Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant). It appears from earlier photographs that in 1942 he held the rank of Feldwebel, and was subsequently promoted to Leutnant, possibly in 1942 / 1943.
In 1942, he is shown as being posted to: Stab II G.R. 466 ~ Stäbe II / Grenadier Regiment 466, 257th Infantry Division. Was buried at Woyskowoja (Wojskowej), on the Dnjepr River, Russia.
Leutnant Kremerskothen’s length of service at the time of his death in October 1943 (21 years) indicates that he was one of the original members of the post WWII German Army (probably joined in 1922) of the Weimar period (1918-1933). The two NSDAP long service awards and Gold NSDAP Party Badge indicate a career uniformed Nazi Party organisation member, and original Nazi Party member, who joined on the Parties re-founding (or was a previous member) on 17th February 1925.
During his military service, he rose through the ranks to Feldwebel (a portrait C1942 confirms this) and was then commissioned as a Kriegsoffiziere and Leutnant der Reserve in 1942 or 1943. His commissioning as a Kriegsoffiziere is confirmed by his German Cross-in Gold Certificate, which shows his rank as ‘Leutnant d. Res’. His unit designation of ‘Stab II / G.R. 466’ supports a view that Leutnant Kremerskothen was either a Company Officer or Platoon Commander of the 2nd Battalion of G.R. 466. It is likely (but difficult to confirm) that he served most of his war service (1939-1943) with G.R. 466.
The award of the German Cross in Gold, Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, the presence of an Infantry Assault Badge and the Close Combat Clasp suggest a frontline combat Infantry soldier and later Officer, who in all probability experienced considerable frontline service and combat. The Close Combat Clasp particularly and not unrealistically, indicates that he was directly involved in close combat or physical hand-to-hand combat, predominantly with Russian forces over an extended period of time. The East Medal identifies that he served in Russia during the first Russian winter campaign, most likely being with the 466th Infantry Regiment when it crossed into Russia with the 17th Armee, as part of Operation Barbarossa (German invasion of the USSR in June 1941) in August/September 1941.
The presence of the German Cross in Gold is significant. He is amongst only ~17,000 German Army recipients of the award, during the entire war and one of only 52 recipients of the award from the 257th Infanterie Division in WWII. That nature of this award (bravery or extreme brave act), its posthumous award (26th November 1943 - a month after Leutnant Kremerskothen’s death) suggest it was in this action which he died and earned the award.
The detail available of his death near the Dnjepr in Russia, in 1943 and the known service of G.R. 466, shows that in October 1943, the 257th Infantry Division was serving with the 1st Panzerarmee in the Kriwoi-Rog area, southern Ukraine. A review of the operations of the 1st Panzerarmee in October 1943 identifies that it operated as part of Army Group South (under General Von Manstein) in the Umank area, along the Dnjepr River. The 1st Panzerarmee was heavily engaged from August 1943 in this area as the Russians launched their 1943 offensive (August – November 1943) along the whole Ukraine front from Smolensk in the north to Kherson in the south, driving the Wehrmacht back across the Dnejpr. In October 1943, Soviet forces crossed the Dnjepr between Dnipropetrovsk and Kremenchug. The First Panzer Army counter-attacked along with the Eighth Army, but failed to dislodge the Soviets. At the end of that month, as the Red Army closed in on Kiev.
Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!