- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Hauptmann der Reserve (Captain of Reserves)
- Kommandeur Pionier-Bataillon 20
- Awarded on:
- January 1st, 1944
In December 1943, during the German counterattack east of Zhitomir, Hauptmann Rohlfs received the mission to cover the right flank of the northward thrust. He was ordered to guard against incursions from an enemy-held forest and capture a village on its northwestern edge. For this task Rohlfs had only weak elements from his own Pionier-Bataillon as well as two others.
Upon learning of enemy entrenchments on the SW edge of the forest, Rohlfs immediately went over to the attack. With his troops he stormed the position, destroyed the bulk of the enemy forces there and forced the remainder into the woods. The spoils of this engagement amounted to four enemy Pak, 100 counted dead and 40 prisoners, in addition to most of the enemy’s heavy weapons.
With this success Hauptmann Rohlfs then took elements of his Kampfgruppe through the western part of the forest to the village objective. He unexpectedly came across an enemy battery, and immediately stormed it with his men before the enemy realized what was happening.
By now the enemy defense in this sector was beginning to crumble. Capitalizing on his success, Rohlfs took his handful of Pioniers and thrust into the village. Not pausing for a moment he led a squad towards the a bridge over the Tetereff river. Though the enemy had already set fire to it, Rohlfs would not be stopped. He stormed across the bridge and put the enemy on the opposite bank to flight, thus securing this important crossing. The bridge was put back into operation and a friendly armoured group was rolling across it that very afternoon, and on the same day was able to reach the enemy supply route along the Kiev-Zhitomir road and block it.
Thus, in addition to this battlefield success, Rohlfs had made a significant contribution to the German counterattack and the consequent recapture of Zhitomir. For his deeds he would receive the Knight’s Cross.