Ropp, Max

Date of birth:
November 6th, 1916 (Niederdorf, Austria)
Date of death:
November 6th, 1995 (Grafenstein, Austria)
Nationality:
Austrian (1918-1938, Republic)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberfeldwebel (Warrant Officer)
Unit:
Zugführer 11. / Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 143
Awarded on:
October 28th, 1944
Action:
Awarded for his actions during the retreat from Northern Finland, in October 1944. During this time the commander of the 11./Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 143 became a casualty and Oberfeldwebel Ropp took over the Kompanie. Shortly afterwards the whole battalion became encircled by the enemy. Being on the left flank, Ropp directed his Kompanie to escape the encirclement by swimming over the side arm of a fjord. He himself covered the move with 7 light machine guns, and was the last to cross the fjord.

As they pulled back to the belfry bridge, which was still in German hands, Ropp’s Kompanie took in 250 men (with 2 light machine guns) of the Flieger-Regiment 503. Upon reaching the bridge Ropp and his Kompanie took over control of the area. Despite an order from above to destroy the bridge, Ropp and his Kompanie decided to hold it in order to buy time for friendly forces to escape. This decision paid off, as it enabled the rest of Ropp’s battalion (which had broken out) as well as the commander of the Flieger-Regiment 503 with 6 of his men to escape before the bridge was blown. By this act Ropp saved 500-600 men from enemy captivity.

Following a withdrawal through bitterly cold weather to the Nickel road, Ropp and his Kompanie were assigned a rearguard mission. They were to hold a defensive position at km 9 of the Nickel road for five days, in order to cover the evacuation of Kirkenes. On the third day the Soviets managed to break through the Kompanie’s lines between the 1. and 2. platoons. A counterattack led by Ropp managed to throw the Soviets back to their starting positions. He then left behind his machinegunners in the position and led all of his other soldiers out of the position and stormed 50 m to the south, blocking the retreat of the attacking Soviet force.

When these operations were concluded, Ropp would receive the Knight’s Cross on account of the two successful actions described here.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

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