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Sgt. Paul Ernst Kaess (1921-2002)- German Army in WWII

Discussion in 'What Granddad did in the War' started by briankaess, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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    Hello,
    My Paternal Grandfather Sgt. Paul Ernst Kaess (1921-2002) saw extensive combat in WWII as a Panzer soldier in the German Army from at least 1940 until 1944. He saw action or service, per family accounts, in France, Yugoslavia, Greece, Rumania, Russia, Lithuania, and perhaps Poland. It is likely he fought in Belgium as well, since many armored divisions passed through that country during the Battle for France (1940). Paul E Kaess was wounded in late 1944 in Vilnius, Lithuania, when a Russian soldier threw a grenade into his tank, causing a shrapnel wound to the back of my Grandfather's skull. My Grandfather recovered from this wound and survived the war, likely in Germany. He stated also that he fought at the Battle of Kursk and that he rode in a Mk IV Tank. He saw fighting in Yugoslavia versus partisans. He was a member of the Hitler Youth during the 1930's and applied for but was rejected from the SS Waffen. His American Grandson Brian Paul Kaess (b. 1967) believes he may have fought in the 5th Panzer Division but is not sure. Paul married Dorothea Dorschke (1922-1951) on Mar 14 1944 in a Catholic Church in Ratibor, Upper Silesia. His wedding photo shows him wearing a German Army uniform of the time period and sporting what appears to be an EK2 (Iron Cross 2nd Class).
    His Brother Emil Kaess also fought in WWII for the Germans and was a POW in Russia but returned home. He needed a cane to get around because of his wartime experiences.
    Paul had a good friend in the German Army named Chef. Chef was killed during the war. One wartime photo shows Chef holding a pipe and smiling. Chef may have been a generic name for commander, but this was how Paul referred to him. Another photo shows Paul holding a pistol surrounded by comrades.
    There is no evidence from the family that Paul committed any pogroms. He was a Panzer soldier and that's what he talked about.

    Brian Paul Kaess met his Grandfather Paul Ernst Kaess in 1990 in Benningen am Neckar, Germany, the 'heimat' of the Kaess Family. Paul E Kaess attended a gathering of German WWII Veterans in Benningen in 1990 and brought along his American Grandson Brian Paul Kaess to sit by his side. Paul gave a speech at this event. Toasts were made to chivalry.
    After WWII, Paul Ernst Kaess lived in Heutingsheim and Benningen am Neckar, Germany. He worked as a carpenter, first in Freiberg am Neckar and then later in Stuttgart. He received an award for Crafstmanship from Manfred Rommell, then Mayor of Stuttgart, and son to Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. He had two wives, four children, four Grandchildren, and three Great Grandchildren before he died. His descendants live in Germany, the USA, and Mexico.
    Paul was Lutheran (His 1st wife was Catholic) and owned a small vinyard in Benningen which he tended to after the war. I believe he enjoyed the Old World charm of Benningen and became a better man after the war.
    Sincerely,
    LCpl. Brian 'Chaos' Paul Kaess (Ret.)
     
    Kris8010, TIRDAD, JCM6395 and 5 others like this.
  2. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    What a neat story Brian! Welcome to this forum. Hearing stories from the German side are very unique and your grandfather had quite an interesting story. Thank you very much for sharing this story and welcome to this forum :cheers:!
     
  3. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    Thanks for sharing your grandfather's story here, Brian. As Smiley said, it's an interesting perspective and unfortunately rare. Please consider making a formal intro for your self in the New Recruits section. We have a few retired and former Marines that may want to welcome you.
     
  4. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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    I had family information (from 1990) that Paul Ernst Kaess was wounded on Nov 11 1944 or Dec 11 1944. However, after studying the Vilnius Offensive, I learned that the Red Army had obtained victory in that area by late July 1944, so I feel there is a mistake somewhere because our family testimony deosn't jibe with the History of the matter. One thing seems for sure though. That Paul was wounded in 1944 and survived the Destruction of Army Group Center.
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Thanks for the update. Keep us informed of your progress. If you could post pictures it would be even better.
     
  6. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    Ah, I know Benningen a little bit, it is a nice village near Stuttgart, around 40 miles away from where i live. The region is well known for its vinyards, lovely landscape.

    That he was a german tank soldier and tried to join the SS does not imply that he was a "bad" man. The SS offered better food and equipment. As far as i can judge it, he did nothing wrong.
    The german youth was brainwashed, they didn't know something else. If he didn't had to participate in all the crimes committed by the Wehrmacht and the SS, he was happy about it later for sure. There were only very few young germans who tried to build up some kind of resistance. Just think about it: What should he do?

    "Chef" just means boss, a usual moniker back then.

    Manfred Rommel is still very famous around here, highly respected and gifted with a special sense of humor.
    He died in 2013.

    Thanks for sharing his story.
     
  7. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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    Paul Ernst Kaess military record from the German Army in WWII was obtained from Deutsche Dienstelle in Feb 2017 by Brian Paul Kaess, his Grandson.
    Paul’s entry date for the German Army was June 17 1940. He served until at least Feb 24 1944. He attended Field Artillery training in Batterie schwere Artillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 61 in Pilsen (June 1940) and Schwabish Gmund (Sept 1940). He also trained with Batterie Artillerie-Lehr-Regiment Juteborg in Sept 1940. He was assigned to Batterie Sturm-Artillerie-Abteilung 190 from Oct 1 1940 to Feb 4 1944. He also served in Sturmgeschutz-Brigade 190 from Jan 14 1944. From Feb 24 1944 to his discharge (his discharge date is unknown), he served in Genesendenbatterie Sturmgeschutz-Erzatz- und Ausbildungs-Abteilung 200 in Schweinfurt.
    Paul was in the hospital three times.
    1. June 22 1942 in Kreigslazarett 2/610 Simferopol
    2. Jan 30 1944 to Feb 9 1944 in Reservelazarett I Warschau, C1, Salzstrasse. He appears to have been transferred to Hannover.
    3. Feb 2 1944 in Reservelazarett III Hannover, Abteilung Clementinenhaus. He was translferred to a unit in Schweinfurt.
    Paul Ernst Kaess was promoted to Gefreiter (Corporal) in June 22 1942 and promoted to Unteroffizier (Seargent) on Jan 30 1944. His final Discharge date is unknown but is believed to be around late 1944-45.
     
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  8. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Thanks Brian. This is great information. We know very little about the common German soldier in WW2. This data gives us some insight into their status. Seems not very different from the experiences of the common Allied soldier. Thanks for sharing what you have learned.
     
  9. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    I'll second what Lou said. Very interesting to see information on the average German soldier's service. Thanks for sharing it here.
     
  10. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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    You guys are very welcome. It took me over 18 months to gather his record from Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt) in Berlin. Proves patience is a virtue!
    Brian
     
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  11. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Brian,

    Did your grandfather ever talk about the war to you and how he felt about it after many years to get a perspective? By the way, I second the comments from the other posters.
     
  12. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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    Yes, my Grandfather Paul Ernst Kaess (1921-1990) talked to me about his WWII experiences in 1990, when I vacationed in Germany to see family. He mentioned being wounded in 1944 and suffering shrapnel wounds to the back of his skull from a grenade thrown by a Russian soldier. He showed me the back of his head where the skin was soft from the grenade wound. He also said he had a girlfriend in occupied France. He also stated he had fought at Kursk and rode in a MKIV tank. His daughters mentioned he had fought in Yugoslavia. Photos showed him with German comrades in what I took to be Yugoslavia and a MKIV tank (or what looks like one) emerging from the forest. Somewhere during our conversations with family, it was stated that he was wounded in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1944. Paul stated his rank was Seargent.
    His daughter Arnhild Kaess-Tiefenbach also stated that Paul had served in Greece, Rumania, and perhaps Poland.
    He served with the German Army.
    Sincerely,
    Brian Paul Kaess
     
  13. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Thanks for the response Brian!
     
  14. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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    Below is the Order of Battle for Sgt. Paul Ernst Kaess' unit:

    Sturmartillerie-Abteilung 190Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 190 (Feb 41)
    leichte Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 190 (Apr 43)
    leichte-Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 190 (Jan 44)

    Oct 40 - formed at Jüterbog with three batteries
    Nov 40 - declared ready for combat
    Nov 40 - transferred to Lure, France
    Jan 41 - arrived in Balaci, Romania
    Apr 41 - XXX Corps, 12th Army, the Balkans
    Apr/May 41 - participated in the invasion of Greece
    15 May 41 ordered from Athens to Romania
    Jun 41 - arrived in Bucharest, Romania
    Jun 41 - 11th Army Reserves, Army Group South (less 1./ XI Corps, 11st Army)
    Jul/Aug 41 - assigned to IX Corps, 11st Army, Army Group South
    Jul 41 - XI Corps, 11th Army, Army Group South (less 1./ assigned to XXX Corps)
    Sep 41 - XXX Corps, 11th Army, Army Group South (later LIV Corps, 11th Army, Army Group South, less one battery assigned to XXX Corps)
    Oct 41 - LIV Corps, 11th Army, Army Group South
    Apr 42 - assigned to XXX Corps, 11st Army, Army Group South
    Apr/May 42 - 6 long-barreled StuGs received and participated in the attack on Kertch
    Jun 42 - LIV Corps, 11th Army, Army Group South, conquest of Sevastopol (6 StuGs with L/43 guns)
    Jul 42 - refitting in the Yalta area; transferred to the Kursk area and assigned to 2nd Army
    Aug 42 - 14 long-barreled StuGs arrive
    Sep 42 - 12 more long-barreled StuGs arrive; 27 StuGs operational
    Jan 43 - refitting in Treuenbrietzen, reorganized with each batterie having a section of StuH 42s
    Mar 43 - 3./ attached to 168th Infantry Division, Corps Raus z.b.V., with one StuG
    Jun 43 - returned to the East, Army Group Center reserve (22 StuG III and 9 StuH 42 operational)
    Jul 43 - reached Karachev and assigned to 4th Army, Army Group Center
    Sep 43 - XXVII Corps, 4th Army, Army Group Center
    Nov 43 - transferred to the Vitebsk-Nevel area under 3rd Panzer Army
    Feb 44 - transferred to the Kovel area
    May 44 - transferred to the Mogilev area, 4th Army, Army Group Center
    Sep 44 - XX Corps, 2nd Army, Army Group Center
    Oct 44 - XXIII Corps, 2nd Army, Army Group Center
    Nov 44 - ordered to the rear for refitting
    Jan 45 -ordered back to the front near Danzig under the Second Army
     
  15. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

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    Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing you grandpa's war path with us!
     
  16. JCM6395

    JCM6395 New Member

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    In November they began researching my grand uncle Johann Pröll...so I guess I just have to wait one more year!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  17. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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    I found some background info on the 'Sturm Artillerie' in the German Army in WWII. There were a total of 12-15 of these units. All of them fought in Russia and some in the balkans. Paul's unit, abteilung 190, fought in the Balkans. They wore the 'field gray' uniforms of the Panzer troops. Their intended role was Infantry support but quickly evolved into Tank Destroyer. There is an excellent article (in German) at wikipedia. Sturmartillerietruppe von Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS – Wikipedia
     
  18. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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    For more insight on Kaess Family Genealogy, see Kaess Family from the Neckar Valley (2017) by Brian Paul Kaess. Available at familysearch catalog.
    Kaess family from the Neckar Valley
     
  19. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Wow! He was very lucky! To go through all those campaigns and survive without debilitating wounds is really going against the odds.
     
  20. briankaess

    briankaess New Member

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