This speaks for itself…
It’s time to celebrate, once again. As the American holiday of Thanksgiving is upon us, and time with friends and family is just a day away, I find myself looking forward one week to the time I get to spend with my larger second family, the 9th Reenactment Society and most of its members during our annual Weihnachtsfest!
This is one of my favorite events. We expanded it a bit this year and thanks to several helping hands we upped our game, sent out invitations, and have the bunker all set up and ready to go for the festivities. I can’t thank everyone enough for all their hard work and time spent to make this event more spectacular every year.
This year we will again feature home cooked dinner made by Erika for the entire party featuring from scratch spaetzli, roulade, Red Cabbage, and jaegerschnitzel with mushroom gravy. Other members make other foods to round it out and Barb cooks one hell of a mean, from scratch, desert fest. Top it off with beer, gluhwein, and a pit roasted schwine and it couldn’t get much more perfect.
I am looking forward to seeing all of you, many for the first time since last year. You all are what make this hobby work, and have become my second family.
There is no better family in the world.
August 5th, 1944 - Somewhere near Mortain France.
This is it! The Battle for Europe has begun. The Allies have gained a foot hold in Europe. They hoped to push further inland, but it’s up to us Soldaten of the Fatherland to stop them. Our mighty counter attack will surely stop them in their tracks!
Our units were ordered to fall back after our unsuccessful defense of the French Coast. The Allies have brought many, many soldiers and supplies and are making slow but steady progress. We have lost control of the air and it seems the Luftwaffe has abandon us. We have gathered a large force in order to stop the Allied advance. Hopefully God is with us!
Our units fell back to the safety of the woods and here we are able to hide and lick our wounds. We set up Camp next to a nice lake, which has made the support and cooks very happy. With plenty of fresh water and an abundance of food, at least we are all well fed. Our armor is secured in the woods. Along with our platoon of Stugs, we have some recon halftracks and even picked up an armored car with a 20mm cannon. Perfect for laying a screen and protecting our flanks.
The Morning of August 7th dawned and we were commanded to advance and look for the enemy. We were in good spirits as our metal beasts barked to life and we slowly advanced. The morning was crisp, but would warm quickly. We passed many SS men on foot as our armored car screened our flanks looking for contact.
It wasn’t long before gunfire was heard and we under attack. We swung into position, met the Allied dogs head on, and forced them to retreat up the hill. I maneuvered our Stug into an excellent position to watch the main road and wait.
While waiting for orders. Our Stug Commander Unter Scharfuhrer Derr was called to meet with other Commanders. We then came under fire from a British Armored car and our remaining crew swung into action and made short work of the British interloper.
When our Commander returned, we made a move back from the right flank to use the main road as we got word that the Allies were massing at a road junction. We met up with our armor and went up to meet the Allied threat. Heavy fighting ensued and it looked like we gained the upper hand. The battle was over and we had pushed them back this day!
The event at Hazleton was a blast even though camping deep in the woods presented some problems getting personal and equipment deep into the woods. With only one narrow road the 41 Ford troop truck got a work out, and driving the Stug into the woods at twilight almost gave Arnie a heart attack. Once everything was set up, it was a pretty enjoyable time. With many new faces and some old ones, we saw Doug and Dave at an event for the first time in many years. Hats off to Kitty and Lucas for bringing everything to feed everyone and made our camp the envy of every other unit for our overabundance of food. I didn’t see a lot of the battle because I was driving the Stug all day but by the sound of gunfire I assume everyone got plenty of trigger time. Thanks to everyone that came out and help make this a great event.
Haputschafuhrer Jochien Michien
7th Company 9th SS Hohenstaufen
Members of Panzer Grenadier Regiment 19 moved out in windy conditions to patrol their assigned sector for Allied activity. After several skirmishes with British Paratrooper scouts, sounds of battle could be heard from several directions. The steep and very hilly terrain did not allow for fast movement and stymied any motor transport through the area. After several brief and sharp engagements with US soldiers, contact was broken with losses on both sides. The members of Panzer Grenadier Regiment 19 acquitted themselves in battle with bravery.
It is of note that Schutze Meinhard Falke, with extreme bravery, accounted for no less than 5 allied personnel, blunting their counter-attack. He stood alone against this attack, exemplifying Germanic virtues found in all Volksdeutsche.
In a later action Schutze Hans Kirchner was alone in an outpost position. Carefully camouflaging himself, he single handedly annihilated an attacking force of American paratroopers leaving 8 dead in a ditch that ran towards his position.
It was this Kreigsberichter's honor to witness these and many other acts of valor. The proud members of Panzer Grenadier Regiment 19 exemplify the best virtues of all German soldiers.
Returning to camp, the patrol members could settle into a meal of roasted chickens acquired locally from the civilian populace. The evening was capped off with well-earned good humor and kamaradenschaft as the temperature dropped.
The next morning saw the departure of Allied forces into a temporary withdrawal, allowing our valiant combined forces of the SS and Wehrmacht to consolidate our lines and establish a defensive line. Regiment 19 personnel were then relieved by rested and fresh Heer troops and Regiment 19 was taken off of the line for rest and refitting to once again stand ready to combat those who would defile the Fatherland!
GruB von die front,
Oberscharführer Wilhelm Ritcher
Kriegsberichter, II SS Panzer Korps
I have the unique ability to see the greater situation and observe.
Proud moment, when I was the first German to the kickoff point and then heard the rumble of armor and someone called out, here comes the 9th.
Proud moment #2. When Andrea and I registered and our unit list took 2 pages, while everyone else was a 1/4 to half page.
Great job to the NCOs in the morning battle, kept your squads together and pressed the attacks. You did not give the GIs time to assemble and counter. The movement was tactically sound and watching GIs flee made me laugh out loud.
I heard NCOs also repeating the mantra of hydration.
I got to see some damn jealous looks on my bike riding. Other units really envy not only the toys, but the camaraderie.
Thanks to Lucas and Leah for the whole freaking deli and Barbie and Andrea for the deserts.
I learned that Randy resembles a polar bear in the river. And that with my paleness I look like a dead body floating.
Josh and I got to talk on our own and marvel at what a family this unit really is. Welcome to the new guys, the "new" is temporary and will be replaced with "brother" in short order.
I for one am proud as hell at all the skills brought, from mechanical to logistical to our own drum corps!!!
I hope y'all enjoy the photos I took as well. I've been told I look like a trained circus bear on my bike......so photos, I'll stick to photos. You can view them here.
Oberscharführer Wilhelm Ritcher
II SS Pz.Kp.
April 10 1945 - Western Front, Germany
The Morning dawned and it was a warm sunny day. We tried to keep each other’s spirits up but it was getting harder and harder to slow down the Allies. Someone joked “Enjoy the War because the Peace will be terrible”. To make matters worse the Recon had reported to me that they had spotted a new type of Allied tank. Much larger than a Sherman with a gun judged to be as big as one of our 88s. I try to tell myself this could not be, but it was lodged firmly in the back of my mine.
The recon platoon moved out with the halftrack and a 222 with a squad of Troopen looking for the Allies. It wasn’t long before we made contact and I ordered our Stug forward to maybe cut them off before they could get into a choice firing position. I position myself on the left and the Marder Commander place his gun to my right for a perfect cross fire position at the fork in the road.
Looking through the binoculars I spotted a Stewart in front of the formation. I ordered my gunner to take aim and made short work of him, The Marder then blew a hole in the Allied track and sent them running. However, our victory was short lived as the large beast that the recon had spoken of rounded the curve along with a Sherman. I fired and hit the Sherman but the Beast fired at me with a direct hit on my left I order the crew to abandon the vehicle. The Marder exchange fire but was no use and started to retreat. Our soldiers fought bravely but we could not hold them and had to retreat. The War goes on but I think not for long.
The Mechanized Warfare Museum in New Hampshire held its first event at the Deerfield NH fairgrounds and the 9th SS was invited to bring our vehicles and strut our stuff. Along with the guys from the Grabe collection in Illinois we filled out the Axis side. We brought the Stug, and Halftrack and our newly restored 222 “Gretchen”. Grabe brought out their Marder which was assembled from original parts and a restored “Slepper” tracked truck. 3rd Panzer came with their 41 Ford troop truck and Zundapp MC and field kitchen. The Museum showed off its Pershing Tank which is a Veteran of the fighting at Remagen which just so happens to be our next event in Western PA. They also had a Sherman, a Stewart, and halftracks.
The weather was great Saturday not so much on Sunday. We had a great time talking to the public and getting in some much needed driver training. All in all I think the event went off well and look forward to doing this event next year. Next event is the bridge at Remagen, in Tidioute PA August 4th.
Hope to see you all there!
Haputshafuhrer Jochien Michien (John Mick)
7th Company 9th SS Hohenstaufen
June 10 1944 - Near Caen, France.
It was with a heavy heart and somewhat disbelief when we were informed of the Invasion of France. The battle we had trained so hard for had finally come only to be stuck on the Ostfront. We quickly were given the word and with great speed and determination we quickly assembled for the train ride West. Our spirits were high we knew this is would be the fight of our lives and the fate of our beloved Fatherland hung in the balance!
The train ride West was uneventful and our Company of Stug’s quickly assembled for the Road March West. It would be a rather typical 20 Kilometer trip to a small French village near Caen. Upon our arrival we quickly set up camp near the Village. I parked my Stug with the recon element and decided we needed to form a plan and after an exchange of ideas we retired for the night.
In the Morning we assembled for formation and tension was high as it was noted the Allies might be approaching the village and the recon went out on patrol to make sure we were not surprised. All seemed well when the day was broken up by the drone of aircraft. Parachutes were seen and the Allies were trying to drop behind our lines but the Paratroops had missed their mark and were in front of our recon element.
We pounced on them and seem to have the upper hand when out of nowhere Allied infantry rushed to support them. We fought to a stalemate and managed to throw them back. We then retreated to our camp to set up a counter attack. The Allies might have a foothold in France but we will defend every inch of ground. They will not have an easy time of it.
2018 marks our 11th year at the Reading Air Show for the 9th SS Hohenstaufen, and it was a very typical Reading. The Track and Stug were displayed along with a small arms display along with some machine guns. The heavy rain forecast kept us from bringing the 37MM Flak gun. It was the first time in Airshow history at Reading which featured not one but two B-29’s and it was quite a sight to see them flying together. The Hearts and minds program was in full swing. Arnie and I had very little free time answering questions and taking pictures with the public. Once again, we hosted some members from the 1st SS LAH and they were helpful with the show. Many thanks to everyone that attended and help with talking and interacting with the public. Your professionalism is what makes Reading such a huge success and makes our unit one of the most Elite SS unit’s in Reenacting.
Haputshafuhrer Jochien Michien ( John Mick)
9. SS Hohenstaufen
Guten Tag meine Damen und Herren, It's been a while since I have updated. We continue on with ferocity! We are coming along in our restoration projects. Check out some updates in the "projects" section of the site. Unit members are giving it their all and we love them for it.
We have a new event coming up in a week. We'll do an AAR and let you all know how it goes. I am not worried about it. It is being put on by the amazing 7. Kompanie "Grossdeutschland" unit. They are great people. We will be fielding with one of our favorites, Kampfgruppe Franzky. We do well in the field together and their guys are top notch.
I am looking forward to renewing aquaintences and spending time with old friends.
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.
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!
HauptScharfuhrer Jochien Michien
7th Company Hohenstaufen
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
9th SS Hohenstaufen
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… ;)
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
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.
SS Ostuf. Johann Schmieter
9.SS-Panzer Division /Stabs
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!
SS Ostuf. Johann Schmieter
9.SS-Panzer Division /Stabs