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Buhr, Martin

Date of birth:
April 3rd, 1913 (Marienhafe/Hanover, Germany)
Date of death:
August 23rd, 1988 (Karlstadt/Bavaria, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
Kommandeur, Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202, Heer
Awarded on:
September 11th, 1943
On the 17.08.1943 the Soviets launched a decisive thrust with 6 rifle divisions and 2 tank corps against the German 68. Infanterie-Division in its positions south of Sumy. At the time the Division was being supported by the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202. The Soviet pressure was particularly noticeable on the right flank of the Division, and in response the German infantry pulled back to the railway embankment southeast of Nishnia Syrovatka while being covered by the Sturmgeschützen of the 1. and 3. Batterien. However these two units suffered heavily in the process, and both Batterie commanders became casualties. The main Soviet spearhead drove towards the village and railway station at Nishnia Syrovatka. If they managed to take this location then it would be possible for them to turn south and roll up the entire defending position along the railway embankment.

It was at this point that Major Buhr entered the battlefield. He took control over both of the leaderless Batterien and launched a counterthrust on his own initiative despite the lack of escorting infantry. With all guns blazing he thrust into the Soviet forces, unexpectedly broke into a hostile tank assembly area and smashed it. By doing so he temporarily brought the Soviet attack here to a halt.

Immediately afterwards the Sturmgeschützen were summoned to the southern corner of the railway embankment position. There the Soviets had taken a railway station and threatened to compromise the whole position. Buhr led his Sturmgeschützen there with full haste and ejected the Soviets from the railway station area. But no sooner had this been achieved when Buhr received word that the Soviets had renewed their attack at Nishnia Syrovatka. He thus rushed northwards along the railway embankment with the remaining 3 operational Sturmgeschützen and into the Soviet T-34 formation. He destroyed 4 enemy tanks before his own vehicle became immobilized. Buhr thus entered the last remaining operational Sturmgeschütz and continued to prosecute the battle.

The German infantry ultimately received orders to withdraw. Major Buhr went on to keep the attacking forces in check long enough for this maneuver to be completed.

On this day the Germans claimed that 101 Soviet tanks were destroyed in the sector of the 68. Infanterie-Division. 48 of these were attributed to the Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202. Major Buhr was responsible for 14 of these tank kills, which raised his personal total of destroyed enemy armour to 29. He would later be awarded the Knight’s Cross for his actions on this day.
Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 202 was a Heeres-unit that was round September 1943 part of the LIII. Armeekorps
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

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