Arthur Martini

Arthur Martini was born on 16 December 1917 in Leipzig, Germany. Arthur was not married. He lived with his family in the town of Rittergut, Southeast of Leipzig.

I do not know when Arthur enlisted in the army, but it was well before World war II when it started in 1939.

In Oktober 1938 Arthur participated in the annexation of the Sudetenland. Later he also participated in the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia (Czech) on 15 March 1939.

I do not know in which unit Arthur was during both annexations or which rank and position Arthur held in that unit.

Arthur got the "Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938" rememberence medal for the annexation of the Sudetenland. In May 1939 Arthur also received the "Prager Burg" bronze bar to put on the ribbon of this medal for his participation in the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia.

During and after the big 1939 mobilisation of the German army every soldier received an Erkennungsmarke (dog-tag) and Soldbuch (soldiers paybook/identification). Arthur received his while he was in 11.Kompanie of Infanterie-Regiment 52. This Regiment was part of the 4. Infanterie-Division. Arthur was a Leutnant (2nd lieutenant) at this time. It could be that Arthur invaded the Sudetenland and Bohemia/Moravia with this Regiment, as the 4. Infanterie-Division participated in these invasions.

With his Regiment Arthur participated in the invasion of Poland in September 1939. The Division fought at Lublinitz, Mokrsesc, Kielce and South of that. They crossed the Weichsel river at Anapol and assaulted towards Krasnislaw. On 6 Oktober the Polish army surrenderd. Arthur's Division took part in the clearing of Polish troops that did not surrender and kept on fighting in the Lublin, Pulawy and Wlodawa area.

During these battles Arthur became wounded. He was hit in the neck with a bullet. Arthur was hospitalized from 16 Oktober 1939 till 8 January 1940. Somehow Arthur damaged or lost his Soldbuch. This might have happend while getting wounded. Arthur's ersatz (replacement/convalescence) unit issued him a new Soldbuch on 8 November 1939. Arthur received the Iron-cross second class for his actions during the invasion of Poland. Later he also received the woundbadge in black for his combat wound.

After recovering from his wounds Arthur transferred to another unit; 1st Kompanie of Infanterie-Regiment 433. This Regiment was part of the 164. Infanterie-Division. In early 1940 Arthur received (new) equipment. As Arthur was an officier he had to buy his own clothing. He was able to buy it from an army depot or from private tailors. The officers would receive some money from the army for this. At least enough to buy from an army depot. The same applied for the sidearm (pistol) of the officer.

With the 164. Infanterie-Division Arthur participated in the invasion of France though Luxembourg and Belgium. At the start the Division was held as Reserve. On 6 June 1940 a clerk noted Arthur's Machinepistol and a pistol, model P.08 (Luger), in his Soldbuch on page 8a. It is unclear to me if the Division participated in actual combat during the invasion of France. On 1 Oktober 1940 Arthur was promoted to Oberleutnant (1st lieutenant). Because of this rank he could have been the company-commander. After the invasion the Division stayed in France as an occupation force till December 1940.
On 27 July 1940 Arthur was on leave till 16 August. On the 18th they wrote this down in his Soldbuch.

In January 1941 Arthur's Division moved to Romania. In early April 1941 the Division participated in the invasion of Greece. They assaulted through the Metaxa defence line in the direction of Olymp. Later they occupied the city Saloniki. On 21 July Arthur was granted a special leave for 21 days. Between September and December 1941 the Division fought against partizans in Yugoslavia. During this time, Arthur's Regiment participated in war-crimes. The Regiment was responseble for the execution of many jews and gypsies in the area. It is unknown to me if Arthur participated and what his role was.

In late 1941 the Division was moved to the island Kreta and in January 1942 was renamed to Festungs-Division Kreta. Arthur was on leave from 16 till 30 December 1941, this was noted in his Soldbuch on 3 January 1942. A clerk also wrote down some equipment that Arthur had received from the army on page 6 and 7 of his Soldbuch. After a few month's the Division was split into a Festungs-Brigade Kreta and 164. leichte Afrika-Division. Arthur stayed in the 1st Kompanie of Infanterie-Regiment 433 and was part of the 164. leichte Afrika-Division. Arthur was the Kompanieführer (company leader) of his Kompanie. Arthur was on leave from 22 Mai till 15 June 1942.

From 24 July till 27 July Arthur was hospitalized for “Bone and joint disorders” in Kriegslazarett 220. During this time Arthur was photographed with a girl in the Croatian city of Veleniki, at the coast. Maybe Kriegslazarett 220 was stationed in or near Veleniki? After recovering Arthur was send back to his unit. On 28 July 1942 Arthur received tropical clothing, including a tropical helmet. Arthur's Division was send to the "Deutsches Afrikakorps", fighting in Afrika under command of Field Marshal Rommel. Arthur arrived on Afrikan soil on 30 July 1942. After the Division was complete, it went to Tobruk.

From the resently captured city Tobruk the Division went in the direction of the Egyptian border via Sollum and Marsa Matruk. Arthur received 2 days of Marschverpflegung (marching rations) from Raststelle Tobruk. In September his Regiment changed into a Panzergrenadier Regiment.

In the period of August till November the Division participated in the battles for El Alamein, were it suffered heavy losses. On 14 Oktober 1942 a batch of "Afrikakorps" cufftitles arrived at the Division. Not enough for every soldier, therefore they were handed out to the officers and senior NCO's first. After receiving one, the soldier had to apply it to his uniform right away.

After the German attacks had died down, the British army made a counter-attack on 23 Oktober. The German units, including Arthur's, were able to hold their ground, at a high cost. But after a few days of hard fighting the British army broke through the defences and the German forces had to retreat. The British army was able to give the German Afrikakorps a big hit. It was the turning point for the African campaign in favor of the Allied forces.

Arthur died on 26 Oktober 1942 when his unit tried to regain a hill near El Alamein that was earlier captured by the British army. Arthur is burried at the El Alamein memorial.

Part of the Division's casualty list of officers on 25 and 26 Oktober 1942

This Soldbuch was found in a house in England a few years ago. This together with the fact that nothing of his death was written in the Soldbuch (which was normal) and some photo's and a letter were still in the back of the Soldbuch, it looks like this soldbuch was taken from Arthur´s body by a (British) soldier as souvenir. But i cannot be 100% sure of this.