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Beckmann, Josef (Füsilier-Regiment 39)

Date of birth:
May 4th, 1920 (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)
Date of death:
December 6th, 2001 (Breidenbach, the Netherlands)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
October 23rd, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
December 18th, 1941
Silver version.
Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
August 20th, 1943
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Obergefreiter (Corporal)
Unit:
Stab, Füsilier-Regiment 39, 26. Infanterie-Division, Heer
Awarded on:
September 7th, 1943
On the 19.08.1943 Obergefreiter Beckmann especially distinguished himself in the area west of Orel. Under covering fire from Gefreiter Josef Löhr, he destroyed a total of 4 Soviet tanks (1 T-34, 1 Matilda Mk. II, 1 additional tank and 1 KV-1) one after the other with mines over a three hour period. For this reason he was awarded the Knight’s Cross, and his actions were thereafter reported in the following divisional order of the day (dated 11.09.1943)…

“The Führer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht has awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross to:

Obergefreiter Beckmann, III./Füs.-Rgt. 39. Obergefreiter Beckmann is the 12th Knight’s Cross Holder of the Division. On the 19.08.1943 he destroyed 4 heavy Russian tanks in close combat near Butschok within a three hour period. This bold deed initiated the start of a successful effort to seal off an enemy penetration, and it formed the basis of a later successfully prosecuted counterattack.

The Division congratulates its youngest Knight’s Cross Holder on this high honour, and wishes him further soldierly luck.”

This deed was also recounted in an Armee order of the day (dated 24.09.1943), an excerpt of which reads as follows…

“… d) Obergefreiter Beckmann in a Füsilier-Regiment. This was for his actions on the 19.08.1943, while he was assigned to anti-tank defense. He left his ambush position on his own initiative, destroyed 4 enemy tanks despite ferocious resistance and thereby created the conditions for a successful counterthrust.”

Obergefreiter Beckmann had the following to say about the events at this time: “Unfortunately my comrade Jupp Löhr died in close combat against a new tank, and I also wear the Knight’s Cross for him.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources

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