Püttcher, Heinrich

    Date of birth:
    April 1st, 1914 (Lobach-Holzminden/Braunschweig, Germany)
    Date of death:
    April 3rd, 2003 (Lobach-Holzminden/Lower Saxony, Germany)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, German Reich)

    Biography

    Heinrich Püttcher went into service in 1935 and served until 1937 with Pionier-Bataillon 49 at Hannover-Muenden. At the outbreak of World War Two he was called to service again and served with Pionier-Bataillon 19 at Holzminden. From 1940 he served with Heeres Pionier-Sturm-Bataillon 51 and saw action in the West, the Balkan and the Eastern Front. In the France he took part in the breakthroug of the Maginot-line and the campaign towards Paris. At the Balkan he took part in the campaign towards Sarajevo. In the centre of the Eastern front he was involved in the Battles near Sockal over the Bug and the breakthrough of the Stalin-line. During the fightings for the Dnjepr-line he was wounded and flown to the Luftwaffenlazerett at Braunschweig. After his recovery Heinrich Püttcher was placed with the Pionier-Ersatz-Bataillon 19 at Holzminden, took part in the Kriegsschule at Berlin-Spandau and was stationed at Kosne, France. On 1st January 1942 he was promoted to Leutnant der Reserve and in 1943 he was placed with Führerreserve OKH West in France. In 1944 followed his appointment to Kompanieführer with 3. / Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 86. Finally he took part in the withdrawal trhough the Rhone-valley and the Ardennes offensive. On 1st January 1945 he was promoted to Oberleutnant der Reserve.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Unit:
    Pionier-Sturm-Bataillon 51
    Awarded on:
    July 26th, 1941
    Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    August 12th, 1941
    Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Schwarz
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    August 23rd, 1941
    (Allgemeines) Sturmabzeichen (ohne zahlen), I.Stufe
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    August 23rd, 1941
    Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberleutnant der Reserve (1st Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Führer 3. / Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 86
    Awarded on:
    April 14th, 1945
    Action:
    During the withdrawal of the 9. Panzer-Division across the Rhine in late February 1945, the handful of battle ready elements of the division were tasked with covering the retreat. One of these, formed on 25.02.1945, was led by Leutnant Püttcher. Despite only having two 8.8 cm Flak guns as heavy weapons, Püttcher and his small Kampfgruppe were able to hold their assigned sector Glesch-Sinsteden against all enemy attacks despite the enemy having broken through on the left and right. Even after they had been surrounded and had no radio contact with the higher command Leutnant Püttcher refused to surrender to the enemy. On his own initiative he broke through the ring of US troops, reached the Rhine river near the town of Leverkusen and was able to cross over to the eastern bank, even taking both Flak guns along with him.

    For the determined resistance put up by Kampfgruppe Püttcher during this time the brave Leutnant would be awarded the Knight’s Cross.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberleutnant der Reserve (1st Lieutenant of Reserves)
    Unit:
    Führer 3. / Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 86
    Awarded on:
    April 15th, 1945
    Nahkampfspange in Bronze

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