Leopold Wenger

Leopold Wenger's letters from France, July-December 1942

Published by carolyn on Tue, 2014-01-21 16:31

Poldi (on right) with squadron buddies having some fun for the camera showing off their new sweaters with the "Red Fox" squadron emblem.


copyright 2013 Wilhelm Wenger and Carolyn Yeager
Translated from the German by Carlos Whitlock Porter

29 July 1942: Today I’m back at our home port with my squadron leader and a small staff of technical personnel in readiness. I still have to do three days standby service and then I’ll be flying back to our home port and will be relieved by another squadron there.

Today I flew my first mission again. We attacked the port of Brixham again, where our leader was lost on 17 July. It was 16 hours 19 minutes when I flew through the harbor barriers, which consisted of 20 to 30 barrage balloons, with my wingman in a low-level attack, shot up a few small ships and aimed a direct bomb hit at the stern of a 4000 ton freighter. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see what effect it had, since their defenses kicked in quickly and the flak was being aimed very precisely. They made a lot of noise during the night when their bombs went off. As we flew off, we were pursued by a few Spitfires, but we were faster. On the high seas, I saw still another small tugboat. Our cannons spoke very clear language. We left it there, letting off a big column of smoke. So I was in the same harbor twice in the same day, today, in which I had already sunk one watch ship already. Today’s freighter was also seriously damaged, that’s for sure.

Category 

Germany, World War II

Bicycle Adventures of an Austrian Teen

Published by carolyn on Wed, 2013-05-15 16:32

From Leopold Wenger's Trip Diary

Out and About on the Bicycle

1936-1937

copyright 2013 Wilhelm Wenger and Carolyn Yeager

Translated from the German by Wilfried Heink

Leopold Wenger was born on Nov. 19, 1921; in July 1936 when his first diary-recorded bike trip began, he was only 14 years old. By the time of the rest of the trips recorded here (all of which took place before the annexation of Austria to Germany), he was 15 years old. Quite a responsible, resiliant, hardy and adventurous young National-Socialist "Hitler Youth" he was, who later became a valiant defender of the Reich.  My thanks to Willy Wenger for sending these diary entries to me – along with the photographs taken by 'Poldi (called Bibi by family) – and to Wilfried Heink for translating it from the German original – a large undertaking.

While this may not interest everyone, I believe it is of great value for comparing our youth of that time with our youth of today. -cy

P.S. On 6-5-2016 I linked the images to the file view, so just click on them for a larger view.

The Salzburg Journey, May 5-8, 1936

Sunday, July 5, 1936. We were to leave Leoben at 5:30, but I slept in and was picked up by Prommer and Horvat; we left Leoben at 5:45. We traveled via Edling to Seitz. Between Kammern and Mauten, we had to stop for the first time, my canteen/flask, fastened to my rucksack had slipped between the frame of my bike and the hind wheel during a descent. It acted as a brake, and the felt encasing was severely damaged.

The first rest stop was at the Schober summit. We arrived in Liezen at 12 noon in time for lunch. It had been extremely hot all morning. Past Steinach-Erdning we left the main road, pushed our bikes for one and a half hour over the Klachau pass and arrived in Bad Aussee at 16.45. We rested for awhile and at 17:00 we started to push our bikes to the Koppe, a very narrow pass used as a shortcut to Hallstadt. At about the border between Styria and Upper-Austria the road reaches its highest point, to the right a canyon used by the railroad. The road was in horrible shape; a car could never have driven through here. There were also warning signs posted: "Bicycle riders dismount, very steep grade, avalanche danger!"