- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
- Kommandeur, I. Abteilung, SS-Panzer-Regiment 1, 1. SS-Panzer-Division "Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler", Waffen-SS
- Awarded on:
- March 15th, 1945
Poetschke’s Oakleaves recommendation reads as follows…
“SS-Sturmbannführer Poetschke has especially distinguished himself as commander of the I.(schw)/SS-Pz.Rgt. 1 ‘LSSAH’ during numerous actions in all theatres of war. He conducted especially praiseworthy actions during the Ardennes offensive in the time period 16.-24.12.1944, where he participated in the armoured thrust to the Ambleve stream.
Over the course of numerous, ever worsening situations that demanded the utmost from every leader, he repeatedly showed himself to be a beacon of steadfastness and command over the situation.
After the thrust along the road ‘E’ could no longer be carried out due to a bridge being blown up, only the road ‘D’ was available for a further advance. But this road was blocked by the village of Stoumont, a village that stood as an almost intractable bulwark against tanks.
The immediately launched attack thus soon came to a halt, as the road was decisively blocked by the fire from 4 Pak-Flak and 6 heavy Pak from the village edge as well as from a few enemy tanks along the forest edge north of Stoumont. Clearly recognizing the fact that only a ruthless employment of materiel here in a head-on attack would bring success, Poetschke set himself at the head of his Panzers and inspired them forward by his example. Despite this however the attack made no headway, and a few vehicles began slowly pulling back in order to again reach safe terrain.
In this critical moment SS-Sturmbannführer Poetschke was roused to great fury. He stood up on his Panzer, grabbed a Panzerfaust and threatened to fire upon any of his Panzer crews that would roll on but a single step towards the rear.
This brutal measure was decisive. Undeterred by the murderous fire and friendly losses, the Panzers thrusted wildly into the village. There they created a great panic and were finally able to break the hard enemy resistance.
150 prisoners, 4 Pak-Flak, 5 heavy Pak, 4 Shermans and much additional war materiel and enemy dead fell into our hands. This success can be credited to the bravery of SS-Sturmbannführer Poetschke and his ruthless devotion to duty.
During the fighting in the Gran bridgehead SS-Sturmbannführer Poetschke once again was heavily involved in the success of the armoured group of the Division.
At the head of his Abteilung he led the Panzers along the path towards the destruction of the enemy bridgehead with great attacking spirit and uncommon energy, mastering numerous, critical situations through his bravery and resilience in the face of adversity. His boldness and courage were an example to, and the backbone of, the men of his Abteilung as well as all members of the armoured group.
After breaking though the enemy Pakfront near Hill 190 and southeast of Nemet-Szögyen, he launched a ruthless thrust without regard for his flanks. By this he created the necessary conditions for the crossing of the Grenadiers over the Parisz river in the face of a bitterly defending foe.
After a bridge was built on the 18.02.1945, he sent his Abteilung across and started a thrust to the south during the night. In the nocturnal combat his Panzergruppe succeeded in delivering the crushing blow against the southern defense of the enemy bridgehead. In a furious armoured drive his Panzers overran the wildly firing enemy Pak nests near Kis—Muzsla—psz. plus those before Muzsla and Parkany. Contact was established with the southern group that was crossing the Danube in rubber boats, and the thrust was continued until it reached the Gran river, with the infantry also storming alongside.
During the fighting against the remainder of the bridgehead SS-Sturmbannführer Poetschke led his Panzergruppe in bitter night battles on the 21.02.1945 at Köhid-Gyarma and on the 24.02.1945 at Kemend, achieving outstanding victories that were decisive in the overall course of the attack.
During the fighting in the Gran bridgehead during the time period 17.-24.02.1945 his Abteilung achieved the following successes:
23 x T-34s destroyed
182 x guns of all kinds (including 164 heavy Pak) destroyed or captured
8 x anti-tank rifles destroyed
55 x trucks destroyed
32 x horse-drawn wagons destroyed
280 x counted enemy dead
30 x AFVs captured (Hungarian, Italian, English and German types)
In recognition of his bravery and singular accomplishments, I ask that SS-Sturmbannführer Poetschke be awarded the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.”