SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
SPECIAL CAMP 11
Photo courtesy of J.N. Houterman
profile is based on a copy of Generalmajor Wahle’s microfilmed service record
housed at the United States National Archives and Records Administration in
Washington, D.C. As the service record covered only the period from 1912-1942, supplemental
sources (see below) were consulted for the remainder of Wahle’s military career
CAPTURED: Hyon-Ciply (Mons), Belgium
DATE: 4 September 1944
DATE OF BIRTH: 7 February 1892
PLACE OF BIRTH: Dresden/Sachsen
DATE OF DEATH: 23 February 1975
PLACE OF DEATH: Prien/Chiemsee/Bayern
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
NEXT OF KIN:
Parents: Generalmajor a.D. Otto and Emma (née Lampe) Wahle. Generalmajor a.D. Wahle last commanded the 7th Royal Saxon Infantry Brigade No. 88 before retiring from the Army.
Wife: Married on 17 May 1940 in Bucharest, Romania.
Generalmajor Wahle’s World War I Combat Service Record:
Western Front, 1914-1918
Generalmajor Wahle and the Mons Pocket
First organized on 1 February 1944 under the command of Generalleutnant Otto Elfeldt, the 47th Infantry Division had served since its inception under the LXXXII Army Corps of the 15th Army in static defense positions on the French coast at Calais. Following the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the 47th Infantry Division, along with the rest of the 15th Army, remained idle in the Pas de Calais region of France and on the Belgian coast. An elaborate Allied deception plan, codenamed Operation Fortitude, had led the Germans to believe the Allies would launch a second large-scale landing against the Pas de Calais. As a result, the infantry-heavy 15th Army did not immediately intervene against the Allied beachheads in Normandy. Although nine of the 15th Army’s divisions were ultimately transferred to Normandy between the end of June and the middle of August, the 47th Infantry Division continued to remain on the Channel coast.
The Division was considered fit for employment in static warfare. The Infantry regiments consisted of 2 battalions each, and the Artillery regiment of 4 battalions each except for the IV. (heavy) battalion, which consisted of 2 batteries. At the middle of August ‘44 all units excepting the Artillery were at about 80 – 85% of their T/O strength. The Artillery was considerably weaker. The percentage of men unfit for fighting was high, consisting mostly of men suffering from frost-bite contracted in the battles in the East. Armament strength was up to requirements, but contained a lot of captured weapons. The complement of horse-drawn and motorized vehicles was completely insufficient.
|Unavoidable marches by day found the troops exposed to the full effect of the enemy bombers. The losses were so critical that the 103rd Inf Regt, for instance, was disbanded and the remnants were attached to the other two Inf Regiments. The number and condition of the horses sank lower every day. Supplies began to fail to arrive. There was a complete lack of gasoline for the few vehicles available, of means of communication and of maps; the one [vehicle] belonging to the C.O. of the Division did not go beyond Noyon. Most of all news was missing concerning the disposition of the enemy, of the neighbours, and of the intentions of the own command.
In the further development of the events on 28 August [the Allied advance to the east and west of Paris] this caused the 47th Inf Division to attempt the impossible: To start a race to the German frontier against the superior, modernized mobile Armor of the enemy without the protection of its own Luftwaffe. There could be no doubt as to the outcome of this right from the start.
How these events are to be judged within the framework of the overall picture of the war will be the job for those who write the history of this war. Long before the start of the small part of the war which is depicted here [in the account of the 47th Infantry Division], voluntary departure from certain operative and tactical principles had shaken the whole Wehrmacht and headed it towards a debacle which no amount of human bravery was able to avert. The German soldier fought for a lost cause. If he bravely stuck to his post under hopeless circumstances, then the future histories of the war will justly give him his due for it.
Biography of Generalmajor a.D. Carl Wahle possibly from
a German veteran’s newsletter (note the Commander’s Cross 2nd Class of the
Swedish Royal Order of Vasa worn at his throat)
Born on 7 February 1892, Generalmajor a.D. [außer Dienst = Retired] Carl Wahle lives in Prien/Chiemsee. The son of a general, he was born in Dresden and, after graduating from humanistic high school, he became a soldier in March 1912 when entered the Royal Saxon Rifle Regiment “Prince George” as a Fahnenjunker. As a platoon leader in his regiment, he was badly wounded on 30 August 1914 on the Aisne River. In January 1915, Leutnant Wahle returned to the field and served as a battalion adjutant, a company leader, a regimental adjutant (Oberleutnant) and, in the last year of the war, an ordnance officer in the General Command of the XII (1st Royal Saxon) Army Corps and then the 24th Infantry Division. In the 100,000-man army, he was on the staff of Reichswehr-Brigade 12 and, from 1922-1931, he served in the 10th (Saxon) Infantry Regiment based in Bautzen, including over three years as regimental adjutant in Dresden and four years as Chief of the 12th (Machinegun) Company. From 1931-1932, Wahle was in the Reich Defense Ministry (Military Intelligence and Foreign Intelligence Departments) and subsequently served as a battalion commander in Infantry Regiment 32 at Grimma. In 1935, he was detached to the Swedish Army and in 1938 became the military attaché at the German embassy in Bucharest (1 November 1938 promoted Oberst). In October 1940, he became commander of Infantry Regiment 267 and passed into leader reserve at the beginning of 1942. On 1 June 1942, he was appointed a Generalmajor and the Armed Forces Commandant of Hamburg. For his circumspection and drive during the heavy bombing attacks in the summer of 1943, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords. On 1 February 1944, he took command of the 214th Infantry Division followed a month later with command of the 719th Infantry Division and in August 1944 the 47th Infantry Division. At the beginning of September, he was captured by the Americans near Mons.
 As of 1 February1944, the commanding general
of the LXXXII Army Corps was General der Infanterie Johann Sinnhuber
while Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth served as commander-in-chief of
the 15th Army. Generals Sinnhuber and von Salmuth continued to hold
these posts until 1 September 1944 and 23 August 1944 when they were
replaced by Generals der Infanterie Walter Hoernlein and Gustav-Adolf
von Zangen respectively.
 Following his capture by Polish troops in
the Falaise Pocket on 20 August 1944, Generalleutnant Otto Elfeldt was
transferred to Great Britain and ultimately imprisoned at Island Farm
Special Camp No. 11.
 Wahle, Carl. “Northern France Campaign, 26
August – 4 Sept ‘44 (MS # B-176).” Written by Generalmajor Wahle for
the U.S. Army Historical Division after World War II, this account chronicles
the movements and actions of the 47th Infantry Division during the time
period indicated. Without access to reference documents or proper maps,
he wrote the account from memory supplemented by articles from the British
Daily Mail newspaper while being held as
a prisoner of war at Island Farm Special Camp No. 11. All quotations
by Generalmajor Wahle are cited from this document.
 The corps commanders of the U.S. 1st Army
were Major General Charles H. Corlett (XIX Corps), Major General J.
Lawton “Lightning Joe” Collins (VII Corps) and Major General Leonard
T. Gerow (V Corps).
 Three German generals were captured in the
Mons Pocket: Generalmajor Hubertus von Aulock, the leader of a battle
group; Luftwaffe Generalleutnant Rüdiger von Heyking, the commander
of the 6th Fallschirmjäger-Division; and Generalmajor Wahle. Although
the Germans suffered extremely heavy losses in the Mons Pocket, at least
40,000 troops, including all three of the corps staffs, managed to escape
capture by slipping through the porous American front. Bittrich’s Battle
Groups “Hohenstaufen” (SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Harzer) and “Frundsberg”
(SS-Oberführer Heinz Harmel) were among the more significant divisional
elements to escape ahead of the American advance. Worthy of mention,
Generalleutnant Joachim von Tresckow, the commander of the 18th Field
Division (Luftwaffe), broke out of the Mons Pocket with 300 of his men
on 3 September 1944. After traveling 260 kilometers on foot, the general
and his band reached the German lines on the 18th of September. On the
day after his return, Generalleutnant von Tresckow received the Knight’s
Cross of the Iron Cross in recognition of his outstanding leadership
of the division.
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