Walter von Wietersheim
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|Walter von Wietersheim|
29 November 1917|
Barzdorf, Lower Silesia
|Died||19 January 2002
Bielefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia
|Years of service||1936-1945|
|Commands held||II. Company/Panzer Regiment Großdeutschland|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
He served as commander of the II. Company/Panzer Regiment Grossdeutschland with the rank of Hauptmann in May 1944, when Grossdeutschland was heavily involved in defensive actions on the Eastern Front. Still a very powerful formation despite gruelling years of war and heavy losses, the Division was being used in rearguard actions to cover the withdrawal of retreating units. The Division carried out its tasks so successfully that it was even able to counter-attack Soviet forces in some areas.
As the Soviets closed in on the Romanian town of Iaşi, Grossdeutschland found itself in a perfect position for a flank attack on the enemy. This was a great success and the Soviets were forced back through the town of Targul Frumos and beyond. This was only be a temporary respite though and strong Soviet forces were eventually able to push back the Grossdeutschland regiment and gathered for a massed offensive. Aware of this, Grossdeutschland's tanks pre-empted the Soviet attack with a surprise attack which resulted in the destruction of much Soviet equipment. A further Soviet attack was launched in late April, but after a few days of fighting, it was halted with the Soviets being destroyed by the Grossdeutschland's Panther and Tiger tanks.
On 2 May, a further Soviet attack was launched. Again the German forces were waiting. As the Soviets attacked, their infantry were defeated by the waiting German grenadiers. This left the Soviet Armour with no infantry support and it fell prey to Grossdeutschland's hidden 88 mm guns, Tigers and Sturmgeschütz guns.
Walter Von Wietersheim was personally responsible for the destruction of 14 enemy tanks, 6 anti-tank guns and 2 artillery pieces. For this achievement he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 15 May 1944.
He died on 19 January 2002, at the age of 84.
- Iron Cross 2nd Class on 26 May 1940
- Iron Cross 1st Class on 10 July 1940
- German Cross in Gold on 11 February 1943
- Honour Roll Clasp of the Army on 27 December 1943
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 15 May 1944 as Hauptmann and commander of II./Panzer-Regiment Großdeutschland
- 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.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- 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.