Mountaineer Regiment 139, 13th Company – Gebirgsjägerregiment 139, 13 Kompanie
On 12th August 1941, my bother Toni, Sepp our cousin and their friend Fisher Hans, and Ludwig Knott from Munich, joined the Feld Ersatz Battalion 1047 – Field Reserve Battalion 1047. Together they were transferred on 22nd August 1941 until 27th September 1941 to occupy Norway, which was taken over by the German forces on 9th June 1940. They were just boys and to begin with they had a wonderful time and thought Norway was beautiful. To their delight they had permission to swim in the fjords, the water was crystal clear and diving in from the rocks above was a huge amount of fun, but it was war and the duration of those pleasures were very short. On 28th September until 13th October 1941 the troops were used to protect the coast of Norway, which they continued to occupy until 30th October 1941. Then from 10th November until 18th December the Marschbattalion 1047 came under the command of Major General Eduard Dietl, and became the Gebirgsjägerregiment 139, 13 Kompanie (Mountaineer Regiment 139, 13th Company). General Dietl was a Bavarian, and most of the Mountaineers were Bavarians and Austrians and when those young men were conscripted they were told: “You are Bavarian,” (or as it was Austrians) “You can ski, so you are going to Finland.” Whether they could actually ski did not come into the equation.
One of the young soldiers, an artist named Kurt Kranz, managed to portray with modest means, the life of the soldiers. Home for them was now the Karelian Jungle. And when Kurt Kranz came back to the bunker from guard duty or ski reconnaissance, with great success he managed, with only a pencil, to put those images on paper. His friends in the bunker never failed to admire his drawings, and in the twilight the soldiers could experience the cold magic of the Northern lights. Kurt Kranz managed to capture in his drawings a life of incredible harshness on a unique front, in the winter of the Karelian jungle in Lapland. Cousin Sepp received a book of 38 of his drawings as a gift from Kurt Kranz.