Ritterkreuz / Knight's Cross Actions

Discussions on the personalities of the Wehrmacht and of the organizations not covered in the other sections. Hosted by askropp and Frech.
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AlifRafikKhan
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Unteroffizier d.R. Wilhelm Brückner of 34. Infanterie-Division

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 21 Mar 2021 11:19

Wilhelm Brückner (27 April 1915 - 15 November 1941) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 5 October 1941 as Unteroffizier der Reserve and Geschützführer in 14.(Panzerjäger) Kompanie / Infanterie-Regiment 253 / 34.Infanterie-Division. The following wartime excerpt describes why Brückner was awarded the Ritterkreuz: “Unteroffizier Brückner was awarded the Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse for destroying 4 light, 3 medium and 2 heavy tanks on 3 September 1941. Later, on 10 September 1941, he and his medium cannon were positioned on the right wing of the Regiment as security against tanks. At around midday a 52 ton tank appeared, however he destroyed this through multiple hits to its rear. A short while later another 52 ton tank appeared, but Unteroffizier Brückner also dealt with it at the closest range. In order to completely destroy these two tanks the gun crew approached them under cover of darkness. They poured gasoline into the air vents and caused both 52 ton tanks to explode with hand grenades. By doing all this Unteroffizier Brückner prevented a breakthrough of the enemy on the right wing of the Regiment as well as the rolling up of the defensive sector towards the southwest and north.”

Sources :
https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=38 ... 1461225622
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/287 ... ilhelm.htm
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Major Josef Fischer of 292. Infanterie-Division

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 11 Apr 2021 02:33

Josef Fischer (27 September 1909 - 3 April 1987) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 6 August 1943 as Major and Kommandeur II.Bataillon / Grenadier-Regiment 507 / 292.Infanterie-Division. Fischer’s Ritterkreuz recommendation reads as follows:

“During the attack on 9 July 1943 the II. Bataillon under the command of Major Fischer was deployed as the left-wing Bataillon of the Regiment. It’s attack objective on this day was Hill 239.8, located 2 km east of Ponyri.

The attack had to be prosecuted under heavy enemy infantry and artillery fire. Due to this strong defense the neighbouring Bataillon could not proceed forwards at the same pace. Thus II. Bataillon very quickly began taking more and more fire, especially from the left flank. In this situation Major Fischer made the independent decision to assemble a small number of hastily assembled soldiers and use them to storm the heavily fortified Hill 239.8.

The defense fire of several MGs and AT rifles from the toughly defended strongpoint as well as the heavy flanking fire resulted in all the German soldiers becoming casualties except for an Unteroffizier. Major Fischer broke into the enemy trench system with this last survivor and eliminated its garrison of at least 30 men in bitter close combat with hand grenades and machine pistols. In the process 6 MGs, 1 AT rifle and a large number of machine-pistols were destroyed or captured. It was solely on account of this action, brought about by the Bataillon commander’s independent decision as well as his outstanding bravery, that the Bataillon succeeded in reaching its attack objective far ahead of the neighbour.

The control of this hill position would be of great importance for the future fighting along the entire Korps’ front. It would greatly aid our forces during the defense against determined Russian counterattacks against both Ponyri as well as the left neighbouring Regiment (which belonged to the neighbouring Division).”


Sources :
Schuddie photo collection
viewtopic.php?p=2330780#p2330780
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/301 ... f.htm?c=aw
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Hauptmann d.R. Robert Alber of 23. Panzer-Division

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 16 Apr 2021 13:57

Robert Alber (13 October 1906 - 7 June 1988) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes #2089 on 7 September 1943 as Hauptmann der Reserve and Führer I.Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment 201 / 23.Panzer-Division. Alber commanded the I./Panzer-Regiment 201 during the summer of 1943. During the first part of the battle for the Mius, on 30 July 1943, Alber was ordered to take a Kampfgruppe with both Panzers and reconnaissance units and launch a counterattack towards the north. His Panzer was soon knocked out, but he boarded another one and continued the attack. Disregarding the threats to his exposed battlegroup from the flanks and rear, they reached the village of Garany. Here his Panzer received two anti-tank gun hits and Alber was wounded in the right hand, but he remained in the fight and even managed to defeat 3 Soviet anti-tank gun positions with his damaged vehicle. By 11:30 the village was secured, and Alber launched an attack back towards the south in order to encircle the enemies they’d bypassed. Thus, a mere 10 minutes later, contact was made with 16. Panzergrenadier-Division at Hill 196.0 (1 km south of Garany), and the ring was secured. Elements from 6 Soviet rifle divisions were trapped, and by the time of the battle’s conclusion the Soviets had lost 4193 prisoners, 52 anti-tank guns and 35 other artillery pieces. Alber was presented with the Ritterkreuz shortly afterwards for this major tactical achievement.

Source :
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/280 ... Robert.htm
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Oberst Herbert Rieckhoff of Kampfgeschwader 2

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 18 Apr 2021 04:54

Herbert Rieckhoff (25 December 1898 - 30 November 1948) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 5 July 1941 as Oberst and Geschwaderkommodore KG 2 (Kampfgeschwader 2). The medal was awarded for his leadership of Kampfgeschwader 2 during its operations flying night raids against England as well as its missions in the Balkans. Above all he was recognized for his leadership of this unit in the East, specifically during the encirclement operations at Grodno and Smolensk, the advance to Schlüsselburg and the fighting at Lake Ilmen.

Sources :
viewtopic.php?p=2338056#p2338056
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/259 ... erbert.htm
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Hauptmann Franz Pfeiffer of 5. Gebirgs-Division

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 18 Apr 2021 05:05

Franz Pfeiffer (23 October 1907 - 20 November 1994) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 13 June 1941 as Hauptmann and Chef 15.Kompanie / III.Bataillon / Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 100 / 5.Gebirgs-Division. The following wartime excerpt describes why Pfeiffer received the Ritterkreuz: “During the attack on the heavily fortified Greek strongpoints along the Rupel Pass position, which included strong bunkers and underground facilities, Hauptmann Pfeiffer participated as a leader of the bunker overwatch units. He undauntedly brought his weapons into effective firing range of the enemy MGs and did a splendid job of directing the fire of his units onto those bunkers that could not be effectively engaged by the artillery, thereby silencing them. As a result of this support the 11. Kompanie was able to blow up a bunker, and occupy the other 10 from the outside. With this the key position blocking the way to the main enemy redoubt at Arpaluki was in our hands, and the possibility of capturing this most intractable enemy facility was created.”

Sources :
https://www.gapgeschichte.de/ns_zeit_19 ... kungen.htm
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/157 ... %A4ger.htm
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Kurt Röpke of 46. Infanterie-Division and XXIX. Armeekorps

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 18 Apr 2021 09:49

Kurt Röpke (29 November 1896 - 21 July 1966) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 17 November 1943 as Generalmajor and Kommandeur 46. Infanterie-Division. The medal was awarded for actions undertaken as commander of the 46. Infanterie-Division, as described in the following press article (dated 1 November 1943): “The Commander of a Franconian-Sudeten Infanterie-Division, Generalmajor Röpke, personally took responsibility of two enemy penetrations south of Dnepropetrovsk and eliminated them via counterattacks.”

Röpke received the Eichenlaub #830 for his Ritterkreuz on 14 April 1945 as General der Infanterie and Kommandierender General XXIX. Armeekorps. The medal was awarded for his leadership of the XXIX. Armee-Korps during its battles in upper Hungary, where he led it with distinction during the battles along the Gran river and in Moravia.

Sources :
https://www.facebook.com/groups/237603291147106
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/168 ... e-Kurt.htm
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Karl Baacke of 72. Infanterie-Division

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 24 Apr 2021 14:42

Karl Baacke (15 May 1907 - 2 April 1944) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes #327 on 30 June 1941 as Hauptmann and Kommandeur III.Bataillon / Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment 124 / 72.Infanterie-Division. The following wartime excerpt describes why Baacke was awarded the Ritterkreuz: “Hauptmann Baacke has already previously distinguished himself during the fighting around Mount Olympus through his extraordinary readiness for duty and prudent leadership of the Vorausabteilung 72. During the battle for Thermopylae he attacked the strong English opponent via a night attack launched on his own initiative. In the process he demonstrated great personal bravery and achieved a decisive victory for the continued forward advance of the 6. Gebirgs-Division.”

Baacke received the Eichenlaub #352 for his Ritterkreuz on 10 December 1943 as Oberstleutnant and Kommandeur 266 Grenadier-Regiment / 72.Infanterie-Division. The following press article (dated 16 December 1943) describes why Baacke was awarded the Eichenlaub: “As the battle of the moselländischen 72. Infanterie-Division (named in the Wehrmachtbericht of 6 December 1943) in Cherkassy came to a head, and the city itself was temporarily encircled, Oberstleutnant Baacke broke the Soviets’ encirclement ring and thereby enabled both the evacuation of the wounded and the influx of important supply goods. On the next day, once again surrounded on all sides, he broke the attack of strong infantry and tank forces and thereafter restored contact with the outside by storming a particularly heavily fortified strongpoint of the enemy. Oberstleutnant Baacke led his Grenadier-Regiment from the foremost line during all these battles, and throughout this time he inspired his Grenadiers to high achievements despite their having been engaged in continuous combat for 14 days.”

Source :
https://www.schoenicke.eu/postkarte-rit ... ow-56.html
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/281 ... e-Karl.htm
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Re: Ritterkreuz / Knight's Cross Actions

Post by CNE503 » 24 Apr 2021 16:50

Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment 124 was transformed in Infanterie-Regiment 124 in the second half of September 1939.
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

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Hauptmann Erwin Hemmerich of 326. Infanterie-Division

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 27 Apr 2021 15:38

Erwin Hemmerich (16 July 1915 - 19 March 1945) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes posthumously on 28 March 1945 as Hauptmann and Kommandeur Pionier-Bataillon 326 / 326.Infanterie-Division. During the Allied counterattack against the northern German flank of the Ardennes offensive, the Pionier-Bataillon 326 under the command of Hauptmann Hemmerich stood as the defenders of the village of Neuville, northwest of St. Vith. They defended this village with the courage of desperation against much superior Allied forces, destroying a number of tanks and preventing a breakthrough here that would have had grim consequences for the wider situation. Hemmerich would be awarded the Ritterkreuz for the defensive stand of his Bataillon here.

Sources :
viewtopic.php?p=2339878#p2339878
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/631 ... -Erwin.htm
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Kapitän zur See Karl-Conrad Mecke of Marine-Flak-Regiment 22

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 28 Apr 2021 12:45

Karl-Conrad Mecke (30. Dezember 1894 - 26. Mai 1982) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 11 April 1943 as Kapitän zur See and Kommandeur Marine-Flak-Regiment 22 / Kommandanten der Seeverteidigung Loire. The medal was awarded for his role in combating the British raid on St. Nazaire, Operation Chariot, on 28 March 1942. Due to the unusual behaviour of the British bombers it was Mecke who recognized the potential of a landing and put his troops on alert. His guns later opened fire on the British convoy despite their disguise as German vessels and also participated in the fight against the British landing forces.

Source :
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/505 ... Conrad.htm
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Leutnant Herbert Bartels of 9. Flak-Division

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 28 Apr 2021 13:00

Herbert Bartels (15 August 1917 - 1 July 2009) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 22 November 1943 as Leutnant and Chef 3.Batterie / Reserve-Flak-Abteilung 293 / Flak-Regiment 42 / 9.Flak-Division. The medal was awarded for distinguishing himself with his Batterie during the combat on the northern Crimean front as the Germans fought to repel Soviet attacks here in the months of October-November 1943. He and his 8.8 cm Flak guns were always requested by the German infantry wherever large Soviet armour concentrations appeared.

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https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/282 ... erbert.htm
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Obergefreiter Alfred Schiemann of 36. Infanterie-Division (mot.)

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 09 May 2021 11:45

Alfred Schiemann (10 February 1913 - 13 July 1943) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 28 April 1943 as Obergefreiter and Gruppenführer in 1.Kompanie / I.Bataillon / Grenadier-Regiment 87 (motorisiert) / 36.Infanterie-Division (motorisiert). During the German retreat from the Rzhev salient (Operation Buffalo), Obergefreiter Schiemann had taken up positions following the order to cover the withdrawal movement of his Division with a squad of seven Grenadiers. The Soviets, however, recognized the German intent and decided to pursue vigorously. They attacked Schiemann and his tiny force on both sides of the road with a numerical superiority of 20-1. Schiemann and his men fought like men possessed and were able to inflict heavy losses, however also suffered some casualties of their own. When the Soviets launched a renewed attack in company strength, Schiemann decided to meet them with a counterattack. He and his three remaining comrades pressed forwards with machine pistols and hand grenades, succeeding in surprising the Soviets and forcing them to break off their attack. For his successful rearguard action against all the odds, which permitted much larger friendly forces to pull back unimpeded, Schiemann was awarded the Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse and the Ritterkreuz simultaneously.

Schiemann was killed in action three month later, North of Kursk, on 13 July 1943...

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https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=54 ... 9821595119
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Walter Melzer of 61. Infanterie-Division and 252. Infanterie-Division

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 12 May 2021 08:52

Walter Melzer (7 October 1894 – 23 June 1961) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 21 August 1941 as Oberst and Kommandeur Infanterie-Regiment 151 / 61.Infanterie-Division. On 22 July 1941, as the 61. Infanterie-Division began its attack on Poltsamas, and in the fighting which followed the Regiment led by Oberst Melzer found itself at the focal point of the battle. Despite having sustained heavy losses and ceaseless combat in the previous days, the Regiment nonetheless stormed the city with great courage. In addition the Regiment captured multiple river crossings undamaged, including the important concrete bridge running through Poltsamas itself. Largely on account of the actions of Melzer and his men, the city was firmly in German hands by 12:00 on that day. The capture of Poltsamas was of great importance for the continuation of the German operations in Estonia, and for his role in this battle Melzer would be decorated with the Ritterkreuz.

Melzer received the Eichenlaub #558 for his Ritterkreuz on 23 August 1944 as Generalleutnant and Kommandeur 252. Infanterie-Division. The medal was awarded for his actions while commanding the 252. Infanterie-Division during Operation Bagration. On 22 June 1944 the division defended against 8 rifle divisions and 2 tank brigades from the Soviet 43rd and 6th Guards Armies. On 24 June the Division was ordered to pull back behind the Daugava at Ulla, with a gap being formed on its right flank with the Korps-Abteilung D. The Soviets attacked relentlessly. On 27 June the Division held the line Poluoserje Lake - Ussweja Lake. The next day they reached the line north of the Woron Lake on both sides of Uschatschi. Here the connection to Korps-Abteilung D was restored. The Division retreated through Holubicze and reached Glembokie on 2 July 1944. Here the Soviets attempted to outflank the Division, but thanks to the brave German blocking positions and the skillful leadership of Generalleutnant Melzer this critical situation was resolved in the Germans’ favour and this maneuver failed. For his successes during this time Melzer was decorated with the Eichenlaub and named in the Wehrmachtbericht of 21 July 1944.

Sources :
http://alifrafikkhan.blogspot.com/2010/ ... -heer.html
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/119 ... alther.htm
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Hauptmann Arnulf Abele of Reichsgrenadier-Division Hoch und Deutschmeister

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 15 May 2021 14:25

Arnulf Abele (8 November 1914 - 2 July 2000) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 22 February 1944 as Hauptmann and Kommandeur I.Bataillon / Reichsgrenadier-Regiment "Hoch und Deutschmeister" / Reichsgrenadier-Division "Hoch und Deutschmeister". Hauptmann Abele was a Bataillon commander in the 44. Grenadier-Division “Hoch und Deutschmeister” during its battles in Italy in early 1944. On 27 January 1944 the Bataillon was ordered to close a gap in the German lines near Belmonte (specifically between the Colle Abate and Monte Castellone, in the Terelle Valley) and thereby protect the vital supply line known as the “Neumann-Weg”. The Bataillon’s promised support did not arrive, and so Abele and his men were alone in this fight. In the fighting which ensued they defended against Allied troops from Morocco. The fighting degenerated into close combat, wherein the men of Abele’s Bataillon were reduced to throwing stones when their grenades ran out. Nevertheless, with the help of mountain gun that prevented timely reinforcement of the French attack, the Bataillon was able to prevent an entire French regiment from capturing the Colle Abate. By the time they were relieved by the Panzergrenadier-Regiment 200 (90. Panzergrenadier-Division), Abele’s Bataillon was down to 36 men. Yet the achievements of this unit did not go unnoticed, and Abele would receive the Ritterkreuz as well as a promotion to Major.

Sources :
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2376032 ... 974928237/
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/280 ... eister.htm
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Gefreiter Rudolf Bittner of Panzerjäger-Abteilung 561

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 16 May 2021 04:42

Rudolf Bittner (18 December 1921 - 21 January 1945) received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 28 November 1942 as Gefreiter and Richtkanonier in 2.Kompanie / Panzerjäger-Abteilung 561. The medal was awarded for his actions on 9 September 1942. On this day the Soviets broke into the German frontline near Uwarowa, and Bittner would rise to the challenge in response to this dangerous situation. A detailed description of these actions is provided by an Abteilung special order from the start of December 1942: “… The Russians intended to turn this initial success into a breakthrough, and they carried on their attack with strong infantry forces while deploying 5 KV-1 tanks for flank protection. A German counterthrust collapsed under their fire. However the gunner of Unteroffizier Brill’s gun crew, Gefreiter Bittner, destroyed 4 of these tanks and damaged the fifth in such a way that it was forced to withdraw. This created the possibility of launching a counterthrust into the enemy’s now open flank. The breakthrough was prevented, and one of the more commanding positions for the entire sector was recaptured. The most noteworthy part of this battle-deciding deed was that Bittner had changed positions beforehand in order to have a better field of fire. As a Pak gunner he has by now destroyed a total of 23 enemy tanks.”

Source :
https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/284 ... Rudolf.htm
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