Heinrich Petersen (SS officer)

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Heinrich Petersen
Petersen-heinrich.gif
Born (1904-03-31)31 March 1904
Sonderburg, German Empire (modern Denmark)
Died 9 May 1945(1945-05-09) (aged 41)
between Tábor & Pilsen, Bohemia
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1933–1945
Rank Standartenführer (Colonel)
Unit SS-VT
3rd SS Division Totenkopf
6th SS Gebirgs Division Nord
7th SS Gebirgs Division Prinz Eugen
18th SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Horst Wessel
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
Infantry Assault Badge

Heinrich Petersen (31 March 1904 – 9 May 1945) 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]

Petersen was born in Sonderburg on the island of Alsen in Denmark - at that time a part of the Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein.

He was a member of the NSDAP (party number 1.964.574) and an early volunteer for the SS-VT (SS number 134.299) joining in March 1933, serving with the III./46 SS-Standarte in Dresden.

In April 1934 he was posted to the SS-Junkerschule in Bad Tölz as an instructor with the rank of Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) until August 1935, when he was transferred to the SS-Wachtruppe Brandenburg which was renamed in 1938 as the III. Battalion, 2nd SS-Totenkopfstandarte Brandenburg.

In November 1937 he was promoted to Sturmbannführer (Major).

World War II[edit]

In October 1939 Petersen was given command of the II. Battalion, 3rd SS Totenkopf Infantry Regiment, 3rd SS Division Totenkopf until February 1941. During his time in command he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class in May 1940, the Iron Cross 1st class in June 1940 and the Infantry Assault Badge in November 1940, which was awarded for having taken part in three or more motorized infantry assaults.

In February 1941 he was moved to command the I. Battalion, 6th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment Theodor Eicke and promoted to Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel), he remained in command until January 1942. Petersen was next assigned to command the Reserve Battalion of the Volunteer Norwegian Legion.

In March 1942, he was given command of the 3rd SS Totenkopf Infantry Regiment, 3rd SS Division Totenkopf, he remained in command until October 1942, when he was transferred to command the Training and Reserve Battalion, SS Gebirgsjäger Nord, 6th SS Gebirgs Division Nord.

In April 1943 Petersen was transferred again this time to the 7th SS Gebirgs Division Prinz Eugen to command the 13th SS Gebirgsjäger Regiment. It was while in command of the 13th SS Gebirgsjager Regiment that Petersen was awarded the Knight's Cross on the 13 November 1943 just after being promoted to Standartenführer (Colonel) on the 9 November.

Petersen was next posted to work on the staff of the V SS Mountain Corps from late 1943 to February 1944, when he was placed on the reserve officers list until June 1944.

He returned to active service on the 15 June 1944 as the new commander of the 39th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment, 18th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Horst Wessel. Thereafter, Petersen took over command of the 18th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Horst Wessel in March 1945.

Petersen committed suicide on the 9 May 1945, somewhere between Tábor and Pilsen in Bohemia.

Commands[edit]

  • II.Battalion, 6th SS Panzer Grenadier Rgt Theodor Eicke
  • I.Battalion, 6th SS Panzer Grenadier Rgt Theodor Eicke
  • Reserve Battalion Volunteer Norwegian Legion
  • Training and Reserve Battalion, 6th SS Gebirgsjäger
  • 6th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment Theodor Eicke
  • 13th SS Volunteer Gebirgsjäger Regiment Arthur Phleps
  • 39th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 18th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Horst Wessel

References[edit]

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 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. 
  • Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). Retreat to the Reich : the German defeat in France, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7. 
  • Henschler Henri & Fay Will, Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS, 1943-45 Stackpole Books, 2003. ISBN 0-8117-2905-2
  • Mitcham Samuel, The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45,Stackpole Books, 2007. ISBN 0-8117-3371-8
Military offices
Preceded by
SS-Brigadeführer Georg Bochmann
Commander of 18th SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Horst Wessel
March 1945 – May 1945
Succeeded by
disbanded