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Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

Article about: Trying to identify this Knightscross wearer. Looking this portrait picture over, the soldier has a NCO's rank and the regiment's number on the lapels 99 is a Gebirgsjäger Regiment. On the ba

  1. #1
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    Default Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    Trying to identify this Knightscross wearer. Looking this portrait picture over, the soldier has a NCO's rank and the regiment's number on the lapels 99 is a Gebirgsjäger Regiment. On the back is written - Josef Hüfle - that's how I read it. From here on in, it should be easy, we have a name, regiment number, rank, look through lists of Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger and a list of all knightcross recipients. But I've found nothing remotely that would match the portrait picture, maybe I'm doing something wrong or the name doesn't match the portrait. Do member have any opinions. Regards
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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Name:	gebirgsjäger portrait 2.jpg 
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    The name isn't Hüfle, it is - or should be - Häfele. If he won the RK while with GJR 99 then there are only 3 possibilities: Josef Häfele (Oberfeldwebel), Georg Audenrieth (Stabsgefreiter) and Johann Bauer (Oberjäger) as all other winners of the RK in GJR 99 were officers.
    There is always the possibility that he won the RK with another unit (maybe within 1 GJD but maybe not) and the name on the back is a misidentification.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    I believe in this photo the RK is actually the recipients EK2 that has been photo shopped onto his neck.
    I'm not doubting this might have been done before 1945 as we know wartime photo studios produced mocked up RK portraits but it might also mean it was manipulated later and this person might not have actually won the RK.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    Good eyes Adrian I had know Ideal that any of the photographic studios did this war time but after enlarging the image and looking very closely at the photo I do believe you are right.
    This puts a hole new twist on collecting period portrait photographs .

    Regards Mark K

  6. #5

    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    Quote by Adrian View Post
    I believe in this photo the RK is actually the recipients EK2 that has been photo shopped onto his neck.
    I'm not doubting this might have been done before 1945 as we know wartime photo studios produced mocked up RK portraits but it might also mean it was manipulated later and this person might not have actually won the RK.
    I agree. Looking at the photo in magnification, you can see that the light is coming from the right side as we look at it, and is causing a slight shadow to be cast on the left side of the other awards, tunic collar, marksman's lanyard etc., yet the alledged 'photo shopped' RK is being lit from a more straight-on-bearing-to-the-left
    position as the shadow cast by the award is more obviously longer on the right and lower edges. Cleverly done if this was the case at the time as i've never heard of it, and would have thought it was illegal, certainly against regs. But if it was done recently, it's not such a good effort considering the equipment/software available today to make it more believable.

    Regards, George Lucas.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    Well, the RK seems really a little bit strange as it was photo shopped. But EKI and EKII still seem to be all right. As fas as I know the only legal reason to wear EKI and EKII in the same time was that both awards were given together ar at least he got them together. I know that it happened sometimes but not too often. So - anyway an interesting photo! EKII was worn only 24h after the award was given, later only EKII ribbon was used. And it is not possible to get EKI before You already have EKII.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    Kevin,
    Thanks for the correct identification - Josef Häfele it is, I did find a potted biography of him -
    Häfele, Josef
    * 26.12.1910 Stockheim/Bayern
    + 17.05.1942 b. Fedorowka/Rußland
    Ritterkreuz am: 18.11.1941
    als: Oberfeldwebel
    Funktion: Zugführer 11./GebJägRgt 99

    As to whether they were able to "photoshop" in 1942 - well its all new to me - as Ned mentions and knowing the strict protocol the Wehrmacht adhered to. To be giving yourself medals, you've no right too even on photos was illegal and would have been dealt with severely.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    I don't believe recipients gave themselves medals but as far as I am aware, medals were added to existing portraits when the individual won another. For example, a Knights Cross holder might have a set of oaks added to his picture if there might be some delay between that person being awarded them and actually getting to a photo studio in his best uniform for a formal portrait.

    The image above is not unusual in that the EK2 and EK1 are being worn at the same time. For formal portraits the full array of awards were often worn.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    Actually, it was a common practice to "add" decorations to existing photographs during the period.

    In most cases, this was done if a person had won a high decoration and a press release picture was needed for coverage on this subject, but it was not (yet) possible to have a new, official, portrait taken of the recipient wearing the decoration. (For example, if he was still in the field.) In such cases, an existing photograph was "pulled from the drawer" and retouched, with a Knight's Cross added or "updated" with the Oak Leaves etc.

    It also happened in case of KIA soldiers, when only older portraits were available that did not display all the decorations held at the time of their deaths. Apart from press release pictures of noticeable persons, this can also be found on death cards.

    Sometimes, rank insignia were "updated" as well; most often in the case of SS personnel whose rank insignia were clearly displayed on their collar patches.

    However, such additions were usually not made by photo-montage, but hand-painted into the photographs. (If such a black-and-white photograph appeared in small format and grainy quality in a newspaper, this was not too noticeable.)

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Unknown - Gebirgsjäger Ritterkreuzträger

    Youre lucky too Alec, as this one was done professionally and actually looks good.....most were very crudely added

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