Fähnrich Karl Posthausen - Luftwaffe Flak - The man who traveled many miles (DH)
Soldbuch for Fähnrich Karl Posthausen – 3/Reserve Flak Abteilung 146, 2/Luftwaffen Bau Bataillon 8/1, 8/Flak Regiment 38, Flak Ersatz Abteilung 38, 7/gem Flak Abteilung 164(v), Luftkriegschule 8, zbv Batterie 3602, 3/gem Flak Abteilung 164(v), 3/Flak Regiment 42 (mot)
Fähnrich Karl Posthausen was born in 1911 in Bad Godesberg which is suburb of Bonn. Before joining the Wehrmacht, he was a construction technician (beruf bautechniker).
His soldbuch was opened on 1 Sep 39. It’s obvious that his service preceded then as his first rank is listed as gefreiter. Although he isn’t wearing glasses in his photo, page 2 says that he did.
The soldbuch is denazified throughout indicating that Karl used it for identification after the war.
His initial unit with the opening of the soldbuch is 3/Reserve Flak Abteilung 146. This was a heavy flak unit stationed in Cologne. On 1 May 40, Karl was promoted to unteroffizier with them.
For a couple months, 1 Aug – 19 Oct 40, Karl was assigned to 2/Luftwaffen Bau Bataillon 8/1. I have had a lot of difficulty locating information about this construction unit. However, from the timing, it was likely deployed to Belgium, Holland, or France for airbase construction. Based on his pre-military profession, it’s surprising he didn’t stay longer.
On 19 Oct 40, Karl was reassigned to 8/Flak Regiment 38. He would be with this unit for nearly 1.5 years until 19 May 43. When he joined them, they were stationed in France and Belgium under the governance of the I Flakkorps.
In Mar 41, Karl and his comrades were relocated to Comiso in Sicily where he performed anti aircraft duties.
With the approaching kick-off to Operation Barbarosa, Flakkorps I was placed under Panzergruppe 2 which was assigned to the central front. Karl and his comrades were obviously very close to the action and he performed well. He and his comrades first attacked Bialystok and Minsk and advanced to Smolensk.
On or about 23 Jul 41, he was wounded in action around Lochwiza although there is no hospital stay entered into his soldbuch. It is assumed that the wound wasn’t severe and that he was treated at a field aid station. For this, he was awarded the Wound Badge in Black.
After his return to his unit, he performed heroically and was awarded the Iron Cross First Class for actions in and around Smolensk on 30 Aug 41. Two days later, he was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class!
Obviously he did something incredibly special. Likely his commanders thought that he was due the EK1 so they awarded it and then “filled the gap” with the EK2 2 days later.
After Smolensk was reduced, Panzergruppe 2 was turned south to complete the pincer attack at Kiev. This was successfully concluded on 26 Sep 41 with 665000 Soviet prisioners being taken.
Karl and his comrades were then redirected to attack Moscow from the south. During this advance, Karl was next awarded the Luftwaffe Flak Badge on 1 Nov 41.
He advanced as far as Klin on the outskirts of Moscow in Dec. There, the advance completely stalled due to attrition, lack of supplies, fresh Soviets reserves, and poor weather. The Soviets counterattacked and Karl and his comrades were driven back to Orel. They held this position until Jun 42, when Karl and his regiment were placed under the 15 Flak Division which supported Panzergruppe 1 in the Caucasus.
On 10 Aug 42, Karl was awarded the Eastern Front Medal. Interestingly, this award is certified by Flak Regiment 99 which also was in the Caucasus.
With this unit, Karl advanced to Rostov and then captured the Kuban region. This was as far as the group could advance, however, due to Russian counterattacks and sapping of resources to support Stalingrad.
Apparently, Karl was engaged in heavy ground assaults at this time as he has was awarded the Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge on 16 Oct 42.
In Dec 42, Karl was wounded by grenade shrapnel to his butt cheeks. He arrived at the Front Hospital in the city of Taganrog in Southern Russia. He would spend until 22 Jan 43 in a specialist hospital in Berlin from this wound. During his recovery, he was assigned to Flak Ersatz Abteilung 38 from 23 Jan – 9 Mar 43.
As can be seen from this map of Karl’s route, he was quite literally all over the map by this time of the war.
From there he returned to his home unit (8/Flak Regiment 38) through 19 May 43. When he rejoined them, they were in full retreat due to the catastrophe at Stalingrad. He would have ended up at approximately Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine.
On 21 May 43, he was transferred to 8./ gemischte Flak Abteilung 164 (v) which had a mix of heavy and light flak weapons. This unit was located in the vicinity of Novorossiysk, Russia on the coast of the Black Sea. In short order the unit was withdrawn to Crimea. Most likely, Karl and his comrades were dedicated to holding the Kuban bridgehead until they were forced to withdraw in Oct 43.
On 1 Jan 44, Karl’s leadership potential was noticed and he was promoted to fahnenjunker. Shortly thereafter he was enrolled in the Luftkriegschule 8 (3. Inspektion). This was a specialist Flak Officers Course in Göppingen. He was here through 31 Mar 44. While here he received training on 2cm Flak 30 and the K98 Rifle. Additional training was received on 8,8cm Flak 18 and the Kommandogerät 36 & 35 which was used for spotting and commanding a Flak Battery. This training is recorded on an addendum added to his soldbuch between pages 14 and 15.
On 1 Apr 44, Karl was promoted to Fähnrich and transferred to z.b.z Batterie 3602. This unit was under the control of 9 Flak Division and it is highly likely that Karl was relocated to Sevastopol. His stay with this special frontline unit was brief, however, and on 15 May 44 he was transferred back to 2./ gemischte Flak Abteilung 164 (v).
In Jul 44, Karl and his comrades were withdrawn and sent to Silesia in Poland for rest and refitting. It was here that he was assigned to 3./Flak Regiment 42 (mot) with whom he would be until the end of the war.
In Sep 44 he was issued a MP40 no 9043 (Page 8) along with an Iron ration pack and a 7,65mm Pistol (Page 14). The “Pistole B” is almost certainly a FN “Browning” 1922 commonly used by the Luftwaffe.
As for Issued kit, he seems to have been given twice a Tarnjacke - Camouflage Jacket.
Immediately after the equipment issue, he was sent to Metz, France to fight the Allied forces in the Diedenhofen area. On 22 Nov 44, he and his comrades had retreated to Bolchen southeast of Saarbrücken.
Very interestingly there is another addendum in the soldbuch showing that from 4-9 Dec 44, Karl underwent and passed a 5 Day course in Close Combat Tank Hunting!
After this course, he rejoined his unit and by 20 Dec, they were in Kaiserslautern. This was followed by transfers to the Saarland and Palatinate area and the onset of the retreat to the east.
On 11 Jan 45, Karl was awarded the Wound Badge in Silver. Once again, there is no hospital entry to for this wound so it is assumed it was fairly minor and that he was treated in the field.
By 1 Feb 45, Karl and battery were operating in the Wörsbach area and was likely fighting American forces there. While his deeds are lost to history, he performed in an exemplary fashion and he was awarded the German Cross in Gold on 5 Feb 45!
By 26 Mar 45, he had been driven back to Germersheim. On 18 Apr 45, he arrived at Bad Tölz in a Reserve Hospital, with a 31a - Infantry Bullet wound. This was at least his 4th documented wound. But this was a short stay and 6 days later he was sent to the next Reserve Hospital as Bad Tölz fell at the end of April. He would sit the rest of the war out in a Reserve Hospital in Chiemsee south Germany. He was released from this hospital on 6 Jun 45 after the war ended.
Interestingly, a note on page 10 date 7 Jun 45. He became a member of the Luftwaffe Samel Lager A9 in Bad Aibling - an Entlassungslager. There is also a notation that he was inspected by a doctor on 17 Jun 45.
Thus, it appears that he was officially released from his Wehrmacht service at this time. Karl was truly an amazing frontline warrior!
All work above was put together and researched by Jason Karlen. Thank you for allowing your work to be shared on Freedom2collect.
Unteroffiziere Walter Fruth – Infanterie/Grenadier Regiment 253 (34th Infanterie Division) (C/DH)
comments powered by Disqus