Favourite Knights Cross Action

Individual German officers, soldiers and award holders.

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Alex Coles
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Post by Alex Coles » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:27 pm

Great thread!
Alex

(Also known as 17 SS)

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Doktor Krollspell
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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:39 pm

Hello Gentlemen V

It's been a long time since anyone contributed to this thread with a Knight's Cross story so here's one! Hopefully, more members will share anecdotes and histories on the award rendering deeds of the Ritterkreuzträger!


Oberst Robert Colli - A Pistol-armed Austrian Panzerknacker!

Early morning on 08.02.1944, the Grenadier-Regiment 547 under the command of Oberst Robert Colli was hit by an enemy assault northwest of Nowossokolniki. The Russians broke through the German Hauptkampflinie by the Podgornoje Sea with a Batallion sized strength supported by nine tanks. They pushed through Bykowo and towards the street crossings at Runowo. In Bykowo lay the defence positions of the GR 547 personally led at the frontlines by Oberst Colli. Colli jumped up on the nearest Russian tank and tore up one of the non-locked hatches, killing the tank crew with his pistol. While attacking a second russian tank in the afternoon, Oberst Colli was seriously wounded and he was carried away by the few members of the Regimental staff later that afternoon. Arriving at the Hauptverbandplatz, Oberst Robert Colli had to have his seriously wounded leg amputated.

Oberst Robert Colli was born in Wien on 27.06.1898 and died in Gmunden/Austria on 22.07.1980.

Robert Colli's decorations:

11.12.1939 Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse
14.06.1940 Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse
03.08.1943 Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (as an Oberstleutnant commanding GR 547)
19.02.1944 Ritterkreuz as an Oberst commanding GR 547
------------
09.04.1941 Anerkennungsschreiben des Oberbefehlshaber der 16. Armee
12.06.1941 Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen
06.11.1942 Medaille Winterschlacht im Osten
20.10.1943 Verwundeten-Abzeichen Schwarz
18.02.1944 Verwundeten-Abzeichen Silber
26.09.1944 Verwundeten-Abzeichen Gold
xx.xx.1944?Sonderabzeichen für die Vernichtung von Panzerkampfwagen durch Einzelkämpfer


Source for the story (as in quoted and translated by me) and biographical facts on Oberst Robert Colli was taken from Dr. Rudolf Gschöpf's "Mein Weg mit der 45. Inf.-Div." (2nd ed. 2002). Robert Colli belonged to the 45. ID earlier in the war. There is also a photo of Colli in the book where he clearly wears one Tank Destruction Badge on his right sleeve.

If anyone have, or know of any photo of Robert Colli, please post or inform!


Regards,

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

Mansal D

Post by Mansal D » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:27 am

Otto Reihs

I have his autographed portrait. He took out twelve soviet tanks in ten minutes.

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:29 pm

Hello k98_man!

Since the combat deeds of Feldwebel Otto Riehs are among your favorite Knight's Cross actions, don't hesitate to elaborate more on the man... It's always interesting with a RKT from the Mannsschaft! :D

Otto Riehs recieved the RK on 11.10.1943 as an Obergefreiter and Geschützführer in the 14./GR 55, belonging to the 17. Infanterie-Division. According to the following link, Otto Riehs manned a 7,5 cm Pak and destroyed 10 enemy tanks in 12 minutes. Feldwebel Riehs ended the war in Festung Posen as a Pak platoon leader and as such became seriously wounded but survived the war.

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


Otto Riehs
Image
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de

Otto Riehs
Image
http://www.das-ritterkreuz.de


I'm looking forward to more Knight's Cross stories to be posted...


Regards,

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

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:13 pm

Hello Gentlemen VI

I have just been reading the excellent book "Battle for Budapest - 100 Days in World War II" by Krisztián Ungváry (2003) and in which I found a very short reference to a minor and more or less unknown RK awarding winning action by an Obergefreiter from the 13. Panzer-Division. This is surely just one example of the multitude of daily efforts of the ordinary Landser that mostly has passed unnoticed in History books. Here it goes...
On 8 January the Soviet troops achieved only small successes, mainly at the line of the 22nd SS Cavalry Division, where they captured Kispest. Near Józsefváros Station, German Infantry, supported by three assault guns of the Hungarian 1st Assault Artillery Battalion, recaptured the MÁV housing estate. Here a lance-corporal of the 66th Grenadier Regiment (the author means Pz.Gren.Rgt. 66/my note) had held an important building single-handed by running up and down while firing, in order to suggest that a German soldier was hiding behind every window: he later recieved the Knight's Cross. Soviet troops, breaking through at the railway embankment, entered Népliget Park south of the housing estate. [...] ...and by the evening, in hand-to-hand fighting, had taken the post-office building.
Quoted from pages 111-112 in reprinted edition 2006.


The only man, as I have found, that fits the unit, the rank, the place and the date is the following RKT:

Schitthelm, Karl. Recieved the RK on 07.02.1945 as an Obergefreiter and Melder i. d. 6./Pz.GR 66.

Obergefreiter Schitthelm went MIA on 22.02.1945 in the Budapest area, Hungary and was officially declared dead on 19.01.1962 in Germany.


The info on Karl Schitthelm was taken from Veit Scherzer's "Ritterkreuzträger" (2005).


Regards,

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

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:06 am

Hello Gentlemen VII

Since nobody else have any Knight's Cross stories to tell, I'll just have to continue on this slowest growing sticky thread on Feldgrau! :?

Enough whining from the Doktor... @{ I like this particular photograph showing german soldiers with diverse fur hats during the war's last winter, standing around a motorbike and a heavily decorated driver from the Mannschaft...

Kurt Schwarm and friends
Image
http://presentations.uib.no/pls/portal/ ... _PART.show

The Obergefreiter and Kradmelder (Motorcycle messenger) is Kurt Schwarm, who recieved the RK on 11.01.1945 while being a Kradmelder in the Stab Pz.Gren.Rgt. 98 of the 8. Panzer-Division.

Kurt Schwarm knocked out three Soviet tanks by himself with the Panzerfaust during one messenger ride with his motorcycle, hence the three Panzervernichtungsabzeichen on his right uniform sleeve. Note the Panzerfaust lying the sidecar of the motorcycle in the photograph. Schwarm is also wearing a Nahkampfspange. Being gratulated by comrades on his Ritterkreuz, this only shows that there were hardly any position at all that was "safer" than others. The Meldegänger must have risked their lives countless of times at the frontlines and just behind them delivering their messages.

Kurt Schwarm
Image
http://www.das-ritterkreuz.de


Regards,

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

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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by Doktor Krollspell » Sun May 11, 2008 1:43 am

Hello Gentlemen VIII

When it comes to ones "Favorite Knight's Cross Action", the turn has now come a member of the Gebirgsjäger, the Ski-jäger and the Tiroler Standschützen (the Alpine Volkssturm), Namely Major Karl-Walter Lapp...

Karl-Walter Lapp recieved the RK on 14.08.1944 as a Hauptmann commanding the Ski-Btl. 82 of the 7. Gebirgs-Division.

Karl-Walter Lapp
Image
http://www.das-ritterkreuz.de

Karl-Walter Lapp recieved his RK for action against the Russians in Lappland, Finland during the summer of 1944. Here follows the Tagesbefehl from the long time Divisional Commander Generalleutnant August Krakau which describes in detail the award-winning action of Lapp and his men.
TAGESBEFEHL der 7. Geb.Division v. 17.8.44 zur Verleihung des Ritterkreuzes an Lapp, Kdr. Ski-Btl. 82:

"Major Lapp hat mit seinem tapferen Ski-Btl. und den ihm unterstellten Kameraden des SS Schtz.Btl. 6 zwölf Tage von 7 russischen Bataillonen eingeschlossen und auf sich allein gestellt auf dem Luft- und später Wasserwege nur mangelhaft versorgt, im stärksten feindlichen Artillerie- und Granatwerferfeuer die Stellung gehalten, so daß durch diese Tat ein für die ganze Front des Korps entscheidender Erfolg erzielt wurde. Am 7. Juli 44, als der Feind mit 2 Bataillonen von Westen und 1 Bataillon von Osten angriff, gelang den Russen ein Einbruch bis zum Btl-Gefechtsstand. Persönlich mit seinem Adjutanten hat er sich dem Russen entgegengeworfen und die Lage bereinigt. Schwer verwundet, hat er noch 5 Tage bei seinem Bataillon ausgehalten, bis alle Verwundete versorgt waren, und der neue Kampfgruppenführer eingetroffen war.

Krakau Gen.Lt."
And a fast translations... Major Lapp, had, with his Ski-Btl. 82 and subordinate comrades of the SS Schtz.Btl. 6, been encircled for 12 days by 7 Russian batallions and could only recieve reinforcement from the air and later from the waterways, but held their positions inspite of heavy enemy artillery and grenade launcher barrages. The result was that the entire front of the Korps (XVIII AK of the 20. Gebirgs-Armee, my comment) could be held. On July 7, 1944 the enemy attacked with 2 batallions from the west and 1 batallion from the east, wich pushed through to the Ski-Btl. HG. Lapp personally with his adjutants had resisted and thrown the russians out and so, held their position. Severely wounded, he stayed with his unit for 5 days so that all his wounded soldiers could be taken care of, and the new Kampfgruppe commander had arrived to take over.


After recieving his wounds, of which one left his face partially paralyzed, the combat and frontline experienced Major Lapp recieved a new assignment in October 1944. He was to be the Basic training and combat instructor for the newly raised Tiroler Standschützen in Ostmark (Austria), basically an Alpiner/Gebirgsjäger Volkssturm that were to defend this part of the Reich, the fabled "Alpenfestung". These units saw little action in April and May 1945 against American units.

Karl-Walter Lapp on 17 November 1944 in Pflerchtal, Süd-Tirol
Image
Private Collection

The backside of the above photograph with comment by Karl-Walter Lapp
Image
Private Collection

There's a very interesting and detailed chapter on the Tiroler Standschützen in Roland Kaltenegger's "Spezialverbände der Gebirgstruppe 1939-1945" (2004), a highly recommended book with many photographs of both the Standschützen and on Karl-Walter Lapp. Many high dignitaries visited Major Lapp and his Tiroler at the training grounds by the Alpini Barracks in Gossensaß. Among others were Generals like Generaloberst Heinrich von Vietinghoff, General der Gebirgstruppe Valentin Feuerstein as well as the Gauleiter of Tirol-Vorarlberg Franz Hofer. SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler (as Chef of the Ersatzheer) and SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Wolff were also among the visitors as well as Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach.


Major Lapp together with a Standschützen-Hauptmann from WWI
Image
http://www.ullsteinbild.de

Tiroler Standschützen marching through the snow
Image
http://www.ullsteinbild.de


Major and Ritterkreuzträger Karl-Walter Lapp was born on 02.05.1913 in Gießen and died in the town of his birth at the ripe old age of 92 on 19.12.2005.


Regards,

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

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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by Cott Tiger » Wed May 14, 2008 4:59 am

Superb posts, Herr Doktor. Interesting and informative. Keep ‘em coming.

Regards,

André
Up The Tigers!

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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by Doktor Krollspell » Wed May 14, 2008 10:19 am

Thank you very much for your kind words André! :D

There are so many stories about individual bravery and deeds that are unknown to many WWII buffs that deserves to be told. We all have a very good grasp of the Rommels, Gallands, Peipers and Priens etc., and their wartime exploits but you have about 7.300 other RKT stories to research and tell about.

And then it's the sheer fun of compiling minimalistic biographies on the RKT using different sources like books, websites, photographs etc. Especially when it comes to the virtually unknown ones. My personal favorite among the RKT I've contributed with to this thread is the one on Obergefreiter Karl Schitthelm who recieved his RK for running up and down the stairs in a building, probably shooting like a madman during the battle for Budapest in 1945 (see the Schitthelm post (VI) earlier on this page). Just finding a very short, nameless, reference to this specific action in a book and then have to deduce via cross-referencing with some other sources the name, unit and date... The thrill of the chase! :wink:

The only sad thing is that there are, and have been for the last year and a half, so few contributions to this Sticky Thread. After all, there must be tons of information and knowledge about the RKT among the Feldgrau members, but hopefully this "Favorite Knights Cross Action" thread will resurface in activity and popularity... :?


So come on Feldgrauians... Share some good and interesting RKT stories with your fellow members :!:


Again, thanks for the kind words!

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

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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by Benoit Douville » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:34 pm

Awesome thread, I like the story of Otto Riehs who destroyed 10 tanks in 12 minutes, pretty amazing feat indeed!

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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by dusty825 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:26 pm

Knights of the Reich by Gunther Fraschka.
I will have to dig the book out but it's short bio's on the 27 diamond winners, I remeber one story but can't remeber who did it, a officer in a staff card with 2 trucks following takes a wrong turn and pulls up to a french base, they tell the guards at the gate to summon their commander, they tell the base commander he is surrounded by tanks to surrender the base.
The load the french up in trucks and drive them back to the german lines...

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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by Nibelung » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:31 am

I guess Franz Schmitz is not a bad example of a Knights Cross recepient, being the only soldier from a medic unit to recieve one. On 7h July 1943 he recovered 98 wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Franz Kurowski (keep in mind) in his book claims that in total mora that 2000 German soldiers were saved during the course of the war...

Now isn't that hero material?

best,
Nibelung
There are no desperate situations, there are only desperate people. - Heinz Guderian
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sebastian
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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by sebastian » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:41 am

nice stories,but i wonder how many guys that died on the battlefield never got the ek after some heroic stuff they did .....
united we stand,divided we fall

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Nibelung
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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by Nibelung » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:04 am

sebastian wrote:nice stories,but i wonder how many guys that died on the battlefield never got the ek after some heroic stuff they did .....
IMHO much much more.
There are no desperate situations, there are only desperate people. - Heinz Guderian
-- Sine doctrina vita est quasi mortis imago. --

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Re: Favourite Knights Cross Action

Post by charlieboy » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:20 pm

hi everyone
slightly of topic hucks216 mentioned gunther viezenz, on a thread on this forum 'who would you like to spend a day with' on this thread i said my man would be gunther viezenz re his 21 tank destruction badges, another member lexibabe said that he heard, read somewhere, that viezenz had admitted after the war that he only knocked out 7 tanks, please read this article and the evidence presented to make up your own conclusion.
best wishes micky

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