WW2 German SS Soldbuch – ‘Regiment Deutschland’ – Battle of Grandmenil – Ardennes 1944 – Das Reich Division (SOLD)
SS Panzer Grenadier Josef Winkler
Dog Tag/EKM: 6./SS Panzer Gren Ausb Batl 5 – 1081 –
Born on he 23.1.1914 in Briik on the Donau, Kreis Preßburg, Slovakia into a Catholic family.
Before Winkler was enlisted in the Waffen SS, he served in the Slovakian Army (6 Pictures show his armed service including 200 days in Pressburg).
SS Soldbuch opened – 28.08.1944 in Ellwangen/Jagst.
By September 1944, Winkler was issued a full set of uniform and kit in Ellwangen. His SS Soldbuch was security checked in September by an SS Untersturmführer, now with a picture attached of Winkler, just before he was given his SS insignia, a clear picture of the late war SS Uniform can be seen, according to the rear of another photo this was taken in Ellwangen.
On the 11th of November 1944, he received all new combat equipment and uniform. Including Dust Glasses, a wollen blanket and new Dog Tag.
Now attached to his new unit: 7 Kompanie, SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 3 – ‘Deutschland’
Interestingly, according to research on Lexicon der Wehrmacht: The II Batl, of which Winkler was part of as the 7th Company was mentioned in depth.
Ardennes Offensive – December 1944 – Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein
Winklers unit was on the 26th of December 1944 (II Batl) part in the attack to Grandmenil. The Regiment was was under fire from the flank by US Artillery. The II Batl Commander was killed, and the unit had taken heavy losses.
Break Out at Grandmenil December 1944 – Encircled SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 3 – ‘Deutschland’
According to the book, The Ardennes, 1944-45 by Christer Bergstrom :
Under command of SS Sturmbahnnführer Ernst Krag, along with the SS Panzer Aufklärung Abteilung 2 and SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 3, fought against the US Army outside of Tailles, south of Baraque de Fraiture. (They faced the US Army – 75th Infantry Division and the 3rd Armoured Division).
Grandmenil was taken back around noon. At noon the enemy attacked Manhay and Grandmenil. Manhay was lost, the II Battalion was encircled in Grandmenil. The other battalions were in heavy defensive combat. The Americans shot at a German parliamentarian with a white flag and red cross bandage, who wanted to negotiate for a removal of the wounded in Grandmenil. Thus the Second Battalion had to leave behind its wounded in the village and break out to the west.
Pictured above SS Sturmbahnnführer Ernst Krag
Today a Panther belonging to the Das Reich Division remains in Grandmenil and can be visited.
It is clear that Winkler was captured in the Ardennes, no other entry part from his POW number is visible. (839335 & 918.594N)
Winkler survived the war, pictures of him postwar were found in the rear pouch of his SS Soldbuch, including one large portrait of Winkler in 1936. A spare ID portrait photo for his SS documents, and two postwar portraits for documents.
A very rare SS unit to find anything on, the Regiment seems to be well recorded but artefacts linking to soldiers of the unit are not obtainable easily. This example, of a SS Soldbuch issued to a Slovakian, with German heritage. A very interesting example that can be traced to the early battles of the Ardennes for the regiment. Condition is worn, and looks to be used as a POW also.
Links and recommended reading/reference:
Battlefield Tour in Grandmenil : http://www.battle-of-the-bulge.be/battle-field-tours/
Video of Grandmenil in December 1944: http://www.battle-of-the-bulge.be/videos/
Frontkämpfer: SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 3 “Deutschland”. Gebundenes Buch – 1. Oktober 2015, von Regimentskameradschaft “Deutschland”
Manhay and Grandmenil, Belgium, December 24-30, 1944: Combat Interviews of 7th Armored Division and Some Attached Units – Paperback – October 31, 2014, by W. Wesley Johnston
Lexicon der Wehrmacht: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/PanzergrenadierregimenterSS/PGRSS3.htm
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