Beilhack, Xaver

Date of birth:
May 23rd, 1921 (Hundham / Rosenheim, Germany)
Date of death:
January 24th, 1945 (Friedeberg/Pommerania, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Leutnant der Reserve (2nd Lieutenant of Reserves)
Unit:
Führer 9. / Grenadier-Regiment 19 "List" / 7.Infanterie-Division
Awarded on:
November 5th, 1944
At 09:30 on the 12.10.1944 the Soviets launched an opposed river crossing over the Narew river between Gnoijno and Pultusk with 10-12 assault boats. They landed successfully and penetrated into the defending German position. In response Leutnant Beilhack immediately rallied the nearest 5 men around him and ejected 30 enemy soldiers from his position in a lightning swift counterthrust. The 100 remaining Soviet soldiers that had landed were all wiped out by Leutnant Beilhack with the exception of 10 men that escaped to the opposite riverbank. His swift and determined intervention meant that the Bataillon reserve was free to be committed at another position where it was badly needed.

A later landing attempt that was launched half an hour later was crushed by Beilhack (who himself fired an MG) and his men while it was still on the water. All told, this deed by Beilhack was made even more remarkable by the fact that it was done while under heavy mortar fire and because Beilhack had to walk with the aid of a stick due to not having fully recovered from a previous injury. His outstanding bravery here prevented the rolling up of the Bataillon’s front and the consequent establishment of a major Soviet penetration.

Leutnant Beilhack would later receive the Knight’s Cross for this action.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

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