Heinz Heuer

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Heinz Heuer (2 March 1918 – 6 January 2002) was born in Berlin. After completing his schooling he attended a course of further education, studying Economics, before joining the Cadet preparatory school in Potsdam. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes).[Note 1] The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Career[edit]

On the 1 November 1936, Heuer joined the Brandenburg Police School, but then had to complete a two-year term of Military Service. His duties included service in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. On completion of his National service, he returned to Police schooling in Potsdam, Eiche, Berlin and Police Technical School in Berlin. On completing his studies, he served with Ordnungspolizei Headquarters on the Reich's Ministry of Interior in Berlin and was attached to the Foreign Office. Heuer also served with the Abwehr and the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht Overseas Department. He became a courier to the Polizei Division and other Police Leadership Staffs. Later, he served with all of the Armed services and on temporary attachments to various embassies overseas.

Heuer's war service included duty with the Elite Brandenburg Division and he saw service in Africa, Asia and Turkey. For his courier duties, Heuer became the first Police recipient of the Motor Vehicle Drivers Badge of Merit in Gold.

During the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Heuer served as an Oberfeldwebel of the Feldgendarmerie in command of a small combat group. He was summoned to Hitler's Headquarters one day and tasked by General Krebs with a special mission. He and his small band of men were to locate a suspected Soviet command post. Heuer had already carried out several dangerous missions and quickly set off on his new task with a small force of 28 men. On the night of 21 April, Heuer located the Enemy command post and after a short fight, captured it along with all the documents and maps it contained.

On his return trip, Heuer and his Kampfgruppe ran into trouble when they met a strong Soviet Tank force. During the Battle which ensued, 27 Soviet Tanks were destroyed. Heuer's personal score was an amazing 13 Tanks. Considering that his small Units had no Anti-Tank Guns and had to destroy all these Tanks at Point-Blank range with Satchel Charges, Stick Grenades and Single-Shot Panzerfausts, their achievement was all the more impressive.

Krebs was delighted with Heuer's success and the Information and Maps he captured. For his achievement, Heuer was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on the 22 April and given a battlefield promotion to Leutnant.

On the 24 April, Heuer was given a mission to take a message written by Hitler to SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Felix Steiner, for whose relief attempt Hitler anxiously awaited. Heuer set off on a motorcycle, but was captured shortly afterwards by a group of Soviet Troops. Heuer managed to destroy the message by chewing it up and swallowing it. It was made clear to him and a number of other prisoners that they would be executed. The prisoners were given spades and told to start digging their graves. When they had completed this macabre task, a Soviet Officer approached and offered them a last cigarette, telling them that it was time to say their prayers. To the doomed men it must have seemed as if their prayers were being answered as an Artillery barrage landed nearby and the Soviets ran for cover. Heuer lost no time in setting about the remaining guards with his spade and the prisoners ran off. All escaped though several were wounded during the escape.

Heuer's liberty was to be short-lived however and he was soon back in Soviet captivity as the last remnnats of the Third Reich finally crumbled. He was held in Soviet camps in Berlin, then in Siberia and then in a punishment camp in Oms[disambiguation needed]. Heuer ultimately ended up in the hands of the GPU in East Berlin, but escaped with the help of a sympathetic Soviet Officer.

After the war, Heuer became a consultant with the British Military Police in Berlin. In 1947, he moved to West Germany and again became an active Police Officer up until his retirement in 1967 through disability caused by his wounds.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A lawful presentation via the chain of command to the chief of the Heerespersonalamt (HPA—Army Staff Office) Wilhelm Burgdorf in Berlin submitted nomination is possible. Also possible is a direct presentation by Adolf Hitler. However no evidence of the award made to Heinz Heuer can be found in the German National Archives. The author Veit Scherzer argues that this is strange because Burgdorf had verifiably informed the HPA of direct presentations made in Berlin up to 26 April (including). Scherzer was denied access to files, which could help clarify the case, of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR) on the grounds of the Bundesarchivgesetz (German Archive Law). The head of the order commission oft he AKCR, Walther-Peer Fellgiebel, wrote in a letter to Heuer dated 24 November 1985: "evidently dubious, to put it mildly." Heuer was a member of the AKCR.[1]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 140.
  2. ^ Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross: A History: Gordon Williamson
Bibliography
  • 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. 
  • 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.