Pförtner, Helmut

Date of birth:
April 22nd, 1913 (Beverungen/Westphalia, Germany)
Date of death:
February 28th, 1943 (Arkhangelsk, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
1939
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
1940
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Untersturmführer (Second-lieutenant)
Unit:
2./SS-Regiment "Germania" / SS-Division "Wiking"
Awarded on:
November 22nd, 1941
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Untersturmführer der Reserve (Second-lieutenant)
Unit:
Zugführer 2. / SS-Regiment "Germania" / SS-Division "Wiking"
Awarded on:
January 18th, 1942
Action:
Pförtner’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

"On the 18.07.1941 the 2. Kompanie took a section of Saalischy that was hostile to the Westland Regiment. Helmut Pfortner was part of the lead group. On one of the flanks was situated the SS-Pioneers. They observed an enemy artillery battery raining down fire upon their Kameraden. Disregarding this fire, Pfortner decided to send two motorcycles against this enemy position. They raced towards the guns under fire, then, when they got close enough they dismounted quickly. They opened fire upon the enemy with their machine pistols and in close combat they overran this enemy battery. Most of the enemy were killed in their positions and the remainder fled the area This decisive action was critical for the further advance of the Battalion."

To this was added a supplement by the Divisional commander, Felix Steiner…

"Helmut Pförtner is well known as the bravest officer in the Division. After outstanding deeds in Poland and the west (while serving in the SS-Division Reich) he repeatedly proved himself in the east. Through his deeds on the 18.07.1941 he has shown himself to be worthy of the high honour of the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross.

He led a group of 22 men into the city of Toren, which had a population of 80,000. The neighbouring Regiment was attacked and could advance no further. In a surprise attack he penetrated the city and advanced into it. He disregarded the heavy hostile fire and became engaged in close combat. Before Snjawa, they were successful against the heaviest of enemy fire in destroying a bridge used by the Russians to transport ammunition and other supplies. They pushed on towards Krementschug where Pförtner attacked bunker positions with his 22 men, fighting against 180 enemy. This created a basis for the successful battles over the following days. Under the most difficult circumstances they succeeded in probing the enemy positions. The main bridge was unuseable, but they erected a pontoon bridge through a swamp with high reeds growing there. Out of these reeds came 100 enemy prisoners with 100 horses. After capturing the enemy battery, Pfortner crossed a river in a Stormboat at the Dnieper island, near Krementschug, where he was heavily wounded."
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources