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Macher, Heinz

Date of birth:
December 31st, 1919 (Chemnitz/Saxonia, Germany)
Date of death:
December 21st, 2001 (Schenefeld/Hamburg, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
September 24th, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
March 15th, 1942
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Untersturmführer (2nd Lieutenant)
Unit:
Führer 16.(Pioniere) / SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment “Deutschland” / SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Das Reich” / SS-Panzer-Korps / Heeresgruppe Süd
Awarded on:
April 3rd, 1943
Macher’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“Over the course of the eastern campaign 1941/42 SS-Untersturmführer Macher has distinguished himself by his bravery. These operations join a number of outstanding feats-of-arms by the 16.(Pionier)/SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. ‘Deutschland’ in February 1943, specifically during the defensive battles in the Oskol sector. These contributed significantly to the tactical successes of the SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. ‘Deutschland’ in this area.

Macher and his Kompanie would go on to distinguish themselves in the pursuit battles from Krassnograd to Kharkov during mine-clearing and assault operations.

Macher took part in an armoured attack against Pawlograd, which involved the bulk of the SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. ‘Der Führer’, the staff of the SS-Division ‘Das Reich’ as well as the 16.(Pionier)/SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. ‘Deutschland’. In this time Macher rallied his Kompanie on his own initiative, eliminated 2 enemy tanks, forced the remaining 10 to retreat and also eliminated the bulk of two enemy companies.

On the 11.03.1943 Macher received the mission take his Kompanie and capture the anti-tank ditch west of Kharkov in a stormtroop-like manner, without the support of heavy weapons. In the process of doing so he was to employ a Panzer-Pionier-Zug for the task of creating a passage for the advance of friendly armoured forces to the edge of Kharkov itself. Macher penetrated into the anti-tank ditch, eliminated the enemy MG nests that had taken up position there and took control of a part of the anti-tank ditch (which was fully frozen over) that was favourable for creating a passage.

Exceeding this assigned task, Macher stormed past the anti-tank ditch on his own initiative into the enemy positions along the edge of Kharkov. There he eliminated the heavy machine-gun nests that were dug into houses and armoured cupolas as well as the Pakfront that was located behind them. These anti-tank guns, dug-in within a commanding position, had hitherto been making an approach by friendly armoured forces an unthinkable proposition.

In close combat Macher and his 32 man strong Kompanie captured cupola after cupola and house after house, and in the process were able to take out the emplaced enemy weapons that had been brought into position.

Macher held this break-in area despite several bitter enemy counterthrusts, some of which were fended off in hand to hand combat. During this operation Macher distinguished himself through outstanding bravery and imperturbability.

This independent action by SS-Untersturmführer Macher opened the way for the bulk of the SS-Pz.Gren.Div. ‘Das Reich’ to flow into the city at a very early stage, and laid the groundwork for the swift and relatively bloodless occupation of Kharkov. Particularly noteworthy as well is that Macher employed his Kompanie in such a way that it emerged from the battle with minimal losses despite the bitter close combat it was engaged in.”
1393rd Award.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
April 6th, 1943
Wehrmachtbericht
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Obersturmführer
Unit:
16.(Pionier) / SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 3 "Deutschland"
Awarded on:
August 7th, 1944
Award 604/1.
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Obersturmführer (Lieutenant)
Unit:
Kommandeur 16.(Pioniere) / SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment “Deutschland” / SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Das Reich” / Heeresgruppe B
Awarded on:
August 19th, 1944
Macher’s Oakleaves recommendation reads as follows…

“As commander of the 16./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 3 ‘Deutschland’, SS-Obersturmführer Macher and his Kompanie have significantly contributed to the tactical successes of the Regiment in all past operations. In every situation Macher has distinguished himself outstandingly by his personal bravery and magnificent example, something which his men took their lead from. As a trainer for his men he has always understood the necessity of raising up especially motivated and daring soldiers and SS-men.

During the time period 09.-17.07.1944 the 16./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 3 ‘Deutschland’ was employed as the ready reserve of Kampfgruppe Wisliceny. Over the course of these days the enemy conducted a total of 64 probes and attacks against the frontline of the Kampfgruppe, 53 of which were tank-supported. The enemy broke into the frontline a total of 37 times, and 37 times they were ultimately thrown back via counterthrusts.

Of these Macher carried out a total of 29 counterthrusts all on his own with a reserve from his Kompanie in strength of just one squad and the Kompanie HQ, personally leading these at the head of his men. Through prudent leadership and incredible boldness he always succeeded in ejecting the enemy from the German frontline.

It is largely to the credit of SS-Obersturmführer Macher that the position was held for the duration of the combat until it was ultimately abandoned. In the same manner Macher ensured by his rearguard actions that the withdrawal and occupation of a new line could be carried out without harassment.

The counterthrusts were carried out on the:

09.07.1944 18:25
10.07.1944 09:15, 11:22, 12:17, 17:40, 19:32, 20:45
11.07.1944 10:37, 16:12, 18:28
12.07.1944 15:20, 15:55, 17:42, 19:10
13.07.1944 08:20, 10:25, 12:15
15.07.1944 09:18, 11:05, 13:55, 18:42, 20:10
16.07.1944 13:25, 15:50
17.07.1944 18:30, 19:25, 21:10, 22:00, 22:55

Only as a result of the tough and consistent personal actions of Macher were these successful engagements made possible. The things he accomplished were exceptional.”
544th Award.
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Obersturmführer
Unit:
Kompaniechef 16./SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 3
Awarded on:
October 18th, 1944
Nahkampfspange in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
April 12th, 1943
Nahkampfspange in Bronze

Sources

  • Photo 1: Willi Schumacher Collection
  • Photo: Willi Schumacher Collection
  • - MOONEY, PETER, Waffen-SS Knights and their Battles, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, 2010.
    - 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
    - Bender R.J., Breyette T., Tank Killers, RJ Bender Publications, 2000, ISBN 0-912138-83-1
    - 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
    - Schneider J.W., Their Honor was Loyalty!, R. James Bender Publishing, 1977
    - Microfilm Publication A3343. US National Archives.

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