The book tells the story of Karl-Heinz Kaebel (Kracht) and his service with Panzer-Ersatz und Ausbildungs- Abteilung 11, which he took many personal photos which are the basis for this book. His unit was involved with the fighting around Arnhem Bridge in September 1944.His name changed after the War when he went to Sweden, as it was hard to pronounce Kracht, thus it became Kaebel.
The Illustrated History of Kampfgruppe Knaust, hardcover large format, 168pp with 238 rare black and white photographs, 25 documents 11 maps and 10 aerial photographs, published by R.N. Sigmond Publishing, Renkum (NL) , 2010( ISBN: 978-90-812703-3-5) with a limited print run of 1,000 copies only.
The book is divided in to 4 chapters with 7 appendices, with a forward written by Karl-Heinz Kaebel’s(Kracht) widow, Sonja Kaebel, in which she was surprised that the authors contacted her when writing about the German side of the famous battle. Mr Kaebel, in 1990, presented the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands, a selection of his personal photos and the two authors tracked his widow down and brought up the idea of the book. After the forward is the personal story of Karl-Heinz Kaebel (Kracht) following his training within the German army and the battles in and around Arnhem, and till the end of the war when he was captured by the Americans.
Chapter 1 – Reichsarbeitdienst (RAD):
The Reichsarbeitdienst (RAD) was a labour organization that all young men at the age 18 joined prior to the service in the Wehrmacht. Karl-Heinz Kracht was drafted into the RAD in May of 1943 and began his service. And in this chapter starts the photos of the training while with the RAD organization.
Chapter 2 – Training:
Chapter 2 outlines the training experiences of Karl-Heinz Kracht when he arrives to his new unit, Panzer-Ersatz und Ausbildungs- Abteilung 11 in September 1943. In this chapter the photos follow his progress from basic training to getting familiar with armoured vehicles and how they operate in all conditions. There are some very good photos of the training on the various panzers at the training school, including the gas powered Panzer III’s.
Chapter 3 – Arnhem:
Chapter 3 provides a fairly comprehensive description of the events of September 17th, 1944 when the British Ist Airborne Division dropped in the vicinity of Oosterbeek. Then a brief explanation of the first few days at the bridge. This section holds the gold mine of unpublished photographs of the epic battle in and around Arnhem Bridge. With many aerial photos as well as maps of the area you can get the feel on how close the battle actually was. Also, there are many after the battle shots of the Arnhem area when liberated in 1945, showing the knocked out Panzers from the battle of Arnhem. There is lots of excellent reference material in this section making for very enjoyable reading.
Chapter 4 – Betuwe:
This chapter covers the battles south of Arnhem Bridge towards the Nijmegen area right up till the end of 1944. It includes maps, good action reports and order of battles on the German units involved in the fighting. The photos in this section are excellent, showing the fighting in the area and photos taken after the battle in 1945.
Appendix 1 – Hans-Peter Knaust:
In this section is the biography of Oberstleutnant Hans-Peter Knaust . During the battle of Arnhem the Kampfgruppe in which he commanded, was named after him. The Appendix tells his story with the involvement in the epic battle and all the way to his capture by American forces in 1945.
Appendix 2 – Wilhelm Mielke:
In this section is the Biography of Oberleutnant Wilhelm Mielke , commander of the 5th company of Kampfgruppe Knaust .
Appendix 3 – The Tanks of Panzer-Kompanie Mielke:
In this Appendix is listed the Panzers used by the Panzer-Company Mielke during the battles in and around Arnhem. Also included is a small section on the colours and markings for the Panzers.
Appendix 4 – German Casualties during the Battle of Arnhem:
This section covers in great detail the German casualties of Kampfgruppe Knaust , the testing and deployment of the tank in North Africa, the King’s Force version offered by AFV Club. It makes for very interesting reading, and includes a number of developments being suggested by those in the field— for example, mounting the 3 inch howitzer in the turret and not the hull (as originally designed). It covers the actions of the tanks during this time, and is well-referenced with actual wartime pictures.
This section details the Order of Battle for the 116. Panzer Division.
This section details the Order of Battle for the 9. Panzer Division.
Appendix 7- Heer, Luftwaffe, and Waffen SS Ranks and Closest Rank Equivalent:
This section is a flow chart given the Rank equivalents of the different branches.
This book covers the personal history of a member of Kampfgruppe Knaust, Mr Karl-Heinz Kaebel (Kracht)and his personal photos during the epic battle around Arnhem Bridge in September 1944. Like many soldiers who took photos that chronicled the events that took place during this battle, they were saved and placed in a photo album. A bonus with the book is a copy of a Wartime German (52 x 40 cm) 1:50,000 scale map of theArnhem area.
Overall, this is an invaluable resource to the modeler and researcher of the famous battle. All the photographs, maps, charts, stories are all excellent. As a researcher of this battle, and one who has been to the area many times, I would highly recommend this book.
Highs: Excellent un-published personal photos from Karl-Heinz Kaebel (Kracht) of the battle around Arnhem Bridge.Lows: Arrangment of some photos, not with the story.Verdict: I would highly recommend this great book to any modeler or researcher.
About Anthony Sewards (recceboy) FROM: ALBERTA, CANADA
Served with the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) for 26 years. Was chief gunnery instructor on the Lav-Recce (Coyote), Lav-3, Leopard C-2 / Leopard 2. And various small arms from pistol to .50 cal. and 84mm .
Have been working behind the scenes with REALMODELS, BLACKDOG, MENG,LEGEND,HOBBY ...