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Bärenfänger, Erich

    Date of birth:
    January 12th, 1915 (Menden/Westfalen, Germany)
    Date of death:
    May 1st, 1945 (Berlin, Germany)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, German Reich)

    Biography

    Oberstleutnant Erich Bärenfänger led the defence against the advancing Soviet forces in the east of Berlin. During the fightings his wife stood by his side. Shortly before his death he was promoted to Generalmajor. Some story's state that he and his wife committed suicide when the attempted breakout of Hitlerjugend forces failed. Other sources state that they were killed during the fightings.

    Promotions:
    23rd January 1944: Oberstleutnant;

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    November 12th, 1934
    SA-Sportabzeichen
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant der Reserve (2nd Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Führer 11. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    June 12th, 1940
    Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant der Reserve (2nd Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Führer 11. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    June 21st, 1940
    Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant der Reserve (2nd Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Führer 11. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    July 1st, 1940
    Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Schwarz
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant der Reserve (2nd Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Adjutant III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    July 23rd, 1941
    Silver version
    Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant der Reserve (2nd Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Adjutant III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    August 9th, 1941
    Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Silber
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant der Reserve (2nd Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Adjutant III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    August 13th, 1941
    Ordinul Corona Romaneii Knight
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant der Reserve (2nd Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Führer 7. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    December 26th, 1941
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Kompaniechef Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    January 10th, 1942
    Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Gold
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Kompaniechef Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    February 7th, 1942
    Voenen Orden
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Führer III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    May 23rd, 1942
    Medalia
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Führer III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    August 5th, 1942
    Medaille
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Führer III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    August 7th, 1942
    The following wartime excerpt describes why Bärenfänger was awarded the Knight’s Cross…

    “On the night of the 29./30.06.1942 Oberleutnant Bärenfänger conducted a night attack on his own initiative against the bunker position south of 1658. The attack was a success, and the result was decisive. This enabled friendly forces to completely encircle and destroy those enemy forces in the Champagne ravine without excessive casualties. Furthermore, the Regiment was given the opportunity to already launch a successful attack against the bunker position near 1670 during the early morning of the following day. This in turn allowed the 50. Division to thrust through to the southeastern city edge of Sevastopol on the 30.06.1942 without having to endure any unexpectedly hard combat.”
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Führer III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    August 14th, 1942
    Ehrenblattspange des Heeres und Waffen-SS
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Hauptmann (Captain)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    November 2nd, 1942
    Krimschild (Stiftungs ausführing)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Hauptmann (Captain)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur III. / Infanterie-Regiment 123 / 50.Infanterie-Division
    Awarded on:
    May 17th, 1943
    Awarded for distinguishing himself through his tactical skill and bravery during the heavy combat along the Terek river and the subsequent withdrawal movements to the Kuban bridgehead.
    243rd Award.
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Major
    Unit:
    Kommandeur III. / Grenadier Regiment 123
    Awarded on:
    January 23rd, 1944
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern
    During the time periods 13.-17.11. and 04.-06.12.1943 Bärenfänger and his men repulsed attack after attack on the Kerch peninsula. Bärenfänger himself remained with his men despite receiving his 6th and 7th wounds during this time. Later, when a new Soviet offensive began on the 10.01.1944, he personally led an attack that recaptured an important hill (125.6). Another important and hotly contested hill (133.3) was held onto with bitter determination at the same time. Both of these hills were located to the north of Kerch (specifically to the northeast of Bulganak). Bärenfänger would later receive the Swords to his Knight’s Cross for his achievements in this area.
    45th Award.
    Was simultaniously promoted to Oberstleutnant.
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Silver version
    Badge of Honor of the Bulgarian Infantry

    Sources

    Photo