Michael Pössinger

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Michael Pössinger
Medal record
Men's Bobsleigh
Representing  West Germany
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1951 Alpe d'Huez Four-man
Silver medal – second place 1954 Cortina d'Ampezzo Four-man
Bronze medal – third place 1953 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Four-man
Michael Pössinger
Michael Pössinger.jpg
Born (1919-01-18)18 January 1919
Ettal
Died 23 May 2003(2003-05-23) (aged 84)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
 West Germany
Service/branch Army (Wehrmacht)
German Army
Years of service 1937–45, 1956–75
Rank Major (Wehrmacht)
Oberstleutnant (Bundeswehr)
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Cross of Merit

Michael Pössinger (18 January 1919 – 23 May 2003) was a German bobsledder who competed in the early 1950s. He won a complete set of medals in the four-man event at the FIBT World Championships with a gold in 1951, a silver in 1954, and a bronze (tied with Sweden) in 1953. Pössinger finished sixth in the four-man event at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

During World War II, Pössinger served in the mountain troops of the Wehrmacht and was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The battalion under his command was responsible for burning to death 21 civilians at Kefalovryso, Greece on 10 July 1943.

World War II[edit]

Michael Pössinger joined the mountain troops of the Wehrmacht in October 1937, and took part in the Invasion of Poland (1939) and the Battle of France (1940). He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 19 July 1940. In 1941, e fought in the Balkans Campaign and Operation Barbarossa.[1] In 1941 Pössinger participated in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1941 at Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy and won a Silver Medal.[Notes 1][2]

At the end of 1941 he was put in charge of a Ski company in the 1st Mountain Division. For two months it operated behind Russian lines, attacking supply positions and other strong points, returning to his own lines in February 1942. He continued leading the company in the Caucasus until he was severely wounded in the summer of 1942.[2] On 16 February 1943 Pössinger was awarded the German Cross in Gold. Promoted to Hauptmann on 1 October 1943 he was put in command of the I. Battalion of the 98th Gebirgsjäger-Regiment.[3]

I. Battalion of the 98th Gebirgsjäger-Regiment was responsible for burning to death 21 civilians at Kefalovryso, Greece on 10 July 1943. Historian Hermann Frank Meyer assumes that the actions were personally led by Pössinger.[4]

In October 1944, Pössinger was put in charge of the II. Battalion of the Grenadier-Regiment 1123. For his autonomous counter-attack and break through at Allenstein, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. In May 1945 he received the Close Combat Clasp in Gold. He surrendered to the American forces in May 1945.[5]

After World War II he initially worked as a business man. On 26 April 1956 he joined the Bundeswehr with the rank of Major. From October 1961 to October 1965 he was commander of the Mountain and Winter Combat School in Mittenwald. He commanded the VKK 653 (Verteidigungskreiskommando—District Defense Command of the German Army) in Murnau until March 1975 and retired from the Bundeswehr on 31 March 1975.[5]

Awards[edit]

Coats of arms of Verteidigungskreiskommando Murnau

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In 1946, the results were cancelled by the FIS because of the limited number of participants from only German-friendly countries during World War II.

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Berger 2004, p. 363.
  2. ^ a b Berger 2004, p. 364.
  3. ^ Berger 2004, p. 365.
  4. ^ Meyer 2008, pp. 171, 647.
  5. ^ a b c Berger 2004, p. 366.
  6. ^ Thomas 1998, p. 163.
  7. ^ Thomas & Wegmann 1994, p. 169.
  8. ^ a b c d Berger 2004, p. 362.
  9. ^ a b Thomas & Wegmann 1994, p. 170.
  10. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 357.
  11. ^ a b Scherzer 2007 p. 600.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Berger, Florian (2004). Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold [Knight's Cross Bearers with the Close Combat Clasp in Gold] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-3-7. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. 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. p. 561. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Meyer, Hermann Frank (2008). Blutiges Edelweiß. Die 1. Gebirgs-Division im Zweiten Weltkrieg (in German). Berlin, Germany: Christoph Links Verlag. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1.
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1994). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil VI: Die Gebirgstruppe Band 2: L–Z [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part VI: The Mountain Troops Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2430-3. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 
  • Wallechinsky, David (1984). "Bobsled: Four-man.". The Complete Book of the Olympics: 1896–1980. New York: Penguin Books. p. 561. ISBN 978-0-670-23403-5.