Lot 542

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An intriguing Kriegsmarine "ersazt-soldbuch", 36pp. 12mo. issued to Kriegsmarine sailor Helmut Franzke on March 13, 1944. Despite this late date of issue, research shows that Franzke enjoyed a long career in the German naval forces, joining the Reichsmarine in 1927 and serving with the Kriegsmarine aboard the heavy cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER and the submarine U-26, aboard which he would complete five patrols under captains Heinz Scheringer and Heinz Fischer, sinking five ships displacing a total of 10,581 tons. He was then his own command, the training boat U-3, in July of 1940. However, his career as a U-boat commander would be cut short in November of 1940, when he and several of his crew were court-martialed for homosexuality. He was demoted in rank to Able Seaman, expelled from the U-boat service and imprisoned for 14 months, being assigned to a patrol vessel of the "11.Sicherungsflotille" in the Adriatic upon his release. Unfortunately, the soldbuch presented here does not reflect much in regards to his career prior to his court-martial, apart from his receipt of the U-Boat War Badge in April of 1939. It also records several other decorations he received, including the 4-year and 8-year Long Service medals, the Iron Cross, Second Class, the Bulgarian Military Service Cross, and finally the Minesweeper Badge in September of 1943. It also records equipment issued to him, including a tropical uniform and, oddly, hand grenades and an entrenching tool. His identification photograph appears stapled within the front cover, with his signature appearing on the second page. Shows expected wear, staple marks and minor toning, else very good. This soldbuch also unfortunately does not record Franzke's fate; he perished on May 28, 1944 when his ship, the submarine chaser Uj-2210, was sunk in the Ligurian Sea by American torpedo boats.

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April 30, 2019 10:00 AM EDT
Chesapeake City, MD, US

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