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By Helmut Ritgen

Textual content by means of Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen with unique wartime photos via the writer. This well-informed account of the sixth Panzer department is principally precious as the writer fought with the eleventh Panzer Regiment. It records the inception, formation and constitution of the department and chronologically follows its growth through the battle. The textual content is supported by way of color pictures taken by way of the writer in the course of international struggle II and provides an in depth exam of lifestyles within the Panzers while concurrently documenting their relentless growth. Feared via Allied soldiers and devastating of their fast prosecution of the early conflict the Panzers have been the fashionable German combating males; good built, fantastically prompted and unstoppably winning. till the Allies have been capable of consolidate their troops, re-engineer their apparatus and redraw their strategies the Panzers ruled Europe with a thunderous conquering energy.

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Often, however, heavy German presence in the area or recent helper arrests made people reluctant to take the airmen into their homes. 59 The creation of a number of smaller escape lines, either through military intelligence or among individual groups, meant more experienced people were available to provide assistance to downed airmen. Helpers grew quite adept at finding innovative hiding places. USAAF flyer John Dutka’s helpers found an ideal place for him to hide while waiting for German forces to call off their search.

First, those who were afraid to help slammed the door in the airmen’s faces (or if out in the open shook their heads and continued on their way). 62 Second, though a large number of French people were willing to help, there was always a risk involved in approaching complete strangers and asking them for assistance. Some airmen received a terrible shock when they found themselves betrayed to the Germans by civilians who they thought were going to help them. Paul Kenney was arrested when the “helper” transporting him by car delivered him to German police at a roadblock.

81 In addition to the lack of warm clothing, the men were quickly exhausted from walking through deep snow, and it became difficult to stay awake during the frequent, needed breaks. Several men developed severe frostbite and one became delirious with exhaustion and snow blindness. Rather than leave men behind to die in the snow, the stronger members of the group took turns carrying those who were too weak to continue on their own. 82 Eveland’s group was not the only one to experience such weather crossing the Pyrenees.

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