Hans Collani

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Hans Collani
Nickname(s) Fritz
Born (1908-02-13)February 13, 1908
Stettin, Germany now Poland
Died July 29, 1944(1944-07-29) (aged 36)
Narva, Estonia
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1932 – 1944
Rank Standartenführer
Unit Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
5th SS Panzer Division Wiking
23rd SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nederland
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Iron Cross I Class
Iron Cross II Class
German Cross in Gold
Infantry Assault Badge
Wound Badge

Hans Collani (13 February 1908 – 29 July 1944) was a Standartenführer (Colonel) in the Waffen SS during World War II. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Early life[edit]

Hans Collani was born on the 13 February 1908, in Stettin. His father was a career officer in the Infantry and held the rank of Oberst (Colonel or Group Captain). (His brother who was killed in action over France in World War II would achieve the same rank in the Luftwaffe)

After leaving school in 1931, he worked in a merchant shipping office and travelled to Leningrad and Murmansk. He joined the NSDAP in 1932 and later joined the Sturmabteilung (SA) and then the Waffen SS.

Assigned to the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment he served in the 1st Company from March 1933 and was promoted to Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in October 1933. He served as the Adjutant to the LSSAH commander Sepp Dietrich from February 1935 to November 1939.

World War II[edit]

He served in the Polish Campaign where he was awarded the Iron Cross II class in September 1939, and the Battle of France. He also took part in the Invasions of the Balkans (Operation Marita) and the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) where he was awarded the Eastern Front Medal.

He was promoted to Sturmbannführer (Major) in March 1942 and awarded the Iron Cross I class in October. In February 1943, he was transferred to command the III (Finnish) Battalion/ SS Panzergrenadier Regiment Norland, 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking until July 1943 when the Finns returned home to Finland at the end of their contract. In the meantime he had in April 1943, been promoted to Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel).

In May 1943, he was transferred to command the SS Panzergrenadier Regiment 49 De Ruyter which was in the 23rd SS Panzergrenadier Division Nederland.

Hans Collani committed suicide when his command post was about to be overrun by the Red Army Leningrad Front on the Eastern Front in the Battle of Tannenberg Line on 29 July 1944.[1]

He was awarded a posthumous Knight's Cross and promotion to Standartenführer (Colonel) for his bravery and leadership in the Narva battles in August 1944.

Awards and decorations[edit]

This article incorporates information from the German Wikipedia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mart Laar (2006). Sinimäed 1944: II maailmasõja lahingud Kirde-Eestis (Sinimäed 1944: Battles of World War II in Northeast Estonia) (in Estonian). Tallinn: Varrak. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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. 
  • Mitcham, Jr.Samuel. (2007). Retreat to the Reich. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3384-X.
  • Henschler Henri & Fay Will. (2003). Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS, 1943-45. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-2905-2.
  • Mitcham Samuel. (2007). The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3371-8.
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1998). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil III: Infanterie Band 4: C–Dow [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part III: Infantry Volume 4: C–Dow] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2534-8.