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Fighting the Afrika Korps

Discussion in 'North Africa: Western Desert Campaigns 1940 to Ope' started by Riter, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. Riter

    Riter Member

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    A night patrol would almost always consist of one or two sections, either six or twelve men.

    Very seldom was there any fighting during these nightly walks, they were undertaken in oder to keep tabs on the enemy positions. However, there were times when these patrols turned to our, and Jerry's advantage.

    I first experienced this when Mr. Vernon, our platoon commander, detailed our section for patrol. Just before we set off, we were told that the lads who had done the previous night's walk were volunteering to do our shift. The teal they came up with was that they had made contact the night before, but that the corporal in charge had lost his wallet and knew exactly where he had dropped it.

    Fair enough, no complaints, you lot go, we get a good night's kip. Our suspicions were aroused the next morning when two fo the lads who had been part of the patrol were sick as pigs. It was then discovered that they had a crate of Schnapps in their truck. To cut a long story short, they had met up with these Krauts and, instead of doing each other mortal damage, had struck a deal: Schnapps and black bread in exchange for tins of bully beef and some English cigarettes!

    It doesn't take much imagination to work out how these encounters happened. The six-man patrol creeps forward towards the enemy position, probably only a lance jack in charge. They became aware of movement to their front almost at the same time as the enemy becomes aware of them. Men being what they are, nobody is too keep to start hostilities. Some bright spark calls out: "Oi, Fritz, you speakada English?"

    "What you want, Tommy?"
    "Got any Schnapps?" A longish pause,
    "Ja, you have English cigarettes?"

    And so an arrangement would be made for a rendezvous the following night, to the mutual benefit of all concerned. These exchanges went on for about three weeks before some officer lets the cat out of the bag.

    From Rifleman by Gregg
     
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  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I recall a story like that from the American Civil War. At a time when the lines were stable, maybe the winter of 1864-65 around Petersburg, a Union squad were assigned picket duty each night. They found a little hut in no-man's land and would huddle up there with a fire until morning. One morning they were a little late heading back to their own lines, and up came a Confederate squad. Turned out the rebs were under orders to picket during the day and had been using the same hut. There seemed no reason to disturb the arrangement, and they agreed that each side would leave a nice fire going for their enemies when they left.
     
  3. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    .....I would think there weren't a lot of these encounters....?
    ..neither unit would want to give away their position....if the Brits know your position, you would probably want to kill them so they couldn't report it
    ...I thought it would've been ''Sprechen sie Englisch?'' from the Brits
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Remember the football match in WW1 Xmas break 1914-1915. There is a film even. Not WW2 but one example to add to the list.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    In his auto-bio, Hans von Luck described a similar situation in N. Africa between British and German recon units. The basic currency also being booze and cigs. Sometimes one side or the other would capture members of the other side and that side had to pay a ransom to get their men back!
     
  6. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I would think that unless the battle was in some way significant, a lot of soldiers weren't to eager to get into extraneous gunfights. All that would come out of them was unnecessary death and maiming.
     
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  7. Riter

    Riter Member

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    Agreed with Harolds. Left to their own devices, the soldiers would cease fighting. No shortage of this in the American Civil War. The WW I football match was mentioned. I read of a German account where a German and a Soviet were hand signaling each other from over 400 meters distance all in fun. Neither men wanted to be there and they especially didn't want to fight each other.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The soldiers are human, thinkin you might die any minute is horrible. I read the newcomers were not spoken to for two weeks to see if they were able to cope the war and survive. think about that.
     

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