Karl Körner

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Karl Körner
Born 19 April 1920
Hoym, German Empire
Died 8 August 1997(1997-08-08) (aged 77)
Neu-Eichenberg, Germany
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1940–45
Rank Hauptscharführer
Unit 503 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Iron Cross I Class
Iron Cross II Class
Panzer Assault Badge "75"
Wound Badge

Karl Körner (19 April 1920 – 8 August 1997) was a Hauptscharführer in the Waffen SS during World War II and one of the most successful Panzer-Commander Aces who had a score of 102 tank kills within only 3 months and 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.


Karl Körner was born on 19 April 1920, in Hoym Germany and during World War II he volunteered to join the Waffen SS. He started the war in the SS-VT on 27 March 1940 in the 4th Company, SS Reserve Battalion of SS Regiment "Germania" in Hamburg-Langenhorn and was transferred to Klagenfurt on 28 April 1940 where the Regiment "Nordland" for SS Division "Wiking" was formed. In the 4th Company of "Nordland" Körner was active as a s.MG-Schütze on the Eastern-front till the beginning of 1943. After his 2nd wound he came in the SS Reserve Battalion of the new SS Division "Nordland" in Kroatia. By the end of 1943 he was transferred to 103 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion which was in training and finally the Battalion was sent to the Eastern-front on 27 January 1945.

In April 1945, Karl Körner was a platoon commander in the 2nd Company, 503 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion acting in support of an infantry attack in the area of Bollersdorf to the east of Berlin, during the attack he located two JS II tanks. He destroyed the first and the second drove into a tank ditch when reversing to get into a firing position and was then abandoned by the crew. Advancing further along the road from Bollersdorf to Strausberg he observed a Russian tank brigade consisting of another eleven JS II tanks and around 120 to 150 T-34/85's being refueled and rearmed. He opened fire with his King Tiger and destroyed the JS II tanks and attacked the T-34's with the other 2 King Tigers of his platoon which arrived later. Some of the fuel and ammunition trucks caught in the attack exploded causing panic amongst the tank crews. After Körner had expended all the Tiger's ammunition supply (39 rounds for 39 tanks destroyed) he withdrew back to the German Lines.

In the following days, the 503 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion was forced back into the defense of Berlin. In the withdrawal, Körner destroyed 102 Russian tanks and 26 anti tank guns, for which he was awarded the Knight's Cross in the Führerbunker on the 29 April 1945. After the award ceremony he returned to what was left of his Battalion fighting in the Charlottenburg area.

Karl Körner survived the war and died on 8 August 1997 in Neu-Eichenberg.




  1. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 461.
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 266.


  • 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. 
  • Henschler, Henri; Fey, Willi (2003). Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS, 1943–45. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-2905-5. 
  • Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). Retreat to the Reich : the German defeat in France, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7. 
  • Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). The German Defeat in the East, 1944–45. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3371-7. 
  • 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.