Zastrow, Max

Date of birth:
October 12th, 1922 (Vienna, Austria)
Date of death:
November 1st, 2014 (Bad Wimpfen/Baden-Württemberg, Germany)
Nationality:
Austrian (1918-1938, Republic)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Gefreiter
Unit:
1. / Pionier-Batallion 81
Awarded on:
May 6th, 1943
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Gefreiter
Unit:
2. / Pionier-Batallion 81
Awarded on:
February 8th, 1944
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Gefreiter
Unit:
MG-Schütze 2. / Pioniere-Battalion 81 / 45.Infanterie-Division / 9.Armee
Awarded on:
March 6th, 1944
Action:
On the 16.02.1944, Zastrow and his assault troop was ordered to clear a line of Soviet bunkers located in the bridgehead they had formed over the Berezina near Bobruisk. However almost as soon as the attack began the leader of the party became a casualty to Soviet MG fire, as were a number of the other German soldiers. It thus appeared as if the attack was already defeated.

However Gefreite Zastrow was determined to continue. His flamethrower abandoned, he raced and crawled towards a Soviet bunker armed with only six hand grenades. From a range of less than ten meters he was able to toss one of these into the bunker's embrasure and knocked it out.

He then crawled into the trench immediately adjacent to the destroyed bunker, found an SMG and then began to clear out the surrounding positions. Before long he was wounded in the left forearm but nonetheless continued to stay in the fight, clearing out the Soviet fortifications in bitter close combat until reinforced by additional German troops.

For his bravery on this day, which was instrumental in breaking the Soviet position, Zastrow was awarded the Knight's Cross.
Details:
Preliminary document dated on March 10th 1944.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources

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