1stPanzer's blog

I suppose I saw it coming - being a complete tomboy I knew acting the part of a nurse at reenactments was never going to be enough for me. But the usual 'German women didn't fight in WWII' comment stuck with me for ages, so I reluctantly stopped looking at photos on the 'net of the beautiful burnished wooden stocks of K98s.

Then I read somewhere in my research about the Leibstandarte that in the Battle for Berlin, and at the defence of Breslau, some women did take up weapons. Though this was in defence, of course. My interest was piqued however, so I started some serious searching for sources that always seemed to be very well hidden.

At last I found an article by a lady American historian, determined to unearth untold tales of American servicewomen. In doing so, she discovered some interesting facts about all the women who fought in WWII, including a very few Germans!

"In November 1944, Hitler issued an official order that no woman was to be trained in the use of weapons - excepting those women in the remote areas of the Reich that could easily be overrun by the Soviets. In one such area, a 22 year old woman named Erna was awarded the Iron Cross when she, together with a male sergeant and a private, destroyed three Soviet tanks with panzerfausts. Lore Ley, daughter of a prominent National Socialist official, once knocked out a Soviet armoured car and captured military documents. However weapons training was still unofficial for German women until February 1945, when Hitler created an experimental women's infantry battalion. The war ended before they finished training."

In all, 39 German women were awarded the Iron Cross for their duty, though I have to admit these ladies were mainly nurses!

But the evidence is there and precedent exists for me to go and buy that K98, pull on my muddy jackboots and carry it with a sense of humility.