- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberfeldwebel (Warrant Officer)
- Zugführer 8.(MG) / Grenadier-Regiment 97 / 46.Infanterie-Division / Heeresgruppe Süd
- Awarded on:
- March 7th, 1943
Near the start of 1943 the II./Grenadier-Regiment 97 was ordered to defend the so-called Spielberg. The loss of this hill would have enabled the Soviets to enter into the Pschecha valley and thereby capture the strategically vital railway towards Maikop. On the Spielberg itself there was a Zug from 7. Kompanie located in forward strongpoint. Behind this two 8-cm mortars and 2 heavy machine-guns of 8. Kompanie were located in another strongpoint. Between these two strongpoints were about 40 Grenadiers altogether.
It was in this context that Oberfeldwebel Eiden would be awarded the Knight’s Cross. He wrote the following first-hand account of this action…
“On the 11.01.1943 the Russians attacked the Spielberg with overwhelming force. Their numbers proved too great, and they succeeded in entering both strongpoints and eliminating their bravely defending garrisons. I personally recognized the danger this presented. With the available men at hand I sealed off the enemy penetration at the third strongpoint, thereby bringing the enemy attack to a halt for the day. At around 05:00 on the next morning the Russians renewed their assault, but their attack was once again stopped. However that wasn’t enough for me. I thought to myself that the mountain must fall back into our hands. I gathered my few available men on my own initiative and stormed forwards. We overran the enemy and broke into the second strongpoint with a Hurra. I then retook the first strongpoint, and with this the entire height was back under friendly control. The danger that the enemy would thrust through to Maikop via Ssamurskaja was averted.”
Eiden would conduct the counterthrust mentioned in this account with only an Unteroffizier and 8 men. On the evening of the same day the Bataillon reserve succeeded in breaking through to Eiden’s small group (which had been encircled in the meantime) and therefore enabled it to be resupplied. Elements of 8. Kompanie under Eiden’s command would continue to hold the Spielberg until the 20.01.1943, after which the planned retreat movement from the Caucasus began.
It should also be noted that Eiden’s account is incorrect as to the dates. The aforementioned action took place on the 10.-11.01.1943.