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Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. This dissipated his forces and the French resistance was broken near Vendresse. According to Roll, during the advance in France Strachwitz adopted the thinking that "Tanks must be led from the front! During one of these, Strachwitz and his driver stumbled into a French-occupied barracks.

Unable to withdraw, he requested to speak to the French commanding officer and convinced him to surrender his unit. Leading the way, Strachwitz drove French soldiers and their vehicles into captivity.


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The element of surprise was enough to overcome a numerically superior enemy force. Following these events the 1st Panzer Division continued to push forward, reaching the Channel coast near Calais on 23 May , where they encountered heavy British resistance. Strachwitz again went on one of his solo runs, penetrated the French and British lines and almost reached Dunkirk, where he observed the evacuation of British and allied forces by sea. He quickly reported his observations to his divisional command.

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Three days later Hitler ordered the attack to continue but the opportunity to capture the majority of the Allied forces had been lost. The remaining defenders of Dunkirk continued to hold out until 4 June. The second phase of the Battle of France, Fall Rot Case Red , was about to begin and Strachwitz returned to his Panzer-Regiment 2 where he again organized the replenishment of the troops.

Armeekorps motorized on the left, was ordered to cross the Aisne River breaching the French defences and head south. Strachwitz in the meantime had been awarded the Clasp to the Iron Cross 1st Class on 6 June for his daring "solo runs". The two regiments advanced quickly to Neuflize and Juniville , where they were engaged in combat with French tanks.

The military training grounds at Mourmelon-le-Grand was captured on 12 June. The final objective was Belfort , which capitulated after a short resistance. This ended the Battle of France for Strachwitz's regiment. The regiment was ordered to detach two Panzer companies and the headquarters unit of the I. These units, augmented by other Panzer companies, formed four Schwimm-Panzerabteilungen amphibious tank departments for Operation Sea Lion , the planned and aborted invasion of the United Kingdom.

The remnants of Panzer-Regiment 2 were then transferred to East Prussia, where they were based at Heiligenbeil , present-day Mamonovo. Bataillon, a position he held until October He paid special attention to the training and integration of the replacements crews which joined his unit.

In December , 16th Panzer Division was declared a Lehrtruppe demonstration troop , a unit to be involved in experimentation with new weapons and tactics. They trained some Romanian officers in German Panzer tactics. Apart from training and maintaining their equipment, the soldiers had nothing to do and became bored. In March Strachwitz was sent back to Cosel in Germany where a new replacement unit was to be founded. He returned via his home town and 24 hours later a telegram from Hube called him back. This was preceded by a series of events in Belgrade. On 25 March , the government of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia had signed the Tripartite Pact , joining the Axis powers in an effort to stay out of the war.

As a result, Hitler chose not only to support Mussolini's ambitions in Albania and in the Greco-Italian War but also to attack Yugoslavia. Battalion received the order to prepare for the attack on 6 April at The defences were quickly taken and the German troops reached the Werschetz where they were greeted by cheering inhabitants and a band. Their next objective was the River Danube. Strachwitz started confiscating boats and barges in an attempt to cross the Danube.

This work had begun when Strachwitz received the order to halt all activities. On 16 April, Hube announced that the 16th Panzer Division would no longer be needed in the campaign and were ordered to regroup at Plovdiv. In mid-June , the division received new orders to relocate. The German soldiers initially believed that they were just going to transit through Russia, on their way to the Middle East where they would link up with Erwin Rommel 's Afrika Corps.

But Generalfeldmarschall Field Marshal Walther von Reichenau , who visited his son, a Leutnant in the 4th company of Panzer-Regiment 2, revealed to them the true objective of the next campaign. It would be Operation Barbarossa , the invasion of the Soviet Union. The German offensive against the Soviet Union began early on 22 June with an artillery barrage.

The goal, together with the 6. Armee as well as Panzergruppe I, was to follow the pincers of both armies, heading for Kiev and rolling up the Soviet flanks in the process, and finally encircling them at the Dnieper River. The main objective was to conquer the economically important Donets Basin as well as the oil field in the Caucasus. German army reconnaissance aircraft spotted the first Soviet formations in the vicinity of the 16th Panzer Division on the morning of 26 June. Panzer-Regiment 2 was ordered to engage the Soviet T tanks which were supported by strong infantry units.

In the resulting battle Strachwitz was wounded in his left arm, but he remained with his unit. These tanks had stronger armour and outgunned his Panzer III tanks. Only with the support of the 8. During the Battle of Uman 15 July — 8 August Strachwitz received a head injury on 29 July and was hit again by shrapnel in the arm the next day.

He received first aid in the field and stayed with his men.

Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz

He released himself again on 12 August returning to the regiment which had been led by Oberleutnant von Kleist during his absence. Strachwitz was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his part in this action on 25 August The presentation was made by Hube in the field on 5 September. Following the Battle of Uman Panzer-Regiment 2 was given a rest.

Together with the I. The attack on Lubny ended on 14 September. The Kiev pocket was sealed when panzers of the 3. Panzer-Division linked up with Panzer-Regiment 2 on 15 September Panzer-Regiment 2 was then dispatched to prevent Soviet troops from escaping the pocket. For Panzer-Regiment 2 the battle of Kiev continued until 4 October Strachwitz was promoted to Oberstleutnant lieutenant colonel of the Reserves on 1 January He had left the Eastern Front at the end of November , returning home to receive treatment for the numerous injuries he had sustained over the year.

From 1 December — 9 January he stayed at hospitals in Opplen and Breslau. He received the version of the Wound Badge in Silver on 17 March Throughout the summer of Strachwitz led his tanks in the advance to the Don River and across it to Stalingrad. At Kalach on the Don his regiment claimed the destruction of more than Soviet tanks within 48 hours. His unit was the first to reach the Volga River north of Stalingrad on 23 August According to Williamson, it was during this campaign that Strachwitz gained the nickname der Panzergraf the Armoured Count.

Armee, and Strachwitz had been promoted to command the entire Panzer-Regiment 2. During one engagement on the northern flank of the Kessel , his unit claimed to have destroyed Ts. Strachwitz and his driver, Feldwebel Haase, were severely wounded on 13 October , requiring immediate treatment in a field hospital. A direct hit on their command Panzer caused severe burns. Strachwitz had to hand over command of his I. During this stay he received news that he had been awarded the th Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He then went to Bad Gastein for a period of convalescence before spending his vacation at home in Alt Siedel.

Strachwitz was promoted to Oberst colonel of the Reserves on 1 January Strachwitz took the opportunity and reported to Hube, volunteering for service in the Stalingrad pocket. Hube rejected this request, stating that Strachwitz would be better deployed somewhere else. He received the latter for his leadership at Kharkov and Belgorod. Nipe indicates that often Oberst Karl Decker and Oberstleutnant Meinrad von Lauchert have been made responsible for this failure. In this letter Decker stated that how Strachwitz led his tanks on the first day of Kursk was "idiotic".

The objective was to capture Hill The battle group encountered roughly 30 Soviet tanks on evening of 9 July.

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An attack proved unfeasible due to the settling darkness. During these events he received news that his son, Hyacinth, had been severely wounded. At dusk on 10 July he ordered the attack on the Soviet tanks. The first Ts had been destroyed and Strachwitz was directing the attack from his command Panzer and had ordered his gunner to hold fire. Strachwitz was carelessly resting his left arm on the gun-breech.

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The gunner, without orders, fired the gun, causing the recoiling gun to smash his left arm. Strachwitz was immediately evacuated to a field hospital. I had justifiable doubts concerning this claim.

Graf Strachwitz and his staff were always employed at hot spots on the front, where they had to carry out extremely pressing operations, for which every form of support was provided to them. Painful losses couldn't always be avoided during those types of operations. But it was through these losses that the lives of many soldiers from other units were saved. The severe injury to Strachwitz's left arm forced him to retire from the front line. Strachwitz reported to the commander-in-chief of the 18th Army , Generaloberst Georg Lindemann , who was tasked with the leadership of Army Group North.

On 26 March , the Strachwitz Battle Group consisting of the German th , 11th , and th Infantry Divisions and tanks, attacked the flanks of the Soviet th Rifle Corps south of the Tallinn railway, supported by an air strike. The tanks led the attack and the East Prussian grenadiers followed, penetrating the fortified positions of the Soviet rifle corps. By the end of the day, the Soviet 72nd and parts of the th Rifle Corps in the Westsack west sack of the bridgehead were encircled. The rest of the Soviet rifle corps retreated, shooting the local civilians who had been used for carrying ammunition and supplies from the rear.

As Strachwitz had predicted, the rifle corps counterattacked on the following day. It was repelled by the 23rd East Prussian Grenadier Regiment which inflicted heavy casualties on the Soviets. Two small groups of tanks broke through the lines of the rifle corps on 28 March in several places, splitting the bridgehead in two. Fierce air combat followed, with 41 German dive bombers shot down. The west half of the bridgehead was destroyed by 31 March, with an estimated 6, Soviet casualties. The Ostsack east sack of the Krivasoo bridgehead, defended by the Soviet 6th and the th Rifle Corps, were confused by the Strachwitz Battle Group's diversionary attack on 6 April.

The attack deceived the Soviet forces into thinking that the German attack intended to cut them out from the west flank. The actual assault came directly at the 59th Army and started with a heavy bombardment. The positions of the 59th Army were attacked by dive bombers and the forest there was set afire. At the same time, the 61st Infantry Division and the Strachwitz tank squadron pierced deep into the 59th Army's defences, splitting the two rifle corps apart and forcing them to retreat to their fortifications. Marshal of the Soviet Union Leonid Govorov was outraged by the news, sending in the freshly re-deployed 8th Army.


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  • On 7 April, Govorov ordered his troops to switch on to the defensive. The 59th Army, having lost another 5, troops from all causes, was withdrawn from the bridgehead.

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    News of the award had reached his headquarters on the early morning of 15 April via teleprinter message. The advance brought the Strachwitz Battle Group hope of destroying the entire bridgehead. However, the spring thaw meant that the tanks were impossible to use. The 8th Army repelled the German attack, which lasted from 19—24 April Friend Request Laura Marshall. The Tattooist of Auschwitz Heather Morris. Normal People Sally Rooney. Nineteen Eighty-four George Orwell.

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