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Panzer crewmember 2nd Panzer Division

Discussion in 'Uniforms, Personal Gear (Kit) and Accessories' started by Bill Smith, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Member

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    Greetings to all -

    Looks like we can use some new threads of militaria around here, so, with out further adeau, let me begin by posting my mannequin represting one Herr Leo Froeschl, former member of the German Army's 2nd Panzer Division, but first, a little bit of information about Herr Froeschl.

    Leo Froeschl was born in Vienna, Austria, and once Germany annexed Austria in to the borders of the Greater German Reich, Leo signed up as a member of the 2nd Panzer Division based in Vienna. He crewed on all models of German tanks beginning with the Panzer Mk. I, through the Panzer Mk. IV ausf. L. He never advanced from there to the Panzer Mk V ( Panther ) or the Mk VI's ( Tigers ). Beginning in 1939 with the Polish campaign, he soldiered through the Western campaign against France, and the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Greece, and on in to Russia. Pulled back from the Russian campaign for R&R, his division was then sent to the west to prevent the Allied Armies breakout in Normandy, and was eventually captured by the British forces during the on slought at Falaise. He was sent to England to be interred in a p.o.w. camp there until repatriated back to Austria in 1947.

    I got to know Leo quite well in the last few years of his life, and spent many a moment learning everything and anything from the inner workings of a German tank, to uniform requirements, to events associated with but having been a German tanker in the time period of the Second World War.

    I hope you enjoy.

    Bill
     

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  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Many thanks for the posting, Bill - I have visited the Falaise area many times and Herr Froeschl was fortunate to get out of there ; he must have had some interesting experiences......
     
  3. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Member

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    During his service time, Leo was awarded a number of Germany's military awards. The Panzer Assault Badge In Silver was but one of these, however, it is interesting to note that he also was citied for, and rewarded with, the Infantry Assault Badge In Silver. This was due to his unit having been one of the units involved in the assault on Moscow in 1941. Having run out of fuel for their tanks, they were given rifles, and ordered to continue on in to the fray.

    Here is a close up of his awards. Also notice that his ribbon bar is slightly different in formation from the standard German issue style. This is due to his having been issued the "Austrian fold" style of wear, used by the Austrian Army prior to their "Anschluss" with Germany.

    Bill
     

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  4. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Member

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    Here is a close up of the M 43 style black panzer cap. You might also notice that he wears the rank of "unteroffizier", or sergeant piped in pink branch piping indicating German armour.

    Bill
     

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  5. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Stellar thread Bill, 5 stars.
     
  6. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Member

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    Leo Froeschl pre war period photograph while in uniform. Notice the early black panzer beret being held under his arm, a piece of head gear that was quickly removed from issue.

    Bill
     

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  7. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Member

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    Leo again, a couple of years before his passing, in November of 2003 at my home, along with his "twin". He passed away on 25 December 2005 at the age of eighty-six. I was most honored to have been able to have known him.
    What is that old line from so long ago? "Ich hatte eine kameraden, nie besser kann mann finden......" ( I once had a comerade, no better can one find......)

    Hope you enjoyed this thread.

    Bill
     

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  8. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Excellent uniform and story Bill. Those Panzer uniforms are pretty darn expensive these days. I have only three related personal photos that would be nice to have here in this thread. One photo in particular, small that it is, is an early war photo showing light tanks on the move and in one of them, you can see the panzer beret being worn. The last photo I have that im talking about, simply shows a panzersoldier in full uniform minus headgear, and the interesting thing about this photo is that the soldier in it--to me; greatly resembles Ernst-Schmuck Barkmann!
     
  9. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Member

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    Interesting that you placed Ernst's name with his familial post war usage of his last name "Schmuck-Barkmann" as during the war he was simply known as Ernst Barkmann.

    Bill
     
  10. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi Bill, force-of-habit for me when im doing research on RKTs. ;-D

    BTW, all up to Leutnant & Leutnant d.R, completed as well as Oberleutnant/d.R completed to the mid way through the letter "H" as of now.
     
  11. schwarz

    schwarz Member

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    Excellent story, been there stories are always very interesting indeed :)
     

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