Tag: “History2”

Training scene in the summer of 1944

by on Jun.29, 2022, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_Training_1944A few days ago we received an interesting photo from the grandson of a German “Kampfschwimmer”. With his support we were able to add the Ref. 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai” into our database last year – read more here.

Actually, the photo is not new to us. It has been published many years ago in Cajus Bekker’s book “Einzelkämpfer auf See” in 1968 and again in 1978. However, there were never published names of the frogmen in the captions of these two books. Until now: The backside of the original paper photo showed pencil written names of the men which were captured in the photo, which helped us now to identify and link them to other photos in our archives. We have published a photo, taken from a slightly different perspective, showing the same training scene, in chapter V of our book “History2” on page 460.

The photos were taken in the summer of 1944 on the island of San Giorgio (south-west of Venice harbour), showing the training in hand-to-hand combat, which was a fixed part of their training along with other different sporting disciplines. One of the frogmen in the photo is the first owner of the Ref. 3646 / Type B watch on the left.

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_Training_1944_RSRead more on the activities on the island of San Giorgio in chapter I of our book “History1” including rare historic documents and aerial photographs from the Allied Forces intelligence.

Our special thanks to the frogman’s grandson who provided the photo above (including the additional informations on ist backside in shape of handwritten names), on which he placed the Ref. 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai” of his grandfather. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Reading a frogman’s battle report…

by on Apr.03, 2022, under Allgemein

One of the rarest historical documents which we came across during the research of our book “History2”: a handwritten battle report of a frogmen mission at the Pomeranian coast, dated April 3rd, 1945.

IMG_3727_600x600Documents from the last weeks of the Second World War are today, without a doubt, very hard to find – if existing after more than 70 years at all… With the support of the family of the German “Kampfschwimmer”, who once wrote this report after he returned safely from the combat zone, we were able to include this battle report (page 672-673 shown on the coffee table shot on the left) in chapter VII of “History2” (featuring the chapters V-IX with a total of 480 pages).

Interesting details in his handwritten battle report are the times which he mentioned aside other details, all easily readable on the sandwich dial of the Ref. 3646 / Type D (with 5 minute markers / indices) he was wearing during the mission: He wrote down 21:50, 23:30, 23:45, 23:50-0:30 and finally 2:05 AM – the moment he left the waters – after 4:15 hours trying to attack the Wollin railroad bridge together with a group of four frogmen from the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”, towing two mines thru the waters of the Dievenow. 

One of these five frogmen is featured in our book “History1”. Several pages of his diary are published in chapter II, where he wrote down what happened during the frogmen attack of the Gristow bridge at the Pomeranian coast (page 134-143).

IMG_3726_600x600Read more on further rare documents which helped us to capture the history behind the Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch, shown on the coffee table shot on the left here. Photos from the years 1944 and 1945 showing this watch on the frogman’s wrist, as well as his identification papers and travel documents issued in Venice, helped us to reconstruct the route he took to the mission grounds.

Obviously his handwritten battle report never reached the headquarters but somehow he managed to keep it safe for his personal records, giving us today, more than 70 years later, a detailed inside view on a mission he carried out together with four frogmen at the Eastern Front in April 1945…

Our two “History” books can be ordered only in our bookstore.

Enjoy reading stories behind these watches!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Farewell, Manfred Lau

by on Nov.22, 2021, under Allgemein


Sad news reached us last weekend from Saxony. Manfred Lau, born 1925, who told us about his experiences in the last months of the Second World War, has recently passed away at the age of 96. His personal story became Chapter VI in our book “History2” and will remain as one of the few stories from surviving “Kampfschwimmer” veterans, which we were able to publish ten years ago. We have been in contact with Mr. Lau since 2003 and have always been amazed by the many details of his training on the island of Le Vignole in the Lagoon of Venice, which he shared with us after more than 60 years passed. May he rest in peace!

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In stock: our coffee table books

by on Dec.06, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_in_stockOur four books are in stock and can be shipped immediately – just visit our bookstore. Use the browse by tags function to get further information about the content in each of the four books.

“History1” (420 pages)
“History2” (480 pages)

“The References” 1930’s-1940’s (696 pages)
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s (696 pages)

Rahmen_Bild_2017_1000x700_ctb_H2Each of our books comes with a hardback jacket (leather and canvas, black and blind embossed) in a slipcase (canvas, black embossed). The page size is 10.2 x 10.2″ / 26 x 26 cm.

All books are published trilingual (German, Italian and English language). Read how to place your order in our bookstore right here.

Visit our bookstore and enjoy reading soon!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

preview_refv2_1136-1137

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A Kampfschwimmer’s “3646 full set”…

by on Sep.10, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_9roesel_600x600CHAPTER IX @ “History2”: The collectible items of the former combat swimmer Helmut Rösel, which was submitted for auction back in November 2012, contains not only his Panerai watch but also some documents from his time as a combat swimmer, some of which are extremely rare in this day and age. They give precise information about the stages of his training and his successful missions at the western and eastern fronts. The German Federal Cross of Merit, which was awarded to him in 1983 provided new insights, following our enquires at the Office of the Federal President, into his professional career in the Protestant Church, in which he was a pastor from 1961 and a military chaplain for the Bundeswehr from 1971. Letters written personally by him and a 1994 jewellery certificate for his Panerai watch are precious pieces of evidence are just as difficult to find in this day and age as the historic Panerai watches themselves.

CHAPTER IX.I features “The Rösel Radiomir” – a Ref. 3646 / Type C with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter IX: 98 pages, 63 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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From the Adriatic coast to the rivers of the eastern front…

by on Sep.09, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_8lewandowski_600x600CHAPTER VIII @ “History2”: Frogman Walter Lewandowski followed an unusual path in the Second World War. In 1943 he was initially with the Luftwaffe as a paratrooper and pilot of a transport glider in “Battle Squadron 200”, then posted to the Kriegsmarine (Navy), and immediately afterwards trained as a combat swimmer in Valdagno and in the Lagoon of Venice.

After a failed mission on the Adriatic coast, where he managed to find his way back to his own lines overland after many days, he was then sent back to the Eastern Front in Germany for the last weeks of the war. There, as a member of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”, he carried out a number of missions against the Soviet pontoon bridges. He first escaped captivity by the Soviet troops, who were advancing on Berlin with immense superiority of strength, but then on the island of Sylt he shared the fate of many other “Kampfschwimmer” and was a British prisoner of war until 1946.

CHAPTER VIII.I features “The Lewandowski Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” with Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter VIII: 72 pages, 48 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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Tracking a frogman’s way thru war by his field post letters…

by on Sep.08, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_7kaufhold_600x600CHAPTER VII @ “History2”: The chapter about Hanns-Martin Kaufhold shows comprehensively just how helpful a collection of field post letters has been when researching this member of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”. His correspondence with his then-girlfriend, which lasted more than three years from his entry into the German Navy in 1942 until the end of his imprisonment in July 1945, provides information about the stages of his time as a trainee officer and combat swimmer. Such very rare documents, including identification papers and travel documents issued in Venice, allow us to reconstruct the route he took to the mission grounds at the Eastern Front. A mission report written by Hanns-Martin Kaufhold on April 3rd, 1945 – an unique and extremely rare document – describes a mission carried out by him and four comrades in the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”.

CHAPTER VII.I features “The Kaufhold Radiomir” – a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter VII: 70 pages, 58 photos, 6 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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From Hamburg to the Lagoon of Venice…

by on Sep.07, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_6lau_600x600CHAPTER VI @ “History2”: The chapter about the contemporary witness and author of the book “Schiffssterben vor Algier”, Manfred Lau, with whom we have been friendly since 2003, is a very special one. It is the “chapter without a watch”. Nevertheless, precisely his personal story is of great interest to us, as he is a veteran of the “Lehmann pig group”, who were trained for deployments with two-man torpedoes (SLC and SSB devices) on the island of Le Vignole in the Lagoon of Venice. In impressive and precise detail he describes the difficult journey from Hamburg through a Germany that was, by the autumn of 1944, severely marked by the scars of war, and down to northern Italy, where the secret training centre of the combat swimmers was located.

The detailed memories of his training period to become a pilot of the two-man torpedoes (SLC / SSB), more than 70 years ago, and supplemented with historical maps and pictures, take the reader on a journey to the Adriatic coast. There the midshipman ended his time as a sea fighter with a march into captivity, from which he returned to Germany in 1948.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter VI: 82 pages, 39 photos) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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The journey of a frogman’s 3646…

by on Sep.06, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_5koeneke_600x600CHAPTER V @ “History2”: The chapter on Jochen Burnus describes his period of duty as a combat swimmer, from his posting away from Yugoslavia in 1944 and his training in northern Italy to his missions at the Elbe, where he ended up in American captivity in April 1945. After his release he worked in Hamburg Harbour as a recovery diver, together with other former combat swimmers, including Siegfried Köneke, who also belonged to the “Einsatzgruppe Keller” in the Second World War.

Jochen Burnus later received his friend’s 3646 from Köneke’s parents, after Sigi was killed at the age of 28 in tragic circumstances while working in Hamburg harbour on March 14th, 1949. Thus the stories of two combat swimmers merge inseparably and allow us to trace the journey of a combat swimmer watch and its earlier owners from 1944 to the present day.

CHAPTER V.II features “The Köneke Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch with anonymous sandwich dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter V: 112 pages, 67 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer” @ Artcurial

by on Jun.24, 2019, under Watch Point

Rahmen_hoch_2019_Artcurial_3646_RoeselArtcurial will feature “The Rösel Radiomir” – a Ref. 3646 / Type C with anonymous sandwich dial – in their upcoming auction on 18 July, 2019 (Lot 705) in Monaco.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type C
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 1010351
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

This Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer” is recorded in our database since 2012. The watch has been auctioned in the same year for the first time at Dr. Crott and for the second time, five years later, in 2017 at Phillips GWA6.

The Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer” and the history behind is featured in our book “History2” in chapter IX with 98 pages, 63 photos and 4 technical illustrations (see photo below). Furthermore it is published in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.III on page 322-349. Read more about “The Rösel Radiomir” here.

preview_Roesel_872-873

We hope that this rare watch will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

[Photo with kindly permission / courtesy of www.artcurial.com]

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