23. April 1941
|GEO & MIL INFO|
|during this period Lt Herzog becomes the new company officer|
The battalion is being transferred. Several more divisions are to be stationed in our area. The units are moving closer together. Now that is really clear! So we pack and load and move to the market place where the battalion is gathering. It is a martial picture that unfolds in the square. Soldiers and vehicles are standing in long columns along the pavement, forming a large square. Messengers are running back and forth. Shouts, orders and commands resound. Mounted soldiers stand like statues in front of their trains. I myself, in combat gear with steel helmet and machine gun strapped to my back, am riding slowly along my platoon. Then Sofia passes me on the pavement with a friend. But she doesn't look at me.
It is already dark when we reach our new location. By the light of the torches our vehicles pull up in a meadow where they are parked under trees in Fliegerdeckung (cover from air observation or attack). The loamy ground is wet and soggy, so the drive up was not entirely trouble-free. While the drivers then unhitch and tend to the horses, the platoons seek out their quarters. My platoon is in a large schoolroom, myself with the company squad leader in a farmhouse occupied by a woman with her daughter of about 16 years. It is a simple loam house with a thatched roof, like those in many Polish villages. After a few days, however, I change my quarters. In my place, Private Sasse moves in with the company squad leader while I move in with an active Oberfeldwebel. Our new accommodation is at the top of a rather steep slope, is cleaner than the first house, has floorboards and window curtains and belongs to a Polish railwayman who is nice and friendly to us. He also has a wife and two daughters, and the whole family doesn't understand a single word of German. My comrade, who as an Upper Silesian speaks fluent Polish, doesn't mind. But I am forced to speak Polish and learn a lot and quickly that way.
Our vivacious first lieutenant once again got himself into hot water with the old man. Although he was on alert duty with his platoon, he turned up at the door of his house in his pyjamas in the evening. When the commander found out, all hell broke loose. A short time later, this oblivious duck was transferred and we got another company officer. It is Lieutenant Herzog, tall, slim, with a narrow face and a slight visual defect. We got on well from the start, because he liked me for some unknown reason.
Close to the village is a small electricity plant which houses a German police detachment. The terrain around this plant is covered with gorse and willow bushes and is well suited for our field training. Here I usually practise with my mortars. After duty I walk through the village talking to people or being approached, and then I also go into the houses. I went to one family twice. The man is cagey. He does not like us. But the woman is gentle and kind, and the daughter, who is about 20 years old, is very trusting and wants to know and be told all kinds of things by me, especially words that our soldiers shout to her on the street.
From time to time I ride through the surroundings with the other sergeants. Once we swim with the horses through a small river that flows past the electricity plant near the village. We rode into the water until the horses lost their footing and swam off, while we sat quietly in the saddle. On the way back, as soon as the horses started to swim we let ourselves slide out of the saddle and swam alongside, just holding the horse by the mane with one hand. With this method, all we had to do was sit back in the saddle in time before the horse grounded on the other shore. We did all this in full uniform. It was warm enough and the clothes dried quickly.
Another time I climbed up a wooded slope with Lieutenant Herzog to a pool of water where we shot at frogs with our pistols. Sometimes I also went to our company canteen, which we had set up in the school building. (Incidentally, in Jasło I had once stood in for the canteen corporal during his leave for 14 days. In those two weeks I had completely messed up the cash register).
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Personen-Index Namen,Anschriften Personal I.R.477 1940–44 Übersichtskarte (Orte,Wege) Orts-Index Vormarsch-Weg Mil.Rangordnung 257.Inf.Div. MG-Komp.eines Inf.Batl. Kgf.-Lagerorganisation Kriegstagebücher Allgemeines Zu einzelnen Zeitabschnitten Linkliste Rotkreuzkarte Originalmanuskript Briefe von Kompanie-Angehörigen
- TätBer 257th I.D. T-315 Roll 1802 Frame 000580. From April onwards, the division gradually moved closer to the demarcation line on the San. (Benary p. 23)
- TätBer 257th I.D. Frame 000206/580