Buchterkirch (left) in discussion with Generaloberst Walter Model, July 1941
10 September 1914|
|Died||17 July 1969
|Years of service||1935–45|
|Rank||Oberstleutnant in the General Staff|
|Unit||3rd Panzer Division|
|Awards||Spanish Cross in Silver
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Ernst-Georg Buchterkirch (10 September 1914 – 17 July 1969) was an Officer in the German Wehrmacht and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Born in Stolp in the Province of Pomerania, Buchterkirch volunteered for military service in the Heer (army) of the Third Reich in 1935. He was posted to Panzer-Regiment 6 (6th Panzer Regiment), a regiment of the 3rd Panzer Division. In 1938–39, he served in the Panzer detachment of the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War. Following the outbreak of World War II he fought with distinction in the Invasion of Poland and in 1940 in the Battle of France. On 29 June 1940, he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for the capture of multiple bridges crossing the Seine river and the destruction of six enemy tanks. In Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he commanded the 2nd company of Panzer-Regiment 6 and was credited with the destruction of twelve enemy tanks at Buchowiecze and secured a bridgehead at Minicze. For these achievements he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves on 31 December 1941. He was then posted to a training position and attended the Kriegsschule (war school). In 1943, he was transferred to the General Staff of the Oberkommando des Heeres (Supreme High Command of the German Army). His last service position was operations officer with the commander of Panzergruppe West.
Early life and career
Buchterkirch was born on 10 September 1914 in Stolp in the Province of Pomerania, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in the German Empire. Today Storp is Słupsk in the Pomeranian Voivodeship, in the northern part of Poland. Buchterkirch father was a Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel) in the German Army. Following Grundschule, elementary school, from 1920 to 1924, he attended the Kant-Gymnasium, a secondary school, in Spandau near Berlin. In 1928, he changed to the Lauenburgische Gelehrtenschule in Ratzeburg, and from 1928 to 1931 the Reform-Realgymnasium in Eutin. The family moved again, from 1931 to 1935, Buchterkirch attended and graduated with his Abitur from the Grunewald-Realgymnasium.
After his graduation, Buchterkirch joined the military service of the Wehrmacht with the Reiterregiment (cavalary regiment) in Potsdam as a Fahnenjunker (officer aspirant) on 1 April 1935. On 15 October 1935, he was transferred to the I. Abteilung (1st department) of Panzer-Regiment 6 (6th Panzer Regiment) and on 3 January 1936, he attended the Kriegsschule (war school) of the Heer (Army) in Munich. In October 1936, after completing his course at the Kriegsschule, he was promoted to Oberfähnrich (officer candidate) on 21 October, effective as of 1 October 1936. On 2 November 1936, Buchterkirch was sent to a weapons training course at the Kraftfahr-Kampftruppen-Schule (combat school for motor vehicles troops), and end of February 1937, he was posted back to the I. Abteilung of Panzer-Regiment 6. There, he was made a Zugführer (platoon leader) and was promoted to Leutnant (second lieutenant) on 20 April 1937, effective as of 1 April 1937.
With outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, Germany supported the Nationalists and asked for volunteers which organized in the Condor Legion (Legion Condor). Buchterkirch volunteered for service in the Condor Legion, and under the command of Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma, who commanded the German ground forces, served in Spain from June 1938 to June 1939. His main task was training Spanish officers and non-commissioned officers as tank drivers at Cubas de la Sagra, near Madrid. He also actively participated in ground combat and was awarded the Panzer Badge of the Condor Legion (Panzerkampf-Abzeichen der Legion Condor) on 25 September 1939. There he was promoted to Oberleutnant (first lieutenant) on 31 May 1939, effective as of 1 June 1939.
Upon his return to Germany, Buchterkirch was assigned to the Stab (headquarter unit) of I. Abteilung of Panzer-Regiment 6 and then became Zugführer of the 2. Kompanie (2nd company). On 1 August 1939, he was awarded the Spanish Cross in Silver with Swords (Spanienkreuz in Silber mit Schwerten) for his service in Spain.
World War II
- Panzer Badge of the Condor Legion (25 September 1938)
- Spanish Cross in Silver (1 August 1939)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Anerkennungsurkunde des Oberbefehlshabers des Heeres (6 July 1941)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 6 July 1941
|Date||Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording||Direct English translation|
|Sunday, 6 July 1941||Rittmeister Niemack, Führer einer Aufklärungsabteilung, die Oberleutnante Freiherr Maercken und Buchterkirch in einem Panzerregiment, sowie Oberleutnant Ritz in einem Schützenregiment zeichneten sich durch vorbildliche Tapferkeit aus.||Rittmeister (captain of cavalry) Niemack, leader of a reconnaissance unit, the first lieutenants Freiherr Maercken and Buchterkirch in a tank regiment, and Lieutenant Ritz in a rifle regiment distinguished themselves through exemplary bravery.|
- Stockert 1996, p. 242.
- Stockert 1996, p. 244.
- Thomas 1997, p. 88.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 148.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 249.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 56.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 608.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stockert, Peter (1996). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. ISBN 978-3-9802222-7-3.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2.
- "Ernst-Georg Buchterkirch". World War 2 Awards (in German). Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- "Ernst-Georg Buchterkirch". Lexikon der Wehrmacht (in German). Retrieved 22 August 2015.