Gerhold, Walther

Date of birth:
June 8th, 1921 (Benolpe, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
December 24th, 1942
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 6th, 1944
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Schreiber-Obergefreiter
Unit:
Einmanntorpedofahrer in der Kl.Kampf-Flottille 361
Awarded on:
July 6th, 1944
Awarded the Knight’s Cross for allegedly sinking the British cruiser ‘HMS Dragon’ during WWII. There exists postwar dispute as to whether it was actually Gerhold who severely damaged this ship. Some suggest it was Midshipman Potthast. Other sources conclude Gerhold instead struck the frigate ‘HMS Trollope.’ Regardless of the truth, the following German press article provides a description of the interpretation of events that led to Gerhold receiving the Knight’s Cross as follows…

“The 23 year old Schreiberobergefreiter Walter Gerhold, from Sauerland, is the first lone fighter from the Kriegsmarine to be awarded the Knight’s Cross for sinking a British cruiser of the ‘Aurora Class’ under the most difficult of conditions. Commanding his human torpedo, Gerhold passed by six British destroyers at very close range, broke through the security ring and attacked a cruiser lying behind it following a skillful and calculated approach. The ship went down after suffering a major boiler explosion. Due to his bravery before the enemy Gerhold was also promoted to Schreibermaat.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
December 24th, 1942
Zerstörer-Kriegsabzeichen
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
February 23rd, 1942
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Schwarz
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 16th, 1944
Wehrmachtbericht

Sources

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