On Saturday 27 April 2013
gave an intriguing talk on his wartime commitment to Stegskopf
in Berlin Falkensee
In 1943, it was apparent that Germany had a severe backlog in the fields of the High Frequency War; such as on HF and Radar Techniques.
Someone in 'Berlin' came up with the idea to recruit bright young boys and engage them in a very comprehensive training course. Most of them were visiting a Gymnasium; though, all head a penchant for 'radio technique'. Not being a sport facility like in the Anglo-Saxon world, but being the highest education possible in Germany (and in many other countries as well); where the "Abitur" was providing access to a University (in Britain known as A-Level). Their commitment started on voluntary bases (for some time).
The first group of 650 boys were all born in 1926 (also the second group, some later of 1927). They arrived in October 1943 in the Stegskopf Camp.
Most were already committed (obligatory) outside school time to assist the AA gunnery service. All being in the HJ (which was obligatory for most boys). The actual regime (and uniform dressing code) was a mixture of semi-military HJ and, in some respect, military like.
Their first training camp located at a top of a mountain in the 'Westerwald' named Stegskopf. There still is today a training camp, utilising even some of their former buildings.
I have not corrected Schuppang's text. His memory of minor details sometimes places a fact in 1942, whereas it actually was 1943, or 8 and 2 cm, whilst it should be 9 and 3 cm. Considering his age of about 87 years his memory is still extremely vivid.
Impressing, in my perception, is that these boys went through a very hard training time. In the first months having no leave, and, they hardly got time for a decent sleep!
When they were moved to Detmold (GAF) for a more military like training, the German Navy (KM) wanted also a 'piece of the cake' and about 1/3 were more or less being forced (officialy, of course, voluntarily) to sign-in for a Kriegsmarine career. Although, not being an integral part of Gottfried Schuppang's talk, these boys (≈ 137) also followed a radar training. They became known as 'Tegethoff' after a historical figure.
This talk was given in German language, and I believe its content should be left as it once have been presented.
What is interesting, is what profession these young men ultimately possessed after the war:
13 men built up a scientific career and became Professor
8 made a PhD
29 obtained an Engineering degree (Dipl.-Ing.)
12 were regular engineer (non academic)
19 did not take up a technical profession (though: Religion; philosopher etc.)
According Schuppang's additional comment, Oberstlt. Schleicher's (pater intellectualis) credo was: Survive; no fanatics; bear your post war life in mind; ...