Germany - Third Reich: An extremely scarce Norway 1940 and Italy 1944 Defence of the Gothic Line November 1944 Iron Cross 2nd Class and December 1944 award of the Tradition Badge of the 26th Panzer Division, award and document with accompanying Soldbuch and Wehrpass awarded to Unteroffizier Emanuel Czok, 5th and 6th Batteries, 93rd Panzer Artillery Regiment, 26th Panzer Division, formerly 4th and 5th Batteries, 233rd Artillery Regiment, 196th Infantry Division, who took part in the campaign in Norway in 1940, and landed with his battery, the 4th Battery, 233rd Artillery Regiment, at Oslo on 11th April, and then advanced through the country and reached Andalsnes on 2nd May 1940, by which time his battery had fired 1006 shells. Present as part of Fortress Norway through to late 1943, he then transferred to the 5th Battery, 93rd Panzer Artillery Regiment, in December 1943, and seeing service as part of the 26th Panzer Division, the Grenadier Head Division in Italy. During 1944 he was present at Anzio, Nettuno, Arno and on the Adriatic Coast at Rimini. Having transferred to the 6th Battery of the same regiment in October 1944, it was for his bravery in the defence of the Gothic Line in the area of Rimini that Czok won the Iron Cross 2nd Class ‘in the field’ on 28th November 1944, and in addition, most probably for the very same action, then received a very scarce award - the Tradition Badge of the 26th Panzer Division - known as the Grenadier Head Badge after the divisional symbol, it was awarded to him in the field on 1st December 1944.
1) Iron Cross 2nd Class, not ring stamped, with full length of issued ribbon, with the Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Unteroffizier Emanuel Czok, 6./Pz.-Art.-Rgt.93’, issued in the field on 28th November 1944, signed in ink ‘Crasemann’ as Generalmajor and GOC 26th Panzer Division, recipient of the Knight’s Cross on 26th December 1941, the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross on 18th December 1944, and the Swords to the Knight’s Cross on 18th December 1944 as well as the German Cross in Gold on 1st November 1943.
2) Award Certificate for the Wearing of the 26th Panzer Division Tradition Badge, issued to: ‘Unteroffizier Emaneul Czok, 6./Pz.Art.Rgt.93’, issued in the field on 1st December 1944, and signed in ink ‘Rose’ as Hauptmann and Battalion Commander with the translated text: ‘I give approval to Unteroffizier Emanuel Czok, 6/93 Pz Arty Regt, to wear the Tradition Badge of the 26th Panzer Division’. Extremely Rare.
Together with the following:
3) Small Size Printed Page Attachment for a Soldbuch, this being the entry for insert into the book announcing the award of the 26th Panzer Division Tradition Badge. The printed text when translated reads: ‘Reference: OKH (Chief of Army Equipment and C-in-C Replacement Army) dated 25.10.44 - 63 o 32 - AHA/Stab1b/Clothing2(1) - The Führer and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces has decided that the Tradition Badge of the 26th Panzer Division (Grenadier Head) - worn on the forage cap - can be retained’. Signed in pencil for correctness by an Oberleutnant and Battery Commander with the 2nd Battalion unit stamp. This document was originally attached to page 20 of Czok’s Soldbuch, and has since come loose.
4) Wehrpass, issued to Emanuel Czok at Beuthen in Upper Silesia on 7th July 1939. With passphoto of recipient. Confirms his only decoration being the Iron Cross 2nd Class.
5) Soldbuch, issued to Emanuel Czok circa August 1939, unfortunately the pages 1 and 2 now missing along with the passphoto. The rest of the document is complete with many entries. He suffered from gastro enteritis and skin problems but luckily had no wounds. There is a complete record of the units in which he served. There is a handwritten entry on page 22 stating that he is entitled to wear the Divisional Tradition Badge - this being then hand crossed out and was initially replaced by the above mentioned page attachment confirming the award, which now loose, reveals the previous entry beneath.
Emanuel Czok was born on 27th October 1919 in Laband, Kreis Gleiwitz in Upper Silesia, and was a trained carpenter before he was mobilised for military service on 28th August 1939 at Beuthen in Upper Silesia, and joining the 2nd Battery, 239th Light Artillery Replacement Battalion. Having undergone training, Czok was posted to the 3rd Battery, 233rd Light Artillery Battalion, a part of the 196th Infantry Division, on 21st December 1939, and the battalion was then expanded into a regiment, the 311th Artillery Regiment on 14th January 1940, comprising three battalions, with the 233rd Light Artillery Battalion forming the 3rd Battalion. Each battalion comprising four batteries, with the 3rd (233rd Light Artillery Battalion) Battalion, 311th Artillery Regiment.
As such, Czok then took part in the campaign in Norway in 1940, with a fascinating account of his batteries activity during the campaign existing on the Lexicon der Wehrmacht website. Between 11th April - the day of the invasion of Norway when his battery landed at Oslo, and 2nd May 1940 when his battery reached Andalsnes, the battery fired 1006 shells.
Czok was promoted to Gefreiter on 1st October 1940, and subsequently transferred to the 6th Battery of the same regiment on 18th November 1940, when the 3rd Battalion became the 1st Battalion, of the same regiment, being then equipped with Austrian mountain field howitzers. As such he then remained as part of the occupation forces in Norway through to 1943. Promoted to Obergefreiter on 1st September 1942, and to Unteroffizieranwärter on 1st December 1942, before being promoted to Unteroffizier on 1st March 1943, he is shown as having transferred to the 5th Battery, Heavy Artillery School Battalion in Norway on 16th October 1943.
With the formation of the 93rd Panzer Artillery Regiment on 19th October 1943, Czok then found himself transferred to this unit for service with the 5th Battery from 3rd December 1943, and serving within the 26th Panzer Division, the Grenadier Head Division as it was also known after the divisional symbol. His battery formed part of the 2nd Battalion of his new regiment, and he then saw active service in Italy, where the division was on service since August 1943 and ended the year at Volturno. During 1944 it fought at Anzio, Nettuno, Arno and on the Adriatic Coast at Rimini.
Czok transferred to the 6th Battery of the same regiment, also a part of the 2nd Battalion whilst in Italy on 7th October 1944, and having been promoted to Unteroffizier, was then awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class ‘in the field’ on 28th November 1944 during the defence of the Gothic Line, and in addition then received a very scarce award - the Tradition Badge of the 26th Panzer Division - known as the Grenadier Head Badge after the divisional symbol, it was awarded to him in the field on 1st December 1944. The so-called "Grenadierkopf" badge, was a divisional decoration awarded to men of the division who had distinguished themselves in a specific action, and it was worn on the left side of the visor and field cap, the badge itself being made from zinc. It is highly probable that Czok won this award for the same action which led to his award of the Iron Cross 2nd Class. The 26th Panzer Division surrendered to the British at Bologna at the end of the war.