- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain)
- Führer, 3. Kompanie, I. Bataillon, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, Waffen-SS
- Awarded on:
- January 12th, 1942
Heinrich Springer was a captain and commander commander in the LSSAH during the first battle of Rostov in late 1941. His company, with attached pioneers and signals men, was ordered to infiltrate the city in captured Russian uniforms and capture the railway bridge over the Don intact. With this they entered the city on the 20th, and managed to navigate the mayhem until they reached the bridge itself that evening. Springer ordered his men to open fire on a Russian locomotive that was coming out of the city towards the bridge and brought it to a halt. In the ensuring confusion, his men dashed across the bridge. The pioneers cut the detcords and his company overpowered the Russian guards, establishing a bridgehead on the far side (without suffering any losses!). His men were able to hold the bridgehead against increasing Russian pressure over the course of the night, all while being cut off from the rest of the division. Finally, on the morning of the next day, he was ordered to retreat from his bridgehead (exactly why is unknown). The Russians promptly destroyed the bridge once the Germans had left, and Springer was wounded the same day.
Nonetheless his actions at the bridge, though ultimately in vain, in themselves were impressive enough and Springer was given the Knight’s Cross while in the hospital.