- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Feldwebel (Staff Sergeant)
- Zugführer, 14. Kompanie, II. Bataillon, Füsilier-Regiment 26, 30. Infanterie-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- August 31st, 1943
The following press article describes why Fasel would be awarded the Knight’s Cross…
“During the middle of August 1943 (18.-20.08.) south of Lake Ilmen, Feldwebel Walter Fasel destroyed 9 Soviet tanks at close range while positioned alone with his Pak. Then, attacking on his own initiative with a few Flensburger Füsiliers, he threw back the Soviet forces which had penetrated the lines at multiple locations via counterthrusts.
In this engagement, which took place around Staraya Russa, waves of Soviet infantry with the support of 10 tanks had already approached to within 150 metres when Fasel intervened. He rushed to the only still operational Pak, the crew of which had been knocked out (save for the gunner). It’s aiming device had likewise been smashed. The messenger of his Zug HQ also had to help serve the gun in this situation. Using the emergency sight, the Feldwebel took the foremost enemy tanks (by now only 50 metres away) under fire and destroyed them.
One after another, 7 enemy tanks were shot up. After every 3-4 rounds Fasel would immediately move his gun under cover so that it would not be struck by enemy gunfire. After the last tank, the 8th, lay immobilized before the friendly position about 50 metres away, the remaining tanks turned around. Despite this the enemy infantry went on to penetrate the friendly positions along a breadth of 200-250 metres. Along with 4 Füsiliers Fasel ejected the enemy from the trenches in close combat. On the evening of the same day the Feldwebel destroyed a further Soviet tank (which had received track damage in front of the friendly barbed wire line) with a close-combat tank hunter unit. Fasel immediately cleaned up three enemy penetrations. Walter Fasel then took shelter in the so-called ‘Russian bunker’, the only still fully functioning bunker in the sector, with the remainder of his Zug as well as other men. They did this during the night after they had built up new supporting beams in the bunker after it had received a direct hit.
At 11:00 on the next day the enemy once again broke into the friendly trenches. Feldwebel Fasel and 10-12 men fought their way through the Soviets to make contact with the I. Bataillon, but were unable to find this unit.
3 men had fallen by this time, and Fasel had been wounded in the thigh. The soiled weapons were exchanged for enemy machine-pistols that were lying around. They once again moved to the ‘Russian bunker’ via a communications trench to its rear. Another friendly squad was sighted. The ‘Russian bunker’ was thus recaptured in a pincer movement. Fasel was once again wounded on the nape of his neck and the right shoulder, but the frontline was once again in German hands.”
With this achievement Fasel raised his total of enemy tanks destroyed to 14.