Favourite Knights Cross Action

Individual German officers, soldiers and award holders.

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Ichi
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Post by Ichi » Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:18 am

Dear Krollspell,

For starters, i'm sorry i posted that post in Dutch. Future posts will be in English so "everybody" can understand them.

I'm glad you like the picture of Mooyman, i have several others. Perhaps you have seen the picture of Mooyman standing in front of his canon wearing a white helmet and his RK, it was used for propaganda and several newspapers headlined with it because he was the first non german to recieve the RK. On his canon was the name of his girffriend, RIA as can bee seen in that picture.

Anyway... Onwards to Joop Havik.

I tried to contact the publishers of the info that i linked to but so far no reply. The info i got from their page clearly states that they have a copy of Joop Haviks Birthsertificate.

I aswell wonder about the Hans/Joop story and want to know why most info speaks of a Hans Hsavik and not a Joop Havik. Since the people who investigated Joops RK do have his birthcertificate i can hardley doubt their version. So untill proven otherwise Joop it is. Add to that that they had several conversations with Joops wife. Even if they made a mistake by naming him Joop, woulden't his wife know her husbands first name?

I gave the hans/joop matter some thought and came up with this (possible) answer: Many Dutch poeple were baptised and therefor carry different names. I for one have 3 of them, Jackob Abraham Jacobus but my name is Jacko. This could be the case with hans/joop aswell.

Another option i thought about was, please vets fill me in if i'm wrong, that since Joop is a Dutch name it might have been difficult for germans to prenounce it and maybe therefor they named him hans, which is a pretty commen German name.

Just some thought from my behalf.

As for Haviks nationality. There's the birthcertificate, his wife/widow stating that he had indeed the Dutch nationality and then his family name. Havik is a Dutch name and is only to be found in Holland and Norway. Havik aint a German name and even if it was German it would have been 'Habicht' not Havik.

As for his RK being legit or not:

Joop Havik was a POW before he could recieve his RK. The auther of the publication i get my info from however states that:

"...Officialy, acoarding to the standarts of the German Militärarchiv, his Award does "count"..."

I'm not trying to make this a "is not is to game" all i do is tell you what others found out about Joop Havik and their opinion on the matter based on facts. Since they did the research in this case i can but only believe them untill i see prove or proven wrong. I am trying to get into contact with them to see if we can solve this matter for once and for all ;)

Btw nice picture of Casper Sporck and his Kampfwagen. That is one i haven't seen before.

With regards,

Ichi

p.s. forgive my my poor english. I try my best but euhm well sometimes it proves not to be enough. Sorry for that.
Last edited by Ichi on Sun Mar 26, 2006 4:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Doktor Krollspell
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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:18 pm

Hello Jacko!

What I have come to understand is that many of the "uncertain" RKT or the, according to Scherzer's research, non-legal/non-offocial RKT are still, and have been for the last 60 years, being considered to be "real" RKT. This is certainly the standpoint for the OdR and apparently German authorities... That's maybe the way the situation should continue to be... Veit Scherzer points out a certain few high ranking commanders that had the official right to award this decoration in April and May 1945. I suppose that you can say that these decorations were unauthorized when they were rendered and so to speak not "real" during the these last days of the war, but that later (West) German organizations and authorities has recognized these as "real" RKT..?!

I think it's an interesting situation though, because if the criteria presented by Scherzer would be used, the lists of RKT, Eichenlauben- and Schertenträger would have to be slighly modified. Anyhow, his (Scherzer) book is highly recommended!


With best regards,

Krollspell

P.S. Your english is perfectly understandable... :D D.S.
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"
Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:28 pm

Hello Allen!

Stuka-Oberst Rudel was quite a (flying) one-man army. The number that impresses me mostly though, is the fact that he had flown 2530 combat missions during the war. That's more than one operational flight per day for the entire duration of the war...

As an Officer and a leader of his Stuka collegues, Rudel not only led by example but was also prepared to help his fellow pilots no matter what of the risks. He more than once went down to pick up shot down comrades, for example...
Raid number 8 at March 20th 1944. Rudel flies an attack on the bridge at Jampol. The bridge is destroyed despite strong defense fire. A Ju 87 is met at the engine and must make an emergency landing some kilometers eastward the Dnjestr. Rudel decides to save the crew. (Would be the seventh, which he would take out.) Rudel lands, but this time he cannot start again. The airplane sank in the mud too deeply.

Nothing different one remains for the two dive bomber crews to swim than by the icy Dnjepr. His friend and companion with 1400 raids, technical sergeant Erwin Hentschel sunk in the icy water. Rudel had to flee about 50 km across russian territory, before discovering a german rearguard.
And as I'm a friend of showing pictures when they're available...

Image

Source for quote and photo: http://www.pilotenbunker.de/Stuka/Rudel/rudel.htm


Regards,

Krollspell
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"
Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:44 am

Hello Gentlemen IV

Apart from the many members of the Wehrmacht’s traditional branches and of the Waffen-SS that recieved the Knight’s Cross, there where also members of some more obscure/neglected branches that contributed to the war effort and subsequently where decorated with Germany’s highest award. The men of Germany’s Fire brigades are such examples of unsung heroes that also had the very dangerous job of disarming and disposing unexploded bombs, Blindgänger.
The following men and officers, die Feuerwerker, where decorated with the Knight’s Cross:

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).


So, after a rather long intro, 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.

Hauptmann (W) d. R. Egon Agtha
Image
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de


I hope that more members will share their favorite Knight's Cross action so that this thread develops even further. There is about 7.300 aspects of this phenomenon... :wink:


Regards,

Krollspell
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"
Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Sun May 21, 2006 6:34 am

the Knight's Cross actions I think which are most intresting are:

Erwin Rommel, for succeful command of the 7. Panzer Division in France, and the battles in Africa.

Leon Degrelle, for his bravery in the Korsun/Cherkassy battle, he fought on even when wounded as a high ranking officer, to inspire his troops.

And no doubt all the Wittmanns, Hartmanns, Rudels, all equal....

plus succesful small unit commanders like Peiper, etc.

this list could go on and on. No doubt most of the RK holders's actions which won them this high award were just as intresting, deserving, etc.

Kevin

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Sun May 21, 2006 9:31 am

Hello Helmut!
this list could go on and on. No doubt most of the RK holders's actions which won them this high award were just as intresting, deserving, etc.
Well, I couldn't agree more with you! :D But Helmut... instead of name dropping the Rommels, Rudels and Degrelles, give us a good narrative story of a Knight's Cross action! :wink:


Always looking forward
to a good story... :[]

Krollspell
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"
Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Mon May 22, 2006 1:14 am

well, what about... Gunter Halm, anti tank platoon, HQ kompanie, Panzergrenadier Regiment 104, 21. Panzer Division. On 22 July the British sttacked with the 13th Corps, against elements of 21. Panzer Division at Ruewisat ridge. The platoon of 2 PaK 36 (r) guns under Leutnant Skubovius was in a defensive position near the regiment HQ, and the first gun was commanded by Unteroffizier Jabeck, Gerfreiter Halm was the gun's gunlayer, adn engaged the British 22nd Armoured Brigade. Halm and his comrades peformed exceptionally well, destryoing 9 British tanks and disbaled 6 within minutes. Several shells hit near the gun's positions, wounding some fo the crew, but Halm was unscathed. Because of the time that the guns held out, Luftwaffe dive bombers and Panzers of the 21. Panzer Division came to the rescue, and destroyed the British 22nd Armoured Brigade, which lost 93 out of 104 tanks. Halm's Oberst was so delighted at Halm's calm performance under fire by this young soldier that on 29 July Halm became the youngest Knight's Cross holder in the German Wehrmacht, and the award was personally given by Rommel.

I like this one, he was an artilleryman who peformed well and beyond the call of duty in combat, and it is rare for an artilleryman to get the Knight's Cross, unlike Panzer crews or Luftwaffe pilots. Another reason is that he was so young while gettign the RK, sounds impressive.

Kevin

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Mon May 22, 2006 4:27 am

Hello Kevin!

Yes, Günter Halm and his achievements are good examples of when the little (and young) man (as in enlisted man) makes a difference and is actually recognized and rewarded for it... Thanks for your contribution! :D It would be nice if more members would share some of their favorite stories on Knight's Cross action... :?

Günter Halm
Image
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de


Regards,

Krollspell
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"
Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Mon May 22, 2006 4:43 am

well, here is another of my favourites, a Luftwaffe FJ Doktor winning the RK, an intresting one for small unit bravery, and yes, smaller than Kampfgruppes! ! :D

Oberstabsartz Heinrich Neumann was part of Generalmajor Eugen Meindl's Luftlande Sturm Regiment, the first wave of German paratroops which landed on Crete on 20 May 1941. the airborne troops came under heavy fire from Hill 107, where there were AA guns emplaced. Major Neumann was with the 1st Battalion during the assault on hill 107, and when the commanding officer became a casualty, the medical regiment officer took command. Neumann rallied his men, and attacked with the utmost determination, up ahead oof the slopes, but still were unable to break through and dug in for the night. But Neumann's attack so shook the defenders that they started to withdraw, and in the morning of 21 May when Neumann continued his attack, only a rearguard remained that was defeated, and the hill 107 was captured succesfully. Neumann also captured 2 AA guns on the hill, which were turned on the British, thus enabling valuable fire support for German planes and reinforcements to arrive. immediately Neumann was reccomended for the Knight's Cross, with high words of commendation from Oberst Bernhard Ramcke. The award was approved and Neumann received the Knight's Cross on 21 August 1941, one of the very few medical personell to be so highly decorated.

Image

I will look for more, this is a great thread! :D

Kevin

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Mon May 22, 2006 7:37 am

Hello again Kevin!

Herr Doktor Neumann is truly a true Fallschirmjäger character! Just don't forget to give the sources that you used credit. That applies for both texts and photos... To many members tends to forget this when posting and it's simply quite... rude.

Keep the RK stories coming... :wink:


Regards,

Krollspell
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"
Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Mon May 22, 2006 7:40 am

Just don't forget to give the sources that you used credit. That applies for both texts and photos... To many members tends to forget this when posting and it's simply quite... rude.
:D well.... The book "Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves recipents" Osprey series, and the internet. For the Neumann pic, http://www.axishistory.com. Have to go now, will post mroe stories tommorow.

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Tue May 23, 2006 5:13 am

here is a... remarckable, although well known won, SS unterschaufuhrer Remi Schrijnen of the 27. SS Freiwilgen Division 'Langemarck'. On 21 December 1943, in the area of Kiev and Zhitomir, the Soviets launched an attack. He was an artillery crewman, and all his comrades had been killed. Orders were given to retreat, but Remy decided to stay behind, manning the gun all by himself, loading and firing. in a furious exchange of fire, Remy knocked out 3 Stalin tanks and 4 T34s. At the distance of 30 metres, a Stalin tank scored a hit on his gun, and Remy lay wounded. later that day he was recovered by his own troops durign a counterattack, and was the first Felmish volunteer to receive the Knight's Cross. In July 1944, on 'Orphanage Hill', on the Narwa front, he performed a similar feat. In 48 Hours he all by himself, turned back several Soviet tank attacks that would have surrounded Flemish and Estonian volunteers nearby, and knocked out a dozen Soviet tanks while wounded and cut off from his unit. One of his shots even penetrated and knocked out 2 tanks in one shot. A remarckable character, similar to Gunter Halm, of a simple "little guy" doing more than his duty.

Image

sources used: The internet, the article "The European volunteer movement of World War II" by Richard Landwehr and a collecting site for the photograph.

zezio73
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Question

Post by zezio73 » Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:16 am

Hi guys,
Iì m interesting in reccomendation letters for IC first or second class. So I'd like to know if you have the original reccomendation letters for the brave soldiers above or if you found them on a book or something else.
Thank you in advance
Zezio

_________

Ubique quo honos et gloria ducunt

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Thu Jul 20, 2006 6:22 am

Here is another intresting one.

On 26th Febuary 1945, large numbers of Soviet tanks engaged a company of Wallonian volunteers commanded by of 28. SS Freiwilge Division 'Wallonien' in the Linden hills east of the Oder. Enemy tanks were swarming all over, many were knocked out, but all the Panzerfausts were used up. Capelle radioded for permission to break out, but it was no longer possible. Men were curshed to death by tanks, and even the badly wounded fired their weapons until their last breath. All that was left at the end was the command post. The Belgians heroically, in the unique Waffen-SS spirit of death defiance, fought to the death, to the last round. The command post held out for a whole day, the survivors fighting with rifle butts and pistols. As evening started, the post was overwhelmed, and Capelle went down firing his pistol. 2 survivors reached German lines to tell of ths incredible story, a Wallonian "Alamo". The nest day, it was announced in the daily Wehrmachts Berichten "In Pomerania a battle-group from the SS Volunteers Grenadier Division 'Wallonien' under the leadership of SS-Obersturmführer Capelle was deployed for flank for flank protection. Displaying exemplary steadfastness and fanatical battle spirit, it was destroyed." Capelle was posthumuly awarded the Knight's Cross, but the document was lost at the end of the war.

sources: "Campaign in Russia" by Leon Degrelle
"The European volunteer movement in WWII" by Richard Landwehr

Kevin

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KC Recommendations

Post by hucks216 » Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:14 am

Great idea for a thread.

My recommendation would go to Oberleutnant Gunther Viezenz (10./Gren Rgt 7 - 252 Inf Div). No idea of the details leading to the award of the Knights Cross to this soldier on 7th Jan 1944 but this is a man who had an armful of Tank Destruction Badges being credited with 21 kills. Must of been a very courageous, not to mention cool headed, individual.

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