Mortar Gunner on the Eastern Front: The Memoir of Dr Hans Rehfeldt

Volume I - From the Moscow Winter Offensive to Operation Zitadelle

Hans Heinz Rehfeldt

In 1940, Rehfeldt volunteered for the Panzer Arm trained with Grossdeutschland Division. He had an incredible career, fighting on the Front line, learning to walk again after suffering severe frostbite, and being held as PoW for a month in a camp at Waschow.
Date Published :
May 2019
Publisher :
Greenhill Books
Contributor(s) :
Marc Rikmenspoel
Illustration :
100+ black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781784383619

Dimensions : 9.5 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 352
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A visceral account from contemporaneous diaries of a soldier who frequently came close to death but somehow survived.

Following his Abitur (A-levels) in 1940, Rehfeldt volunteered for the Panzer Arm but was trained on the heavy mortar and heavy MG with Grossdeutschland Division.

He was on the Front from 1941 fighting for the city of Tula, south of Moscow. Battling in freezing conditions, at its lowest -52℃, the descriptions of the privations are vivid and terrifying. With no winter clothes they resorted to using those taken from Soviet corpses.

In 1942, fighting near Oriel, however, his battalion suffered heavy losses and was disbanded. Ill with frostbitten legs, Rehfeldt was treated in hospital and once recovered was dispatched to the Front.

Following various battles (Werch, Bolchov) his battalion again suffered heavy losses and it merged. In agony from severe frostbite to his legs, Rehfeldt defied the odds and astonished his surgeon when he walked again. He was promoted from Gunner to Trained Private Soldier in 1942, and to Corporal for bravery in the field in 1943.

He was awarded numerous honors including the Wound Badge and the Infantry Assault Badge.

On 3 May 1945 he was captured by US Forces and held as POW for one month in a camp at Waschow before internment in Holstein from where he was released in July 1945 after agreeing to work on the land. In December 1945 he began studying veterinary medicine: his future career.

This astonishing account of a man who kept bouncing back from near death is a testament to the author’s determination and sheer strength of spirit.

About The Author

Dr Hans Heinz Rehfeldt was born on 21 April 1923 in Hagen/Westphalia. He left for the Front on 27 October 1941, at which point his story begins. He went on to receive several awards for valor in the face of extreme adversity. He went on to become a veterinarian following his studies of veterinary medicine. He died in 2017.

Marc Rikmenspoel is the author of several previous books about the Waffen-SS. He wishes current scanning and information-sharing processes were available when he first began writing on this topic over 15 years ago! After many years of living in Colorado, he now lives in the New York City area.


"This is a fairly detailed and informative account of a soldier who found himself on the Eastern Front."

- WWII and other Book Reviews

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