Fritz von Scholz

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Fritz von Scholz
FritzvonScholz.jpg
SS-Brigadeführer Fritz von Scholz, as commander of 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division "Nordland", 1944.
Born (1896-12-09)9 December 1896
Pilsen, Kingdom of Bohemia
Died 28 July 1944(1944-07-28) (aged 47)
Narva
Allegiance  Austria-Hungary (to 1918)
Austria First Austrian Republic (to 1938)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Waffen-SS
Years of service 1914–44
Rank SS-Gruppenführer Collar Rank.svg SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS
Commands held 11. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division "Nordland"
Battles/wars

World War I
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Fritz von Scholz, Edler von Rerancze,[Note 1] (9 December 1896 – 28 July 1944) known as Fritz von Scholz, was an Austrian Austro-Hungarian Army and later German Waffen SS officer who served in both the First and Second World Wars.

First World War - Freikorps[edit]

Born Fritz Scholz in Pilsen, Bohemia, Scholz was called up for service in the Austro-Hungarian Army during the mobilisation of July 1914. He served as an artillery officer, first with k.u.k. Feld-Artillerie Regiment 22, seeing action in the East. In May 1915 Scholz was promoted to the rank of Leutnant and transferred to the k.u.k. Feldhaubitzenregiment 3, also fighting in the East. In 1917, Scholz was transferred to k.u.k. Feldartillerieregiment 40, serving on the Italian front. During his time here, he acted as a telegraph officer.

Scholz's father, Generalmajor Ferdinand Scholz, had also been serving in the East. In the fighting near Rerancze, northeast of Czernowitz in the Bukovina, his actions against the Russians had drawn the attention of Kaiser Franz Josef I. As a result of this, he was ennobled and granted the title Knight of Rerancze (Edler von Rerancze).

In November 1917, von Scholz was promoted to Oberleutnant and again transferred, this time to Feld Artillerie Regiment 125, which he remained with until April 1919. During the course of the war von Scholz had received several high decorations, including the Austro-Hungarian Bravery Medal in gold, and the Austro-Hungarian Distinguished Service Cross in silver and bronze.

Between the wars[edit]

After he was discharged from the army in 1919, von Scholz sought work, finding sporadic employment in Klagenfurt, Munich, Leipzig and Tyrol. In 1921, he joined the Freikorps Oberland and was involved in fighting against communist dissidents in the province of Silesia. In the early 1920s, von Scholz was first exposed to the philosophy of the NSDAP, and soon became a supporter, joining the Austrian branch of the party on 9 October 1932 (Nr. 1304071). He soon joined the Austrian SA as a Platoon leader, and was involved in street fights with communists at Lützow and Munich. His formation was merged into a part of SA Gruppe Nordwest in June 1933. His actions soon landed him in trouble with the Austrian authorities and forced him to flee to Nazi Germany in late 1933 to avoid arrest.

He joined the Schutzstaffel in 1937 (Nr. 135638) serving with the Austrian SS Legion based at Linz soon after arriving in Germany. By 1934 he had been was promoted to SS-Untersturmführer and placed in command of the fifth company of II./SS-Standarte 1. By the outbreak of World War II, von Scholz was an SS-Sturmbannführer in command of II./Battalion, SS-Regiment Der Führer, part of the SS-VT Division.

Second World War - SS-VT - Regiment Nordland[edit]

As Commander of Der Führer's II./Battalion, von Scholz saw action in the Western campaign of 1940. During this time he was awarded the Iron Cross first and second class. He was also awarded the Wiederholungsspange 1939, due to having earned the Iron Cross 2nd class in World War I. After the campaign, von Scholz was ordered to take command of the Danish-Norwegian volunteer formation SS-Infanterie-Regiment Nordland, now forming in Klagenfurt in Austria. On 30 January 1941, von Scholz was promoted to SS-Standartenführer. It was decided that the regiment would form a part of a new volunteer division, based on the SS Division (mot) Das Reich Germania Regiment. The new division was to be called the SS-Division (mot) Wiking.

The division was not ready for the launch of Operation Barbarossa, and first saw combat as a part of Army Group South fighting for Tarnopol in Galicia in late June, 1941. Throughout the next months, von Scholz led the Nordland regiment in fighting along the Dnieper river, Dnepropetrovsk. In October 1941, von Scholz received a promotion to SS-Oberführer, and continued leading the Nordland, which finished the year in heavy fighting for Rostov-on-Don. In December, the division was ordered to abandon Rostov and fall back to the Mius River line. For his actions in commanding the Nordland, von Scholz was awarded the German Cross in Gold in November, a newly instated award for bravery which ranked between the Iron Cross first class and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Less than a month after receiving this award, von Scholz received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his actions near Rostov.

With the launch of Case Blue and Army Group South's advance towards Stalingrad, the Wiking was to once more capture Rostov and then to advance into the Caucasus. The division spent the year fighting its way into the Caucasus mountains. Despite heavy resistance, the Wiking managed to advance almost to the Turkish border and was involved in the southernmost advance of the Wehrmacht in the USSR. Von Scholz received a promotion to SS-Brigadeführer in December 1942 for his actions in leading the Nordland during this advance. On 10 January 1943, von Scholz was ordered back to Germany to take command of a volunteer division now under formation at Grafenwöhr.

Nordland Division - Narva[edit]

Fritz von Scholz congratulating Gerardus Mooyman, February 1943

As the division was still nowhere near formed, von Scholz was sent back to the front to take command of first 1 SS Infantry Brigade, attached to Army Group Centre then 2 SS Infantry Brigade composed of mostly Estonian volunteers and in action under Army Group North. On 20 April, von Scholz was ordered back to Grafenwöhr to take command of the Division, now titled 11th SS Panzergrenadier Division Nordland. Fritz's old command, the Nordland regiment had been dissolved and used to form the basis for the new division.

The division was soon moved to Croatia where it saw action fighting against Tito's communist partisans. During this period, von Scholz's new division conducted itself well. In January 1944, orders were received to move the division to the Oranienbaum front near Leningrad, under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model's Army Group North.

Von Scholz commanded the division during the ensuing retreat to Narva and during the battles for the Narva bridgehead. During this campaign he worked under his old commander, SS-Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner, now in command of the III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps, the Nordland's parent formation.

During the intense combat for the Narva, von Scholz's leadership had a strong impact on the spirit of his men. His jovial, caring attitude towards his troops resulted in him being granted the affectionate nickname Papa Scholz. Scholz was frequently at the front line, visiting his men and ensuring that they were as comfortable as possible. The Nordland together with the rest of Steiner's corps, held the line against overwhelming odds for nearly five months. For his actions, von Scholz was awarded the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross on 12 March 1944, as well as the Finnish Order of the Cross of Liberty (2nd class) with Swords. On 20 April 1944, von Scholz was promoted to Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS.[1][Note 2]

In late July, the launch of the Soviet Operation Bagration and the impending collapse of Army Group Centre meant that Steiner's corps had to fall back to secondary positions behind the Narva river. On 27 July, while visiting the front line on Lastekodumägi (Orphanage Hill), von Scholz was caught in an artillery barrage and struck in the head by a shell splinter. Despite the best efforts of the medics and field hospital staff, von Scholz died on 28 July 1944. He was posthumously awarded the Swords to the Knight's Cross on 8 August 1944.[3]

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Regarding personal names: Edler is a rank of nobility, not a first or middle name. The female form is Edle.
  2. ^ Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z, lists him holding the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer.[2]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Berger 2000, p. 321.
  2. ^ a b c Thomas 1998, p. 282.
  3. ^ a b Fellgiebel 2000, p. 44.
  4. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 681.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 387.
  6. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 80.
Bibliography
  • Berger, Florian (2000). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges. 2., überarbeitete Auflage. Florian Berger, Wien. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Krätschmer, Ernst-Günther (1999). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Waffen-SS [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Waffen-SS]. Coburg, Germany: Nation Europa Verlag. ISBN 978-3-920677-43-9. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
SS-Brigadeführer Franz Augsberger
Commander of 11. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division "Nordland"
1 May 1943–27 July 1944
Succeeded by
SS-Brigadeführer Joachim Ziegler