Witt, Fritz

    Date of birth:
    May 25th, 1908 (Hohenlimburg/Western Phalia, Germany)
    Date of death:
    June 14th, 1944 (Caen/Normandy, France)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, German Reich)

    Biography

    In June 1943 Fritz Witt took command over 12. SS-Panzerdivision "Hitlerjugend".
    Promotions:
    1st October 1933: Commissioned
    9th May 1934: SS-Obersturmführer
    1st June 1935: SS-Hauptsturmführer
    25th May 1940: SS-Sturmbannführer
    27th November 1941: SS-Obersturmbannführer
    30th January 1943: SS-Standartenführer
    1st July 1943: SS-Oberführer
    20th April 1944: SS-Brigadeführer

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    September 19th, 1939
    Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    September 25th, 1939
    Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur I. / SS-Infanterie-Regiment „Deutschland“ / SS-Verfügungs-Division
    Awarded on:
    September 4th, 1940
    Action:
    Witt's Knight's Cross recommendation reads as follows...
    "SS-Sturmbannführer Witt was one of the first to receive the Iron Cross First Class during the Polish campaign. The commander of the I./SS `Deutschland' and his battalion were attacked on the evening of the 27th of May, from the direction of Estaires, by twenty British tanks supported by infantry. At least ten enemy tanks succeeded in breaking into the Battalion's positions, because it was without anti-tank weapons at that time due to the lack of bridges.
    The battalion conducted such a fanatical defense with all available light and heavy infantry weapons, that the British were unable to break through the position. The unit immobilized nine enemy tanks. SS-Sturrnbannfiihrer Witt provided his troops with a fine example of fearlessness and the will to endure. They attacked the enemy tanks from ditches, hedges, holes in the ground and cellars. He was the soul of resistance.
    On the 17th of June the battalion defended against a greatly superior enemy force, which sought to break through onto the Langres Plateau, near Arthonnay. It repulsed hour after hour of French attacks throughout the night of 16-17th June, in some cases in bitter close combat. This provided a foundation for the regiment's success over the days that followed, during which it captured almost 20,000 prisoners.
    Witt led the defense from the front-most line and took a decisive part in the breaking up of the passionately conducted enemy breakthrough. In the Western Front he always conducted his battalion with excellent leadership. In the battles for Zeeland he was the first to force a crossing over the Beveland Canal, tenaciously defended by a superior number of Frenchmen, and penetrated deeply into their positions while disregarding the Frenchmen on both flanks of the breakthrough. He captured about 1,000 prisoners".
    Details:
    199th Award.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    June 23rd, 1941
    SS-Dienstauszeichnung 4.Stufe (4 Jahre)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    June 23rd, 1941
    SS-Dienstauszeichnung 3.Stufe (8 Jahre)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Obersturmbannführer
    Unit:
    SS-Division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler"
    Awarded on:
    February 8th, 1942
    Details:
    Award 64/2.
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Awarded on:
    July 16th, 1942
    Ordinul Steaua Romaniei Officer
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    September 4th, 1942
    Medaille
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Standartenführer (Colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 1 „Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler“ / Heeresgruppe Süd
    Awarded on:
    March 1st, 1943
    Action:
    Witt's recommendation for the Oakleaves to his Knight's Cross reads as follows...
    "I recommend the commander of the 1st Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, SS-Standartenführer Fritz Witt, for the award of the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for:
    1. Klidi Pass: After the lunge forward of our forces towards the south of Yugoslavia and the crossing of the Greek frontier by Florina, the Leibstandarte was assigned the task to open the heavily defended Klidi Pass, which would enable the further advance of our tank forces towards the south.
    Through the courageous intervention of the then Commander of the I Battalion, SS-Standartenführer Witt, that under difficult conditions personally reconnoitered the assembly area of his battalion and after the arrival of the battalion managed to repel the toughly and bitterly fighting Englishmen in a hard struggle that lasted several hours. The enemy lost numerous dead and considerable amounts of war material.
    With this success, which was achieved through the excellent, brave example of the commander that repeatedly rallied on his men to attack, the door for the successful assault into the heart of Greece was opened. SS-Standartenführer Witt thereby had an essential part in the ensuing success of the campaign against Greece.
    2. Capture of Nowo Archangelsk: On 1.8.41 SS-Standartenführer Witt received from General Kempf the written order to attack Nowo Archangelsk and, since it was a key position, to take it firmly into our hands. After the appropriate wide deployment of the battalion by Witt, it attacked the far superior enemy at once. In heavy house fighting which lasted for hours, the enemy was expelled and Nowo Archangelsk taken. In spite of the strongest counterattacks of the opponent, Nowo Archangelsk was held. With this another condition was met for the closing of the cauldron. Witt distinguished himself again through superior leadership and personal bravery.
    3. Crossing over the Mius: The enemy tried to hinder the continuation of the pursuit of the Soviets defeated in Mariupol, building a strong bridgehead over the Mius west of Taganrog. Despite the strongest enemy defense from strong and well-built positions on the east bank of the Mius Witt; initially only with weak forces, managed to win a crossing over the Mius. In spite of the strongest enemy counterattacks, the enemy was not able to pierce this bridgehead. SS-Standartenführer Witt created with it the conditions for resuming the pursuit that resulted in the capture of Taganrog on 17.10.41.
    4. Rostov: The attack on Rostov was brought to a standstill because of the extraordinarily bad weather conditions and the III. Panzer Korps switched over to the defense. SS-Standartenführer Witt created, through the tireless, planned use of his reconnaissance, the favourable conditions for the later attack on Rostov. When this attaick began on 17.11.41 it was also Witt who, at the head of his battalion, rallied forward with his men against the hardest enemy resistance.
    When the outskirts of Rostov were reached on 20.11.41 after heavy house-to-house fighting. Witt penetrated at a good pace as far as the Don at the head of his considerably weakened Battalion, and with his few men destroyed strong enemy columns. Crowning this success, especially great in light of the far superior enemy, his 3. Kompanie managed to build a bridgehead over the Don the very same day.
    5. Defensive fighting east of Kharkov: In the defensive fighting near Chuguev, east of Kharkov, Witt and his regiment performed extremely well. The Kompanies and Battalions were immediately thrown into the battle from the unloading stations. This skillful leadership, combined with the ruthless action of his own person, is to be thanked that the advance of the very strong and superior opponent into the defensive sector (32 kilometres wide) that was assigned to the Regiment (with two battalions) found a position ready for defense. Through counterthrusts from these defensive positions bloody losses were inflicted on the enemy, and those who had infiltrated into the main line of resistance were destroyed.
    6. Merefa: Kampfgruppe Witt moved forward from the area east of Merefa with the objective to shield the left flank of the reinforced SS-Regiment "Der Führer", operating on the north flank of the Russian 6. Guards Cavalry Corps. On the very first day Witt achieved good successes with his Kampfgruppe, and in the course of the attack on Taranowka smashed...
    3 tanks, 2 armoured scout cars, 600 Russian dead
    In the continuation of the attack Taranowka (which was strongly occupied by the enemy) was cleared, and the opponent was thrown back to the north part of Bereka. Together with the reconnaisance detachment, advancing from the area of Jefremowka towards the east, SS-Standartenführer Witt played an essential part in the annihilation of the 6. Guards Cavalry Corps, whose rear communications were severely threatened by the advance on Bereka.
    As on 20.2.43 the Russians tried with strong forces to break through the defensive front of SS-Infantry-Regiment 1 of the LSSAH, and through the capture of Wodolaga to reach the rear of the Army's north flank. It was the merit of SS-Standartenführer Witt, who had to defend a sector 20 kilometers wide with only very small fighting forces, that all the massive attacks of the opponent (partially supported with tanks) were repelled. When the opponent managed to penetrate the strongpoint Hf. Bulachi east of Nowaja Wodolaga, Witt gathered together the last reserves of his Regiment, and in a counterattack, succeeded in destroying completely the opponent that had penetrated there (namely strong parts of the three Regiments of the 1. Russian Cavalry Division).
    Through the skillful leadership of his Regiment and special bravery before the enemy, Witt has distinguished himself in every fight. I consider SS-Standartenführer Witt, owing to his evidently excellent feats described in the preceeding report, worthy of the high award of the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
    Details:
    200th Award.
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub

    Sources

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