Tolsdorff, Theodor

Date of birth:
November 3rd, 1909 (Lehnarten/Eastern-Prussia, Germany)
Date of death:
May 25th, 1978 (Barmen/North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
September 22nd, 1939
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
October 23rd, 1939
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant
Unit:
Chef 14. / Infanterie-Regiment 22 / 1.Infanterie-Division / I.Armee-Korps / 16.Armee / Heeresgruppe Nord
Awarded on:
December 4th, 1941
Action:
On 21.11.1941, when Tolsdorff was acting commander of the II./Infanterie-Regiment 22, the Soviets (fighting from the Vyborgsskaja bridgehead) made a dangerous breakthrough in the battalion's main defensive line. Scraping together a reserve company made up of drivers and communications troops from the battalion staff, Tolsdorff led a counterattack against this break-in. Despite being wounded three times he and his force succeeded in regaining the line. For this Tolsdorff was awarded the Knight's Cross.
Details:
700th Award.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Hauptmann (Captain)
Unit:
I. / Infanterie-Regiment 22
Awarded on:
August 23rd, 1942
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Details:
Award 166/4
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
Kommandeur I. / Füsilier-Regiment 22 / 1.Infanterie-Division / XXVI.Armee-Korps / 18.Armee / Heeresgruppe Nord
Awarded on:
September 15th, 1943
Action:
During the Third Battle of Lake Ladoga (22.07.-23.08.1943), taking place on both sides of the Kirov railway, Tolsdorff and his battalion were assigned a section of line to defend. They not only succeeding in holding their own positions for 14 days, but also managed to throw back Soviet forces that broke through in the neighbouring one. In all these battles Tolsdorff led from the front in both offense and defense. For these actions he was awarded the Oakleaves to his Knight's Cross.

Details:
302nd Award.
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 14th, 1944
Action:
The brave garrison of the old Lithuanian capital Vilnius, led by their commander Stahel under orders broke through the Soviet encirclement after five days of resistance against superior enemy forces and fought through to the in the west waiting German troops under the command of Colonel Tolsdorf (sic). Duty and steadfastness of these combat troops deserve the highest recognition. In this battle for the city a Luftwaffe flak unit under command of Captain Müller has also distinguished itself.
Wehrmachtbericht
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberstleutnant
Unit:
Kommandeur Grenadier-Regiment 1067 (Heerestruppe)
Awarded on:
July 18th, 1944
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern
Action:
During the Soviet operation Bagration, Tolsdorff took over command of a scratch force of alert and leave companies, Grenadier-Regiment 1067. He was first ordered to break through to the garrison at Vilnius, which he succeeded in doing (on the way rescuing a German field hospital with 3,000 wounded men). He then took part in the city's defense, later breaking out with other units when a narrow corridor had been created by German relief forces. He and his men had distinguished themselves during the time they defended the city, so much so that Tolsdorff was christened "The Lion of Vilnius" by German propaganda. For his actions here he received the Swords to his Knight's Cross.
Details:
80th Award.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Generalmajor
Unit:
Kommandeur 340.Volks-Grenadier-Division / Heeresgruppe B
Awarded on:
March 18th, 1945
Ritterkreuz, Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten
Action:
Awarded for the excellent leadership of his division during the battle of the Bulge (where it successfully seized and held a river crossing), and later during the retreat through the Eifel region.
Details:
25th Award.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Details:
Silver version
Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen

Sources

  • Photo 1: Wilco Vermeer
  • Photo: Wilco Vermeer collection, the Netherlands
  • - THOMAS, FRANZ & WEGMANN, GÜNTER, Die Eichenlaubträger 1940-1945, Biblio-Verlag, 1998.
    - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht (CD), VMD-Verlag GmbH, Osnabrück, 2002
    - Kwasny A., Kwasny G., Die Eichenlaubträger 1940-1945 (CD), Deutsches Wehrkundearchiv, Lage-Waddenhausen, 2001
    - Fellgiebel W.P., Elite of the Third Reich, The recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-46-9
    - Patzwall K., Scherzer V., Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941-1945, Geschichte und Inhaber Band II, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2001, ISBN 3-931533-45-X
    - Lexikon der Wehrmacht
    - Wehrmacht Awards.com

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