Germany – Third Reich: A Great War Veteran’s 1940 Battle of France 1939 Bar to the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class Document Group to Hauptmann of the Reserve Dionysius Schlegel, Officer Commanding 7th Company, Army Groups Signals Regiment 570 and Commanding Officer 1st Battalion, Army Signals Regiment 570, who was later to receive the scarce award of the War Merit Cross 1st Class whilst serving on the Eastern Front, which is covered by an ‘Order of the Day’ that is included in the group.
An interesting and very scarce document group which consists of 5 award certificates, 8 documents and 5 photos which relate to a former Battalion Commander in an Army Signals Regiment.
- The 1914-18 War Honour Cross with Swords awarded in Mannheim 21st September 1934 as Dionysius Schegel, Teacher at a Secondary School. Signed by the Mannheim Chief of Police
- The German Defence Wall Decoration awarded at Wiesbaden on 20th March 1940 as Oberleutnant and Company Commander. Signed by Matthaei as Hauptmann and acting Commanding Officer Army Signals Regiment 570
- The 1939 Bar to the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class awarded in Auxerre on 4th July 1940 as an Oberleutnant, 7th Company/Army Group Signals Regiment 570. Signed by Loweneck as Generalmajor and Signals Commander of Army Group A
- The War Merit Cross 1st Class awarded by HQ Army High Command on 10th April 1942 as a Hauptmann. Signed by Keitel as General of the Infantry and Head of the Army Personnel Office.
Keitel was awarded the German Cross in Silver on 2.10.1942 as General of Infantry and Head of the Army Personnel Office.
- The Ostmedaille awarded on 10th August 1942 as a Hauptmann, HQ I/Army Signals Regiment 570. Signed for correctness by an Oberstleutnant and Commanding Officer.
- Mannheim, 9.2.1942 – Mannheim Recruiting District HQ notification of Dionysius Schegel’s promotion to Hauptmann of the Reserve with effect from 1st June 1941.
- Regimental Order of the Day No.381 dated 21st April 1942, Decorations:
The following officers have been awarded the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords on the Regiment’s Recommendation in the name of the Fuhrer and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces on 20th April 1942:
Hauptmann Schlegel, Officer Commanding 7th Company
Hauptmann Dr Moll, Officer Commanding 3rd Company
With all the soldiers of the Regiment, I wish to heartily congratulate the officers awarded this high decoration and it particularly pleases me that through the award of this decoration to the two Company Commanders of the Regiment that the achievement of the Companies led by their Commander in the West and East have been recognised.
Signed by Bartusch as Oberst and Commanding Officer.
- Kharkov, 26.10.1942 – A hand produced birthday greetings card produced by the clerical staff of I/Army Group Signals Regiment 570 to celebrate Dionysius Schlegel’s 46th Birthday.
- Deputy General Officer Commanding V Army Corps (Staff Dinkelaker, 29th April 1945.
‘Hauptmann Dionys Schlegel, born on 26th October 1896 in Monteningen (now Montigny-les-Metz) has seen active service from 26th August 1939 until 29th April 1945 and was a Company and Battalion Commander during this period with the Army Signals Regiment 570. He was with the Army High Command Commander Reserve of the Deputy General Officer Commander Wehrkreis V from 12th August 1944 until 29th April 1945 after his discharge from hospital. His discharge follows in accordance with the Deputy General Officer Commanding Wehrkreis V section IIa dated 25.4.1945 since there no further employment for Hauptmann Dionys Schlegel.’
Signed by Dinkelaker as Oberst.
- WW2 – an undated handwritten birthday greetings card (postcard size) with 6 signatures to Schlegel as their Battalion Commander from the ‘Starolbelsk Branch.’
- Military Government Sigmaringen, 17.5.1945. A circulation pass issued to Dionsyius Schlegel for the purposes of authorising his travel from Sigmaringen to Karlsruhe on foot or by railway. Reasons: return to the homeland.
- An A5 size page with information about Hauptmann of the Reserve Dionys Schlegel taken from his Soldbuch. It gives his place and date of birth, rank, service in WW1 (1915-18), military service in WW2 as a Platoon, Company and Battalion Commander, Replacement Army and Command Reserve with dates of these commands/postings (25.8.1939-2.3.1945)
- Munich, 4.10.1953 – A small card commemorating an Old Comrades meeting of Schlegel’s old 570th Signals Regiment in Munich on 4th October 1953.
- A PC size photo of Dionys Schlegel in uniform (wearing his decorations including the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords – therefore post April 1942 (date of award) as a Hauptmann with his wife and daughter.
- A PC size photo of Dionys Schlegel in uniform with his officer’s cap (wearing his decorations including the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords – therefore post April 1942 (date of award) as a Hauptmann. This photo was taken at the same time as the above photo – same uniform.
- A PC size photo of Dionys Schlegel in uniform with his officer’s cap (wearing his decorations including the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords – therefore post April 1942 (date of award) as a Hauptmann. This photo was taken at a later date – the uniform is different and he now looks somewhat older – possibly 1944?
- A small signed ID photo taken from Dionys Schlegel’s soldbuch – he is wearing a 6 medal ribbon bar not like the 5 ribbon bar in the above photos
- A PC size signed photo of his former commanding officer of the 570th, Oberst Bartusch. It was obviously given to Schlegel by Bartusch to commemorate his service under his command from 1.2.1942 to 15.8.1943. There is a short dedication on the reverse of the photo.
Dionysius Schlegel was born on 26th October 1896 in Monteningen, Lothringen (now Montigny-les-Metz, Lorraine) and was married. A World War 1 Veteran, he had at some point during the Great War been awarded an Iron Cross 2nd Class. After the war he was a teacher in a Mannheim Secondary School up until 1939, when on 25th August 1939 he had been mobilised, just prior to the start of WW2. He had been an officer since 1st May 1937.
Schelegel would have seen active service in Poland in 1939, before wintering in the west, entitling him to the award of the German Defence Wall Decoration on 20th March 1939. Taking part in the campaign against France in 1940, he was awarded an Iron Cross 2nd Class on 4th July 1940, shortly after the campaign, this most likely for an act of gallantry in the closing days before the surrender of France.
Transferring to the Eastern Front, Army Signals Regiment 570 was part of the Army Group Troops of Army Group South, which advanced through the Ukraine during 1941, Schliegel would have seen service here up until 1944, being awarded the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords on 10th April 1942 by order of the High Command of the Army, before later receiving the Ostmedaille on 10th August 1942.
Continuing to fight through the Ukraine and Southern Russia, Schlegel stayed with this unit up until September 1944 when ill health resulted in him being transferred the Replacement Army, eventually being discharged from the army just prior to the end of WW2 on 29th April 1945.
The combination of a Bar to the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords is unusual, and it is good to have a copy of the Regimental Order of the Day awarding Schlegel the latter award.