Heer Soldbuch – Wachmeister Gaida – Panzer 4 Commander – Panzer Regiment 24 (24 Panzer Division) – Pz Badge 25 – Honor Roll Clasp – 11 Tank KILLS! 49 Panzer Days! (SOLD)
Incredible Grouping to a well recorded tank commander in on of the most famous units!
I have yet to be offered anywhere such a jaw dropping Panzer Soldbuch, never mind see one for sale.
Conrad Gaida was born in July 1925, by 1942 he was in a Panzer replacement unit and working the post room (humble start).
On the 9th of April 1943 he was fully trained and sent to Panzer Regiment 24, trained as a Gunner and Tank Commander.
24th Panzer Division
In April 1943 the 24th Panzer Division was reorganized in the Lisieux area in France. At the end of July 1943, the division was relocated to northern Italy in the Modena-Florence-Pisa-Livorno area, where it was used for coastal protection.
In September 1943, the division took part in the disarmament of the Italian armed forces. From mid-October 1943 she fought in the southern section of the Eastern Front and took part in the defensive battles on the Dnieper near Novo Staro Dub. Further defensive battles followed in the Dnepropetrovsk – Krivoy Rog area.
From December 1943 to February 1944 the division defended the Nikopol bridgehead.
At the beginning of March 1944 it fought north of Nikolajew and then withdrew to the Romanian Carpathian foothills via the Bug and the Vltava by March 22, 1944. From March 28, 1944, the division had to face defensive battles in northern Besserabia.
From mid-May defensive battles followed on the upper Vltava as well as the counterattack north of Jassy until the beginning of June 1944. Subsequently, the division was taken from the front and refreshed until July 1944. After, the division was transferred to Galicia.
From August to early September 1944, the division carried out counter-attacks between the San and the Vistula.
On September 15, the division moved to the Beskids, where it was used to defend the Dukla Pass. From October 11th, the division was moved by rail to the Szolnok bridgehead in Hungary on the Tisza. The division fought defensive battles between Theiss and Ipel until January 12, 1945.
Sent then via train transport, leaving behind the heavy weapons and armoured vehicles to Marienburg / Elbing (East Prussia). In the Elbing area, makeshift refitting with weapons and vehicles was carried out. The division was then used for defense and counter-attacks in South-East Prussia.
From February 21 to March 27, 1945 defensive battles followed in Warmia and the retreat to the bridgehead at Heiligenbeil. At the end of March 1945 the division was still transported across the Baltic Sea to the Fresh Spit near Pillau.
In mid-April the remnants of the division (approx. 4 – 5000 soldiers) were evacuated to Schleswig-Holstein. There the surrender took place.
- 7.11.1943 – Panzer Badge in Silver
- 3.12.1943 – Wounds Bade in Black
- 26.1.1944 – Iron Cross Second Class
- 28.3.1944 – Iron Cross First Class
- 19.4.1944 – Panzer Badge – 25
- 15.3.1945 – Honor Roll Clasp of the German Army
- 5.11.1943 – Splinter in the left hand
- 23.3.1944 – Grenadier Splinter chest
Other documents and photos included:
- A Certificate allowing him to wear the Traditional Badge of the 24th Panzer Division! ”Leaping Horse” Signed by Knights Cross Holder Major Kuls (Kuls, Wolfgang 24.02.1945 Rittmeister Kdr III./Pz.Rgt 24)
- Marching Order – 14.4.1945 – They were reported to go to Pillau to report. Likely without their tank at this stage! Signed by: Knights Cross Holder Major von Knebel-Doeberitz (11.05.1945 Major i.G. Ia 24. Pz.Div)
- A certificate stating that Gaida, was mentioned in the Honor Roll of the German Army. Signed by Knights Cross Holder: Generalmajor Gustav-Adolf von Nostitz-Wallwitz (very rare signature as he died in 1945).
- 24 Panzer Division Flyer – These are also rarely seen a personal speech from von Edelsheim to the men of the 24th Panzer Division!
- 25 May 1945 – Eckernforde – Gaida is allowed to carry a rifle with 10 rounds, he is now employed by the Military Police
- Discharge Papers – Gaida was discharged and send home in 1946
- Military Personal Evidence Sheet – listing all his awards, his battles and injuries and training. A great document detailing many of his battles!
- Photos. 1 Portrait of Gaida wearing the Iron Cross First Class and Panzer Badge and EK2 Ribbon. One of Gaida standing facing the camera in 1944. One of Gaida, Hunger and Maar. Note the Traditional badges on their side caps and Numbered Tank Badges. The photo was taken in Ludwigsburg in May 1945.
- Certificate that Gaida was allowed to be considered to be a Helping Medic, likely a useful tool if captured!
- Certificate that Gaida is now a member of Rittmeister Fischers Command in Palmnicken – 9.4.1945 signed by Fischer (Likely German Cross in Gold Holder:
Soldbuch & Tag
Gaida raised the ranks till Wachmeister in 1945!
The Soldbuch is his first issue Soldbuch and would have been on his person from the date of issue. His matching Tag was also first issue, and still retains the neck cord.
He was issued a P39 Pistol, pocket lamp.
Interesting on page 8 of the Soldbuch is that he is allowed to wear yellow waffenfarbe on his cap to signify Cavalry! An amazing entry that I have never seen before and was unique to the 24 Panzer Division!
The most interesting and detailed battle calendar for any Tank Commander, 49 days are listed! One day away from earning the prestigious Panzer Badge 50!
When researching these final days, It would seem that Gaida proved his resilience and battle knowledge.
The following quotes are taken from the book: Unser Regiment, Panzer Regiment 24, Weidman, 1984
Page 283: Already the next day our tanks had to defend against an enemy tank attack on Deutschendorf, around 15 KM north east of Krawitten. The most forward tank was under the leadership of Oberlt Rehäuser, arriving in the night they immediately spotted a large number of heavy enemy tanks right opposite us! Commander of the first tank is Wachmesiter Gaida. In a report to the division, a special attention was given to the unusual circumstances of the attack. In near darkness, Gaida drove forward at a range of 200 meters in front of a row of enemy tanks, that were preparing to advance on Deutschendorf. Wachmeister Gaida shot immediately on the first tank into flames. Now in the lite up battlefield, and taking enemy fire in a lightning speed shot six more tanks! As a result, the enemy tanks broke up, the others retreated. Because of his actions, the dangerous attack was unsuccessful in this sector of the front (…) the next day Wachmeister Gaida fought in the forest and bushes destroying another 5 from 7 tanks that broke through the lines. This report highlights, how by the fighting in Eastern Prussia the individual actions of single tank commanders and their crews could master the situation.”
Last 20 Tanks for the division, ‘Kampfgruppe von Einem‘
Page 286: Last 10 tanks for the division, Gaia, Kobbe, Bachor, Hippler – Fighting for days at Mertensdorf and Anticken.
Summary, this Soldbuch grouping is astounding, and as far as I have collected IDs, I have yet to see 49 Panzer days entered in a Soldbuch! His awards, and his brave actions are well recorded and this grouping will be hard to top if your interested in owning a Panzer Commander!
Another Interesting fact: Pictured are tanks of the Regiment in late 1944 and 1945.