Germany – Third Reich: An intriguing Retreat from Cholm Iron Cross 2nd Class, Kurland Pocket Iron Cross 1st Class and Close Combat Clasp in Bronze Document Group to Medic-Unteroffizier Herbert Beuthner, 6 Company, 271st Infantry Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division; later 6th Company, Grenadier Regiment ‘Feldhernhalle’, 93rd Infantry Division; then 6th Company, Grenadier Regiment (motorised) ‘Feldhernhalle’ in Panzergrenadier Division ‘Feldhernhalle’, 3rd Company, and 32nd Panzer Engineer Battalion, 12th Panzer Division then finally 3rd Company, Panzer Engineer Battalion Schlesien, Panzer Division Schlesien.
A rare and very good bravery document group relating to a former Infantryman who was later trained as a Medic. It consists of Beuthner’s replacement Soldbuch, 6 award certificates, 5 documents and his ID Disc.
Herbert Beuthner was also awarded the Silver Wound Badge on 24th March 1945 which is entered on page 22 in his replacement Soldbuch. The wound appears to have been caused by shrapnel. There is no award certificate.
This is a replacement late war issue Soldbuch which was initiated on 28.9.1944 by 3/32nd Panzer Engineer Battalion (12th Panzer Division). There is a very good photo of Beuthner in uniform wearing his EK2 and Ostmedaille medal ribbons through the button hole as well as the Close Combat Bar in Bronze. It is in good condition and records his war service from 28.9.1944 onwards until the end of the war. The unit entries are: 3rd Panzer Pioneer Battalion 32 and 3 Panzer Pioneer Battalion Schlesien. He was promoted to Medic-Unteroffizier on 1st February 1945. All his awards are entered on page 22.
Beuthner was born on 28th October 1919 in Berlin-Charlottenburg, a single man, who gave his parents as his next of kin he was called up for military service on 6th June 1940, with his first action being on the Eastern Front during the summer of 1941.
Initially serving with the 271st Infantry Regiment of the 93rd Infantry Division he served in North Russia on the advance towards Leningrad, where he arrived on the outskirts in late August at the beginning of what was to be a long siege. The Division remained on the outskirts of Leningrad throughout the autumn, Beuthner being awarded the Silver Infantry Assault Badge on 9th November 1941 as a result of his participation in combat assaults during the advance on the city.
During the winter of 1941-42, the Red Army launched large scale counterattacks across the front, and 93rd Infantry Division was to face these along the Volkhov Front where the Russians were attempting to break through and lift the siege of Leningrad, the fighting was particularly fierce and the weather severe, but Beuthner was to survive the winter and later was awarded the Ostmedaille as a result.
Throughout 1942, his unit, now renamed the Grenadier Regiment ‘Feldhernhalle’, still part of the 93rd Infantry Division, was to see combat along the Volkhov river and then firstly in the area around Cholm, before fighting in the Velikiye Luki area from November until February 1943. By March 1943, the Division was fighting along the Lovat river near Cholm, and it would have been for an action here during late March, that Beuthner was to receive the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 3rd April 1943.
After the battles on the Lovat, Beuthner’s regiment moved to France and was used as a basis for the creation of the Panzer Grenadier Division ‘Feldhernhalle’ which was officially created on 20th June 1943, during the period of the formation’s training on 6th September 1943, Beuthner was to receive a Close Combat Bar in Bronze for his part in 15 days combat on the Eastern Front before his move to the west.
In January 1944 the Division was finally ready for combat, and was shipped to the Eastern Front in the area close to Vitebsk, the fighting on this part of the front was heavy during the winter of 1943-44, and Beuthner was quickly wounded on 9th January 1944 resulting in the award of the Black Wound Badge on 19th January 1944. With this certificate being signed by his Battalion Commander, rather than a Doctor at a Field Hospital, it is likely that he remained at the front throughout this period.
Remaining with the Division he would have been involved in the heavy fighting on the Narwa and then in the area around Mogilew during the early part of 1944.
Finally in September 1944 he was attached to 12th Panzer Division where he served as a member of the 32nd Panzer Engineer Battalion in the Kurland Pocket, for an action in the initial fighting in the area Beuthner was awarded an Iron Cross 1st Class on 1st November 1944. Beuthner ends the war as a member of the Panzer Engineer Battalion Schlesien, Panzer Division Schlesien, with whom he was taken prisoner by the French on 28th April 1945 being discharged on 29th September 1947.