Tag: “History2”

From Hamburg to the Lagoon of Venice…

by on Nov.26, 2016, 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 Nov.26, 2016, 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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Reading a frogman’s battle report…

by on Jul.19, 2016, 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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Meeting one of the last WW2 “Kampfschwimmer”

by on Jul.17, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_3775_600x600A long overdue meeting finally became reality: The invitation to visit one of the last WW2 “Kampfschwimmer” frogmen just had to be returned… one day! What better occasion for that one day than a personal shake hands on this veteran’s 93rd birthday? It was without a doubt an unforgettable meeting. Surrounded by his family and friends we finally met in person. Sitting together on his table, having a traditional Bavarian “Brotzeit” was more than a good time. Thanks for your hospitality, Jochen – stay in such a good shape!

Since 2010 we have been connected with veteran Jochen Burnus to publish the history behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” in our book “History2”. Many personal documents and memories were provided by him for our research which helped us to capture not only the history of his friend Sigi, a member of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller” but also his personal history as a German frogman who ended up in American captivity in April 1945 after his mission against a pontoon bridge of the 83rd Thunderbolt Division at the river Elbe.

By his extraordinary good memories Jochen Burnus was able to give us a very detailed report on what happened before, during and after his mission, from training in northern Italy to the combat zones during the last months of the Second World War.

History2_frontal_300x300One part of chapter V is dedicated to his work as a recovery diver in Hamburg in the late 1940’s and bomb squad in the numerous waterways of Berlin in the 1950’s, followed by his career as professional diver across Europe until the end of the 1960’s. Accompanied with more than 60 historical photos and maps from various sources, the 112 pages of chapter V became the starting chapter of “History2” with a total of 480 pages. More information on chapter V can be found also here.

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

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

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“Watches with History” – our two history books

by on Apr.27, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_2709_600x600Our first book, published in 2007 and entitled “Watches with History” opened with the words “In this book we would like to give the reader an overview of historic Panerai watches and their documented history.” Years passed since then, during which we have embarked on many interesting trips into the past while researching this subject.

The personal stories of the first owners of these watches were mostly forgotten in the last years, reaching back more than 70 years since their use in war times. Only a few Vintage Panerai watches can tell their story, and the story of many others will never be told. In 2012 we were able to take an even deeper and more comprehensive look at the wearers and the uses of these watches in the book “History1”.

IMG_2720_600x600The stories in this book take the reader back to the time of the Second World War. Rare pictures from this period bear silent and impressive witness to the conditions and living circumstances, which we have also been able to supplement with rare map and image materials from various international archives. A small number of Vintage Panerai watches reveal their secrets to the collector and answer the ever-recurring question: Who used the watch? When did the operations take place, and to what purpose? And further: where and under what conditions did the comprehensive training of the special maritime unit take place? How and by what means were the deployments of the combat swimmers carried out? What do the veterans think of those missions today? We pursued the answers to these questions and, thanks to the help of some surviving veterans, their descendants, or by means of analyzing previously unknown documents such as diaries, interview records or recordings by opposing spies, we managed to compile some very impressive and authentic chapters.

The four chapters of our book “History1″ (420 pages) are introduced below:
Chapter I / Chapter II / Chapter III / Chapter IV

IMG_2694_600x600In the book “History2” (2013) we once again took our readers on a journey through time with five more stories: five exciting and moving fates of frogmen, for whom their Panerai watch was not an item of jewellery, but rather an important piece of equipment during the Second World War.

„History2“ outlines the personal experiences of the combat swimmers and describes in the smallest detail their fate, which has, during conversations or in written correspondence, evoked at times painful memories and great emotions after many decades.

The watches presented in this book were in action under “real” battle conditions in the Second World War. They accompanied their original owners since combat swimmer training and indeed for many years after the war.

The five chapters of our book “History2″ (480 pages) are introduced below:
Chapter V / Chapter VI / Chapter VII / Chapter VIII / Chapter IX

Our books “History1” and “History2″ can be ordered directly in our bookstore.

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Vintage Panerai book “History2” is in stock.

by on Nov.14, 2015, under General

Our book “History2″ is in stock. It can be ordered directly at our bookstore. “History2″ comes in a solid slipcase (on the right in the photo) which has been constructed to protect the hardcover book and keep it in perfect shape when stored in a bookshelf upright. The size of the book is 26 x 26 cm, 480 pages, trilingual (German, Italian and English language in one book).

Both together, the hardcover book with 480 pages and the slipcase, are weighing more than 3 kilos. Further photos can be found in our bookstore’s gallery.

The five chapters of our book “History2″ are introduced below:
Chapter V / Chapter VI / Chapter VII / Chapter VIII / Chapter IX

The Vintage Panerai watches featured in the book “History2″ can be found here:
“The Köneke Radiomir” / “The Kaufhold Radiomir” /
“The Lewandowski Radiomir” / “The Rösel Radiomir”

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Spot on: chapter IX of “History2”

by on Aug.22, 2014, under Allgemein

CHAPTER IX – “Helmut Rösel”
(98 pages, 63 photos, 4 technical illustrations)

The collectible items of the former combat swimmer Helmut Rösel, which was submitted for auction to the auctioneer Dr. Crott, 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.

Vintage Panerai “History2”
26 x 26 cm, 480 pages,
trilingual (= german, italian and english language in one book),
hardback jacket, slipcase.

“History2″ is in stock and can be ordered directly at our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Spot on: chapter VIII of “History2”

by on Aug.15, 2014, under Allgemein

CHAPTER VIII – “Walter Lewandowski”
(72 pages, 48 photos, 4 technical illustrations)

Walter Lewandowski also 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 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 combat swimmers and was a British prisoner of war until 1946.

Vintage Panerai “History2”
26 x 26 cm, 480 pages,
trilingual (= german, italian and english language in one book),
hardback jacket, slipcase.

“History2″ is in stock and can be ordered directly at our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Spot on: chapter VII of “History2”

by on Aug.08, 2014, under Allgemein

CHAPTER VII – “Hanns-Martin Kaufhold”
(70 pages, 58 photos, 6 technical illustrations)

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 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. These 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”.

Vintage Panerai “History2”
26 x 26 cm, 480 pages,
trilingual (= german, italian and english language in one book),
hardback jacket, slipcase.

“History2″ is in stock and can be ordered directly at our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Spot on: chapter VI of “History2”

by on Aug.01, 2014, under Allgemein

CHAPTER VI – “Manfred Lau”
(82 pages, 39 photos)

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, almost 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.

Vintage Panerai “History2”
26 x 26 cm, 480 pages,
trilingual (= german, italian and english language in one book),
hardback jacket, slipcase.

“History2″ is in stock and can be ordered directly at our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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