Heinrich-Karl Menzler was born May 27th, 1914, in Cologne-Bickendorf, Germany. Between April 1st. 1934 and October 14th ,1935, he served with III.Jägerbataillon / 15. Infanterie-Regiment / 16.Infanterie-Division. April 1st, 1935 he was promoted to Gefreiter. Between October 15th and May 28th, 1940, he served with Machinengewehrbataillon 3 / 4.Kompanie / 15.Infanterie-Regiment / 29.Infanterie-Division. Here Menzler received the Erkennungsmarke -8- 4.[PZ.AW] M.G.Btl. 3, Feldpostnummer 10534.
At the beginning of World War Two Menzler and his unit participated in the campaign against Poland. At the time, the unit - 3.(MG)Bataillon – was part of 3.Infanterie-Division. In October 1939, the unit was transferred to Bitburg on the Westwall. October 1st, Menzler was promoted to Feldwebel (Sergeant)
After the Batallion had been reinforced on February 15th by a Kradschützen-Kompanie to be renamed Kradschützen-Bataillon 165 (from August 6th, 1940 onwards), Menzler was transferred to 3.(MG) / 14.(Panzerjäger) / Infanterie-Regiment 321 / 197.Infanterie-Division, where he would remain until July 27th, 1944. With this unit he took part in the campaign in the West. From June 14th, 1940, he joined in the battles around the Maginotline. Between July 1940 and February 1941, Menzler’s divison was stationed in the Netherlands as part of the army of occupation. Here he was promoted to Oberfeldwebel on October 1st, 1940.
From March to June 19th, 1941 preparations were made for the campaign against the Soviet Union. Menzler and his unit participated in this from July 1941 onwards. The division took part in the fighting around Bialowieza, Bialystok/Minsk, Smolensk, Schaschki, Petschkury, Rosslawl, Desna, Moskou, Schellkowka/Dorochowo, Gshatsk, Partizanenkampf Wjasma/Smolensk, Starina/Swita/Bjelyj, Pretschistoje/Starina and again Smolensk. September 1943 saw Menzler promoted to Zugführer 1. / Panzerjäger-Abteilung 229. Between September 10th and the end of the month, Menzler went home on leave where he could hold his new born son Rüdiger in his arms.
After his leave, Menzler returned to his unit and took part in the fighting along the highway Ssolo-towitschi-Buda-Krassnowje-Olscha-Makarowka-Sseredki and subsequently along the so called Patherstellung. During the retreat on October 24th from the highway junction at Lobany, Menzler was gravely wounded at the knee. After recuperation he rejoined the fighting. Mid-December the division was transferred to a location north of Witebsk and joined the winteroffensive there. Retreating, they ultimately reached Lutschedda where preparations were made for the Soviet summer offensive. After the battle, the 197-Infanterie Division was virtually wiped out. During the retreat, Menzler took part in various battles and in August 1944 he went to the Heeresoffiziersschule (Panzerabwehr) – Army Officersschool Armour – After his training and promotion to Leutnant on February 10th, 1945, Menzler was posted to Panzerjäger-Abteilung 33 on February 28th, 1945. After having received a Verwundetenabzeichen in Gold, (Badge for Wounded in Gold) he was recommendend for promotion to Oberleutnant. Due to the course of the fighting, this promotion was no longer processed by the Heerespersonalamt (Army personnel office).
April 1st, 1935 to Gefreiter;
April 1st, 1936 to Unteroffizier;
October 1st, 1939 to Feldwebel;
October 1st, 1940 to Oberfeldwebel and
February 10th, 1945 to Leutnant.
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