We are open & delivering as usual. Visits to our London shop are not possible. More info here.

Germany - Third Reich: A very rare Russian Front Battle of Stalingrad Iron Cross 1st Class award document grouping to Hauptfeldwebel Karl Gebhardt, Headquarters Company, 15th Motorised Infantry Regiment, 29th Motorised Infantry Division, a veteran of the

£595.00
Availability: IN STOCK
Product ID: CMA/28001
Condition: Good Condition, evidence of age and use
Description:

Germany - Third Reich: A very rare Russian Front Battle of Stalingrad Iron Cross 1st Class award document grouping to Hauptfeldwebel Karl Gebhardt, Headquarters Company, 15th Motorised Infantry Regiment, 29th Motorised Infantry Division, a veteran of the annexation of the Sudetenland, who would then have fought in Poland in 1939 and France in 1940, and with the invasion of Russia would have taken part in the capture of Smolensk and the Battle of Kiev followed by the advance on Moscow. Wounded in action a day after the capture of Smolensk on 16th July 1941, and then wounded for a second time during the Battle of Kiev on 18th September 1941, he then endured the first Russian winter of 1941 to 1942, and was awarded the Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze on 20th March 1942. In 1942 the regiment was deployed in the southern section of the eastern front as part of the 6th Army. Here it fought at Orel and Kharkov, on the Don west of Voronesh, and then to the west of Stalingrad. Gebhardt was wounded in action for a third time on 24th July 1942. Then involved in the Battle of Stalingrad which lasted from 23rd August 1942 through to 2nd February 1943, at the fall of that place his regiment was taken into Russian captivity at Betekowka, on the southern edge of the city, however Gebhardt was one of the lucky ones, and somehow, having either been evacuated prior to the surrender, or else having made it out on foot, was still with the regiment when it was reformed in France in the spring of 1944, his award of the Iron Cross 1st Class being made to him on 20th April 1943. It may even possibly have been awarded for his escape from the place just before the fall of Stalingrad. Gebhardt then went on to see service with his regiment in Italy from June 1943, when his regiment formed part of the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division and present in action at Apulia, Sicily, when the allied invasion occurred, and having been evacuated, then fought at Salerno attempting to stem the landings there, before ending up in action at Cassino.

Comprising in order of award:

1) Medal for the Entry into the Sudetenland 1938 Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Schtz. Karl Gebhard’, issued at Kassel on 4th September 1939, signed in pencil for correctness ‘von Pfister’ as Hauptmann and acting Company Commander on behalf of the GOC IX Army Corps and C-in-C Wehrkreis IX.

2) Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Unteroffizier Karl Gebhardt, Stabskompanie J.R.15 (mot)’, dated 20th March 1942, signed in ink ‘Ulich’ for Max Ulich as Oberst and Commanding Officer, later Generalmajor and recipient of the Knight’s Cross on 2nd November 1943. Scarce award document.

3) Wound Badge in Silver Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Karl Gebhardt, Feldwebel, Stabskompanie J.R.15(mot)’, dated 20th September 1942, for three wounds received on 16th July 1941, 18th September 1941 and 24th July 1942, signed in ink ‘Dencker’ as Major on behalf of the Commanding Officer, recipient of the German Cross in Gold on 29th November 1941.

4) Iron Cross 1st Class Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Feldwebel Karl Gebhardt, Stabskomp./Gren.Rgt.15 (mot)’, dated 20th April 1943, signed in ink ‘Fries’ for Walter Fries, as Oberst and acting GOC 29th Motorised Infantry Division, later Generalleutnant, recipient of the Knight’s Cross on 9th October 1942, Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross on 29th January 1944, and the Swords to the Knight’s Cross on 11th August 1944 as well as the German Cross in Gold on 14th December 1941.

5) Eastern Front Winter War Medal Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Hauptfeldwebel Karl Gebhardt’, dated 30th May 1942, with headquarters date stamped 17th August 1943, this being the date that the medal would in fact have been presented to the recipient, signed in pencil ‘Ulich’ for Max Ulich as Oberst and Commanding Officer, later Generalmajor and recipient of the Knight’s Cross on 2nd November 1943.

Together with the following documentation:

6) Declaration of Commitment for Application for the Unteroffizier’s career, signed by Karl Gebhardt, countersigned by his father, Adam Gebhardt, and witnessed by the Burgermeister of Tiefenort, Kreis Eisenach. Dated Pougues on 16th September 1940.

7) A Certificate of Commitment for a further 10 years from 18th November 1940 to 17th November 1950, to complete 12 years service and signed by Gefreiter Karl Gebhardt, HQ Company, 15th Motorised Infantry Regiment in the presence of his Company Commander, and confirmed by his Commanding Officer, Oberst Wessel, signed in ink by Walter Wessel, recipient of the Knight’s Cross on 15th August 1940, the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross on 17th February 1942, and killed in an accident on 20th July 1943. Dated 5th October 1940.

8) Promotion Certificate for Karl Gebhardt from the rank of Unteroffizier to Feldwebel with effect from 1st September 1942, this document signed ‘Ulich’ for Max Ulich as Oberst and Commanding Officer, later Generalmajor and recipient of the Knight’s Cross on 2nd November 1943.

Karl Gebhardt was born on 10th January (1920) in Tiefenort near Eisenarch, and joined the German Army as a regular soldier sometime in early 1938, and took part in the annexation of the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia in 1938 as a Schützen with the 15th Motorised Infantry Regiment.

With the outbreak of the Second World War he saw active service in Poland in 1939 and France in 1940 as a Gefreiter with the Headquarters Company, 15th Motorised Infantry Regiment, 29th Motorised Infantry Division. Gebhardt then took part in the invasion of Russia in June 1941 and fought through to Smolensk which was captured on 15th July 1941. Gebhardt was wounded in action for the first time the day after the capture of Smolensk on 16th July 1941. In September 1941, during the Battle of Kiev he was wounded in action for a second time on 18th September 1941, and his regiment then took part in the attack on Karachev and Brijansk to Tula before Moscow.

Having served through the first Russian winter of 1941 to 1942, though interestingly, despite of the award of his Eastern Front Winter Water Medal coming through on 30th May 1942, it was not presented to him till 17th August 1943 when his regiment after having refitted in France in the aftermath of the disaster at Stalingrad, was then on active service in Italy at the time of this award, Gebhardt having by then been promoted to Hauptfeldwebel.

In 1942 the regiment was deployed in the southern section of the eastern front. Here it fought at Orel and Kharkov, on the Don west of Voronesh. Meanwhile Gebhardt was serving as an Unteroffizier with the Headquarters Company, 15th Motorised Infantry Regiment when he was awarded the Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze on 20th March 1942, and having been wounded in action for a third time on 24th July 1942, was then serving as a Feldwebel, having been promoted on 1st September 1942, when he was awarded the Wound Badge in Silver on 30th September 1942, having almost certainly been awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class at around the time, as this award automatically came into affect with the award of the Wound Badge in Silver.

Gebhardt was then present in action which his regiment as part of the 29th Infantry Division within the 6th Army in action to the west of Stalingrad and then inside Stalingrad itself. The regiment was encircled with the 6th Army in Stalingrad and at the fall of Stalingrad, in February 1943 was located at Betekowka, on the southern edge of the city. The majority of his regiment was taken into captivity, however somehow, Gebhardt managed to evade capture and linked up with German forces, he having most probably marched out on foot through the harsh Russian winter and evaded Russian forces.

Gebhardt won the Iron Cross 1st Class during the Battle of Stalingrad which lasted from 23rd August 1942 through to 2nd February 1943. It may even possibly have been awarded for his escape from the place after its surrender, as the award was issued to him on 20th April 1943 when in billets, at a time when the surviving remnants of his regiment was reforming with new recruits in France. Only a handful of the original regimental soldiers survived Stalingrad, having either been wounded and / or evacuated prior to the surrender, or else having made it out on foot. It was in all aspects a completely new regiment after its reformation in France.

The regiment saw service in Italy from June 1943 as part of the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division and present in action at Apulia, Sicily, when the allied invasion occurred, and having been evacuated, then fought at Salerno attempting to stem the landings there, before ending up in action at Cassino. In 1944 it fought at Rome, Nettuno, in the Appenines, at Florence, Rimini and Bologna, and in 1945 at Bologna, and on the Po and at Pave.