|Erich Wilhelm August Vielwerth|
10 February 1912|
|Died||12 August 1997
|Years of service||1936–45|
|Unit||87 Infantry Regiment (mot)|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Other work||Police Officer|
Erich Wilhelm August Vielwerth (10 February 1912 – 12 August 1997) was a highly decorated Oberleutnant in the Wehrmacht during World War II who was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Erich Vielwerth was captured by American troops in May 1945, and was released in August 1945.
World War II
Service in France
In 1940 he participated in the invasion of France. During the invasion he learned the skill of how to destroy bunkers, this would later serve him well in Operation Barbarossa and during the Siege of Leningrad.
Russia and Knight's Cross Award
He participated in Operation Barbarossa serving in the area of Leningrad. On 10 October 1941, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his actions in destroying over 50 enemy bunkers, personally destroying several by himself. On 5 August 1942 he was shot in the back and was in hospital until December 1942. He did not return to action in Russia until November 1943, he remained with his regiment until the destruction of Army Group Centre in 1944 during Operation Bagration.
Retreat from Russia
With the destruction of Army Group Centre in 1944, he began an 54 day, 800 kilometre trek from Russia through the Pripet Marshes to Lithuania and finally to East Prussia. Throughout the retreat he and a group of other soldiers passed through many Soviet occupied villages and had many encounters with the Red army. At the end of the retreat Vielwerth had gone from 164 to 118 lbs.
In November 1944 the 87 Motorized Infantry Regiment was posted to the Westwall fortifications, during this time Vielwerth became a company commander. In March 1945 he was given command of a battalion and was awarded the German Cross in Gold. On May 6, 1945 he was captured and was held until August 12, 1945.
Dates of Rank
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class (1 August 1941)
- Wound Badge (1939)
- in Black
- in Silver (1 September 1942)
- Infantry Assault Badge (1 August 1940)
- Eastern Front Medal (15 September 1942)
- Close Combat Clasp
- in Bronze (1 May 1944)
- in Silver (25 May 1944)
- German Cross in Gold (8 March 1945)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 10 October 1941 as Oberfeldwebel and Zugführer (platoon leader) in the 1. / Infanterie-Regiment 87 (motorisiert)
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 349.
- 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.
- Kurowski, Franz. 2005."Infantry Aces:The German Soldier in Combat in WWII". Mechanicsburg PA, USA.StackPole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3202-4
- 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.