- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberst (Colonel)
- Kommandeur, Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 218, 7. Gebirgs-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- December 9th, 1944
Schuler's Knight's Cross recommendation reads as follows...
"Major Schuler is a daredevil who inspires his troops to higher achievements with his shining presence. As early as 04.09.1939 he received the Iron Cross Second Class as a company commander for his decisiveness during the crossing of the Warta river.
His established and trained I./Infanterie-Regiment 206, which Schuler led since the start of the Russian campaign, bears the stamp of his strong personality. During the attacks of the Division from 15.07.-17.07.1941 he and his troops formed the spearhead of the Division, and later also successfully defeated stubborn enemy counterattacks backed by armour. For his success here he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class on the battlefield.
On 10.08.1941 Major Schuler took over the leadership of his regiment after its commander had fallen in action. He did so at a most difficult time, specifically during the regiment's first offensive battles in the heavily fortified areas in front of Kiev. Nonetheless he was able to gain firm control over his new command and excelled in the following weeks of heavy offensive and defensive fighting. He particularly distinguished himself during the 4-day attack on the south front of Kiev from 16.09.-19.09.1941. Each day Major Schuler proved himself through prudent leadership and exemplary bravery at the head of his regiment.
For the third day of the attack (18.09.) his regiment was intended to attack west of Myzhelovka with the Schwerpunkt on the left wing. They were to break through a heavily defended chain of lakes and push through to the northern edge of Kiev's city forest. The regiment began the attack at 11:00, with the I. Bataillon attacking on the left. On the right wing, the III. Bataillon was to conduct reconnaissance probes against the enemy field positions. The II. Bataillon formed the reserve, and Schuler placed it behind the left wing.
The first reports of the I. Bataillon indicated that the chain of lakes had been pierced, suggesting good progress in the attack. As such Schuler rushed forward, but by the time he arrived at 12:00 he found a completely different situation. Only very weak elements had penetrated into the enemy field positions, and these could go no further. The rest of the battalion was pinned down by MG and artillery fire from several previously unidentified bunkers and they suffered heavy losses. By contrast, at about 12:30 Major Schuler received a message from the III. Bataillon. It stated that they had penetrated into the enemy positions with powerful raiding parties, encountering only weak resistance. Upon hearing this, Schuler recognized that the Schwerpunkt of the attack had to be shifted to the right wing of the regiment, in contrast to the original plan of attack. In doing so he accepted the risk stemming from the as yet unknown situation on both sides of the regiment's attack.
With vigour and haste the regimental commander executed his decision. He personally directed the III. Bataillon to attack the heavily defended Hill 173 and threw in his reserve battalion in support of the right wing. The ever lengthening flank of the attacking force was by now becoming increasingly vulnerable. Major Schuler nonetheless stuck to his goal, personally deploying the companies of his II. Bataillon against the NE sector of the Kiev city forest. The deep flank and rear of his regiment would be the concern of follow-up divisional elements. When the regimental commander returned to the III. Bataillon to oversee its advance to Hill 173, the commander of the battalion was fatally wounded by a tree sniper while standing right beside Schuler. The regimental commander thus decided to temporarily take over the command of III. Bataillon, which was at this stage the primary unit in the attack. He succeeded in breaking through a total of six enemy defensive positions in his defensive web north of Myzhelovka, and seized Hill 173 by 15:30. During the course of the day the hard fighting enemy had once again suffered heavy losses. This day the regiment was able to capture 200 prisoners, 21 guns/mortars and 44 machine guns.
Through his independent decision, quickly put into action by Major Schuler with outstanding bravery, the critical enemy positions on the southern front of Kiev had been broken through and the way opened up for the attack on the city itself.
Due to the strong threat from the flanks during the attack of the regiment on this day, as well as the increasing losses suffered during the attack, a decision to temporarily halt the attack would not have been condemned. However in doing so the chances of a breakthrough in this place on this day would probably have been forsaken, and the enemy would have precious time to rest and be better prepared for any future attacks.
The bold and independent decision of Major Schuler thus brought about decisive success for the Division. The successful attack of the regiment on the afternoon of 18.09. despite the heavy enemy resistance is primarily thanks to the excellent personal bravery of the regimental commander. His leadership can also be credited for his unit's successes on the 4th day of the attack (19.09.), whereupon his regiment along with the Infanterie-Regiment 218 was once more able to break through several enemy field positions, finally penetrating into the city at around 10:00. And by 13:15 Schuler along with the forward elements of his troops had reached the Dnieper bank in Kiev itself.
Thus, on the grounds of his record of brave deeds (which culminated in his leadership being displayed at its best on 18.09.) I hold Major Schuler as being particularly worthy of the high honour of the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross."
Vorläufiges Besitzzeugnis was dated on December 15th, 1944.