- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Zugführer 2. / Sturmgeschütz-Brigade 232 / Heerestruppe
- Awarded on:
- August 23rd, 1944
On the 20.07.1944 the Kampfgruppe 212. Infanterie-Division, at the time supported by the surviving Sturmgeschütze of the 232. Sturmgeschütz-Brigade, stood at the Lithuanian border. On this day the Soviets launched a massive assault near Sventupe that succeeded in penetrating the German line along a broad front, and the weakness of the German infantry meant that the Soviets were soon able to pour tanks and motorized infantry through the gap. Their distant objective was Memel and the Baltic sea, a move which would have cut off Heeresgruppe Nord completely.
However at this critical moment Wachtmeister Friedel counterattacked the Soviet flank on his own initiative. Along with his Zug he shot up numerous tanks and trucks from the Soviet column, and the shock effect from this furious riposte forced the remainder to flee. Wachtmeister Friedel would go on to hold the newly reconquered frontline with the handful of Grenadiers at hand until reinforcements arrived. For his actions on this day he would be awarded the Knight’s Cross.