- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Kommandeur, Heeres-Flak-Bataillon 606, Luftwaffe
- Awarded on:
- July 23rd, 1942
Briel’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…
“Major Briel has already been recommended for the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross back in December 1941 due to his battle-deciding deeds of bravery during the battle in the Marmarica. He was granted the German Cross in Gold in the place of this award.
Major Briel has again distinguished himself in an outstanding way during the ongoing offensive. After the tough attack to encircle the heavily fortified enemy strongpoint at Bir Hacheim from the south had been completed he received a mission on the night of the 11./12.06.1942. He was to help prevent both enemy relief attempts from the outside and breakout attempts from the inside. To this end Strongpoint Briel was created, and it contained the 1./le.Inf.Rgt. 155, 1./Fla 613 and 4./le.Inf.Rgt. 155. Its complement of weapons totalled: 5 Pak (7.62 cm, Russian), 8 Flak (2 cm), 1 anti-tank rifle, 1 heavy machine-gun, 7 light machine-guns, 1 heavy mortar.
Briel’s leadership and initiative enabled this mission to be completed successfully despite the pitch-dark night and the wide area over which he was assigned. When the enemy commenced a breakout attempt from Bir Hacheim towards the south at 08:15 he repulsed all the strong enemy attempts to force their way through over the course of a four-and-a-half hour battle. In this time Major Briel demonstrated outstanding personal bravery and ruthlessness; and without his efforts it wouldn’t have been possible to bring about the almost total annihilation of the enemy, who lost 50 dead, 124 wounded, 418 prisoners, 19 guns, 1 quadruple AA gun, 7 carriages and 110 vehicles.
This success was of great importance for the wider conduct of combat in the area. With the destruction of the hostile elements at Hacheim it was now possible to conduct further operations against El Adem without concern for a threat from the south.
Briel would go on to distinguish himself once again while serving as the Division’s Vorausabteilung commander during the pursuit of the enemy from Marsa Matruk towards the east within the time period 29.06.-02.07.1942. He launched a bold night thrust with his Vorausabteilung that scattered the enemy rearguards and enabled the Division to advance a distance of over 120 km within 12 hours. With this the best possible conditions were created for the continuation of operations on the left wing of the Armee.
Major Briel seems to be particularly worthy of receiving this high award. So far his Bataillon has destroyed/captured 62 aircraft, 48 armoured vehicles, 48 guns, 253 vehicles and 1300 prisoners.”