This is the story of Mr. Gunther A. Hornig who enlisted in the German Army during world war two. It was provided by his Son, Mr. Gunther Hornig.
His father was in more than one major Battlefield, from Russia to Italy. The story begins in 1941 in the German City of Dresden.
Mr. Hornig was born in Dresden on the 4th of March 1923. When the war started on the 1st of September in 1939 he was 16 years of age. In 1941 he was called into arms and joined the Wehrmacht. He enlisted on 18 August 1941. With Identification Number 1074 he joined the 4th Flieger Training Regiment. After some training he was dispatched on September the 2nd in 1941 and joined up with the 5th company Flieger training Regiment 82 based in Wurzen, Germany. The Town of Wurzen lies 100 kilometres from his hometown Dresden.
His second dispatch with the 3 kompanie Fallschirmjäger Helmstedt Germany
Mr. Hornig with the 3th company mechanical in Helmstedt Germany
Mr. Hornig with the 3th mechanical company in Helmstedt Germany
From Helmstedt in Germany the company was send to the French town of Vire, near Caen. By this time he worked with the bakery company of the Flieger division. The bakery company literally cooked for the company. His assignment in France started on 13 June 1942. From Vire the company hooked up with the 7th Flieger Division.
Unloading supplies in Vire France near Caen
A day out in Paris
Lined up for inspection
The graves are dated 20 September 1942, near Caen.
Bathing with the company on the 2nd of August 1942
From the end of 1942 until April 1943 the 7th Flieger Division was deployed with the 9th Army in Russia. The Ninth army was part of Army Group Centre during the Russian campaign. In the winter of 1942 the Ninth Army dug in, in the proximity of the town of Rzhevin some 300 kilometres from Moscow and kept their ground against the Russian army throughout the winter. In 1943 it became the biggest German army in Russia and took part in the Battle of Kursk.
Fallschirmjäger Mr. Hornig in a Russian Snow Storm
Working on a stuck truck with the Ninth Army in Russia
Mr. Hornig is the second on the right, with the camouflage clothing. The photo is taken during the Russian winter.
Posing on a sled with mule during winter time in Russia
Let’s all get a cold belly. Fun or exersize in wintertime with the 9th Army
Back In France
In April1943 the division was send back to France. With Identification number Id.no144/214029 Mr. Hornig was still with the Bakery Company of the 1st Fallschirmjäger division. He was promoted on 17 July 1943 to Gefreiter, or private 2nd class (OR-2 in NATO standards).
The company was stationed in the French town of Dreuse (Dreux in Franse) some 80 kilometres south west of Paris,
Back in France. They are not wearing winter clothing but cooking wear, Mr. Hornig is the 5th from the right.
Backing bread with the company in France, It seems the oven is placed on the back of a lorry
Slicing bread with what seems to be a circular saw. The baking company in France
A colorized image of mr. Gunther A. Hornig
From November 1943 the division was send to the town of Aquila in Italy, 210 kilometres north east from Rome.
In December they were relocated to Ferrara in Italy.
On the night of 9 to 10 July Operation Husky started, the Allied forces tried to take Sicily and get a foothold in Italy. In late July the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division was flown in to reinforce the German defenders on the Island.
The 1st Fallschirmjäger Division had a major part in the defence of Italy. They took part in the Battle for Sicily. After the Allied achieved a breakthrough at the beachhead in Anzio, which was the first major invasion of the Italian mainland, they helped to defend the Gustaf line in January 1944. In February 1944 they were moved out from the Gustaf Line and shifted their defence to the monastery of Monte Cassino. The division put up a ferociuos defence in the heavily bombed monastery.
The division held out until 17th of may 1944. After 4 major battles they got flanked by the Polish and had to withdraw to the north of Rome.
Mr. Hornig was dispatched to the 1st Fallschirmjäger Company with Identification number L21063, leaving the bakery company behind. In November 1944 he was promoted to Obergefreiter which can be translated to
Senior Lance-Corporal, or in NATO code OT-3.
Fallschirmjägers getting ready for a jump, training excercise in Italy
The Fallschrimjägers walk to their transport plane, a Heinkel HE 111 in Italy
Posing near a burial site. Probably he lost company members at this location in Italy
This map shows the movement of the 1st Fallschirmjäger division in Italy. From Sicily in the south to the North beyond Monte Cassino
POW and Back Home
After the 1st Fallschirmjäger division pulled out of Monte Cassino they moved further North to the Apennine Mountains South of Bologna. Throughout the winter the frontline was static, the 1st Fallschirmjäger division was reduced after the Italian campaign. They now formed part of the German 1st Fallschirmjäger Corps of the 4th Fallschirmjäger Division. After the winter they were deployed at the Adriatic coast in Italy, from here they were forced a steadily retread, pushed back by the advancing British Eight Army. The German surrender came on 2 May 1945, by then Mr. Hornig was already taken prisoner of war. He was taken prisoner on the 23th of April in 1945 by American Forces in the Italian town of Imola on the road; Emilia Via.
Mr. Hornig with the Fallschirmschützen Abzeichen or German Parachute medal
Back home in Germany, it looks like Mr. Hornig was wounded on the head
The original certificate of receiving the Fallschirmschutzen Abzeichen
Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe – Courtesy of Wikepedia
Mr Hornig with his parents and a friend
After the war he was a driver for the American army in Munich and was discharged in 1947.
Mr. Gunther A. Hornig died on the 7th of August in 1995, 72 years old.
Field Marshal Alexander regarded the Fallschirmjägers as “The best German troops in Italy”
All photos with original text are send to us by Mr. Gunther Hornig, the son of Mr. Gunther A. Hornig
The Landmark Scout logo is placed on the photos to protect the exclusive owner Gunther Hornig.
Landmark Scout thanks Gunther for allowing the Scouts to publish his fathers history and photographs on their site.