28 Aug 2019

Best Japanese-German Collaboration Since WWII

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No, posting this kind of thing does not mean I’m a Nazi. I’m just a typical military history buff who, despite the politics and other very significant issues, feels a reluctant admiration for the performance in the field of the German military in WWII.

The Tokyo Philharmonic plays Panzerleid.


Wikipedia has the lyrics and a translation:

Ob’s stürmt oder schneit,
Ob die Sonne uns lacht,
Der Tag glühend heiß
Oder eiskalt die Nacht,
Bestaubt sind die Gesichter,
Doch froh ist unser Sinn,
Ja unser Sinn.
Es braust unser Panzer
Im Sturmwind dahin.

Whether it storms or snows,
Whether the sun smiles upon us,
[Whether in] The day’s scorching heat,
Or the ice-cold of the night,
Dusty are our faces,
But joyous is our mind,
Yes, our mind.
Our tanks roar there,
There in the stormwinds.

Mit donnernden Motoren,
Geschwind wie der Blitz,
Dem Feinde entgegen,
Im Panzer geschützt.
Voraus den Kameraden,
Im Kampf steh’n wir allein,
Steh’n wir allein,
So stoßen wir tief
In die feindlichen Reihn.

With thundering motors,
Fast as lightning,
Against the enemy,
safely inside our panzers.
Ahead of our comrades,
In combat we stand alone,
We stand alone.
So we strike deep,
In the enemy ranks.

Wenn vor uns ein feindliches
Heer dann erscheint,
Wird Vollgas gegeben
Und ran an den Feind!
Was gilt denn unser Leben
Für unsres Reiches Heer?
Ja Reiches Heer
Für Deutschland zu sterben
Ist uns höchste Ehr.

When before us an enemy
Army then appears.
Shalt full gas be given
And run to the enemy!
What then do our lives count for,
For our nation’s army?
Yes, nation’s army
To die for Germany
Is our highest honor.

Mit Sperren und Minen
Hält der Gegner uns auf,
Wir lachen darüber
Und fahren nicht drauf.
Und droh’n vor uns Geschütze,
Versteckt im gelben Sand,
Im gelben Sand,
Wir suchen uns Wege,
Die keiner sonst fand.

With obstacles and mines
the opponent holds us up,
We laugh about it
and upon them, don’t drive.
And guns before us defend,
hidden in the yellow sand,
yes, yellow sand.
We search for our way
No others have found.

Und läßt uns im Stich
Einst das treulose Glück,
Und kehren wir nicht mehr
Zur Heimat zurück,
Trifft uns die Todeskugel,
Ruft uns das Schicksal ab,
Ja Schicksal ab,
Dann wird uns der Panzer
Ein ehernes Grab.

And left in a stitch
once by treacherous luck,
And to return we will no more,
Back to home,
Meeting us, the deathly bullet,
Calling our fate away,
Yes, fate away.
Then become the tank for us,
A brazen grave.


Robert Shaw sings it with his troops in “Battle of the Bulge” (1965):

6 Feedbacks on "Best Japanese-German Collaboration Since WWII"


Wonder what else was on the program that night? Perhaps something by Orff if they were focusing on that era.

A little background on the song, which no longer appears in the Deutsches Heer songbooks.



I lived in Germany for four years (1968-1872). I was in the Air Force assigned there. In our detachment we had about 12 German Civilians who worked with us. I knew many other Germans outside of work, I lived in a small German village. All the Germans I knew and encountered were polite, intelligent and just great people. One of the German civilians I worked with was SS in the war. BUT, the back story is he was 14 years old in 1945, the Russians were invading the Western front and as a young boy he was drafted into the SS, given the tattoo and a rifle and sent to the Russian front to die. But he didn’t die. He was captured and in the confusion escaped before they identified him as SS. The German people in the countryside hid him and helped him go East to where he could surrender to the American forces. He wasn’t a “Nazi” he was just a German boy who was forced into uniform.


I was in Germany from Nov of ’69 to Aug of ’70 in a brand new air defense system. We were stationed in Mainz. We generally got a coldly polite shoulder in Mainz. But it wasn’t bad. Frankfurt was great. My wife and I lived in a small village, too, from January until she left to go back to the States in July. Nobody ever bothered us and I remember there was an air force couple living in the same little ‘compound’? Weilbach or Wielbach. I can’t remember which.


That would probably be the 412L Air Weapons Control System. I was assigned to the depot level maintenance facility where the components were repaired.

Another one of my German co-workers had been captured during the war and was sent to America and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp in Alabama or Arkansas (not sure which). I developed a genuine friendship with him and half a dozen or so of the Germans I worked with. We exchanged Christmas cards for years but sadly they have all since passed away.


What ? No Horst Wessel Lied ????


Funny you should say that. In high school my French class started everyday with the class singing the French national anthem. I used to wonder what they did in German class.

But another story about Germans I worked with: They loved American swear words and with their guttural accent made them so much more dirty. The favorite phrase was “Vat is this FUCKing ShitTTT” (sorry that’s as close as I can get to doing it justice. I think a little spittle was ejected with the last syllable for emphasis). I don’t generally swear but I loved that phrase with the guttural overtones and the emphasis and spittle and all.

Another interesting fact is that the dozen or so Germans that worked with us were contractually allowed to drink a liter of beer at work each day and they did. At 9:00 AM they took a break and drank beer and spoke only German and discussed politics. With their loud voices and sometimes pounding the table for emphasis we would joke that they were fomenting WW III in there. But as I learned the language a little I discovered that their discussions were about TV shows or beer or food and very little about politics.


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