Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Discipline and 'reprimands' - Eintragungen im Strafbuch (1)


...The "Strafbuch" was the unit's disciplinary log. While 'punishments' and 'discipline' are occasionally mentioned in memoirs and accounts, information on 'types' of punishment meted out to 'offenders' is much harder to come by - there were for example different types of 'reprimand' ('Verweis') and different 'levels' of arrest; 'room' arrest, 'light' confinement etc.. Of course you could be punished for almost anything in the Luftwaffe; talking out of turn, personal insults and failing to look after equipment and uniform, even before infringements of flying 'discipline' and regulations are considered. 

Below; a 'Straftenor' punishment advice for talking out of turn - damaging the reputation of the war academy - with inapprorpriate remarks in the presence of civilians.

".. I hereby punish Oberleutnant Eickmann with a   - stern reprimand -  for damaging the public reputation of the school when, while acting as duty 'Theateroffizier' on December 23, 1943, he confronted an Oberfahnrich in the presence of civilians and repeatedly referred to this unit as a 'club'...."


Fw.Wilhelm Werner, 1./ (F) 100.  Transferred to the penal system today at 13:00 

Zwei Tage gelinder Arrest - 2 days light confinement. As he in March 1943 through carelessness caused the loss of a lined overcoat and a lined work suit. Verschuldet  hat - he was at fault.

" ....out on our isolated field strips, we often took off with a crosswind or even a tailwind, if the wind was not too strong. On one particular occasion I had not noticed that a He 111 was circling overhead and preparing to land. When I landed back in Mariupol at 7.15 p.m. shortly before dusk with S. and O. on board, our chief, Hptm. M., greeted me in a state of utmost agitation. He had been ordered to submit a report to General v. Richthofen against the pilot who had taken off two hours ago across the airfield, having failed to start his run from the laid-out landing cross in accordance with regulations. Richthofen, Chief of Luftflotte 4, was in the He 111 that flew over the airfield when I took off...."

"....For me, this meant a trial by court martial and punishment for offences against aeronautical discipline and order. Richthofen was notorious in such matters, especially among officers. B. had then to carry out the interrogation immediately. I was not unduly worried. Fortunately the wind had been in my favour, because at the time of my take-off there was a light breeze of 15 km/h coming in from the sea, so that technically my take-off was into the wind. The landing cross was therefore in the wrong position, because it had to be moved every time the wind direction changed. But the air traffic control (Flugleitung) had neglected to do this. I was grounded until the trial. After 10 days I was ordered to report to Colonel H.. He told me that Richthofen had personally dropped the charges before the court martial, but that he thought disciplinary action by the disciplinary superior was necessary because I had failed to point out the incorrect position of the landing cross to the air traffic control. H. led me to understand that I had acted correctly, but he could do nothing against the order of the air fleet commander. So I was punished with the lowest level of disciplinary punishment, a simple reprimand. However Richthofen was stubborn - he now demanded a court martial against the unfortunate Flugleiter (flight ops controller), an older Oblt. d.R.. What became of this matter, I never found out..."