Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The NSFO

(Source)

Hauptmann Jürgen von Lüttwitz stood and stared at the young officer standing in front of him, this was the latest indignity visited upon the men of the old 5th Company.

"You said you were, what exactly?"

The young Oberleutnant in his nearly perfect uniform, with not a single combat decoration anywhere to be seen, smiled and said, as if explaining to a simpleton, "I am your unit's NSFO, your Nationalsozialistische Führungsoffizier¹. My task is to instill in you and your men the proper National Socialist mindset. Of course, my other job is seeing to the men's morale, though with the proper National Socialist principles, the morale part of the job takes care of itself."

"I see, what was your name again?" von Lüttwitz had no time for this nonsense, not after the events of the past few days.


The 275th Infantry Division had been shattered twice, the first time at Falaise, the second just recently in the fighting in and around the Hürtgenwald. There was talk of reforming the division yet again, but that plan had fallen through. Von Lüttwitz and his men had been ordered back to the area around Düren where they would join up with a detachment of assault guns and the remnants of another company from the 275th. Allied air raids had put paid to some parts of that plan.

He and the forty-two survivors of the 5th Company had boarded a train bound for Düren, only to be stopped fifteen kilometers into the journey, an air raid had destroyed a railyard ahead of them and they had been ordered off the train. They had marched the rest of the way to Düren where, wonder of wonders, they had actually been met by the seven StuG III assault guns of the Sturmgeschütz detachment from the 116th Panzer Division. Why they weren't with their parent division von Lüttwitz couldn't fathom, but he was happy for the extra firepower.

Unfortunately, Major Kaltenbach, the man who was supposed to command the battlegroup, never arrived. A dispatch from headquarters said that he had been killed in an air raid, that same dispatch had been delivered to von Lüttwitz by a rather green lieutenant, who claimed to be an advisor to the battlegroup.


"My name, my dear Hauptmann, is Herzig, Oberleutnant Erwin Herzig, formerly attached to Army Headquarters at Zossen. My father is the Burgermeister of..."

"Oberleutnant, I am not 'your dear Hauptmann,' I am your commanding officer. I do not care who your father is. Do you have any combat experience at all?" von Lüttwitz tried to remain calm, but this man was trying his patience.

"No Sir, I have been at headquarters until now. I wish that..."

"Enough, go see that sergeant over there," von Lüttwitz pointed in the direction of Oberfeldwebel Klaus-Peter Keller, who had been commander of the 3rd platoon until von Lüttwitz had made him the company's first sergeant, or Spieß, "he will see to it that you are properly equipped. For now you will be attached to company headquarters."

"I see, I wonder if you would send a grenadier over to help me with my bags?"

"Herzig, you will carry your own bags. Anything which won't fit on one of our carts must be left behind. If it isn't a uniform or piece of equipment necessary for the front, it will be left behind. Am I clear?"

"I'm sorry Herr Hauptmann, I don't think you understand..."

Von Lüttwitz was tempted to pull his service pistol and shoot the annoying Nazi officer standing before him, but he was rescued by Unteroffizier Fischer, the company supply officer.

"Please come with me Herr Oberleutnant, I will help you with your baggage and see that you get settled in." Fischer then led the young lieutenant away from his company commander, before that commander did something he would probably regret.

"Problem Herr Hauptmann?" Unteroffizier Manfred Sauer came up with a grin on his face.

"Unless that officer is worth more than he appears to be worth, which is precisely nothing at this point, I don't think he will survive the war."

"Understood Herr Hauptmann. In other news..."

"Don't get smart with me Manfred, I am not in the mood."

"No Sir, but the remnants of 2nd Company have arrived, along with one hundred and fifty-five replacements. Some of them are old hands, but a lot of them are green kids. And then there is this..." Sauer handed the captain a telegraph form.

"Where on earth..."

"I stopped by the telegraph office. They are, oddly enough, still operating. They asked me if I knew the whereabouts of a 'Kampfgruppe Von Lüttwitz,' I assured them that I did, then they handed me this."

Von Lüttwitz scanned the form, then looked up at Sauer, who said, "Congratulations Herr Major."

"Did you read the rest of the message?" von Lüttwitz suspected that he had.

"Of course Sir. I have to be ready to assist you, do I not?"

Glaring at Sauer, but then giving him a wink, von Lüttwitz contemplated the fact that he now commanded his own little battlegroup of two-hundred and sixty infantry and seven assault guns, each with a crew of four men. He now commanded nearly three hundred men, something he wasn't quite ready for. That was, could be interpreted as, the good news. The bad news?

They were to head back into the Hürtgenwald. The unit that had relieved the 5th Company had been nearly destroyed by an American artillery bombardment. There was now a bulge in the line which Corps wanted straightened out.

"I suppose the NSFO is supposed to help me with that?" von Lüttwitz said disgustedly.

Sauer shook his head and said, "Be careful with that one Herr Hauptmann, he smells connected, if you know what I mean."

"Yes Manfred, I do. I guess we can't be simple soldiers anymore, now we must be good Nazis as well." von Lüttwitz shook his head sadly.

"We'll see about that Sir. There are many bad things awaiting us in that forest, who knows who will survive?" Sauer grimaced and looked to the west as he said that.

There were times when the 'simple' pig farmer scared the captain, this was one of them. Manfred Sauer was not a man to be trifled with, but he was right, there were many bad things in the Hürtgenwald, things a 'connected' young NSFO had no idea of, things which could kill the unwary.

The Hürtgenwald had no mercy.




¹ National Socialist Leadership Officer, abbreviated, in German, as NSFO.

Link to all of The Chant's fiction.

46 comments:

  1. The Amis will want the NSFO dead; the Germans want him dead, what can go wrong?

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  2. There's only one way to deal with a "true believer".......this time of year the nights get longer I believe. Wasn't Zossen near the THE HQ for the Reich?

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    1. Zossen was outside Berlin and contained the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) and the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), the high commands of the Armed Forces and Army, respectively. OKW replaced the German War Ministry. In reality, the major HQ was wherever Hitler was. All roads led to the Führer.

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  3. about 1953, when I was a 60 lb. 13 year old, my younger brother and myself were given 2 German reversible camouflage field jackets, which were leaf pattern on one side and white on the other. They were too small. Old Guns

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    1. I forgot to capitalize "A" in about.

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    2. Old Guns - Those would be rather valuable these days, provided of course they were in good condition. But too small? Wow, points to the age of some of the soldiers the Germans were using.

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  4. My cousin used to earn money during Christmas break by driving cotton burrs to farmers. He'd fill up the big old Chevy at the gin, and then dump them in a pasture somewhere. When we would visit, I'd ride with him, open gates, pull the rope on the burr hopper. He and I were both 13 when I remember that starting. He had a gob of webbing and old helments, so we'd pretend to be driving trucks on the 8 Ball express...

    Cold nights, sometimes snowy, opening wire gates, dumping burrs, until two or so in the morning.... It was a hoot for me, work for him, and nothing close to what we were pretending...

    The story feels real. Like all good stories, I'm there....

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    1. Thanks STxAR. The imagination of a kid, been there, done that. But matching reality? Nope, not even close.

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  5. Well, I am sure with the new NSFO, this will go nothing but well.

    Odd how this seems to be a fixture of authoritarian armies (thinking of the equivalent Russian Kommisars here. Tim Curry's presentation of one in Red October was probably pretty accurate.).

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    1. In authoritarian regimes, the state, though it is allegedly "of the people," does not trust the people. As the leaders are untrustworthy bastards themselves, they assume everyone is like that. Hence the perceived need for commissars and NSFOs.

      Seems that the concept might be "coming to a theater" near us if things stand as they do now.

      Tim Curry's take on a commissar was well done.

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    2. I certainly ran into a few of that ilk at Ft Fumble, and that was 20+ ago. They multiply faster than minx. The good news is they degrade the capability of the forces they're in.

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    3. Tim Curry was the ship's doctor.

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    4. Scott, you are absolutely correct. Boo on me for misremembering.

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    5. The chap that played the Zampolit was really good at it, though, wasn't he?

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    6. juvat - Degrading is the only thing they're good at. The next four years scares me!

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    7. Scott #1 - You are absolutely correct, Peter Firth played the zampolit. That actor is very good at portraying assholes, he playes one in the mini-series Victoria, scheming to take the throne he is.

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    8. Toirdhealbheach Beucail - Me too!

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    9. Scott #2 - Peter Firth, a very good actor.

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    10. Sarge, Yeah, but we'll be VERY lucky if it's ONLY 4 years. That's what scares me.

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    11. It's not the new regime which frightens me, it's the coming revolution. If we stand for this thievery, we do not deserve this Republic of ours.

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    12. I think that's what it's going to take.

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  6. Something wicked this way comes........

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    1. And it lives in the dark forests of Germany. And the hearts of men...

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  7. In comparison to the much better STUG IV, I do Not approve of the STUG III. I realize that it did it's job most competently, but, compared to to IV, it was a death traps for their crews, particularly the driver. But better a STUG III, than a Panzerjager 38 t Hetzer.

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    1. The troops use what they are issued, whether they liked it or not. No hatch for the driver would indeed suck.

      But I wouldn't call it a death trap, in fact it was a very successful vehicle at 10,000+ copies. The only reason the StuG IV came about was because Krupp wanted to build an assault gun and as they didn't build the PzKw III they didn't have access to those hulls, but they did build the PzKw IV, so they built the StuG IV.

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  8. I think that what appears to be the incoming administration, would love the idea of people like Herzig throughout society.

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  9. That lot is FULL of fledgling -and experienced- NSFO's. They've set things up nicely with the WuFlu Stasi.
    If this election can be stolen, we are on the path. I believe Aesop's call that it will be war.
    Boat Guy

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  10. Oh please issue the NSFO the "Minenraeumgeraet Ausf. 01". A captured example of this device was later mass produced and sold to children and inebriated university students under the name "Pogo-Stick". Any appearances of early German IR nightvision gear coming up in your excellent saga?

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    1. We shall see how long this chap lasts.

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    2. The Wolverines have had time to reload the HVDSAP, let them out holes in a Vampir Panther.

      Maybe in an Ardennes story?

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    3. We're nearly there, aren't we?

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    4. Yep, we are on the downhill side of November!

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  11. For once I read all the comments before opening my big... fingers?...

    Yeah, the little connected snot will accidentally desert (with assistance) the first dark night they are back in the woods. Thirty years later a skeleton with the tell-tale marks of having it's throat slit after being stabbed in the kidneys will be found.

    Or not. Maybe the little snot will learn after the first time a Jabo finds our little war band. Heck, maybe he'll get a sucking chest wound from a .50 or shot in the back for running away or something.

    The Forest... it is hungry... it wants more fertilizer. And the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer and colder. Brrr...

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    1. Not sure where this character is going yet. We'll see how it plays out.

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  12. I remember the NSFO from the ship; rotten, stinky, sticky shit that messed up everything it came in contact with, except for fire.

    So there isn't much difference, right?

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  13. Navy Special Fuel Oil was basically what was left over, after the Good Stuff had been refined out of the crude oil.

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    1. 1962 we had an emergency breakaway while refueling underway. It took us just about 3 months to get the stuff off the deck. I was a BM3 and the fuel trunk was in my space. The BT's sent a working party every Thursday to help. Old Guns

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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