- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberleutnant der Reserve (1st Lieutenant of Reserves)
- Führer, 14. Kompanie, III. Bataillon, Grenadier-Regiment 147, 65. Infanterie-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- July 20th, 1944
The following press article describes why Finkbeiner would be awarded the Knight’s Cross…
“Fifty enemy tanks destroyed - Knight’s Cross for Oblt.d.R. W. Finkbeiner from Beeden:
During the heavy combat in Italy during the end of May and start of June 1944 the 65. Infanterie-Division particularly distinguished itself, as reported in the Wehrmachtbericht of the 02.06.1944. In this unit Oberleutnant Finkbeiner led the infantry-gun Kompanie of a Grenadier Regiment.
A particularly glorious day for him was on the 30.05.1944. The morning had barely dawned when an enemy attack burst forward. More than 60 tanks rolled forward. But they encountered bitter resistance. Rushing from gun to gun, Oberleutnant Finkbeiner directed his Kompanie with such skill and energy that ultimately 16 burning still wrecks lay in front of and among the friendly positions. The remainder fell back - the attack was defeated.
However as early as the afternoon of the same day a strong enemy tank force once again tried to force a breakthrough following a half-hour drumfire. The situation threatened to become dangerous. But then Oberleutnant Finkbeiner brought up his III. Zug (which had initially been deployed elsewhere) on his own initiative. He personally led their crews. Despite heavy enemy fire he brought these guns into the firing positions he had previously reconnoitred. It was just in time! The guns located further forward had already been overrun. However now the III. Zug intervened in the fighting at just the right moment. Tank after tank fell victim to the unit, until the remainder finally turned back.
Thus Oberleutnant Finkbeiner had prevented an imminent breakthrough twice. In seven days of battle from the end of May to the start of June his Kompanie destroyed 50 enemy tanks, thereby raising its total of enemy armour destroyed in Italy to 70. The distinguished Kompanie commander was awarded the Knight’s Cross by the Führer.”