Rüngeler, Wilhelm

Date of birth:
November 11th, 1914 (Unna/Westphalia, Germany)
Date of death:
October 16th, 2001 (Arnsberg-Neheim/North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Hauptmann (Captain)
Unit:
Kommandeur Sturmpionier-Bataillon 178/78. Sturm-Division
Awarded on:
October 11th, 1943
Action:
On 22.07.1943 the Sturm-Pionier-Bataillon 178 (with a strength of about 150 Pioniers) was subordinated to the 25. Panzergrenadier-Division in the area north of Bolchoff. On 25.07.1943 the Soviets launched an attack against the battalion’s position with infantry and tanks in the early morning. The Germans were able to separate the enemy infantry from the tanks, and the enemy tanks rolled over the German trenches and into the rear areas. Hauptmann Rüngeler ordered his troops to hold fire so as to not reveal the location of the German foxholes to the enemy. He then picked out 7 battle-hardened Pioniers and moved to engage the enemy tanks in close combat.

With a rifle in hand, Rüngeler first eliminated the commander of the enemy tanks through a headshot. He then hurled a T-Mine under a T-60 and then used self-propelled AT grenades fired from his pistol to disable a T-34 and two further T-60s. The remaining Soviets tanks fled back to their own lines. By this time the rest of the battalion had succeeded in beating back the attacking Soviet infantry.

For his success during this battle, during which he would be badly wounded, Hauptmann Rüngeler was awarded the Knight’s Cross.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources