- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Hauptmann (Captain)
- III. / Panzer-Regiment "Großdeutschland"
- Awarded on:
- May 9th, 1945
Bayer’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…
“Recommendation for the award of the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross for Hauptmann Bayer. Submitted on the 31.12.1944 by the Panzer-Grenadier-Division Feldherrnhalle.
Hauptmann Bayer has been a well-known Kompanie commander for some time due to his calm, considerate, level-headed and bold leadership.
He was the Abteilung commander of the I./Panzer-Regiment 26 up until the 24.12.1944. In this capacity he achieved major successes in the time period 22.-24.12.1944 on the grounds of his prudent and determined leadership. With only 17 friendly Panzers he inflicted heavy losses on the Russians in this time period, destroying 73 tanks, 26 anti-tank guns and 17 trucks at the cost of only 1 of his own Panzers.
Particularly noteworthy were his actions on the 22.12.1944.
On this day Bayer received the order to capture the village of Pazmand from the north along with the support of an SPW Kompanie of the Panzergrenadier-Regiment 4 and a Sturmhaubitz-Batterie. In a swift advance the Hills 155 and 152 (located south of Vereb) were captured, and the enemy lost 7 tanks and 9 anti-tank guns. 100 prisoners were also brought in. However a front of anti-tank guns and dug-in tanks located northeast of Pazmand stopped any further advance beyond these hills. After this a withdrawal order was issued by Oberst Schmidt, the commander of Panzer-Regiment 11.
However Bayer had recognized significant hostile armour assemblies on both sides of Pazmand. Also, it was no longer possible to transmit messages to the Regiment as the radio had been smashed.
Bayer thus decided to hold the captured ground on his own initiative in order to intercept the Russian attack.
At around 10:30 the Russians launched their attack with about 40 tanks, partially enveloping the hills as they did so. 21 of the attacking tanks and 4 trucks with limbered anti-tank guns were destroyed.
Due to this independent resolve the attack on Komarom was prevented, and the enemy was unable to eliminate our own withdrawing troops (namely the 271. Volksgrenadier-Division as well as elements of the 6. Panzer-Division).”
Generalmajor Pape had the following additional comment concerning these actions…
“The recommendation is warmly endorsed.
Hauptmann Bayer proved to be a particularly bold officer while he was subordinated to Gruppe Pape. His successes in the time period 22.-24.12.1944 were possible due to the continual example he provided for his men through his personal bravery. By doggedly holding onto his newly won position it was possible for Gruppe Philipp (located southwest of Pazmand) to pull back from the enemy. The 271. Volksgrenadier-Division was also given time to set up a new defensive line further to the north along the line Vertes—Acsa—Val.”
According to research by Veit Scherzer, published in 2005 in his book “Die Ritterkreuzträger – Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 – 1945“, the awarding of the RK to Franz Bayer is questionable and not prooved by primary sources.