- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Oberführer der Reserve
- Kommandeur, SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger, Waffen-SS
- Awarded on:
- September 30th, 1944
Dirlewanger’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…
“On the 24.04.1944 strong partisan forces had massed between the Beresina and Tschernitza rivers, and had heavily dug themselves in. Fierce enemy fire from heavy weapons and small arms initially prevented a frontal attack. SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger made the decision to take advantage of the natural cover provided by the terrain and attack the enemy in the flank and rear. Fighting in the foremost line, and showing great determination and personal energy, he succeeded in surprising the enemy, cutting off their retreat and inflicting severe losses upon them.
During the general withdrawal movements from the central sector of the Russian front SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger decided to occupy a blocking position southeast of Lida with elements of his Regiment on the 07.07.1944. In doing this he tied down the hotly pursuing the enemy forces for quite some time, which enabled his and other supply troops to make their way along the Lisa-Grodno road without sustaining significant losses. He fought at the head of his men and gave them an example of decisiveness and determination, which inspired them to defend bitterly against a much larger enemy force. However the strong enemy pressure and heavy artillery barrages forced him to withdraw in order to avoid even greater friendly losses. Yet his aim to enable the straggling elements of the Regiment to follow him had been achieved. Without his bold action these would otherwise have faced encirclement and certain captivity at the hands of the enemy.
On the 05.08.1944 the SS-Sonderregiment Dirlewanger was deployed to the western edge of Warsaw to help crush the revolt of Polish and Bolshevik partisans in the city. However heavy urban combat developed right after leaving the jump-off positions. Well camouflaged and barricaded rifle positions of the bandits had to be overpowered. It was only the tactical abilities, boldness and ruthlessness of SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger that ensured that this attack stayed in motion and reached its ordered daily objectives. Here as well SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger showed great enthusiasm, personally crushing enemy resistance nests alongside his men with a weapon in hand. He was an example of bravery, courage and fulfillment of duty for his troops. Barricades and minefields along the Litzmann road initially held up a further advance. After the intervention of Stukas, Panzers and other heavy weapons SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger stormed forwards with his men. Here he and his soldiers inflicted heavy losses on the enemy by throwing hand grenades, and forced them to give up their positions. Over the course of the continued heavy urban combat the bold attitude of SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger carried the attack in a purposeful fashion. Already on the 08.08.1944, after the Adolf Hitler Platz had been taken and the Wehrmacht headquarters relieved, the Vistula river was reached and contact restored with the frontline on the opposite side. SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger went on to show great military skill, bravery and fearlessness during the destruction of enemy forces in the Old Market pocket on the 02.09.1944. Always fighting in the foremost line with his men, he eliminated hostile resistance nests and snipers. The complete liquidation of this pocket was already completed by midday on the 03.09.1944.
On the 04.09.1944 the thrust against the eastern edge of the southern pocket and the clearing of the Vistula bank began. Heavy enemy fire did not hold SS-Oberführer Dirlewanger back. Once again fighting in the foremost line, he inspired his men to swiftly advance forwards through his fearless example. In this manner he helped bring about the clearing of the Vistula bank, notwithstanding the friendly losses.
Through his repeated deeds SS-Oberführer has shown that he belongs to the bravest of the brave, especially considering that he came out of the First World War in a 50% disabled state. I therefore recommend him for the award of the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross.”