Germany - Third Reich: The exceptional and extremely rare Russian Front Bridging Column bridgehead over the Dniepr and capture of Kiev 1st September 1941 Iron Cross 2nd Class, Defence of the Kuban Bridgehead 1943 and subsequent evacuation from the Crimea 1944 rare to the army award of the Kriegsmarine Minesweepers, Sub-Chasers and Escort Vessels Badge, with defence of the Belgrade Bridgehead Iron Cross 1st Class casualty group of award documents to Unteroffizier Werner Huchthausen, Motorised Bridging Column ‘B’, 111th Engineer Battalion, 111th

Price: £895.00


Product ID: CMA/28019
Condition: Good Condition, evidence of age and use
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Description:

Germany - Third Reich: The exceptional and extremely rare Russian Front Bridging Column bridgehead over the Dniepr and capture of Kiev 1st September 1941 Iron Cross 2nd Class, Defence of the Kuban Bridgehead 1943 and subsequent evacuation from the Crimea 1944 rare to the army award of the Kriegsmarine Minesweepers, Sub-Chasers and Escort Vessels Badge, with defence of the Belgrade Bridgehead Iron Cross 1st Class casualty group of award documents to Unteroffizier Werner Huchthausen, Motorised Bridging Column ‘B’, 111th Engineer Battalion, 111th Infantry Division from 1941 to May 1944, later 1st Company, 214th Engineer Landing Battalion during the Battle for Belgrade in 1944, and then finally 3rd Company, 629th Engineer Battalion ‘Speer’ during the defence of the Oder and Battle of Berlin. Promoted and decorated for his bravery during the forming of the bridgehead over the Dniepr and capture of Kiev on 1st September 1941, he fought through the first Russian winter of 1941 to 1942, and was then part of the forces involved in the defence of the Kuban bridgehead from February 1943 until it was abandoned in October 1943, being awarded the Kuban Shield. Having moved with the 111th Division to the Crimea, he was involved in the evacuation of forces from this beleaguered peninsular, and it was almost certainly for this work, or else for the evacuation by boat from the Kuban area that led to his extremely rare award to the army of the Kriegsmarine Minesweepers, Sub-Chasers and Escort Vessels Badge, made to him on 4th September 1944, and issued through the Kriesgmarine Black Sea Command. Certainly for actions in the Black Sea which involved clearance or escort work during the evacuation of the German troops from the Crimea in May 1944. His division disbanded, he then transferred to a specialist unit, the 1st Company, 214th Engineer Landing Battalion, a formation of the Army Troops, and moved with this unit to Romania followed by Serbia in June 1944. Having lost its boats, the battalion was used in an infantry role during the heavy combat in and around Belgrade during September to October 1944 in the Belgrade Bridgehead, as a result of which Huchthausen was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class at Belgrade on 19th October 1944, the Infantry Assault Badge in Silver on 27th October 1944, and having been wounded in action back on 27th September 1944, was awarded the Wound Badge in Black whilst undergoing treatment in hospital at Einbeck on 15th November 1944. He ultimately joined the 3rd Company, 629th Engineer Battalion ‘Speer’, part of the Army Troops and a hastily put together unit which had been formed in Denmark in February 1945, and was then posted to Berlin for service with the 9th Army against the Russians in the defence of the Oder. Huchthausen was promoted to Unterfoffizier during the Battle of Berlin on 20th April 1945, and a photograph exists of him with his girlfriend taken at the time of battle whilst in Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin.

Comprising in order of award:

1) Iron Cross 2nd Class Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Pionier Werner Huchthausen, Br.-Kol.B111(mot.)’, dated 9th September 1941, facsimile signature of ‘von Briesen’ as General of Infantry and GOC LII Army Corps.

2) Eastern Front Winter War Medal Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Gefreiten Werner Huchthausen, Brückenkolonnne B111 (mot)’, dated 22nd August 1942, signed in ink for correctness by a Major with the unit stamp of the Bridging Columns Detachment (Staffel) 939.

3) Kriegsmarine Minesweepers, Sub-Chasers and Escort Vessels Badge Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Obergefreiten Werner Huchthausen’, dated 4th September 1944, signed in pencil by a Konter-Admiral (Engineer) as Force Commander, with unit stamp for the Kriesgmarine Black Sea Command.

4) Kuban Shield Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Obergefreiten Werner Huchthausen, Brückenkolonnne B (mot) 111’, dated 15th September 1944, facsimile signature of Generalfeldmarschall von Kleist, unit stamp for Military Area HQ VIII. The unit title of “La.P.Btl.214” is written in pencil at the top of the certificate, which would seem to indicate that the recipient was a member of this unit when the Kuban Shield was actually awarded to him.

5) Iron Cross 1st Class Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Obergefreiten Huchthausen von der Kompanie Berkey (Ldgs.Pi.Batl.214), dated at Belgrade on 19th October 1944, signed in ink ‘Freiherr von Jungenfeld’ as Oberst and Bridgehead Commandant, recipient of the German Cross in Gold on 1st November 1943. This document is interesting in that it is converted from the printed Iron Cross 1939 Bar to the Iron Cross 1st Class. Presumably this is the only thing the had available for use at the time of the award

6) Infantry Assault Badge in Silver Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Obergefreiten Huchthausen, 3./Ldgs.Pi.Btl.214’, dated 27th October 1944, signed in ink by a Major and Staff Officer of the Engineers with the Army Detachment in Serbia. Unit stamp for the Military Commander South-East.

7) Wound Badge in Black Award Certificate, issued to: ‘Obergefreiten Werner Huchthausen, 1. Pionier-Landungs-Batl.214’, issued at Einbeck on 15th November 1944, for a wound received at Belgrade on 27th September 1944. Signed in pencil by a Stabsarzt and Chief Doctor in the Reserve Hospital at Einbeck.

Together with the following documents:

8) Soldbuch, issued on 1st December 1940 by 3/19 Engraved Replacement Bn - the page listing his awards is missing, but there is a good photograph of the recipient on the inside cover.

9) Leave Pass dated 9th October 1943, issued by Bridging Column B (mot) 111 for a journey to Göttingen and Markoldendorf.

10) Flight Pass issued by Air Base Commander E9/XI, dated 10th October 1943, for a flight in a JU52 from Dniepro - Süd II to Vienna. This pass is connected to his leave pass mentioned above.

11) Photograph of the recipient as an Obergefreiter sitting on a bench with a lady by the name of Else Neumann, probably taken late 1944 as he is wearing his Iron Cross 1st Class and Infantry Assault Badge as well as the Kuban Shield.

12) Photograph of the recipient as an Unteroffizier standing with his girlfriend in Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin, he can be seen wearing all of his decorations: ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd Class; tunic ribbon bar for the Eastern Front Winter War Medal; Iron Cross 1st Class; Kriegsmarine Minesweepers, Sub-Chasers and Escort Vessels Badge; Wound Badge in Black; Infantry Assault Badge in Silver; and the Kuban Shield. A superb and extremely rare photograph of someone wearing this rare combination of awards. Believed taken circa April to May 1945 just weeks before the end of the war, as he was only promoted to Unteroffizier on 20th April 1945.

Werner Huchthausen was born on 11th June 1921 in Oldendorf in Kreis Einbeck, to the south of Hildesheim, though his hometown later is shown as Markoldendorf in the same Kreis. Having been an apprentice carpenter, he was called up for military service with the German Army on 1st December 1940, when it is noted that he had lost two joints from his forefinger and one joint from his middle finger - perhaps this injury had delayed his call up.

Huchthausen saw service initially as a Pionier with the 3rd Company, 19th Pioneer Replacement Battalion, and was then posted as a Pionier to the Motorised Bridging Column ‘B’, 111th Engineer Battalion, a part of the 111th Infantry Division, and then saw service in southern Russia from 1941 onwards. In May 1941, the 111th Infantry division moved to the German-occupied zone of Poland, ready for the launch of Operation Barbarossa in June. After crossing the Bug river, the division advanced on Dubno, where it fought off Russian counter attracts by the 20th Mechanised corps, 34th Tank division. As part of 6th Army the division continued to push the Soviet 5th Army forces back towards Kiev and by the end of August the division had reached the Dnieper river north of the Ukrainian capital, and formed bridgehead with 113th and the 298th Infantry Divisions. On 1st September these forces attacked out of the bridgehead striking into the rear of the Russian 30th Front, as a part of the huge encirclement operation around Kiev. The division went on to trap and help with the destruction the Russian 37th Army. After the great battle, the Soviet resistance in the southern Russia lessoned and the forces under Army Group South were able to push eastwards on a broad front. Huchthausen was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 9th September 1941, this being for his part in the Battle of Kiev, most probably for work involved in the crossing of the Dnieper river north of the Ukrainian capital on 1st September 1944. Huchthausen’s promotion to Gefreiter also came through on the 1st September 1941, hence indicating his good work in the creating the bridgehead over the Dniepr to finally lead to the capture of Kiev.

After the capture of Rostov-on-Don, Kleist's Panzer Army was forced to retreat to the line of the Mius Front, where at the end of December 1941 saw the division on the line of Nikitovka - Debalcevo. But in the middle of January 1942 the division had to stop a deep penetration by the enemy in area of Barvenkovo-Vine. Having seen service through the first Russian winter of 1941 to 1942, Huchthausen was awarded the Eastern Front Winter War Medal on 22nd August 1942.

After a long period of rest, the division joined the summer offensive, advancing with the 17th Army to the Caucasus, passing through the Rostov-on-Don, Mozdok, Nalchik, and Ordzhonikidze in 1942. Huchthausen was promoted to Obergefreiter on 1st December 1942.

Due to the impending threat of envelopment after the Battle of Stalingrad Army Group A had to quickly return to the line of the Mius-Front, and Taganrog, where the division remained on the defensive until the end of July 1943. After the failure of the German summer offensive at Kursk, the German army was forced to retreat, the 111th gradually rolled back to the West, defending the approaches to Melitopol to the end of September 1943, then to Nikopol until February 1944.

Having fought at the Kuban bridgehead from February 1943 until it was abandoned in October 1943. After the abandonment of the Kuban bridgehead, Huchthausen was flown off on leave in a JU52 aircraft from Dniepro Sud II airfield at the front and on to Vienna, when he then took a train to Göttingen and on to Markoldendorf, his parents home town. Huchthausen was awarded the Kuban Shield on 15th September 1944.

When the 111th Infantry Division then was switched to the defence of the Crimea. The last remnants were evacuated by ship in May 1944. His extremely rare award to the army of the Kriegsmarine Minesweepers, Sub-Chasers and Escort Vessels Badge, made to him on 4th September 1944, and issued through the Kriesgmarine Black Sea Command, was almost certainly for actions in the Black Sea which involved clearance work in the channels during the evacuation of the German troops from the Crimea. The 111th Infantry Division, with the exception of the elements of the division evacuated from the Crimea, was then destroyed there, and the division was officially disbanded in May 1944.

As such Huchthausen then found himself transferred to a specialist unit, the 1st Company, 214th Engineer Landing Battalion, a formation of the Army Troops, and he then moved with this unit to Romania followed by Serbia in June 1944. Having lost its boats, the battalion was used in an infantry role during the heavy combat in and around Belgrade during October 1944 in the Belgrade Bridgehead, as a result of which Huchthausen was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class at Belgrade on 19th October 1944, the Infantry Assault Badge in Silver on 27th October 1944, and having been wounded in action back on 27th September 1944, was awarded the Wound Badge in Black whilst undergoing treatment in hospital at Einbeck on 15th November 1944.

On recovery from his wound, and now back in Germany, he then joined the 3rd Company, 629th Engineer Battalion ‘Speer’, part of the Army Troops and a hastily put together unit which had been formed in Denmark in February 1945, and then posted to Berlin for service with the 9th Army against the Russians in the defence of the Oder. Huchthausen was promoted to Unterfoffizier during the Battle of Berlin on 20th April 1945, and a photograph exists of him with his girlfriend taken at the time of battle whilst in Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin. In the photograph he can be seen wearing all of his decorations: ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd Class; tunic ribbon bar for the Eastern Front Winter War Medal; Iron Cross 1st Class; Kriegsmarine Minesweepers, Sub-Chasers and Escort Vessels Badge; Wound Badge in Black; Infantry Assault Badge in Silver; and the Kuban Shield. A superb and extremely rare photograph of someone wearing this rare combination of awards. As he is shown wearing the rank of Unteroffizier, it is possible to date this photograph from after the 20th April 1945 and before the battle ended on 2nd May 1945. This may possibly have been the last time they met! It is not known if he survived those last few turbulent days during the intense street fighting in Berlin, and if he did survive, it is probably that he was taken prisoner by the Soviets.