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Germany – Third Reich: The Excellent Defence of East Prussia German Cross in Gold, Rzhev Salient Iron Cross 2nd Class and Operation Kutozov Iron Cross 1st Class Document and Photograph Grouping to Oberwachtmeister Hermann Dietz, 9th Battery, III (...

£2,250.00
Availability: IN STOCK
Product ID: LMC/8263
Condition: Certificates folded, stain to EK1 Document, otherwise in overall Good condition
Description:

Germany – Third Reich: The Excellent Defence of East Prussia German Cross in Gold, Rzhev Salient Iron Cross 2nd Class and Operation Kutozov Iron Cross 1st Class Document and Photograph Grouping to Oberwachtmeister Hermann Dietz, 9th Battery, III (heavy) Battalion, 116th Panzer Artillery Regiment, 5th Panzer Division. Wounded at the Relief of Kovel in April 1944, he played the leading role in defeating Russian attacks in the East Prussian Border area at Jogsten, he also was involved in the fighting around the infamous massacre site at Nemmersdorf, an event widely used by Nazi Propaganda to spur the German people on to a last ditch defence against the Red Army’s advance to the German Homeland.

A fine and rare document group consisting of 6 award certificates, 4 documents and 26 photos which includes the small preliminary award certificate the German Cross in Gold.


Award Certificate:


  1. The Iron Cross 2nd Class awarded by Divisional HQ on 16th August 1942 as an Unteroffiizer, 9/116th Panzer Artillery Regiment. Signed by Fehn as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 5th Panzer Division.

    Fehn was awarded the Knights Cross as Oberst and Commanding Officer 33rd Rifle Regiment (4th Panzer Division) on 5th August 1940: awarded the German Cross in Gold as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 5th Panzer Division on 7.7.1942; murdered by Partisans in Yugoslavia on 5.6.1945.

  2. The General Assault Badge awarded by Regimental HQ on 23rd November 1942 as an Unteroffizier, 9/116th Panzer Artillery Regiment. Signed for correctness by a Major and acting Commanding Officer.

  3. The Ostmedaille awarded on 28.7.1942 as a Wachtmeister, 9/116th Panzer Artillery Regiment. Signed for correctness by a Major and acting Commanding Officer.

    Although the date of this award was 28.7.1942, the certificate was probably signed at a later date since he is now a Wachtmeister and the signature is similar to that on the Wound Badge certificate dated 22.8.1944.

  4. The Iron Cross 1st Class awarded by Divisional HQ on 18th August 1943 as a Wachtmeister, 9/116th Panzer Artillery Regiment. Signed by Faeckenstedt as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 5th Panzer Division.

    Faeckenstedt was awarded the German Cross in Gold as Oberst in the General Staff in III Army Crops on 26.1.1942

  5. The Wound Badge in Black awarded on 22nd August 1944 for a wound received on 30th April 1944 as a Wachtmeister, 9/116th Panzer Artillery Regiment. Signed by a Major and Battalion Commander.

  6. The German Cross in Gold awarded by HQ Army High Command as an Oberwachtmeister, 9/116th Panzer Artillery Regiment. Facsimile signature of Keitel as Generalfeldmarschall.


Documents:


  1. 2.3.1944 - A rare A5 size commendation certificate to the Soldiers of the 5th Panzer Division which includes an extract from the Armed Forces Report giving a special mention about the 5th Panzer Division’s outstanding conduct to the North of Rogachev on the Central East Front.

  2. 29.8.1944 – Promotion certificate: Wachtmeister to Oberwachtmeister with effect from 1st September 1944; signed by an Oberst and Commanding Officer.

  3. A 5th Panzer Division Order of the Day issued on behalf of the General Officer Commanding which describes a number of acts of bravery by Divisional personnel during October 1944 and includes a paragraph about Hermann Dietz as follows:

    ‘Oberwachtmeister Dietz, Forward Observer (VB) 9/116th Panzer Artillery Regiment has distinguished himself on 11.10 through particular bravery. The Russians attempted to crush our main battle line to the south of Jogsten with very heavy artillery, anti-tank gun and mortar fire supported by ground attack aircraft and tanks. Only surrounded by an Infantry section which lay as combat outposts about 600 meters in front of the main battle line, Oberwachtmeister Dietz drove off the Russian attacks 6 times through well and flexibly directed fire, although he was outflanked 2 times by Russian Infantry mounted on tanks. It is only thanks to his cool-headedness and steadfastness that our own line was held.’

    This action may well have formed the final part of Dietz’s commendation for his award of the German Cross in Gold which he received on 22.12.1944.

  4. Autumn 1941 – a very large format paperback published in Autumn 1941 about the story of 5th Panzer Division during the Campaign in the Balkans 1941. There are 63 pages with ten photos and an attached large map of the way of the Division in the Balkans. The title of the paperback is: ‘Combat and Victory of a Panzer Division in The Balkan Campaign in 1941’


Photographs;


There is a nice small mounted group of 26 photos that came with the group. A general description is as follows: 3 of Dietz as a Wachtmeister – by an entrance to a bunker (summer 1943) holding a pet dog in front of a Russian wood cabin and standing outside a snow covered bunker (wearing the EK2 and the General Assault Badge – 1942-43), 2 of a Hauptmann (EK1) an equipment trials course at Weimar in 1942 – 2 of a group in front of a barrack building and 4 of trials what appears to be new optical range finding equipment; 15 other general photos including one of a Panje horse with sledge, soldiers in snow, a small military band giving a concert and Willi Muller (a comrade) wearing a heavy sheep skin overcoat and standing in snow.


It is unclear at which point Hermann Dietz joined the armed forces or whether he served in the west in 1940, although this would have been entirely possible, as would his potential involvement in the Balkan Campaign of 1941 given his rank in 1942.

What we do know however is that Dietz served as part of Heavy Battalion of a Panzer Artillery Regiment on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1944, his unit operating towed 150mm guns.

The first we see of Dietz is on 16th August 1942 when he was awarded an Iron Cross 2nd Class this would have been for an act of gallantry in the hotly contested Rzhev salient that had been created as a result of the Red Army’s winter counteroffensive that began in December 1941. His involvement in the previous winter’s fighting is confirmed by the presence of an Ostmedaille that hwas awarded to him on 28th July 1942. Later, on 23rd November 1942, whilst still fighting in the Rzhev salient Dietz was awarded the General Assault Badge, these assault’s most likely would have taken place during the fighting in the Rzhev salient that continued to take place throughout 1942.

In March 1943 the Rzhev salient was abandoned, and the 5th Panzer Division pulled back into the Orel Salient, where it would have been caught up in Operation Kutozov the Red Army’s response to Operation Citadel in late July 1943, it would have been during the heavy defensive fighting in this period that Dietz was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. Over the following six months the 5th Panzer Division was gradually forced west, via the Gomel area and in the Pripyet Marshes, before ending up near Bobruisk in March.

In April 1944 the 5th Division took part in the relief of Kovel and it was at the end of these battles that Dietz was wounded on 30th April being awarded the Black Wound Badge which he was to receive on 22nd August 1944.

By late August the Division was fighting on the East Prussia border area, the Division counterattacking against Red Army forces, and was involved in the heavy fighting around Nemmersdorf, the site of the infamous massacre of German civilians, publicised liberally by the German Propaganda Ministry. It was in late December 1944 that Dietz was awarded the German Cross in Gold, which in part was for his fighting in East Prussia in mid-late October 1944. This was covered by the Divisional Order of the Day on 31st October 1944:

‘Oberwachtmeister Dietz (forward observer, 9/116th Panzer Artillery Regiment) has distinguished himself on 11.10 through particular bravery. The Russians attempted to crush our main battle line to the south of Jogsten with heavy artillery, anti-tank gun and mortar fire supported by ground attack aircraft and tanks. Only surrounded by an Infantry section which lay as combat outposts about 600 metres in front of the main battle line. Oberwachtmeister Dietz drove off the Russian attack 6 times through well and flexibly directed fire, although he was outflanked 2 times by Russian Infantry mounted on tanks. It is only thanks to his cool-headedness and steadfastness that our own line was held.’

The Division went on to fight in the Defence of Konigsberg and on the Samland Peninsula, the Division ended up surrendering to the Red Army at Hela after fighting along the Frische Nehrung.