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WW2 Era Letter Written by Afrika Korps member a few months before he was killed in action.

Article about: This letter was written by a Karl Dammköhler. He was born on April 3rd 1921 in Dörnigheim. He would eventually enlist and would serve in the Afrika Korps, specifically with the Panzer Arti

  1. #1

    Default WW2 Era Letter Written by Afrika Korps member a few months before he was killed in action.

    WW2 Era Letter Written by Afrika Korps member a few months before he was killed in action.
    This letter was written by a Karl Dammköhler. He was born on April 3rd 1921 in Dörnigheim. He would eventually enlist and would serve in the Afrika Korps, specifically with the Panzer Artillery Regiment 155 within the 21st Panzer Division. The Division had taken part in numerous battles. On the day this letter was written, the second battle of El Alamein began and Karl would participate in it. A rough translation of the letter reads:

    “Africa 23.10.42

    Dear Parents!

    I just received your dear letter of 11.10. which I received with great joy and many thanks. I see that you are all still doing well, which I can also say about myself. Today there has been mail again for a week and I had to read it by the light, it is already 7 o'clock. I was very happy to read some lines from you again, because the mail is the only thing that can still save us.

    Dear parents, a year ago today I was in your midst, they were the most beautiful hours that I have experienced. When will I see you again, I think it will take some time, but the main thing is to be happy and healthy. Abela is also in Europe, Heini Beinhauer is going on vacation today in 5 weeks, he wants to visit you. You can ask how it is with the greeting from Africa to you, and also ask how it is with the series of pictures from Africa. Grünberg is also on vacation, he has written that he is well again. They have just had luck, I hope that I also have it soon.

    You have now received the card from 29.9., which makes me very happy. The mail goes very irregularly, as I read, it is the same with mine. Now it is quiet and the mail should be delivered quickly. But I receive all your mail, so far no letter has been missing, with the parcels here and there one will get away. It's not possible to check that exactly, but I always send you the letters again. I haven't received the 2nd and 3rd parcels yet, but they take a long time.

    I think, dear parents, you can finish the Christmas packages soon. How much money have you received, you always have to write. I have to close now, because Tommy has set a luminous parachute nearby, it is the first time as long as we are here. Dear parents, uncle and aunt also want a stamp, give one of the two. They also want to send me a 2 pound package. Will now close dear parents and wish all the best.

    Your son Karl!

    Greetings to all relatives and acquaintances.
    Good night.”

    A little over 2 hours after Karl finished writing this letter, the Second battle of El Alamein would start. The Germans would be pushed back over the course of the next few months.

    Karl was killed in action on December 21st 1942 in Libya, he is buried in the Military Cemetery in Tobruk. He was 21.

    WW2 Era Letter Written by Afrika Korps member a few months before he was killed in action.
    WW2 Era Letter Written by Afrika Korps member a few months before he was killed in action.

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  3. #2

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    Hi JB.

    Thank you for sharing another poignant letter.

    Name: Karl Dammköhler
    Rank: Gefreiter
    Birth Date: 3 April 1921
    Birth Place: Dörningheim Hanau
    Military Unit: 2./Batterie Panzer Artillerie Regiment 155
    Death Date: 21 December 1942
    Death Place: 50 Km Südostw Buerat/Nordafrika

    His cause of death is noted as Gefallen: Brandw (Brandwunde?) Mine beide Unterschenkel (Killed in action: burn wounds, mine both lower legs)

    Karl Dammköhler is buried in the military cemetery in Tobruk.
    Endgrablage: auf diesem Friedhof

    WW2 Era Letter Written by Afrika Korps member a few months before he was killed in action.

    I have not encountered the abbreviation Brandw before, but my best guess is that it may be some kind of burn injury. Maybe he was in a vehicle that hit a mine and it burst into flames. Hopefully someone can fill in what this actually is.
    Last edited by Willmore; 06-24-2023 at 02:30 PM.

  4. #3

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    WW2 Era Letter Written by Afrika Korps member a few months before he was killed in action.
    An example of the 15cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Lorraine Schlepper (f) in North Africa.

    15cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Lorraine Schlepper (f) of the Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 155 Afrika Korps DAK | World War Photos

    Panzer Artillerie Regiment 155 -
    Panzerartillerie-Regiment 155 - Lexikon der Wehrmacht

    21. Panzer Division -
    21.Panzer-Division - Feldgrau

    There is a famous German Commander called Hans von Luck who served in North Africa with the 21. Panzer Division.
    Hans von Luck - Wikipedia

    The below link will take you to an excellent account of his life. It is an audiobook reading of the his memories -
    Panzer Commander-Von Luck : Hans von Luck : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

    Kind regards,

    Will.

  5. #4

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    Hey Will,

    Great information! I also have never encountered that abbreviation before. It’s interesting how it says both lower legs. I wonder if he lost both of his legs in the blast? As well as burn wounds. And thank you for the links! And it’s also interesting that a mine killed Karl, I was reading and saw that the General who was commanding the 21st Panzer Division was killed on the exact same day as Karl, also from a mine.

    Heinz von Randow - Wikipedia

  6. #5

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    My pleasure JB.

    It is quite possible he did lose his legs and suffered burns because of a mine. I know 'brand' means fire, blaze, conflagration etc, but I am not sure about the 'w'. I assume that he was in an armoured vehicle that hit a mine and it burst into flames. Thank you for the info about the commander too.

    Here is the casualty card for General major Randow.

    Name: Heinz-Friedrich Randow Von
    Rank: Generalmajor
    Birth Date: 15 Nov 1890
    Birth Place: Grammow Nekl.
    Military Unit: Kdo. 2i. Panz. Div.
    Death Date: 21 Dec 1942)
    Death Place: 22.30 Uhr, Nähe

    As you said his cause of death is noted as Mine explosion in Tripoli.

    WW2 Era Letter Written by Afrika Korps member a few months before he was killed in action.

    Kind regards,

    Will.

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