List of Feuerwerker awarded with the Knight's Cross

Individual German officers, soldiers and award holders.

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List of Feuerwerker awarded with the Knight's Cross

Postby Doktor Krollspell » Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:56 am

Hello all!

Here's a list on the german Feuerwerker awarded with the Knight's Cross. These men had the task of disarming and disposing of unexploded RAF and USAAF bombs, the dreaded Blindgänger. Does anyone have any information on other Feuerwerker RKT, please add to this post. Or any relevant information, photographs etc.

Egon Agtha, RK on 03.02.1945 as Oberleutnat (W) d. R. Führer eines Sprengkommando im Luftgau III Berlin. Aghta received the Oakleaves (no. 778) on 12.03.1945 as a Hauptmann d. R. while holding the same command.

Karl Kudla, RK on 18.04.45 as Oberfeldwebel (W), Feuerwerker eines Sprengkommando in Berlin/Luftgau-Kommando III.

Siegfried Rieger, RK on 18.04.1945 as Oberfeldwebel (Heer), Sprengkommando der Luftwaffe I/III im Luftgaukommando Berlin.

Heinz Schweizer, RK on 28.06.1943 as Hauptmann (W) (Kr.O.) Führer Spreng-Kommando der Luftwaffe I/IV Ratingen/Düsseldorf.

Karl-Anton Thomas, RK on 21.04.1945 as Oberfeuerwerker im Sprengkommando der Luftwaffe 2./VI.

There where also two men who recieved the Knight’s Cross for doing this dangerous job without any formal Feuerwerker education or position, namely:

Jacob Hoffend, RK on 07.02.1945 as NSDAP-Ortsgruppenleiter (ehrenamtl.) in Köln for disposing of 1892 Blindgänger bombs.

Wilhelm Sitt, RK on 07.02.1945 as Führer eines Btls. D. Kölner Volksturmes und Abschnittsleiter (ehrenamtl.) im Gau-Org. Amt der NSDAP-Gauleitung Köln-Aachen. He disposed of several hundreds of Blindgänger bombs.

Source for the above listed men: Veit Scherzer “Ritterkreuzträger 1939-1945” (2005).


For a more detalied biography on Hauptmann (W) d. R. Egon Agtha, see page 4 on:

http://www.feldgrau.net/phpBB2/viewtopi ... 889#128889


Regards,

Krollspell
Last edited by Doktor Krollspell on Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nordwest » Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:17 am

Very interesting, Dok! :up:

I did not know, that "Feuerwerker" were awarded with the "Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes".

Did some Feuerwerker also receive the "Ritterkreuz des Kriegsverdienstkreuzes/Schwerter"...?


Michael :[]
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Postby Jan-Hendrik » Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:30 am

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=66810

I am too lazy today to fight myself through the whole list :wink:

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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:43 pm

And here are some photographs to go with the Feuerwerker RKT list...

Egon Agtha
Image
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de

Heinz Schweizer
Image
http://presentations.uib.no/pls/portal/ ... _PART.show

Jacob Hoffend
Image
http://www.angelfire.com/nj/ww2/kcrecaux.html

I will try to find photographs on the other Feuerwerker RKT. All input and assistance is as always welcome...


Regards,

Krollspell
Last edited by Doktor Krollspell on Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:10 pm

Siegfried Rieger
Image
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de

See link for short bio: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Per ... Rieger.htm

And yet another photograph of Rieger...

Siegfried Rieger
Image
http://www.das-ritterkreuz.de

Regards,

Krollspell
Last edited by Doktor Krollspell on Wed May 10, 2006 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:59 am

Karl Kudla
Image
http://www.das-ritterkreuz.de

This photo of Oberfeldwebel (W) Kudla is cut from an interesting group photo showing Hauptmann (W) Egon Agtha, flanked by the two Oberfeldwebel (W) Kudla and Rieger. That particular photo is shown in Wolfgang Thamm's book "Egon August Agtha" (2005).

Oberfeldwebel (W) Karl Kudla died in Polish captivity on 24.10.1945 during an accident while clearing minefields.


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Krollspell
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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Wed May 10, 2006 3:12 pm

I finally found a photograph of Wilhelm Sitt from the excellent http://www.ullsteinbild.de website! The only problem is the attached text which claims that Sitt was in Berlin instructing Volkssturm in how to handle the Panzerfaust. Wilhelm Sitt recieved his Knight's Cross on 07.02.1945 for bomb disposing in Köln and he died one month later on 07.03.1945 in Köln...

Still, I think that the RKT on the following photograph resembles Wilhelm Sitt compared to a great portrait photograph in Osprey's Men-at-Arms Series "German Auxiliary Forces"... Well, the search continues, and that's half the fun... :wink:

Wilhelm Sitt
Image
Volkssturm Berlin 1945: Ausbildung an der Panzerfaust
Abschnittsleiter Ritterkreuzträger Wilhelm Sitt bildet Volkssturmmänner in Berlin an der Panzerfaust aus - 1945 bazooka

Source photo/quote: http://www.ullsteinbild.de

I'm as always looking forward to input/information/photographs on this subject from fellow members...


Regards,

Krollspell
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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:43 am

Hmm, I have to partly correct myself when it comes to Wilhelm Sitt. In my first post in this thread, I "classified" him as doing his dangerous job "without any formal Feuerwerker education or position". This phrase of mine could be interpreted as Sitt being an amateur, brave but still an amateur (in the Volksturm tradition...). But...

According to Nigel Thomas and Carlos Caballero Jurado in their "Wehrmacht Auxiliary Forces" (1992), they say that Bataillonsführer Wilhelm Sitt was "a former Police demolitions officer (Sprengmeister)". Hardly an amateur then when it came to explosives and bombs! Wilhelm Sitt probably had both education and experience from before the war...


And again, fellow members... Any additional information and/or photographs on the Feuerwerker RKT would be very, very appreciated! Karl-Anton Thomas anyone..?


Regards,

Krollspell
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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:08 pm

I just found this great group photograph of (f.l.t.r) Kudla, Agtha and Rieger, the three Berliner Feuerwerker RKT! A really nice (and rare!) shot! This particular photograph must have been taken earliest on April 18, 1945 as both Kudla and Rieger recieved their RK on that date. Given the tradition of letting the RK hanging wider in it's band on the day of the award, this photograph was maybe taken a day (or more...) later than that. This during the ongoing battle of Berlin!

Image
http://www.finearts-autographs.com

The older civilian man between Agtha and Rieger is identified, although not with name, as a civilian teacher at the Heeresfeuerwerkerschule in Berlin. Source is Wolfgang Thamm's "Hauptmann (W) und Ritterkreuzträger Heinz Schweizer - Feuerwerker und Sprengkommandoführer" (2004).


Regards,

Krollspell
Last edited by Doktor Krollspell on Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jan-Hendrik » Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:13 am

Great :up:

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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Sun May 06, 2007 12:26 am

And finally... Karl-Anton Thomas :!:

Here's a picture of Karl-Anton Thomas, RK on 21.04.1945 as Oberfeuerwerker im Sprengkommando der Luftwaffe 2./VI. (Köln). He's seen here wearing his DKiG that he got on 16.01.1944 while having the same rank/unit as when he later got the RK.

Many thanks to John Toner over at the Axis History Forum for his help! :D Karl-Anton Thomas must surely be one of the most elusive RKT when it comes to photographs (and information).


Karl-Anton Thomas
Image


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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Wed May 09, 2007 12:58 pm

Time for some Feuerwerker RKT information then...

The two Oberfeldwebel im Feuerwerker-Dienst, Karl Kudla and Siegfried Rieger, were part of the small (about 10 men) Feuerwerker Kommando led by Egon Agtha from December 1944 in Berlin, their main task (and very dangerous one) being that of clearing and dis-arming Blindgänger bombs in the city. They were apparently stationed in the Reichskanzlei complex/area in the spring of 1945.

During the night between April 17 and April 18 1945 there was a major allied bomber assault on Berlin. One un-exploded 1000-lbs bomb, a Blindgänger, had penetrated the "Haus der Auslandspresse" next to the Reichskanzlei and Feuerwerker Kudla and Rieger was ordered to dis-arm it, which they successfully did.

The successful disarming of the bomb was reported to the Reichskanzlei by the Chef des Pressehauses, an Abwehr Officer (in civilian position?). The two Feuerwerker reported to one of the deep bunkers below the Reichskanzlei complex on April 18 and there recieved the RK for their deed.

Kudla and Rieger most likely had a long string of successful Blindgänger disarmings behind them before the one in the "Haus der Auslandspresse" but I think that doing it for the umpteenth time, this time in an "importent" building in front of a high ranking official connected to the Reichskanzlei really was the factor that (and deservedly so) got them their RK.

Source for this anecdote has been Wolfgang Thamm's "Egon August Agtha - Feuerwerker und Sprengkommando-Führer 1/III Berlin bis 1945" (2005)


Please feel free to add information to this Feuerwerker thread... :D


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Krollspell
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Postby Doktor Krollspell » Mon May 14, 2007 10:27 pm

And just to get everything concerning the Feuerwerker RKT in one thread, here's an older reply from another thread...


Here’s the story of Eichenlaubenträger Hauptmann (W) d. R. Egon Agtha, the highest decorated Feuerwerker in WWII. Egon August Agtha was born on January 20, 1918 in Berlin. After completing his six months in the RAD, Agtha joined the Heer in November 1938 and was placed in the I./Artillerie-Regiment 3 (part of 3. Infanterie-Division) in Frankfurt a. d. Oder. After participating in the war against Poland, Agtha left the Regiment as a Gefreiter in October 1939. He then volunteered for the Kriegs-Feuerwerker-Lehrgang 39/I at the Heeres-Feuerwerkerschule in Berlin- Lichterfelde. Egon Agtha became a Gefreiter in Feuerwerkerdienst in January 1940 and then immediately a Unteroffizier in February. After a short service in Kaiserslauten was he placed back in Berlin in the Sprengkommando der Luftwaffe 1./III in 1940.

Unteroffizier im Feuerwerkerdienst Egon Agtha was severly wounded on September 16, 1941 in the Sachsenhausen area north of Berlin, when he was disarming Blindgänger bombs from a RAF attack the previous wee. One of the Blindgänger bombs spontaneously exploded and Agtha received serious injuries to his face and head, resulting in partial eyesight damage. After a long hospitalization (where one of the doctors he met was his wife-to-be Barbara), Agtha received the Wound Badge in Silver and the Iron Cross, 2nd Class on December 14, 1941 (this for disarming 30 enemy Blindgänger bombs). As the military authorities wanted to dismiss him because of his wounds, Agtha used his Feuerwerker education and experience to remain in duty as a civilian Feuerwerker Officer in Wehrmacht, (W) Offizier des Waffenwesens. Egon Agtha received Wound Badge in Gold on Jaunary 16, 1943 and Iron Cross,1st Class on June 18, 1943 for his work as a Feuerwerker. He finally received a promotion to Leutnant (W) in October the same year.

After partly working as an instructor at the Heeres-Feuerwerkerschule I in Berlin in 1942 and 1943, Egon Agtha returned to the Sprengkommando 1/III der Luftwafe in Berlin on April 1, 1943. From then on, Agtha and his fellow Feuerwerker worked almost daily with the thousands of RAF and USAAF Blindgänger bombs that rained down on Greater Berlin. Leutnant (W) d. R. Egon Agtha received the German Cross in Gold on January 19, 1945 for his, and his Sprengkmmando’s relentless and dangerous job. On February 3, 1945 Agtha received the Knight’s Cross from Adolf Hitler in person for his “vorbildliche Tapferkeit und für sein unerschrockenes Verhalten beim Vernichten von feindlichen Langzeitzündern” and a promotion to Oberleutnant (W) d. R. On March 12, 1945 Egon Agtha recieved the Oakleaves to his Knight’s Cross (as no. 778) and a promotion to Hauptmann (W) d. R. in recognition of his both very dangerous and very important work in the Reich’s Capital.

When the battle for Berlin started in April 1945, Hauptmann (W) d. R. Egon Agtha and his Sprengkommando was inevitably drawn into the intense defence and combat against the Soviet Red Army. On April 24, the entire Sprengkommando was divided into three groups. No. 1 was assigned to the Volksturm, no. 2 was assigned as a Stoss-Trupp and armed with Panzerfäuste and no. 3 was assigned as a Brückenkommando ready to blow up the bridges over the Spree. The personel and the cadets from the Heeres-Feuerwerkerschule I was divided into two companies and became part of an Alarm-Bataillon under the command of Major (W) Wolfgang Skorning under the designation II./Festungs-Regiment 60. This unit saw heavy combat and received quite a lot of casualties in the following battle.
Hauptmann (W) d. R. Egon Agtha commanded the Panzerjäger group armed with Panzerfäuste and apparently saw a great deal of combat. On May 1, Aghta released his few remaining Feuerwerker soldiers from their oath of loyalty and the group tried to escape out of Berlin. Due to his poor eyesight, Agtha got separated from the group and together with one comrade, Böhm, tried to escape via the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn from Tiergarten to the Reichsportfeld. They reached Spandau in the morning of May 2, and tried to cross a bridge, the Charlottenbrücke where a german Flakvierling engaged the Soviet units. During a brief pause in the firing, Agtha tried to dash over the bridge but fell with a shot through his throat and Böhm was shot in the arm. Despite of his wound, Böhm managed to drag Agtha’s dead body and buried it in the Stresowplatz near the Charlottenbrücke. Thus ended the life of Germany’s most decorated Feuerwerker, Hauptmann (W) d. R. Egon Agtha. He fell in the town where he was born and had lived and served nearly his entire life.

Source for this mini-biography of Egon Agtha is the book by Wolfgang Thamm, “Hauptmann (W) Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub Egon August Agtha – Feuerwerker und Sprengkommadoführer” (2005). This is a very interesting little book, especially if you are interested in Berlin during the war. Recommended. It can be found at http://www.cimm.de and as always, eventual wrongful facts or mistakes are mine alone, as is the recapitulation and translation.


And some links to go for information on Egon Agtha...


http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Per ... ghataE.htm

http://www.ritterkreuztraeger-1939-45.d ... tseite.htm


Please feel free to add and/or comment on the Feuerwerker RKT! :D


Regards,

Krollspell
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Re: List of Feuerwerker awarded with the Knight's Cross

Postby Doktor Krollspell » Fri May 02, 2008 6:25 am

Some additional archive information on Egon Agtha thanks to Bernd R (and Jan-Hendrik) over at AHF...

addition to ELT Egon Aghta :

A Heeresfeuerwerkerschule I , Berlin-Lichterfelde / OKH , Fz In. document has the following entry on him :

Lehr-Offizier
01.10.1940 - [01.02.1945, date of documentation] Leutnant (W) Egon Agtha
[seit 01.08.1940 Fronttruppe ; qualification : Fachmann f. Vernichtung feindl. Abwurfmunition]
[Bemerkungen [remarks] :
01.10.1940 – 31.08.1943 : Ob.Frw.Spreng.Kdo ;
01.09.1943 – 30.07.1944 : als 2.Offz. b. Spreng.Kdo. d. Luftwaffe
[gem. Führer-Erlass ist das Spreng-Kdo d. Luftwaffe Bln. Fronttruppe (frontline unit by Führer-Erlass)]

source : NARA Rolle T78R866

Jan-Hendrik and Bernd

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=41862


Regards,

Krollspell
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Feuerwerker awarded with the Deutsche Kreuz in Gold

Postby Doktor Krollspell » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:45 am

Here's the Feuerwerker that were awarded with the Deutsche Kreuz in Gold (German Cross in Gold) for their dangerous and important job:


Agtha**, Egon. Received the DKiG on 19.01.1945 as a Leutnant (W) d.R. and Führer eines Sprengkommandos im Luftgau III Berlin

Fischer, Hans. Received the DKiG on 26.11.1943 as an Oberfeuerwerker in Spreng-Kdo. d. Lw. 2./VI (Köln)

Hermans, Heinrich. received the DKiG on 25.01.1943 as an Oberfeuerwerker in Luft.Mun.Verw.Anst. Kalkum Spreng-Kdo. 1./VI

Krammer, Josef. Received the DKiG on 26.11.1943 as an Oberfeuerwerker in Luft-Mun.Verw.Anst.Kalkum Spreng-Kdo. 1/VI

Kudla*, Karl, Recieved the DKiG on 00.00.0000 (proved by contemporary photos), probably as an Oberfeldwebel in Feuerwerkerdienst, probably in a Sprengkommando im Luftgau III Berlin

Rieger*, Siegfried. Received the DKiG on 00.00.0000 (proved by contemporary photos) as an Oberfeldwebel in Feuerwerkerdienst, probably in a Sprengkommando der Lw. I/III Luftgau Berlin

Thomas, Karl-Anton. Recieved the DKiG on 16.01.1945 as an Oberfeuerwerker im Sprengkommando d. Lw. 2./VI (Köln)


Source: Patzwall & Scherzer "Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941-1945 - Geschichte und Inhaber Band II" (2001).

*Kudla, Rieger and Agtha are not listed in Patzwall & Scherzer but all three displays their DKiG on several proven contemporary photographs in 1945.

**Scherzer lists the award date for Agtha's DKiG in his "Ritterkreuzträger 1939-1945" (2005) and Wolfgang Thamm shows in his "Egon August Agtha - Feuerwerker und Sprengkommando-Führer Sprengkommando 1/III Berlin bis 1945" (2005) the award telegram from Heeres-Feuerwerkershule I concerning Agtha's DKiG.


Regards,

Krollspell


And as always, fellow Feldgrauians, additional information, input or questions about the Feuerwerker is always welcome! :D
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