied the German headquarters at
    El Daba.
    An officer sent out to seize furniture for the mess found a comfortable leather, arm-chair in Rommel's own beautifully furnished room.
    The chair went on with the Durhams throughout the North African campaign.
    When the Sicilian invasion began {the chair went with them onboard a supply ship] a Durhams officer saved the chair from a dump heap.[after the Divisions CO spotted it and ordered its destruction]
    He took the chair and mug back to. Britain, and 'presented them to Patricia Kirby, whose father [Major Kirby] had been taken prisoner.

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
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  16. BrianHall1963

    BrianHall1963 Well-Known Member

    My uncle was with the South Wales Boarders when the war in the east finished he and a young officer sold the mules they had worked with,when a mule died they had to produce a hoof with the MOD arrow on it . So they killed one removed all the hoofs stamped them all for proof and sold three out of every four he said the war was over we didn’t need them, they go caught and a spell in the cells followed.
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  17. Welchchap

    Welchchap Member

    SWB TA? I've heard some rum doings. SWB appeared to be a bit more naughty than the Welch. Definitely more bolshy given they munitions behaviour in the Great War.
  18. BrianHall1963

    BrianHall1963 Well-Known Member

    He was a young soldier in the Hampshire Reg defending Southampton airfield then when old enough he went to the SWB he thought Burma sounded exotic!! We he soon found out with the mule trains and Chindits, he was a bit of a lad , said he had been in every military prison and still made Sargent. He joined back up not long after he came out and fought the Mau Mau in Kenya because of his time in the jungle fighting
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  19. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    The British Army culture tacitly approves theft. It is the logical conclusion of two of the key unoffical core values
    - Use your 'kin initiative
    - Don't get caught
    (FWIW the other two unofficial core values can be expressed as
    Bull**** baffles Brains and
    Keep your sense of humour.

    Army Training Memorandum No 46 16 Oct 1943 devotes the best part of two pages to the topic of Waste not want Not. This castigates the lack of administrative integrity of many units, formerly of the highest integrity in the UK that become plunderers on campaign...As symptoms it mentions the endeavours to build up a horde of equipment or spare parts, plifering from unattended vehicles. "to leave a car unattended in the Western Desert for thirty minutes was to return to find it stripped of wheels, windscreen and dynamo...", Individual hoarders and souvenir hunters and the petty pilferers "who would consider it quite reasonable to win a case of suppliers from a pack train or a dump but would be horrified if he were called and burglar or a thief...

    Army Training Memorandum No 47 15 Jan 1944 included a section on "More about scrounging". in attempt to shame the Army out of its thieving ways and its officers to do their duty to avoid waste.

    It quotes an MEF report dated Dec 1942. "The almost universal non-compliance with orders regulating the quantities and uses of equipment generally compels the conclusion that COs are either unaware of the real necessity for preventing waste by hoarding and misuse or are incapable of seeing that such regulations are enforced. .... In 350 units Inspectors found 21 trailers, 21 motorcycles, 153 vehicles and masses of other material looted from bases or broken down vehicles. As a result nearly every tank that reaches base for repair was deficient tools and minor assemblies.

    The ATM went on "If each of the 45 units in a Division acquires a vehicle, a bren gun and a wireless set surplus to G1098 scales, it would cost 130,000 man hours of labour to replace these items. If six divisions did the same, one 5,000 cargo vessel would be required and a crew of 60 seamen. Loading the replacements would employ 160 men at a UK dock for 24 hours using ten cranes requiring the supervision of 7 officers and 20 men. 270 drivers would be needed to bring the vehicles to the dockside as well as about 750 gallons of petrol and 33 gallons of oil.

    Neil Fraser Tytler's book Field Guns in France 1915-1918 mentions his battery's fortune at being the first at a railway station in daylight after another unit had unloaded at night, and able to pick up abandoned equipment, and how his BQMS stores next to a station were the lucky recipients of canvases blown over the wall. (Just ponder that statement - possibly reconciling the Etonian officer's conscience with the explanation by the Battery Quarter Master Sergeant about the source of the buckshee canvas. He also described how his battery officer's mess entered a position in the Vaux valley with a single cooks truck but left three months later with six GS wagons of kit including kitchen ranges and a grandfather clock.

    I served in the Falklands in 1982-83 based in Port Fitzroy. At least one of our units land rovers had been acquire from a street in Port Stanley. Our fitter section ran a trench art factory turning out souvenir ashtrays from cartridge cases. Pilfering was rife in the postal system - everyone accused the RAF at Ascension Island. There was a story that the troops on the ground weighed the mail bag picked up from the air with a half a sheep's carcass. The RAF complained about the this disgusting addition to the mail. The FI retort was that there had been a whole sheep when they put it in the bag,
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
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  20. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    It wasn't just the British Army which scrounged and pilfered on the "I'm all right Jack" principle. There were also tactical implications.

    In December 1944, the ill fated 106th US infantry Division took over positions on the Schnee Eiffel from the 2nd US Infantry Division. The latter took with them the stoves from the bunkers and the wireless/ telephone communications network as this had all been established using unofficially acquired equipment. This left the 106's men in unheated bunkers and lacking effective communications and in a poor way when the Germans attacked. .

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