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Carpaneto, Alfredo

Date of birth:
January 4th, 1915 (Rome, Italy)
Date of death:
January 26th, 1945 (Groß Blumenau (East Prussia), Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

In service from September 18th 1939.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 24th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
October 3rd, 1944
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Unteroffizier der Reserve (Corporal of Reserves)
Unit:
Panzerkommandant 2. / schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502 (Tiger) / Abteilung Samland
Awarded on:
March 28th, 1945
Carpaneto’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“Unteroffizier Carpaneto has accomplished several outstanding deeds of bravery. On the 10.10.1944 elements of 2. Kompanie detrained under special circumstances on the tracks between the Kollatten and Försterei railway stations (before Memel). The transport was among the last of a close succession of transport trains making their way to Memel in darkness. The locomotive of the Tiger transport thus derailed in the process of moving. As a result, no locomotive was available for the shunting movements during unloading. Instead there was only a Bergepanther available, which was loaded in the middle of the train. The Bergepanther was located on a relatively long flatcar, and so it used the intermediate supports of a beam to push away the rear section of the train. This gave it enough room to be lowed from the wagon and onto the tracks. With the help of the Bergepanther it was then possible to break up the train in such a way that the Tigers could be unloaded in the same way. The wheeled vehicles were unloaded via a side ramp built by the Pionier Zug. Of the unloaded Tigers, 2 were operational. These belonged to the commander of the 2. Kompanie and Unteroffizier Carpaneto.

By orders of the XXVIII. Armee-Korps, both vehicles were immediately sent to the area east of Truschellen, south of Karlshof. There they were subordinated to the I./Grenadier-Regiment 209. But before reaching the operations area the vehicle of the Kompanie commander was knocked out by a enemy tank from the flank, with the result that Carpaneto was fully on his own. Carpaneto immediately recognized the danger. 13 Soviet tanks had exited their assembly area in the forest 800 metres south of Karlshof, and were now beginning an attack against the flank of the I./Grenadier-Regiment 209. On his own initiative, and with immediate readiness for battle, Unteroffizier Carpaneto engaged the 13 enemy tanks even though he only had 6 armour piercing rounds. Within less than 2 minutes he had destroyed 4 of the attackers and forced the remainder to flee. By this brave performance Carpaneto prevented the collapse of the Memel bridgehead front while it was still in the process of formation.

This outstanding deed of bravery by Unteroffizier Carpaneto is only now being made known. More recently, on the 26.01.1945, Unteroffizier Carpaneto again distinguished himself through an extraordinary feat of arms.

Enemy tanks were spotted coming from the east and heading in the direction of Kadgiehnen. The Tiger group of Leutnant Rinke, a sub-unit of Kampfgruppe Oberstleutnant von Bernhardi, stood ready with the bulk of its armour at the village entrance to Kadgiehnen. Unteroffizier Carpaneto occupied a security position on the western entrance with his Panzer. During the early morning 2 Soviet T-34s suddenly appeared from the south, thrusting along the Königsberg-Kadgiehnen road. These were destroyed at close range by Carpaneto. He subsequently maneuvered into a better firing position south of Kadgiehnen, and as he did so another 18 tanks rolled forwards. Carpaneto immediately took up the firefight, and he destroyed another 4 tanks within 5 minutes as the rest of Leutnant Rinke’s group changed position to his hill. During a new position change his Panzer broke through an icy swamp pond and sunk 1.2 metres deep into it. In these situation he was attacked by 2 enemy tanks, however he destroyed both of them. His Tiger was later recovered by means of a second Tiger tank.

This bold deed of Carpaneto, during which he showed determined and ruthless aggression, is a particularly high example of battlefield merit. Even though he was quite surprised during his defense of Kadgiehnen he nonetheless remained at his post with sheer force of will. Carpaneto destroyed 8 of the 15 enemy tanks that were claimed by the Tiger group, and by his actions he brought major relief to the hard pressed defense of Kampfgruppe Oberstleutnant von Bernhardi.

Unteroffizier Carpaneto died a heroes death on the afternoon of the 26.01.1945 near Schönwalde. While operating with the Füsilier-Bataillon 58 he was killed by an anti-tank rifle.

Unteroffizier Carpaneto achieved a final total of 35 enemy tanks destroyed.”
Submitted on March 16th 1945.
Preliminary document on March 30th 1945 to XVII.Armeekorps, Vienna.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources

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