Hurlebaus, August

Date of birth:
June 1st, 1921 (Rommelshausen/Waiblingen, Germany)
Date of death:
June 29th, 1944 (Bobruisk, USSR)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Obergefreiter (Corporal)
Unit:
Richtschütze, 2. Kompanie, schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 665
Awarded on:
February 23rd, 1944
At the start of February 1944 August Hurlebaus was a gunner in one of the first new Jagdpanther units, which was deployed to the southern sector of the Eastern front between Pripet and Beresina. Shortly after arriving the Soviets commenced a massive artillery barrage on a sector of German frontline, which forced the German infantry to retreat as the Soviets began a major assault with their own infantry and tanks. Hurlebaus and his Jagdpanther were sent into the fray, with the vehicle being very well camouflaged and almost impossible for the enemy to make out. In the ensuing battle, Obergefreiter Hurlebaus destroyed 17 enemy tanks in two separate actions, of which the first 8 were knocked out in the space of just five minutes. Hurlebaus himself describes these actions as follows…

“4 tanks drove laterally across from me, and I destroyed these one after another. After this 2 more tanks began driving back and forth on a small hill at a range of about 1200-1300 m. I swiftly had them in my sights, two shots, two hits! Meanwhile 2 further tanks had appeared. Once again I was able to swiftly bring down my shots without having the turn the vehicle around (which always takes time). Everything happened faster than I could tell, with these 8 shots happening over just five minutes. Subsequently, 7 tanks began to open fire on me. I destroyed all of these at a range of 400-1600 m. 2 additional tanks that were attempting to outflank me were also knocked out via shots to their side.”

For his swift and skillful gunnery, which enabled the frontline situation to be stabilized, Hurlebaus would be awarded the Knight’s Cross.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources