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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 1:16 pm 
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SchnellMeyer , some interesting photos - always interesting to see photos of how these men are today - it closes the inevitable distance which the passage of time creates.
Sadly as time moves on these old warriors become fewer and fewer , eventually memories of what they did will depart with them.
From my own experience the down side of knowing them is having to say goodbye.

It is no secret that Skorzeny's departure from Gran Sasso was memorable to say the least - Mussolini , Skorzeny and the pilot packed out the limited space in the Fi-156.
A flight Mussolini would not forget.


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 7:36 pm 
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Hi Peiper , glad to see you enjoyed the SS-FJ photos .Just on a point of interest , when I was at a reunion of these vets in Germany I asked them about their so called "Penal" beginnings .Much has been written about this but alot of this information is wrong .Some of the original men who were posted to this unit has been disciplined for various things but none were criminals or murders as claimed .The only reason that the unit was changed from 500 to 600 was that they were reformed and strenghtened after Dryvar in 1944 .
Tychen , yes it is hard to see these great men pass away but it is a greater honour to have known them and having had them as friends . Thankfully I still have a good few veteran friends alive and I stay in constant contact with them .
My Uncle who was a Commandant in the Irish Army had the pleasure to meet Otto Skorzeny when he lived in Ireland , he even still has a beautiful signed photo of him in full SS uniform and of course I am doing my best to get it from him , ha ha .
Keep the posts coming men.

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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:35 am 
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SchnellMeyer
Thanks for some great photos and info
and you are perfectly right about the penal status of the unit ,the German army attitude to military discipline was very different
to that of the allies ,even what would be classed as a minor offence in the British army would land you in very hot water within the
German forces so if you say, were late from leave ,or fell asleep on duty, or alike ,this could mean a spell in a penal unit were as the British
army sent you to Colchester nik for a spell before you were returned to your unit ,its an exaggeration to say they were all murderers and
criminals, its because we opperate a different way of punishing offences under military law


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:39 pm 
Brilliant pics SchnellMeyer !


Regards Jb


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:17 pm 
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Servus lads, some great replies to my original thread, its good we can all pool our knowledge. As you all know unfortunately some reference books contradict one another, as the old saying goes "History is written by the victors". I did read that the nucleus of the 500 Btl was comprised of disgraced Luftwaffe Officers then when the 500's were changed to the 600 Btl their penal status was revolked, after Dryvar of course, then the Btl was strengthened with regular SS-Falschirmjager . Anyway great stuff, i'll dig out some more spurious facts from my ref-books and we can have a good old debate going, dassvidanya tovaritches from Peiper. [quote] "I'll show you where the Iron Crosses grow"


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 12:01 pm 
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Hi Stefan , thanks for your kind words . There has been much written about the SS-FJ and sadly mostly wrong .
Peiper your original post was indeed super and I am only glad that I could add to it , that's what this forum is all about helping one and other .This will help us understand our hobby better and also be better at what we do .
Keep the posts coming Kamerads.

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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:33 pm 
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Servus lads, cheers for that Schellmeyer, i agree entirely with what you say, the more opinions the better thats what i say, whether they be right or wrong. Funilly enough i have an intresting question regarding the SS-FJ Schellmeyer, what Paratrooper qualification badge did the SS-FJ get awarded? Was it the normal Lufty type or were they given the Army type with the Wehrmacht/National eagle situated at the top of the wreath, as i have seen both. (i own the Luftwaffe issue Para badge myself). Cheers for that Schellmeyer (or should i say "prosit"), dassvidanya kameraden, regards Peiper. [quote] "I'll show you where the Iron Crosses grow"


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:47 am 
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The most common type of "para" badge to be worn by the SS-FJ is the Luftwaffe pattern .I also have seen the "army" pattern in use but one must remember that before the war some SS men also did para jumps with the Luftwaffe .And these men were given the army pattern rather than the Luftwaffe jump badge. One of the first men in the ranks of the SS-VT to be awarded the Army jump badge was Ernst August Krag , who later went on to serve in the 2nd SS Pz. Div "Das Reich" .He won the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves while a Stug commander .I had the honour to meet him some years ago before he passed away.I can post some photos of him if anybody is interested ?
Keep those posts coming in men .

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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:19 pm 
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Gruss gott lads, thanks Schellmeyer for your response, if you can post some photos that would be great. Unfortunately ive tried to post some photos before on this site but i can't get the hardware to work. I have also read (through various ref books) that the SS when awarded arm-sheilds were worn over the top of their SS sleeve eagle (sewn directly over them), was this true? I thought id better ask the experts before putting an SS tunic together, cheers lads, auf wiedersehen for now, regards Peiper. [quote] "I'll show you where the Iron Crosses grow!"


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:40 pm 
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Hi Peiper & Forum users , here are some of the photos that I promised you .
The first photo shows Krag ( sitting , front left ) when he did his Fallschirmjeger training in 1937 with " Germania" .
The second photo was taken in 1992 , on the left is Heinz Macher and on the right is Ernst August Krag .
The third photo is a signed one of Heinz Macher .
And finally this is one of my favourite signed photos in my collection , Ernst gave me this when I met him in Germany .
Sadly Ernst passed away in 1994 .


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:34 pm 
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Nice photos Justin , an outstanding man Ernst Krag - like yourself I have Mark Yerger's photobiography of him - you are lucky to have met him.
Heinz Macher - also a significant man - I will always recall his account of training assult troops in the use of flame throwers "a terrible thing" is how he described it.
Again Justin you are lucky to have met him , just what I would have said to him had I had your opportunity I am not quite sure - it would have to been a conversation led in the first instance by him.
certainly unique individuals.
I am tempted to reflect on how Macher a solider ended up escorting a loathsome creature like Himmler - if ever there was a contrast Macher and Himmler must be that contrast.


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:09 pm 
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Yes , I know only too well how lucky I am to have met these wonderful gentlemen . Both men were true soldiers and gentlemen to the very end as a matter of fact to the very day they passed away .
James , Heinz Macher was in charge of Himmler's security right up to the very end .As a soldier he was doing his sworn duty .Also with Macher and Himmler was Werner Grohmann who also looked after Himmler , Macher also knew Himmler very well before the War .
I guess it is no different that Otto Gunsche staying with Hitler right up to the very end and then burning the bodies of Frau & Herr Hitler . Both men had sworn a oath and they honoured it , sadly this would not be the case today .There is very little honour & loyalty today.
What ever we may think of these men , good or bad you must admire their loyalty .

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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:18 am 
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Servus lads, great photos Schellmeyer, your personal photo archives is outstanding. It must have been facinating to meet these men as you have, only wish i had done the same. Was it true that Heinz Macher was in charge of the Engineer/Demolition detail that tried to destroy Wewelsburg in 45?. Anyway auf wiedersehen lads for now, all great stuff. [quote] "I'll show you where the Iron Crosses grow!", regards Peiper.


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:36 pm 
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Peiper wrote:
Greetings, some intresting things ive found out regarding the missons of the 500/600 Btls. According to the book "Storming Eagles" by James Lucas......

Sorry guys for taking this topic back a few weeks but the most most detailed account, and perhaps the fairest, of the activities of Bn. 500 I have found is also by James Lucas.

In his Kommando: German Special Forces of WW2 he writes; " At one time it was widely believed in Anglo-American circles that the SS Para Battalion 500 was a penal unit....There is no evidence to support this evaluation and former paratroops with whom I have spoken deny the allegation. They claim that the bn. was made up of volunteers ...fully trained in the paratroop role, and that the unit commanders....were professional SS soldiers with a great deal of front-line, combat experience. This expertiese grafted on to the SS ethos produced paratroops of outstanding ability, endurance and daring...."

This book is an excellent read by a respected historian and former soldier and his account of the fate of Bn. 500 during the execution of 'Roesselsprung' or 'Knights Move', the attempt to eliminate Tito, makes for somber reading. According to Lucas the operation was seriously compromised with "accurate details...being openly discussed by Yugoslav civilians...".

While the elite communist guard units around Tito's HQ were not expecting an airborne assault, their state-of-rediness was very high and response times would have been measured in minutes once the alarm was raised. Lucas writes: "The speed with the escort battalion (Tito's) came into action disconcerted the Germans....it seemed that within seconds of touchdown the guerillas were pouring fire into the paras....pausing only to switch targets between (advancing para) groups..."

On the fate of the survivors; "Para Bn 500 was almost wiped out. It's survivors were posted to Skorzenys command....no more that a handful were involved in the Battle of the Bulge. The remainder fought as infantry on the Eastern Front..."

His account of the final days of the SS para battalion, now renumbered '600', is equally harrowing. In March 1945 the 800 men of the unit were put into the bridgehead on the east bank of the Oder at Zehden and the defence of Neuruppin. The latter, a tale of fanatical stands against overwhelming odds across the wooded heath of Neuruppin. Lucas writes: "...a roll call showed only 180 survivors out of 800 who had entered the battle...these men fought their way back (to the German lines) and back into battle....in the general collapse....nothing more is known of them.....SS Para Battalion disappeared as a fighting force...there could have been only a few survivors...."

I am personally interested in both units and would like links to further information on both.


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 Post subject: Re: Battalion 500
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:08 am 
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Nice post TacAide , James Lucas is one of the few authors who also does a good job when it comes to researching .I also have his book and it is a excellent read and very close to the facts . Pity there are not more authors like him.

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