Kran, Karl – 5. Fallschirmjäger Division

Sadly not a lot of information is available regarding dates of birth, photo, and other personal information.

Only a short story about his actions in Bigonville (in German: Bondorf) is available which I have translated from German into English.

Karl Kran was a NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) radioman in Major Goswin Wahl’s Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 13.

Before that, Karl Kran was employed as a radio operator in France near Mantagny-les-Buxy in 1943/44. Probably 8./ FlugmeldeLeitKp II./LnRgt 303 then 7./FlugmeldeLeitKp I./LnRgt 223.

Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 13 was part of the 5. Fallschirmjäger Division (Generalmajor Ludwig Heilmann). The regiment fought alonside the 352. Volksgrenadier Division and was involved in the fightings for Fouhren, Brandenbourg, and ended up in the Martelange – Heiderscheid area. 

When the unit took Bigonville (in German: Bondorf), Karl set up a radio station in the basement of a house.

Over the course of the night, the area was increasingly bombarded by artillery and in the morning US tanks and infantry (the assault of the US 4th Armored Division) began to take the area.

The house in which the radio station was located began to burn during the fighting, so they were forced to change positions. When he looked out the front door, he saw that there was a US tank in the street, pointing its gun along the street and firing at the houses.

He thought that, if he were the first to run across the street, the gunner would be too surprised to fire directly with the machine gun. So he immediately ran into the house on the other side of the street with the radio.

Some comrades followed, but some of those who followed were shot.

Photo: B Company, 37th Tank Bn Sherman moving through ruins, France 1944.

In the second house they went into the basement. A short time later, US soldiers threw handgrenades into the house and into the basement. The handgrenade in the basement however did not explode.

Then the US soldiers shouted for them to come out. His most terrible feeling was when he had to climb the basement stairs over the still active handgrenade.

So Karl ended up as missing in action (MIA) in Bigonville since December 24, 1944. The first message to the family that he was in American captivity was sent by postcard on October 22, 1945. He was released on November 29, 1946.
 
 

Photo: some houses in Bigonville still bear the scars of war.

Bigonville has now a nice monument dedicated to the US 4th Armored Division. It is located near the church.

Sources:

  • bigonville.info/reports
  • Google View
  • Map: Gb_119a_Neuerburg-Diekirch_1943
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