- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Kommandeur, Führer-Panzer-Regiment 1, Führer-Begleit-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- April 19th, 1945
The following press article describes how Schnappauf would receive the Knight’s Cross…
“Hard is the battle, for it has been confirmed that the Soviet armoured spearhead has reached Lauban. Into the flank of this Soviet threat advance our Panzers and Panzergrenadiers. Flak units are brought up, their barrels pointed against the sky in order to protect our rolling columns from the ever present enemy aircraft. Every now and then the shots of our 8.8 cm cannons surge forth, and out of a concealed position invisible to the naked eye the smoke column of a destroyed T-34 rises.
An armoured group under the command of Major Schnappauf (from Kulmbach, Oberfranken), advancing far ahead of the other formations, pushed into a strong Soviet tank assembly area. Shortly afterwards new waves of enemy tanks struck behind him from the north and south. The only possible contact with friendly reinforcements was by radio. Hard duels, with tank fighting tank, ensued until the onset of nightfall. Under the cover of darkness the Major moved on foot, guiding his Panzers through the packs of enemy tanks. Despite coming within 30 to 40 meters of the enemy gun barrels at times, he and his Panzers emerged from the dangerous predicament safely and without loss.
The following morning, as the Soviets circled the fields in vain for the German Panzers, the Major himself was already prepared to fight and thrusted into the enemy’s flank. The Wehrmachtsbericht spoke of 31 enemy tanks destroyed on this day in the area around Lauban.
The bulk of these had been eliminated by the armoured Kampfgruppe of this Upper-Franconian Panzer hussar, a rarity among armoured soldiers in his wearing of the close combat clasp.”