- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
- Kommandeur SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 / 5.SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking" / IV.SS-Panzerkorps / Heeresgruppe Süd
- Awarded on:
- April 5th, 1945
Darges’ Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…
“SS-Obersturmbannführer Darges has led the armoured spearhead of the Division since the beginning of the fighting to relieve Budapest. In this capacity he has achieved decisive successes for the continued combat through his skillful combat leadership in the unfavourable terrain of the Vertes mountains.
The enemy was quick to respond to our surprise thrust on the southern slopes of the mountains, and on the 04.01.1945 they created a strong defensive line held by fresh forces (above all tanks and assault guns).
As a result of these new enemy forces, as well as terrain difficulties, our intended thrust towards Bieske via Csabdi was prevented (even though Darges’ Gruppe had by then destroyed 5 tanks and 3 assault guns and broken through several anti-tank gun lines). Darges correctly perceived that a continued advance would be impossible on the next day due to the continuous stream of enemy reinforcements coming from Many. Because of this he decided that the best course of action would be to force a breakthrough on the same night.
Driving at the head of his armoured group, he skillfully bypassed a tank reinforced AT gun barrier and launched a surprise thrust towards the southeast (specifically Vacztely) via Hills 264 and 269. He captured the commanding hill near Hegis (2 km NW of Bieske) and struck against the road Many-Bieske. Here Darges and the lead vehicles of his group encountered a hostile column marching towards Bieske, and from this column they destroyed 12 trucks, 4 artillery pieces (12.2 cm), 4 anti-tank guns (7.62 cm) and a large number of horse-drawn wagons.
Undeterred by the enemy forces in his rear and the strong flanking threat from the east, Darges then carried on the attack against the Hegis castle (from which his armoured spearhead was taking heavy fire from anti-tank guns and artillery) and captured it. In the process 7 enemy anti-tank guns (7.62 cm) were destroyed, and the enemy was thrown back towards Bieske. However at daybreak Darges was forced to establish a hedgehog defensive position around the castle after his advanced armoured spearhead came under a concentrated enemy attack.
Over the course of the whole day the enemy tried to eliminate this group, which was blocking their main supply road. To this end they attacked it with infantry and tank forces supported by strong artillery and mortar fire. However SS-Obersturmbannführer Darges was able to inspire his Kampfgruppe to resist steadfastly through his own brave example, and after every repulsed enemy break-in he reorganized his Panzers and weak escorting infantry. By repeatedly eliminating small groups of enemy armour he succeeded in inflicting heavy losses on the foe.
On this day 13 enemy tanks were destroyed, among other things. However the enemy pressure increased on the night of the 05./06.01.1945. Enemy forces made it as far as the castle courtyard a total of 6 times, however each time they were ejected after fierce close combat. Only in the morning of the 06.01.1945 was it possible to resupply Kampfgruppe Darges with an armoured convoy, and on the following night the remaining elements of the Division were finally able to reestablish contact.
This bold thrust by SS-Obersturmbannführer Darges forced a breakthrough of the last wooded foothills of the Vertes mountains. And through his tireless resistance he secured an extremely vital position for the relief of Budapest.
During the time period 01.-07.01.1945 the armoured group led by Darges destroyed/captured the following enemy materiel:
46 tanks and assault guns
61 anti-tank guns
6 artillery pieces
60 horse-drawn wagons.”