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Schroedter, Erich

Date of birth:
May 1st, 1919 (Munich/Bavaria, Germany)
Date of death:
December 7th, 1994 (Lörrach/Baden-Württemberg, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Rittmeister
Unit:
Kommandeur, Panzeraufklärungs-Abteilung "Großdeutschland", Panzergrenadier-Division „Großdeutschland“, Heer
Awarded on:
October 23rd, 1944
On 05.10.1944 the Soviets launched a major onslaught on the positions of the 551. Volksgrenadier-Division, and were able to breach their lines on a wide front. In response to the attack the Germans deployed the Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung “Großdeutschland” north through Svendriai to Pazizme with the aim of guarding the small German bridgehead over the Zizme (near Tulkinciai) and the forest narrows behind it. To the north the enemy had already entered the forest west of Pakepsteniat. Schroedter decided to launch a counterattack into the attacking enemy force (roughly the size of a regiment) and was able to smash it, inflicting about 80 enemy dead and capturing 120 prisoners.

Despite the lack of heavy weapons the battalion continued its push. Despite the Soviets having moved up tanks and AT guns by this point, Schroedter’s men were nonetheless able to restore the old main battle line and free a trapped Kampfgruppe of Volksgrenadiers led by Hauptmann Licht. They were able to hold the newly won line until about 03:00 the next day, until the threat of encirclement forced them to retreat.

In light of the battalion’s success during this battle Schroedter would later receive the Knight’s Cross.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Starting in mid-February 1945 the reinforced Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung “Großdeutschland” had the mission of holding a vital road bridge (Passargebrücke) along the Elbing-Königsberg Autobahn south of Braunsberg against the attacking Soviets who were moving in from the west. They were able to hold a bridgehead across the bridge for three days of bitter combat against a reinforced Soviet tank brigade and rifle division, and were able to inflict heavy losses in doing so. One Sturmgeschütz attached to the Kampfgruppe managed to destroy 10 enemy tanks on its own. On the third day Schroedter was wounded and had to be evacuated to hospital. Nevertheless, in lieu of his men’s success in holding a key position for so long Schroedter would be recognized with the award of the Oakleaves to his Knight’s Cross.
808th Award.

Sources

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