photo bannerfans_11430117_zps8b63cb2d.gif

Author Topic: SS Plate, Battle of Berlin 44 years later...  (Read 733 times)

Offline Rakkasan187

  • GLOBAL MODERATOR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2014
  • Posts: 2,103
  • Referrals: 3
SS Plate, Battle of Berlin 44 years later...
« on: March 27, 2017, 03:17:06 PM »
SS plate from the ruins of Berlin

This has a different twist to it. It was not brought back by a GI at the end of World War Two. It was brought back by a Soldier 44 years after the Battle for Berlin in April/May 1945.
 
But first a little history to add to the context of this post:

After the Battle for Berlin and the US Army was allowed entry into the US Zone by the Soviet Army, the first US Forces set up tents and bivouacked in the area in the US occupation zone known as the Grunewald. This was a forested area in the Southwest suburb of Berlin known as Stegliz/Zehlendorf area. This sector would later become the US zone of occupation from July 1945 to September 1994.

Some of the buildings that were occupied by the US Army were McNair Barracks, named after General Leslie McNair who was killed in a friendly fire incident in Normandy in July 1944. McNair Barracks, built in the 1930s, originally housed Telefunken headquarters and a factory, until 1941 a joint venture of Siemens & Halske (S & H) and Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft. During the Third Reich, the installation was mainly used for development and production of military equipment, and the radar-guided flak system was perfected there.  In 1945 the Telefunken plant was converted into barracks for occupation soldiers and was known as McNair Barracks. This housed the infantry units of the Berlin Brigade.

The Support units of the US Army’s Berlin Brigade were housed at Andrews Barracks.
 
Andrews Barracks was originally constructed in 1873-74 as the Imperial "Hauptkadettenanstalt" - the main military academy of the German Empire.  In 1933, the academy was taken over by the "SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler” Hitler’s bodyguard. During the war, the facilities suffered heavy damage. The compound was taken over by United States forces in July 1945.

During the battle for Berlin, elements of the German 18th Panzer Grenadier Division were deployed in the forested area of the Grunewald and they faced the Soviet 3rd Guards Tank Army.

After the war large amounts of rubble from the center of Berlin as well as the other districts of Berlin was moved to the outskirts of the city and dumped in the Gruenewald. Dirt was thrown over the rubble and after a several years the earthen mounds with buried rubble looked like natural landscape.

In the US Zone of Occupation a rifle range was built in the Grunewald forest. The berms or backdrops for the ranges where the bullets would impact were made of these earthen rubble mounds.

This range was known as Keerans Range. Named after 82nd Airborne Division Deputy Commander Charles L. Keerans who was listed as Missing in Action after another friendly fire incident where his C-47 aircraft was shot down during the Sicily operation.

I was stationed in Berlin in the late 80’s to 90s with the 6th Battalion 502nd Infantry Regiment. We would frequently occupy Keerans range for weapons qualification as well as Expert Infantryman’s Badge training and testing. It was during the EIB testing when I was part of the test cadre when I discovered the relic. It was during a break in training and I decided to take a walk behind the berms to see what was on the other side. While walking to the other side of the berms I noticed a lot of old .30 caliber ammunition cans, expended .30 caliber brass, machine gun links, rusted metal cans, and other debris. It had been out there for a long time. As I neared one of the berms I started seeing old glass bottles and other pieces of glass and things shining off the sunlight. I stopped and looked down and at my feet was a piece of white glass. I knelt down and dug a little and I saw the runic SS. I uncovered a little more and unearthed the plate fragment that is pictured.

There is absolutely no way to know where this dinner plate came from, Andrews Barracks, SS Headquarters, The fuhrerbunker, the possibilities are endless. What is also very ironic is the date in which I discovered this piece. July 20, 1989, 45 years after the July 20, 1944 plot to kill Adolf Hitler.

This is my best Spoils of War bring back item that has provenance that is unquestionable. Unfortunately this was the only time I had the chance to go and explore but for the first time out relic hunting in the city of Berlin, I think I did alright.

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline ScottG

  • MODERATOR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • ***
  • Join Date: Apr 2014
  • Posts: 1,934
  • Referrals: 11
Re: SS Plate, Battle of Berlin 44 years later...
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 08:47:54 PM »
  That is a great piece and story Leigh! In 86 I was on the 5th ID rifle team and was shooting on a range at Ft Polk when a strange cloud appeared behind the berm. It was buried mustard gas and we made the local paper for having shut down about a quarter of the post! Apparently it was buried there after WWI!   Scott
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline M1Ashooter

  • PLANKOWNER
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • *****
  • Join Date: Mar 2014
  • Posts: 1,628
  • Referrals: 0
Re: SS Plate, Battle of Berlin 44 years later...
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 10:08:08 PM »
Cool find and thank you for the history lesson.

Offline Rakkasan187

  • GLOBAL MODERATOR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2014
  • Posts: 2,103
  • Referrals: 3
Re: SS Plate, Battle of Berlin 44 years later...
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 06:22:18 AM »
  That is a great piece and story Leigh! In 86 I was on the 5th ID rifle team and was shooting on a range at Ft Polk when a strange cloud appeared behind the berm. It was buried mustard gas and we made the local paper for having shut down about a quarter of the post! Apparently it was buried there after WWI!   Scott

Wow Scott,,

That is crazy... Wonder how much stuff is still buried, not just there are Polk but literally everywhere there was a battle or military installation

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Rakkasan187

  • GLOBAL MODERATOR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2014
  • Posts: 2,103
  • Referrals: 3
Re: SS Plate, Battle of Berlin 44 years later...
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 06:23:10 AM »
Cool find and thank you for the history lesson.

I am glad you enjoyed this. I had been wanting to tell this for a long time, just never had the chance.

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Dr. Davis

  • PLANKOWNER
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • ****
  • Join Date: Mar 2014
  • Posts: 958
  • Referrals: 0
      • Dr. Davis
Re: SS Plate, Battle of Berlin 44 years later...
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2017, 07:18:22 PM »
Pretty nice Smitty!
Even though the Third Reich is generally frowned upon over here, the prices for militaria of that era has sky rocketed.
Like we have all said, "If I only knew back then what I know now", plus own a big truck and warehouse to store it all in and wait.  ;)
 I tried to to add my Nazi dinner plate back in January to the Forum, but I guess Little Buddy thought the swaztika was too much.
http://alliedmilitariaforum.com/index.php?topic=4878.0
"If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself."
Mickey Mantle

Offline ScottG

  • MODERATOR
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • ***
  • Join Date: Apr 2014
  • Posts: 1,934
  • Referrals: 11
Re: SS Plate, Battle of Berlin 44 years later...
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2017, 07:56:48 PM »
  That is a great piece and story Leigh! In 86 I was on the 5th ID rifle team and was shooting on a range at Ft Polk when a strange cloud appeared behind the berm. It was buried mustard gas and we made the local paper for having shut down about a quarter of the post! Apparently it was buried there after WWI!   Scott

Wow Scott,,

That is crazy... Wonder how much stuff is still buried, not just there are Polk but literally everywhere there was a battle or military installation


   I bet metal detecting at the bases would yield some great treasures. In the 90s I used to find old rifle grenades and Garand clips at Ft. Custer here in MI. I have seen video of amateur metal detectors finding WWI collar brass and other neat items as well.    Scott

Smitty
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

 

BannerFans.com