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Frank, Robert

Date of birth:
October 18th, 1910 (Erlangen/Bavaria, Germany)
Date of death:
April 13th, 1944 (near Horodyszcze/Ternopil Oblast, Soviet Union)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
Unit:
Kommandeur, II. Bataillon, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 20, 9. SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen", Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
June 4th, 1944
Frank’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“On the 11.04.1944 the II./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 20, under the command of SS-Sturmbannführer Frank, received a new mission within the context of Kampfgruppe Müller’s operations. It was to form an assault troop, reinforced by a Pionier-Zug, and capture the bridge east of Horodyszce in a coup-de-main. Meanwhile the bulk of the Bataillon was to capture Hill 367, located immediately to the south of Horodyszce. Hill 367 was a key position for the further attack of the Division against Tarnopol.

After the surprise attack against the bridge failed, the only way forward was to capture Hill 367. This would enable a bridge to be created west of Hill 367, which in turn would open the way for the further operations of the Division’s armoured group.

Sturmbannführer Frank and his Bataillon succeeded in crossing the Wosuska river and reaching the western slope of Hill 367 in a boldly executed attack despite the heavy enemy artillery, mortar and infantry gun fire. From here on out position after position was taken from the bitterly defending Russians in fierce close combat, and several strong enemy counterattacks were repulsed during the process. 3 trench positions were taken in close combat, but by this time 2 Kompanie commanders and 5 Zug commanders had fallen out due to severe injuries. In the battle for the fourth trench line Sturmbannführer Frank personally led the assault, one in which all Grenadier Kompanien were involved. With rifle in hand he stormed forward with his troops, and this fourth trench system was ultimately captured.

However coordinated hostile artillery/mortar fire, combined with a strong enemy counterthrust, forced our troops to yield the fourth trench line. Undeterred, Sturmbannführer Frank launched a determined counterthrust during the night that resulted in the definitive capture of this last trench system.

Further strong enemy counterattacks, also launched at night, were repeatedly repulsed. As such the hill remained firmly in the hands of the Bataillon on the next morning and in the following days.

During the last enemy attacks on the night of the 12./13.04.1944 Sturmbannführer Frank died with a rifle in hand. He was killed via a headshot while in the foremost trench line.

The control of Hill 367 alone created the necessary conditions for the further actions of the Division, of which most important was the creation of a bridge west of Hill 367. With the hill under friendly control the armoured group of the Division was able to continue with its attack against Tarnopol.

Sturmbannführer Frank’s personal bravery, combat readiness, and above all the realization of his mission’s importance were the decisive factors for the continuation of the Division’s battle.”
Awarded posthumously.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
Unit:
Kommandeur, II. Bataillon, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 20, 9. SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen", Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
June 15th, 1944
Ehrenblattspange des Heeres und Waffen-SS
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 16th, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 2nd, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse

Sources

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