|Born||24 December 1924|
|Died||2 March 2010(aged 85)|
|Place of birth||Steiermark, Austria|
|Place of death||Wals-Siezenheim, Austria|
|Years of service||1942–1945|
|Unit||3rd Mountain Division|
Iron Cross 2nd & 1st class|
Infantry Assault Badge
Wound Badge (silver)
Sniper's Badge (gold)
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross[Notes 1]
Josef 'Sepp' Allerberger was a German sniper in the II Battalion of the 144th Gebirgsjäger Regiment of the 3rd Mountain Division on the Eastern Front, and was credited with 257 kills. He was born in the vicinity of Steiermark, Austria, on 24 December 1924 (although in his memoirs he states he was born in September), the son of a local carpenter. Sent to the Eastern Front in June 1943 as a machine gunner, Allerberger was lightly wounded at Stavropol and experimented with a captured Soviet Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifle with a 3.5x PU telescopic sight whilst recuperating. Eventually he made 27 kills before being sent for sniper training at Seetaleralpe, and being assigned a Karabiner 98k sniper variant with 4x telescopic sight. At the end of the War he would often use a Gewehr 43 with ZF4 4x telescopic sight and an MP40 submachine gun.
During combat, Allerberger was noted for using the Wehrmacht-taught technique of an umbrella with the cloth removed and foliage woven into the arms which he held to his front in order to camouflage himself. This camouflage was quickly assembled and lightweight and adaptable to many circumstances.
In 2005, a book titled Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knight's Cross ISBN 1-84415-317-7 was published, written by Albrecht Wacker based on interviews with Allerberger. The book was noted for suggesting that the Soviets had cannibalised their own comrades' corpses, and graphic depictions of torture. This translation into English is an abridged version of the book Im Auge des Jägers. The first three volumes of this work appeared under the title Der Wehrmachtsscharfschütze Franz Karner, as Allerberger was initially reluctant to be named.
According to his memoirs, Allerberger was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner, the commander of Army Group Centre, on 20 April 1945, although no official documentation ever recorded the award. However, this was not uncommon at this late point in the war.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Josef Allerberger is not listed in Veit Scherzer's book Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives nor in Walther-Peer Fellgiebel's book Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945
References[edit | edit source]
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Wacker, Albrecht (2005,2006), Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knight's Cross. ISBN 1-84415-317-7 Pen & Sword Military.
- Wacker, Albrecht (2000), Im Auge des Jägers, ISBN 978-3-932077-27-2.
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