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Griesbach, Franz

    Date of birth:
    December 21st, 1892 (Brück/Brandenburg, Germany)
    Date of death:
    September 24th, 1984 (Lage/North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

    Biography

    Promotions:
    August 23rd, 1917: Leutnant;
    1939: Hauptmann;
    August 1st, 1940: Major;
    April 1st, 1942: Oberstleutnant;
    December 1st, 1942: Oberst;
    August 1st, 1944: Generalmajor.

    Career:
    ?: Volksschule,Putlitz, Westprignitz;
    1907 - 1910: Präparandenanstalt, Genthin;
    1910 - 1913: Lehrerseminar;
    April 1st, 1914: Infanterie-Regiment „Prinz Louis Ferdinand von Preußen" (2. Magdeburgisches) Nr. 27;
    1920: Lehrerprüfung;
    ?: Lehrer Sachsen;
    March 1st, 1939: Chef 6./Infanterie-Regiment 12, Halberstadt;
    ? - 1940: Stabsausbildung, Königsbrück;
    1940: Kommandeur Infanterie-Ersatz-Bataillon 467;
    1940: Chef 10./Infanterie-Regiment 467;
    August 1940: Kommandeur Infanterie-Ersatz-Bataillon 467, Blankenburg;
    September 15th, 1941: Kommandeur I./Infanterie-Regiment 391/170. Infanterie-Division;
    April 17th, 1942: Kommandeur Infanterie-Regiment 399;
    February 15th, 1944: Führer 170. Infanterie-Division (m.d.F.b.);
    February 16th, 1944 - April 1945: Reservelazerett Görden;
    April 1945 - October 21st, 1949: Soviet POW.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Major
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, I. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment 391, 170. Infanterie-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    October 22nd, 1941
    Had already received the Iron Cross 2nd Class on Dcember 22nd, 1914.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Major
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, I. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment 391, 170. Infanterie-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    November 22nd, 1941
    Had already received the Iron Cross 1st Class on August 23rd, 1917.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Major
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, I. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment 391, 170. Infanterie-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    March 14th, 1942
    At 06:00 on the 15.01.1942, during the fighting in the Crimea, the Infanterie-Regiment 391 commenced a hasty attack with its I. Bataillon in the lead. The Regiment fought its way past Hill 200 and was able to capture Hill 175 despite a fierce opposing resistance. The Regiment continued its attack on the following day through difficult terrain that was covered in ravines. All throughout this time the Regiment’s commander, Major Griesbach, showed great bravery and command abilities, which were invaluable in enabling the Regiment (which was practically at battalion strength) to succeed in its goals. His skillful leadership meant that Hill 251.4 was also captured, and his independent decision to retake Hill 175 after it had temporarily fallen was of great importance for the continued combat of the Division. His efforts during this time were crucial in ensuring the fall of Feodosia on the 18.01.1942. He would be awarded the Knight’s Cross in recognition.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberst (Colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, Grenadier-Regiment 399, 170. Infanterie-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    May 17th, 1943
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
    The following newspaper article (dated 29/30.05.1943) describes why Griesbach received the Oakleaves…

    “The Oberst was in the Thick of It:

    As was just recently reported, Oberst Franz Griesbach was awarded the Oakleaves. His decisive feat-of-arms was the sealing off of a deep enemy penetration south of Lake Ladoga. We know the following concerning this action;

    Oberst Griesbach launched an assault operation that demonstrated that, although the Soviets may be superior in numbers, they’re much more lacking in the realm of actual combat ability. This deliberate counterattack was initiated on the Oberst’s own initiative and conducted with the battle-weary troops of his III. Bataillon. In the combat which followed the commander fought at the spearhead of the foremost Kompanie, crushing one resistance nest after another and directing his shock troops and artillery observer onto appropriate targets. He was also the first to experience the enemy’s blocking fire. After more than half of the penetration area had been recaptured after a five-and-a-half hour battle he moved to the sector of his I. Bataillon, which was positioned on the Bolsheviks’ right flank. With these men he launched a surprise onslaught against the enemy without any artillery preparation. It was not long before he and his troops succeeded in entering the positions of the Soviets, who now found themselves pushed into an ever more narrow space in-between the two German Bataillonen. They suffered extremely heavy casualties as a result, with about 2000 dead Bolsheviks remaining on the battlefield once hostilities had ceased. 338 prisoners were taken, while 5 tanks, 24 artillery pieces and 149 mortars/machine-guns were either destroyed or captured. This victory was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht of the 25.03.1943.”

    The Soviet penetration mentioned in the article took place near Krasny Bor, and before Griesbach launched his counterattack it had reached a depth of 2 km.
    242nd Award.
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberst (Colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, Grenadier-Regiment 399, 170. Infanterie-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    March 6th, 1944
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern
    Awarded for his actions near Leningrad in January 1944. On the 17.01.1944 his Kampfgruppe destroyed 69 hostile tanks near the village of Pelellja. Later the Kampfgruppe recaptured the heights near Duderhof, which had fallen to the Soviets on the 18.01.1944. Griesbach would also distinguish himself on the 23.01.1944 when he lead his Kampfgruppe to success in a counterthrust at Gatschina. Ultimately his Kampfgruppe managed to prevent a Soviet breakthrough south of Leningrad, and Griesbach would be recognized appropriately for this achievement.
    53rd Award.
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Silver version.
    Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen

    Sources

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