- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
- Kommandeur, II. Bataillon, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 6 Theodor Eicke, SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Totenkopf", Waffen-SS
- Awarded on:
- August 15th, 1943
Launer’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…
“On the 12.07.1943 the Bolsheviks launch an attack from the north (namely the Michalowka/Andrejewka area) against the positions of the II./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. ‘Theodor Eicke’ with strong infantry and tank forces, following a heavy artillery and mortar barrage. They concentrated on the 7./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. ‘Theodor Eicke’. After its commander and most of its troops fell the Bolsheviks succeeded in penetrating through the defenses of this Kompanie. SS-Sturmbannführer Launer recognized that this break-in posed a great danger not just for his Bataillon, but also for all elements of the Division north of the Psel river.
In response he gathered all available troops at his command post, as well as whatever squads could be spared from the other hard-pressed Kompanien. He then led this hastily assembled reserve force against the Soviet penetration at the head of his men. In a tough man to man battle the numerically superior Bolsheviks were pushed out of the position while losing several hundred dead. Two enemy tanks that had broken through were also destroyed in close combat. By the evening of the 12.07.1943 the old German line was once again firmly in our hands. All further enemy attacks were bloodily repulsed.
On his own initiative SS-Sturmbannführer Launer had ruthlessly stripped his desperately fighting Kompanien of men in order to clean up the enemy penetration. In doing so he thwarted the enemy aim of cutting off the elements of the Division north of the Psel. This decisive success is first and foremost thanks to the heroic personal readiness of SS-Sturmbannführer Launer.
In recognition of this deed and its associated success, I please ask that this brave officer be awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.”