Germany - Third Reich: The Fascinating and Rare Early Polish Campaign Black Wound Badge and Iron Cross 2nd Class, Smolensk Operations Iron Cross 1st Class Document Group to Major Joachim Bohm, Officer Commanding 1stTelephone Company, Corps Signals Battalion 43, III Army Corps, subsequently Army High Command, Inspector of Signals Troops, then Officer Commanding 1stTelephone Company, Corps Signals Battalion 52, XII Army Corps; Commanding Officer 93 Panzer Signals Battalion, 26thPanzer Division. Staff of the Inspectorate of the Armed Forces Signal Communications. Seeing service from the First Day to the Last Day of the War, he was wounded on only the 3rd Day of Operations in Poland and was awarded the War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords after the cessation of hostilities with Grand Admiral Donitz listed as Commander-in-Chief on the Award Certificate
This is a very good bravery document group consisting of 6 award certificates and 27 documents which belonged to a former Major in the German Army Signals Arm, who saw fighting during the Polish Campaign in 1939, and then subsequently in Central Russia and then Italy after 1943.
- The 1stOctober 1938 Commemorative Medal, issued in Berlin on 13thJanuary 1940 as an Oberleutnant, in Corps Signals Battalion 43. Signed for correctness by Ritter as Major and Battalion Commander.
- The Iron Cross 2ndClass awarded at Sokolowo on 14thSeptember 1939, as an Oberleutnant, 1/Corps Signals Battalion 43. Signed by Haase as General of Artillery and General Officer Commanding III Army Corps.
Haase was awarded the Knights Cross on 8.6.1940 as General of Artillery and General Officer Commanding III Army Corps. He died on 9.2.43 in Berlin as Generaloberst and Commander in Chief 15thArmy
- The Black Wound Badge awarded on 6thFebruary 1940 for a wound received on 3rdSeptember 1939 as an Oberleutnant, Officer Commanding 1stSignals Battalion 43. Signed by Ritter as Major and Battalion Commander.
It is interesting to note that Bohm was wounded on the day that war was declared by the UK on Germany and the official outbreak of WW2.
- The Iron Cross 1stClass awarded by Corps Headquarters on 28thAugust 1941 as an Oberleutnant, 1stCorps Signals Battalion 52. Signed by Schroth as General of the Infantry and General Officer Commanding XII Army Corps.
Schroth was awarded the Knights Cross on 9.7.1941 as General of Infantry and General Officer Commanding XII Army Corps. He was killed in an accident on 6.10.1944 in Wiesbaden as Wehrkreis XII Commander.
- The Ostmedaille awarded on 14thAugust 1943 as a Major in Panzer Division Signals Battalion 93. Signed for correctness in the field on 29.2.1944 by Freiherr von Luttwitz as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 26thPanzer Division.
Freiherr von Luttwitz was awarded the Knights Cross on 14.1.1942 as Oberst and Commanding Officer 12thRifle Regiment, 4thPanzer Division. The 426thOakleaves on 16.3.1944 as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 26thPanzer Division, the 76thSwords on 4.7.1944 as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 26thPanzer Division and the German Cross in Gold on 27.10.1941 as Oberstleutnant and Commanding Officer 59thRifle Regiment, 20thPanzer Division.
- The War Merit Cross 2ndClass with Swords awarded at Grevenkrug, Kiel on 20.5.1945 as a Major. Signed by Gimmler as Generalleutnant and representing Signals Commander A on behalf of Praun as General of Signals Troops.
Gimmler was awarded the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords on 8.5.1945, this is an exceptionally rare award as Generalleutnant and Chief of the Armed Forces Signals Communications. Comment: This decoration would appear to have been presented to Bohm by Generalleutnant Gimmler in the small town of Grevenkrug to the southwest of Kiel in Northern Germany.
This is a very rare award certificate which was typed just after the end of WW2 with the following layout and words which is entirely different to those officially issued during the war on behalf of Adolf Hitler as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces:
Chief of the Armed Forces Signals Communications,
I award the War Merit Cross 2ndClass with Swords to Major Bohm in the name of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (Grossadmiral Donitz). I express my thanks and recognition to the recipient of this award.
Signed in ink by Gimmler, Generalleutant and representing Signals Commander A on behalf of Praun, General of Signals Troops.
- Potsdam, 1stMarch 1933. A formal letter to Joachim Bohm in Berlin-Pankow from the Adjutant of the 3rd(Prussian) Signals Battalion with reference to his application for employment. Bohm is told to report to the Guardroom of the Nedlitz Barracks in Potsdam at 1845 hours on 8thMarch 1933 for the purpose of the Military Preliminary Examination. This letter was to be brought with him as a pass for the examination. Travel costs were not being reimbursed and he was to bring sports kit with him. He was to pay for his rations whilst there and food was available in the barracks canteen.
- Berlin, 18thDecember 1943. A copy of a four A4 size ‘Restricted’ instruction originally signed by von Blomberg as the German Minister of Defence. The subject was: ‘Duty of Young Officers’. The unit stamps on the bottom of the first page was ‘Courses of the Army Signals School’ with a receipt date of 26thJanuary 1935. This copy was issued to Oberfahnrich Bohm. It is an interesting letter dealing with all matters concerning the relationships between young officers and men. Von Blomberg states that ‘Not only must the young officer be a leader to his men, but also be n adviser and comrade’ and ‘the way to the head was through the heart of the soldiers’. The following three factors were covered in more detail – welfare, influence and education, and get togethers of officers and men.
- Advent 1936. An amusing nine A4 size page document produced by an individual stationed in Nedlitz Barracks, Berlin-Potsdam – it is written in amusing verse. The title of the document is ‘Advent 1936 – Santa Claus speaks’. The numbers at the top of the front page are ‘III (Corps), 23 & 43 (Signals Battalions). He greets ‘The Inspector, Commander, Chiefs, Adjutant and finally the Leutnant as well as the ladies. Leutnant Bohm himself is dealt with on the bottom of page 6.
- An articles in the The People’s Observer dated 14thMay 1938 – ‘Potsdam barracks receive names’. An A5 size page with a typed copy of the text in the above article – the new names of the Barracks are typed in Red. The new name for the 43rdSignals Battalion’s Barracks was stated as being ‘Delius Barracks’ (Joachim Bohm was a Company Commander in this Battalion.)
- Berlin-Niederschonhausen, 15thMarch 1939. The official announcement of the engagement on 15thMarch 1939 between the only daughter of Margot of Walter and Helene Muller and Joachim Bohm, a Company Commander in the 43rdSignals Battalion (Potsdam-Nedlitz)
- Potsdam, 16thMarch 1939. A congratulatory card with its original envelope sent by the Commanding Officer of 43rdSignals Battalion, Hauptmann Ritter, on behalf of all the officers of the Battalion to a Fraulein Margot Muller on the occasion of the her engagement to one of his Officers – Oberleutnant Joachim Bohm
- An undated card of best wishes to Joachim Bohm on his engagement – 32 signatures, possibly comrades from his unit.
- Berlin-Niederschonhausen, 23rdDecember 1939. The official announcement by Margot’s parents of the marriage of their daughter to Joachim Bohm on 23rdDecember 1939.
- Berlin, 27thMarch 1941. A five page A4 size typed report with interesting observations about the Italian Army Officers and Other Ranks produced by Oberleutnant Bohm whilst serving in Inspectorate 7 (Signal Troops) in Army High Command. The title of the report is:
‘About the Order to 1stPontoon Regiment in Verona in the Period from 3.3 – 22.3.1941
It is broken into four sub-headings as follows: General; The Italian Officer Corps; The Senior Non-commissioned Officer Corps; The Men, and Civilians.
NOTE: This Pontoon Regiment in Verona was a Replacement Regiment for the training of Recruits for bridge construction. It consisted of 4 Battalions of which two were stationed in Verona, one in Pescheiera and one in Legnago. The Regiment did not have a Signals unit under command.
- Berlin, 16thJune 1941. This is a typed copy of a letter to Joachim from his former Section Chief in the Army High Command – Oberstleutnant Hassel. It is very complimentary and his Chief regrets that he was unable to say goodbye to him on his posting as Company Commander in a Signals Battalion at the Front. His last sentence was ‘I wish you a successful time as a Company Commander and soldier’s luck’.
- In Russia, 1stSeptember 1941. An A4 Size Document produced by his Company at the time of his promotion to Hauptmann. The title is:
‘The Company Congratulates its Commander on the Occasion of the Promotion to Hauptmann’
Signed by a Hauptwachtmeister
This document contains a single very fine handwritten A4 size page with 4 verses of praise for a much admired Commander.
- Russia, 24thOctober 1941. A very colourful birthday greetings document with 3 signatures of personnel in Bohm’s Company. The inner page depicts a hundred year memorial to Bohm with Signals shoulder straps Major to General surrounded by a ring of telephone cable with various connectors.
- An undated birthday greetings from a fellow officer – Oberleutnant and Company Commander Steckbeck. There is a drawing of a red rose on the front page with the words ‘We congratulate you’ whilst on the inside page there are four verses finishing with the words ‘All the best for your birthday’ possible date is 24.10.1941. There is a tactical sign for Bohm’s 1stCompany with his name written on it.
- Bogatyri, 5thApril 1942. An Easter greetings card with the following words – ‘Wishing our Commander a Happy Easter’. This card came with its envelope addressed to Hauptmann Bohm, The Commander of 52 Signals Battalion.
- Typed copy of a Telex dated 23.4.1942 to XII Army Corps. This is the posting order of Hauptmann Bohm from 52 Signals Battalion to command 23rdSignals Battalion (23rdInfantry Division which became 26 Panzer Division) with effect from 1.5.1942
- An undated folder containing eight A4 size pages with text, coloured drawings and cartoons. It is a fascinating and amusing record of what happened to the 1stCompany whilst on the East Front 1941/42 under command of Joachim Bohm. The opening page is A3 size folding to A4 with a coloured drawing of a German soldier about to connect a telephone cable with ruins in the background and the Company’s tactical sign with Bohm’s name on it as well as the words – ‘Memories from our Action in the East’. There are a number of page headings as follows ‘Es Funktioniert; Winter in Snamena 1941/42 – Unser Drecklied; Bunker Gesprache; Die sache aus Klimow-Sawod; Fettgeschichte’. There is a very amusing page of cartoons depicting various stages of soldiers on latrine duty.’
- An undated A3 size document halved to A4 size page with Joachim Bohm’s Company tactical sign on the front with his name in black ink on a yellow background with the unit’s field post number 37073. There are 41 lines of handwritten text in ink looking back at Bohm’s time as the Company Commander. It is complimentary and there is every indication that he was popular commander. It forms the Company’s farewell to its commander on his posting to command a Signal’s Battalion in a Panzer Division (probable date early May 1942)
- Russia, 1stMay 1942. An A3 size document halved to A4 size page with on the front a lovely small water colour painting of a winter scene with a building, trees, bridge and a river with a title ‘Snamenka – Ugrabrocke’. The following translated text is on the inside ‘We wish our Commander all the best on his departure and much Soldier’s luck.’ The document is signed by an Oberleutnant Werner and a Hauptwachtmeister.
- Flanders, 24thOctober 1942. A large A3 size page document with the following handwritten text on it:
‘To our Battalion Commander on his Birthday
2ndCompany, 93rdPanzer Signals Battalion,
Flanders, 24thOctober 1942
- Boezinghe, 24thOctober 1942. This is a document on a page which is slightly larger than A3 size. The text is handwritten in large Gothic style letters – there are four verses. The opening first eight lines translate as ‘Today is the Hauptmann’s birthday and we wish all the best. Much luck, a load of ham or sausage and Bohm coffee for the thirst. We are only the domestic staff and look after our masters, this is what we do the whole day, we also make them happy.’ The last verse begins as follows ‘In this sense the young fellows from the Chateau congratulate him…’. The last entry has the words ‘Die Burschenschaft’ (The Student Society). Above the place and date. The document is made to look old with a seal of the Divisional Tradition emblem – a Grenadier Soldier’s head.
- An undated birthday greetings. The translated text reads as follows. ‘To our respected Battalion Commander, Hauptmann Bohm, the heartiest best wishes on his birthday.’ The greetings came from the Senior NCOs and soldiers of the Headquarters. The Divisional Tradition emblem – a Grenadier Soldier’s head – on a shield is at the bottom of this A4 size document. (Period of this document probably October 1942 – Bohm was promoted to Major on 1.7.1943)
- Italy, 1943. This is an amusing birthday wishes A5 size card. There is a cartoon on the front page of a toadstool mushroom with a funny face on legs holding a post with a sign ‘Italy 1943’ at the top. The following text is on the inside as follows: ‘The best wishes on the birthday of our respected Commander’ 1stCompany and signed by its commander. (Card probably produced in October 1943.)
- An undated birthday greetings from the 2ndCompany of Bohm’s Signals Battalion which has been signed by Teuffel as Company Commander. He succeeded Bohm as Battalion Commander. The translated text reads ‘The 2ndCompany permits itself to convey the best wishes to its Commander on his birthday. It wishes much soldier’s luck for the coming year.’ These birthday wishes were most probably conveyed in October 1943.
- Permit No.2494 dated 1stAugust 1945. This permit was issued to Major Bohm on the staff of Wehrkreis X allowing him to travel in the area of 8 Corps District. The permit was valid until 31 August 1945.
- Permit No.7165 dated 11thOctober 1945. This permit was issued to Major Bohm and his Driver on the staff of Wehrkreiskommando X allowing them to travel in the area of 8 Corps District (including area ‘F’). The permit was valid until 10thNovember 1945.
- A Police Registration Form for Members of the former Armed Forces dated 25.10.1946 and issued in Hamburg (British Zone of Occupation). It gives the following personal details about Bohm. His Christian names were Friedrich Ernst Joachim who was born on 24.10.1913 in Berlin-Niederschonhausen. He was a businessman. He is noted as having a scar on the right upper arm and left knee – probably as a result of his wounding on 3.9.1939 – shrapnel wounds.
- Wiesbaden, 8thDecember 1952. This is a carbon copy of a typed letter sent to a number of persons by a Walter Weithun. This copy has been addressed to Joachim Bohm in Hamburg. The subject dealt with is ‘Relief Action General Hans-Ludwig Muller’. This is a thank you letter for Bohm’s continuous support in providing money towards sending packages of food and clothing to the General. He is updated on the current situation with a regret that the supporting group was getting smaller in number. Weithun is also seeking help in contacting more people and asks for addresses: (General Muller was a Holder of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross and Oakleaf Cluster; he was also a former General Officer Commanding of a Division and Corps. He was taken prisoner by the Russians in August 1944 and not released until 1955.
Friedrich Ernst Joachim Bohm was born on 24thOctober 1913 in Berlin-Niederschonhausen, undergoing training as an officer in the Army Signals School at Halle/Saale in 1934 and was commissioned by 1936. He was commissioned into 43 Corps Signals Battalion in which he was promoted on 1.8.1938 as an Oberleutnant. He took part in the Entry into the Sudetenland on 1stOctober 1938 before seeing active service In the Polish Campaign of 1939 as a Company Commander.
Bohm was wounded on the 3rdSeptember 1939, the third day of the invasion of Poland and the same day the French and British governments declared war on Germany. Clearly much involved in the action in Poland, he received an award of the Iron Cross 2ndClass on 14thSeptember 1939 for an act of gallantry early in the fighting.
In January 1940 he received his 1stOctober 1938 Commemorative Medal, and then in early February the Black Wound Badge for the wound he had received in Poland. This wound resulting in his posting to the Army High Command as part of Inspectorate 7 (Signals Troops) for a short period of time before he was posted as Company Commander of 1/52nd(XII Army Corps) in time for the Invasion of Russia in June 1941, where his unit saw action as part of Army Group Centre, fighting through Bialystok, Minsk and Smolensk, it would have been for an act of bravery in the area of Smolensk in August 1941 that Bohm was awarded the Iron Cross 1stClass. Bohm was then involved in Operation Typhoon which saw the major German push towards Moscow that began in October 1941. Seeing action throughout the winter counterattacks made around the Moscow area by the Red Army from 5thDecember onwards, Bohm was eventually awarded the Ostmedaille in August 1943.
Promoted to Hauptmann in September 1941, he remained with 1/52 Corps Signals Battalion until 1stMay 1942 when he was posted to command 23 Signals Battalion which became 93rdPanzer Signals Battalion in 26thPanzer Division. Subsequently promoted to Major on 1stJuly 1943 he remained with 93rdPanzer Signals Battalion until some time in 1944 and ended the war on the staff of the Chief of the Armed Forces Signals Communications. From the documents we can see that he was a much respected and popular officer who led from the front.