- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
- Kommandeur, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 5 “Totenkopf”, SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Totenkopf", Waffen-SS
- Awarded on:
- August 22nd, 1943
Baum’s Oakleaves recommendation reads as follows…
“1. On the night of the 23./24.02.1943 the SS-Pz.G.R. ’T’ received orders to launch an attack in conjunction with the SS-Pz.Rgt. 3 (to which the I. (gep.) /’T’ was directly attached). It was to first strike the enemy in the area north of Pawlograd. Then, after taking Wjasowol, it would throw the enemy back across the Malaja Ternowka river while simultaneously securing a bridgehead northeast of Kulakowo in order to enable the Rgt. ’T’ to cross over the Ternowka river.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Baum and his I./’T’ commenced their attack during the early morning hours of the next day alongside the SS-Pz.Rgt. 3. They drove past Wjasowol in a bold attack, pursued the fleeing enemy and pushed across the Ternowka river. Then the Bataillon commander ordered his men to pivot to the southeast and utilize the momentum of their attack to immediately thrust to the northern edge of Werbki. Disregarding the enemy tanks coming out of Werbki, they managed to reach the village ahead of the SS-Pz.Rgt. 3 and consequently bring relief to the elements of the SS-Div. ‘Das Reich’ that were attacking from the south. The result was that contact between the two divisions was established on the afternoon of this day.
The Bataillon commander was always at the head of his unit during the course of this bold thrust. His actions here prevented the escape of those enemy forces that were still on the west bank of the Ternowka river.
2. On the 01.03.1943 the SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. ’T’ found itself marching northwards in the Orel sector. Operating in the area of the Div. ‘Totenkopf’ (itself subordinated to the SS-Pz.Korps), its mission was to move out from Pawlowka and Nischnij Orel on the next day. In the course of the planned advance it was envisaged that the unit would turn to the northwest, cross the Berestowaja river and push past the Berestowenka Heights.
However the I. (gep.) /’T’ and I./SS-Pz.Rgt. 3 already began advancing on the following night, pushing towards Par. Schlachowaja in the face of fierce hostile resistance. Despite brutal snowstorms, as well as a less than ideal supply situation with the Pz.Abt., the regimental commander nevertheless made the ruthless decision to advance to the Berestowaja river as quickly as possible in order to link up with the LSSAH elements that were thrusting from the southwest. This would cut off the retreat route of those enemy columns to the east of the area. Heavy enemy counterattacks with tank support were crushed, and the ruthless actions of both the Rgt. and the subordinated Pz.Abt. meant that contact could be established with the LSSAH on the 03.03.1943, thereby cutting off the enemy’s path to the east. At the same time the SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. ‘Theodor Eicke’ had meanwhile succeeded in conducting its own advance further to the north as far as Kotjarowka and Medwedowka. The overall result was that strong elements of the 3rd Russian Tank Army were encircled in the area north of Schljachowaja and Par. Schljachowaja, and the stage for their destruction was likewise set. The Rgt. ’T’ and its subordinated I./SS-Pz.Rgt. 3 alone managed to seize the following spoils of war:
1 armoured car
107 artillery pieces (including anti-tank guns)
2 infantry guns
95 anti-tank rifles
1 light anti-aircraft gun
12 sub-machine guns
29 heavy mortars
27 field kitchens
25 armoured vehicles
~300 Panje wagons
Several hundred horses and oxen.
This was a victory made possible by the bold decisions and aggressiveness of SS-Obersturmbannführer Baum.
3. On the 12.03.1943, as the enemy continued to put up fierce resistance in Kharkov, SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. ’T’ was deployed along the line Ruskaja—Losowaja—Dergatschi—Fesski Farm—Mjakijmjaka Farm in order to cover the fighting in the city. At 11:30 on this day it received the order to leave behind its II. Bataillon in the old positions and immediately send the remainder of its troops in a thrust through the eastern part of Kharkov to the Kharkov—Tschugujew road. It was intended that these forces would eventually capture both Tschugujew and the Don bridges in order to prevent the enemy troops in the Smijew area from escaping to the east and northeast.
The Rgt. set out at 14:00, and it managed to overcome the catastrophically bad road conditions and reach the village of Ssorokowka during the night. This place was attacked in the early morning hours and cleared of the enemy. The Rgt. and its subordinated I./SS-Pz.Rgt. 3 continued to press inexorably onwards in the face of unceasing opposition. The regimental commander was constantly among the ranks of the lead Bataillon, and from here he provided the entire Rgt. with an example of bravery. Thusly, and already on the evening of the 13.03.1943, Rogan (located along the Kharkov—Tschugujew road) was captured by the III./’T’ and a few Panzers that had been allotted the Rgt.’s last drops of fuel. The Kharkov—Tschugujew road was thusly interdicted, and contact was simultaneously established with the elements of the SS-Pz.Gr.Div. ‘Das Reich’ that were attacking from the southwest. With that the ring around Kharkov was closed.
Despite the presence of enemy armoured attacks from the east against Rogan, the regimental commander decided to continue offensive operations after receiving new stocks of fuel from the air. He ordered a continued attack against Tschugujew to be launched at 15:00 on the next day. This attack ran into tough resistance at Kamenaja Jaruga, however the enemy here was surprised by the swift German advance and eventually overrun. This led to the capture of Tschugujew, and consequently the blocking of all crossings over the Donez river located there during the evening hours of the same day.
This much-deserved victory here can again be attributed to the courageous decisions and personal bravery of SS-Obersturmbannführer Baum.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Baum went on to distinguish himself through his outstanding bravery on the 05.07.1943 as he and his men fought to break through the strong Russian positions near Beresoff, all while constantly in the face of heavy enemy infantry, artillery and tank fire. Here he penetrated into the enemy positions with the foremost elements of his Rgt. SS-Obersturmbannführer Baum was wounded during this engagement, however he remained with his men.
He served as a magnificent example for his men during the heavy Russian armoured attacks against the Psel bridgehead on the 13. and 14.07.1943. Here he rushed to all the hotspots of the combat and constituted the soul of resistance against the overwhelming enemy pressure.
All the enemy’s major attacks here were repulsed with heavy losses thanks to the outstanding bravery and prudent leadership of SS-Obersturmbannführer Baum.”
Preliminary Ownersdocument for the Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes van 22.8.1943 for SS-Obersturmbannführer Baum, Kommandeur SSPz. Gr.Rgt. „Totenkopf“.
Dated, 1st October 1943.