Weihnachtsfest is Approaching! And I love it!

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Ahhhh, I love this time of year. Cool days. Cold nights. Frost on the glass. Cuddling with your Fraulein. It's a time when Erika and I plan and prepare not only Thanksgiving for our close family, but the Weihnachtsfest for the whole unit! She is a marvel and amazing cook. We couldn't do this event without her. We also need to thank several others who help put this together for the unit. There is lots of prep, purchase, keg, and carry to be done by all our helpers. We do this for the soldaten and their families to try, in some small part, to thank them for their dedication, loyalty, and hard work over the previous year. It's a time to relax and unwind with our second family.

A small sampling of what's on the agenda this year: Rouladen, Jagerschnitzel with Brown Mushroom Gravy, Spaetzle, Gulash, Pit Roasted Schwein, Red Cabbage with Apples, and more desserts than you can shake a StuG at! All home made! Live music. Singing. Dancing. Many smiles and much Kameradschaft!

I am really looking forward to this year's Weihnachtsfest. It is one of my favorite nights of the year. It will be great seeing you all.

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AAR for the Battle of the airfield - Collings Foundation event

October 2 1944, Luftwaffe airfield, Aachen Germany.

We were ordered to support and relieve our Kameraden of the 1st SS near the City of Aachen Germany. The Allies have been bombing day and night. In the first attack the line held and the Allies were thrown back. Unfortunately, all our Armor had been badly damaged in Jabo attacks and were not fit for battle. When we arrived we quickly set up camp and found the C.O. to brief me on the situation. He had functional equipment but constant probing by the Allies had thinned his manpower. He wanted to know if I had people who could man his assault guns. I quickly volunteer our boys and went back to camp to supervise the set up and look for crews. Much to my delight I had no problem getting volunteers and we quickly got to over to the motor pool to see what they had. I was assigned the Stug III which was in really good shape and also a Hetzer was available so I assigned it to Lt Bauer who was still making his way to the airfield.

Our infantry was thin but the boys were in good spirits wanting to prove themselves against the Allies. We were informed that some top Generals would be making their way to the airfield to inspect the V-1 site which was part of our perimeter. We were to patrol and provide security while the Generals were here. I had a very uneasy feeling that the American swine were near. I could almost smell them.

When morning broke and the weather was good the Fieseler Storch was sent up to check for danger as the Generals made their approach. All seemed to be going well as the Generals were received and began their inspection of the Troopen. I suddenly heard the noise of tracks behind me and ordered my driver to move forward. Out of the woods behind us came an Armie Tank I have never seen before and fired a shot striking us in the rear and we came to an sudden halt. The PAK 36 gun crew raced over to help our stranded steed just as the C battery of our 88's fired a round taking out the would be interloper. In front of us were more Armie tanks, and the battle was on! A Sherman came screaming out of the woods when my alert gunner let go a round from our 75MM gun and took him out. By this time Lt Bauer's Hetzer joined the fight taking out a Stewart but was taken out himself by another Sherman. The 88 crews quickly made short work of the Sherman. I got my Stug moving and along with a 251 drove into the Allied hoard completely breaking them into retreat! The victory was ours and we had won the day.

Feeling we had won a small victory we had an uneasy feeling of what tomorrow may bring.

Thanks to everyone who came out for this event. I know I had a blast playing with Bob's toys. The Museum is coming along and should be done by next year. If you have not been to this event, I urge you to go next year. Bob Collings thinks the World of our Unit and entrusts us with his favorite toys which speaks volumes about our Unit! next event is Torrance hoping it happens and get to do some infantry!

Hohenstaufen VOR!

HauptScharfuhrer Jochien Michien

7th Company Hohenstaufen

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Odessa AAR

June 13th 1944 near Caen France:

The train ride from the Eastern front was long and tiring but when word came down that the Allies had finally launched their attack on the shores of France we were dispatched quickly to stop them in their tracks. Finally, the battle we had trained for was upon us.

After a long train ride we arrived with our equipment and quickly set up camp. We were in very good shape as provisions had just arrived and there was plenty of food for all. For dinner we had our Beer ration and some very tasty bratwurst.

Morning came and after a somewhat chilly night, we prepared to set out for a day patrol to check the layout of the country side. After a hearty breakfast we geared up, and set out on patrol, always vigilant as Partisans had been in the area and we had to keep our guard up.
The patrol was uneventful and we continued checking our gear, cleaning our weapons, and preparing food and drink that was thankfully in abundance.

Reports came in from the field indicating the Allies were in the area and we were to prepare for action. The Oberstrumfuhrer was called to a meeting and in the morning we would be dispatched to guard a fuel dump for the Luftwaffe. However we did not have the numbers to guard the area properly. Elements from the 82nd airborne attacked in superior numbers and quickly over ran our position taking the high ground from us. We fell back, licked our wounds, and along with some FJ Trooppen came up with a plan of counter attack. After a long and tiring march around the outside of the position we set up for a sneak attack only to find they had abandoned the position and once again we were back at our original position.
After guarding the high ground for the rest of the day we awaited word from HQ if our efforts had been successful.

As always the Odessa event was good even though the Allies bested us this year. You have to take your hats off to the reenactors from the Big Red one and 82nd airborne troops. They had their act together and that resulted in some quality trigger time. We only lost by a ½ point so it wasn’t a white wash. The weather was chilly but great for sleeping and we had very little rain. Many thanks to our fearless leader Lt Josh, Randy, Lucas, and Peter for bringing so much food and Beer. I gained 6lbs in 4 days. Thankfully as of this date I have lost the 6 and another 5 thanks to my watching what I eat!

If you have never been to Odessa you should try and make it. It’s a great site and the event is run by a first rate group of reenactors. Next event is Stow. Hope to see you all there.

Haputsharfuhrer Jochien Michien
7th Company
9th SS Hohenstaufen

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Reenacting Questions I Get Asked About All the Time…

Here is a quick rundown of the most common questions I get from non-reenactors about reenacting:

Q: Do you guys use real weapons?

A: In most cases, yes we do. However, some places we reenact have local laws that may certain types of weapons. In this case we use very realistic alternatives such as blank fire only or gas guns (which aren’t technically guns at all).

Q: Do you guys use real bullets?

A: We use blank ammo. It goes bang but there is no projectile. Real bullets would be a safety hazard.

Q: If you use blanks, how do you know when you have been hit?

A: It’s an honor system. During battle if you see someone aim at you and pull the trigger, you take a hit (pretend to get shot). The other way is if a judge or referee tells you that you are hit, then you are hit.

Q: Do you guys just “play army” and then go back to your tent/camp/barracks and hang out.

A: Sort of. We have two kinds of events (that sometimes mix). We have tactical events (a war game) and we have living history events. While we are at an event we try to keep things as if it were the early 1940’s from the time we set up to the time we leave, even when the public is not there. We strive to make it as authentic as possible. The clothes, food, material, cooking methods, we all try to keep 1940s.

Q: How do you know what it was like?

A: RESEARCH!!!! We read a LOT of books, talk to many people and as many WWII veterans as possible. The Vets are our best source of info.

Q: Are you allowed to wear ear protection during a battle or demonstration?

A: Yes! It’s personal choice. We do prefer that it be either period correct or as hard to see as possible (inner ear plugs as opposed headphone style).

Q: With your impression, how do you deal with the negative political, social, and wartime actions of those you portray?

A: With honesty. We don’t deny any facts from WWII. That would be against our purpose in the first place! We do like to expand people’s knowledge of the conflict and discuss it from all sides. The general attitude about WWII is “German = BAD = NAZI.” This is not the truth of how it was. Were there bad people? Of course. Lots of them. But most were averge people defending what they thought of as their homes, families, and way of life (mostly against Bolshevism). Stating that all Germans were NAZIs is like stating every member of the current US army is a Republican and they all support Trump. Most people don’t even realize it was a political party. Most people have no idea about the social and moral values of the day or how the average person received news and information. In today’s age of instant info and instant gratification it is sometimes hard to imagine what it might have been like back then. 

Q: How does your radio play German music and news of the time???

A: Trade secret… ;)

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AAR for "The Bridge at Remagen!", or as the Germans like to call it "The Lundendorff Bridge."

March 6th 1945: somewhere on the outskirts of the Rhineland- Palatinate.

Kamaraden! An urgent message has just been received from HQ! We must proceed with best possible speed to the Lundendroff Bridge, and quickly assist with all other units in the area to mount a defense of the Lundenoff Bridge, and keep the Allied invaders from entering our beloved Homeland. Our orders are to guard the bridge so that all civilians in the area may cross back into Germany and assist in defense of the homeland. Elements of Allied 99th infantry as well as Airborne Unit’s are closing in on the town and Bridge, and they must be STOPPED at all COSTS!

When the order came down As Company SGT I quickly assembled our crew for transport of our armor to the bridge area. However, when the train arrived it was damage by Allied Jabo’s in the area and the Locomotive had damage to its air lines. UnterScharfuhrer Derr jumped into action and with some spare parts from an old air compressor quickly repaired the train.  As we pulled out of the station we were full of confidence and pride. We will stop this threat to the homeland!

The trip went well but as we neared the assembly area the weather turned foul and as we arrived we were greeted to mixed sunshine with scattered rain. After the vehicles were unloaded we quickly set up camp and assembled the men for a briefing. At the briefing it was determined that Allied infantry were trying to probe our lines and we would take a recon force with the halftrack to track the Allied scum and alienate them with lighting force. Meanwhile our Stug platoon had just come from the repair shop. The mechanics made the repairs in haste so we needed to go over them to make sure we were ready for battle.

In the Morning our Infantry lead by UnterSchafuhrer Brennamen went out in search of the Allies. Along with other units our brave Soldaten located the opposing force, took the objectives, and made short work of the threat. Upon returning they were able to take a break as we assembled our impressive force to defend the bridge.

We headed out into town to the cheering crowd and quickly crossed the bridge to set up defenses. Once set up we started encountering civilians coming to safety. It wasn’t long before sounds of gun fire were heard and we hunkered down to defend the town and the bridge. The battle was long and hard but the sheer numbers of Allied soldiers could not be stopped. We fought bravely and took many casualties as we prepared a slow retreat to the other side of the bridge where our clever Engineers’ had prepared for this very outcome. The bridge was wired for destruction. The minute everyone one was safely on the German side we would send the bridge and the invaders into the Rhine!

However it did not go as planned and even though many explosions damage the bridge it did not fall. After many days of hard fighting the Allies finally crossed and we retreated to a defensive position to try and stop them. This is not the end for the Reich! We will fight ON!

Many thanks to all who came out for this event. If you have never been to this event, you need to come. We did have some minor issues with the transport and big shout out to Garrett Derr for patching up the tow vehicle so we could get there. It was the maiden event for our newly converted 251 halftrack and she ran and drove like a champ. It is now known in the reenactment community as the best running track in the hobby. Likewise the Stug still need a lot of work but she runs good and drives good after the engine swap and should have many years before we have to do a major overhaul again. Once again thanks for everyone who helped and came out. Next event is Odessa NY September 8th - 10th. Hope to see you there!

Haputshafuhrer Jochien Michien

7th Company 9th SS Hohenstaufen

 

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Three Cheers for Odessa!!! I can't wait for Sept 7!

Odessa. It brings a tear to me eye. It's one of my all time favorite reenactment events/locations. For look and feel, it's tough to beat. Sparse forest. Open fields. Honest to god hedgerows. A hill to capture. Camp out. Night patrols. Cooking on the open fire. Piotr can really rock a campfire!

All put on by some of the finest people you could wish to hold an event.

I'm looking forward to the car pool up and back with fellow soldaten Marc and Allan. And Wanda. Ask me about Wanda.

Vielen Dank,

SS Ostuf. Johann Schmieter

9.SS-Panzer Division /Stabs

Hohenstaufen

 

Odessa - Main road from Camp

Odessa - Main road from Camp

Morning at Odessa

Morning at Odessa


Remagen was awesome... so I was told.

Yup. I missed it. That's what happens when you have a 1 year old. The old reenacting adage is "Family First." I stayed home with the fam and I don't regret it! The guys (and gals) had a great time. That's what's important. Maybe I can convince one of them to post a write up? Well, as usual the town of Tidioute, PA played host to us crazy kids again. They are an amazing town. They put up with us literally taking over for two days. Check out some of the YouTube videos if you don't believe me. ;) I personally will be back next year. I can't wait!

 

Vielen Dank,

SS Ostuf. Johann Schmieter

9.SS-Panzer Division /Stabs

Hohenstaufen

 

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June Means Time for the Airshow!!!!

Ahhhh springtime. Cool breezes. Charcoal barbecues. Cold beers. Family and friends... HOLY MOLEY WE HAVE TO GET READY FOR THE AIR SHOW!!!! :P

This is the thought process of many a WWII reenactor as the first week in June approaches, and rightly so. Coordination of staff, vehicles, equipment, transport, and a gazillion other things leads up to a frenzied approach to the wonderful World War II Weekend hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum. You can find details about the show on their site: http://www.maam.org/maamwwii.html. While we view this event as a "not super authentic" one (the public is there in numbers, after all), MAAM does a great job of giving the massive amount of public at the show a good.. well.. show!

We get to display our amazingly restored equipment and meet the public and Veterans. We get to hear amazing stories from Vets and learn about their first-hand experiences in the ETO (European Theater of Operations) and PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations). They get to tell us what we do right, what we get wrong, and share a laugh. They like to see what they used to wear and equipment they used to use or fight against. Their visits usually end with a smile, hand shake, a "well done" and a "Thank you for your service." It truly is amazing and these are the stories and impression we fight to save so they are not lost to the sands of time.

Come on out to the show. Stop by our camp and introduce yourself. We are listed as KG9 on the event map.

I have to say... there really is no feeling in the world that compares to a B-29 doing a photo fly-by at a 45-degree angle at, oh, say, 200ft above the deck at a 1/4 mile away. It is truly amazing!

 

Vielen Dank,

SS Ostuf. Johann Schmieter

9.SS-Panzer Division /Stabs

Hohenstaufen

 

Photo Credit for above images: Silver Lining Photography

Photo Credit for above images: Silver Lining Photography


A New Horse in the Barn...

We have a new horse in the barn! A few amazing unit members got together and rescued this OT-810 and have begun the conversion process to make her into a SdKfz 251. The amount of time, effort, blood, and money can not be understated. It's crazy what has to be done but we have the dedicated and talented people to do it. We'll post progress as the build rounds out.

Get more details on our PROJECTS page


A New Website

Well, it's been years in coming. Don't make the obvious joke. Ha!

We have put together a new and improved website. We tried to make it more simple and clean. We want to convey our message quickly and easily. The old website was amazing (in 1992) but it's time the website grew up (unlike our unit members). While we put this new site together, please feel free to email me and let me know what you think. Also, please be patient as we try to fit all the pieces together. Let us know if you find a broken link or a page error or anything unusual. 

Vielen Dank,

SS- Ostuf. Johann Schmieter

3./ SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 19

9.SS-Panzer Division

Hohenstaufen