- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberfeldwebel (Warrant Officer)
- Zugführer 1. / Divisions-Füsilier-Bataillon 197 / 197.Infanterie-Division
- Awarded on:
- March 26th, 1944
By the first days of March 1944 the men of the 197. Infanterie-Division had been engaged in over a week of hard defensive combat near Vitebsk. At this time a group of 400 Russians attacked the southwestern part of the Nowiki bridgehead, a location that had previously not been a major battle zone. The defenders here numbered only 12 men that were now led by Oberfeldwebel Baum following the falling out of the Schwadron commander.
The following newspaper article goes on to describe the actions that followed, which ultimately resulted in Baum being awarded the Knight’s Cross…
“Oberfeldwebel Baum realized that the much larger enemy force would overrun his men, who were by now exhausted from the rigours of both combat and weather. But, also knowing that ultimately the best defense is a good offense, he made the daring decision to take a chance and plunge into the Soviet attackers with his Füsiliers. Himself an inspiring example of determination and death-defying aggression for his men, he gathered up his small group and then rushed the Russians with neither trenches or cover. The enemy was totally surprised, and they either died where they stood or fled before the ear-shattering bursts of machine-gun fire. 136 dead Russians would cover the small battlefield, and in the following days the Russians would launch no further offensive action in this sector. Baum’s initiative and bravery ensured that the bridgehead could be held, and his actions here were among those that led to the 197. Infanterie-Division receiving its worthy recognition in the Wehrmachtbericht of the 08.03.1944.”