Skip to comments.Rare color footage From World War 11
Posted on 01/03/2014 3:41:06 PM PST by navysealdad
Footage showing surrendering troops to US Army. southern Bohemia, Czechoslovakia 1945. Isn't strange that some Germans still carry weapons when surrendering plus a few shots from Prague.
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d;^) (and thanks for the clip)
Me too! LOL!
What a terrific film. The American troops are from the 16th Armored Division, can’t tell about the Germans but it’s a mixed bunch.
Note that the Germans are practicing good march order discipline, are still under control of unit leaders and are following instructions from the Americans. Many are still armed. Also note that the tires of the German vehicles are worn to the core, no tread in sight. Very common at this stage of the war.
für Sie ist der Krieg vorbei
World War 5
Can only laugh at 5:30, where the German commander doesn’t even seem remotely bothered that they lost.
Not really, they were not treacherous, duplicitous Muslims.
Absolutely fascinating. The quality is surprisingly good too.
One of my favorite stories was from an American lieutenant who went out scouting with a driver in a jeep during the last days of the war. He came head to head with what was left of a German Panzer Corps, thousands of men, and hundreds of tanks and vehicles. He pulled up to the lead vehicle, got out, and demanded to see the commanding officer. After a bit a Major General came up and asked in English what he wanted. He told them “I’m here to take your surrender”.
The general said “You want all of us to surrender to you?”
The American told him, “Well, I have a whole division of paratroopers and tanks coming up the road behind me, and you have the whole Red Army coming up the road behind you. You can either surrender to me, or deal with them in a little while.”
The general opened the flap on his holster and pulled out his pistol, and the lieutenant thought he was going to die right there. The general turned the pistol around, handed it over to the lieutenant, and ordered his men to stack arms.
My best guess is that this was filmed on the road from Pilsen to Prague. It may have been taken after the Germans surrendered on 8 May, but at that stage the Germans were desperate to surrender to the Americans rather than to the Soviets. That meant death and they knew. They were not going to do anything to piss off the Americans.
The Germans seem awfully happy to be surrendering to Americans. I wonder if they got to remain in American captivity?
It's over, they'll live, and they're in American rather than Russian hands. I read a fascinating memoir from a Gebirgsjaeger sniper who went to great lengths to be captured by the Americans, rather than the Russians. The American unit that his bunch surrendered to was sending prisoners back to the Russians, so he bolted and...just went home.
My father related his experience interrogating German POWs in North Africa and Italy during WWII. He said the Germans would often have their side arms and he would be unarmed. We asked him if that wasn't rather dangerous. His priceless reply, in an indignant tone, was "They were German Officers, they were quite correct."
They would probably not have remained in captivity for long. These German soldiers were fortunate. Most of those who surrendered to the Russians soon found themselves, in the words of Nikita Khrushchev, "in the cold Soviet ground."
What I meant was did the Americans turn them over to the Russians?
If that bit of quick thinking didn't grease the skids for his trip to about Major or so, it should have.
Although a Corps commander surrendering to somebody simply alleging that they represent a division kind of says 'tired realist' to me. No ammo resupply, no fuel, no med support, no rations or spares, no comm with higher, screw it. It's over. :-)
I once talked to an older German who was a POW in America.
He said “I loved it! All I did was farm potatoes in Idaho. I didn’t want to leave.”
I have read more than a couple of accounts of that- German POWs that got ‘farmed out’ to farms as labor, being as happy as they could be and wanting to emigrate as soon as they legally could.
Beautiful film. Thanks!
You really do wonder, though, what happened to these folks.
I knew a guy in South Alabama who had a bunch of German POWs work on his farm. He told me some interesting stories about them.
One thing is he said he gave them each a pack of cigareetes and a coca cola. They would get Red Cross packages from Germany. He said the first thing they would do is take out the ersatz cigarettes and throw them away.
He exchanged Christmas cards with several of them until he or they died.
Thanks for posting!
First quick takes: Look for the guy in semi-dress uniform with a leg missing moving smartly up the road with crutches while being passed by vehicles full of seemingly healthy countrymen sitting on their asses.
One of the half tracks seems to have a severely bent spindle causing the front left wheel to wobble badly.
Glad we have a week of crappy weather coming-I want to categorize all of those German vehicles and it’ll take at least that long!
MY friends Dad was taken from his home in Slovenia (Yugoslavia)and was sent to the ME to fight - first chance they got they arrested those on command and surrendered to a group of Canadians. He spent the rest of the war in Canada and loved it. After the war he came to Australia to live as he didn’t want to live under the Socialists. He always used to laugh at how, once they had been taken captive and forced to fight they played the convert to Nazism right up until the first sight of the Allies. He thought the Germans stupid but in reality the Germans thought themselves so ideologically perfect and superior that if someone was shown what they truly stood for they would make believers out of them. Sounds a lot like liberals!
“Isn’t strange that some Germans still carry weapons when surrendering plus a few shots from Prague.”
It served several purposes. The American forces accepting the surrenders were often grossly outnumbered by those German forces who were surrendering. The Americans could not handle that much surrendered weaponry until the German forces reached their POW collecting points, where they were finally disarmed. The american and German forces did not want the German weaponry to fall into unauthorized hands. The surrenderd German forces needed their weapons to protect against retaliatory attacks from vengeful partisans and civilians, until they reached their protected POW collecting points in these convoy columns.
Notice that some of the vehicles carried several young women. I suspect they were Czech who collaborated with the Germans for food and niceties in return for sex. If they stayed in their villages after the Germans left, they would be attacked, beaten and maybe killed for their acts of collaboration.
I noticed that, too.
One of my uncles was with the Sixth Minesweeper Flotilla, serving in the Baltic. They all hauled posterior when the Russians came down and surrendered to the British. The Russians wanted the minesweepers and the Brits said they could have 'em. Next, the Russians said they needed the German crews to bring the ships to Russia as their men didn't know how to run them. Said they'd send the Germans back at the end of the cruise.
They never did.
He was captured by the Germans early in the war and sent to a POW camp in Austria. He said the camp was the nicest place he'd ever seen and he was treated better there than he had been in the Red Army.
Late in the war, the Wehrmacht recruited a Russian division to fight on the Eastern Front against their countrymen. He volunteered.
On their way to the front, however, it became apparent that the situation in the East was collapsing. The German officers turned the men loose, to do what they would.
The machinist said that he turned and made for the American lines as quickly as he could. He knew what would happen to him were he ever caught by the Red Army. He described it as a "breathless race" across South Germany -- on foot, on a bicycle, riding on horse-drawn wagons, anything to get away.
To his dying day, the Russian thanked Gen. George S. Patton for his life. And he probably loved America as much as anybody ever loved any country.
Good insight but my guess is that the location was
within German borders because of the reaction (or lack
of reaction) by the civilians watching the procession
in most of the video.
Sadder though was the fate of Soviet POWs that were liberated by the Americans, who desperately did not want to return to the Soviet Union, because they knew their fate was death, since Stalin considered anyone who surrendered to be traitors.
The area looks like France, and if it is, they wouldn't have been turned over to the Russians.
It is a mixed bunch. Probably no way of knowing if they met and mixed together on the road or what? These people just look happy to be surrendering to anyone other than Russians.
I suspect the vehicles containing a mix of SS and non-SS men may be due to their being part of the same ad-hoc unit. Towards the end, defensive lines would be formed with one SS man separated by 4 or 5 men from other units and the men from the other units taking their lead from the SS man.
At 2:23 there is a staff car PD-3865 with some men in mufti that don't quite look the part of medics. I'm sure they received "special attention". At 2:49 an SS officer in a staff car talks to an American officer. At about 2:51 there is a partial tag on the right front of the halftrack. At 3:25 there is a Wolfsangle rune (2nd SS Division Das Reich?) on the left rear of the halftrack above an insignia that is the same as the left rear of the halftrack at 3:28.
My guess is somewhere near Passau. Crowd reaction appears to be that of German civilians or at least ethnic Germans (Sudeten Germans). Geography doesn't look like Linz, Austria.
One of the halftracks might have a rune of the 2nd SS Panzer Division which surrendered in the area of Linz, Austria but Passau, Germany is not far away.
These scenes appear to take place in the spring. US forces would have reached Passau and Linz in May of 1945.
The German 7th Army consisted of the 2d Panzer Division and various odds and ends including some school troops. They surrendered about this time, so this could be them.
The 16th Armored Division was not committed until they were in Czechoslovakia. The civilians may have been Sudeten Deutsch.
Per Wiki, Passau is at latitude 48;34 N. Spokane, Washington is a little south at latitude 47,39N.
Note the blooming tree behind the staff car at 2:23. I don't know what kind of tree that is but The Washington State Apple Blossom Festival is a festival held annually in Wenatchee, Washington from the last weekend in April to the first weekend in May.
So, this video could be springtime in Passau.
He took the train out to the Eastern Front and spent the rest of the war walking back to Germany, where he surrendered to the British and worked as a gardener.
Heinz passed last year and with his passing one of the last direct links to WW II in our family.
I should have paid attention to the first post. The footage was shot in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia. The civilians are probably Sudeten Germans who will shortly be kicked out when the Czechs ethnically cleanse the region. After the Communist coup of 1948, some native Czechs will pretend to be Sudeten Germans so as to get expelled beyond the Iron Curtain.
I noticed some of the Germans are holding a flag that appears to be that of the Weimar Republic.
The key to this film is the 16th Armored Division. Their first day of combat was 6 May 1945 when they seized Pilsen. They then attacked in the direction of Prague, but we ordered to halt and Prague was liberated by the Russians. on 7 and 8 May, the 16th Armored Division was busy accepting the surrender of German units fleeing the Russians. After the cease fire of 0001 hours, 9 May, any German units not behind American lines belonged to the Soviets. Although some men and units were able to infiltrate American lines, many were turned back and were captured by the Red Army.
This film was probably made on 8 May east of Pilsen.
I did not pick up on the 16th Armour thing except in a post.
Does the video confirm the 16th? Didn’t see that.
They really got desperate near the end - Imagine sending a 14 year old boy to the Eastern front - poor little man - I’m glad he made it out alive.
Yes, the 16th Armored Division patch is visible in several of the scenes.