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- Date of birth:
- December 3rd, 1918 (Schweinerden/Saxony, Germany)
- Date of death:
- September 21st, 1991 (Radibor/Saxony, Germany)
- German (1933-1945, Third Reich)
1941: Gefreiter der Reserve;
1943: Unteroffizier der Reserve;
1944: Leutnant der Reserve.
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- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Gefreiter der Reserve (Lance Corporal of Reserves)
- Richtschütze, 14. Kompanie, III. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment 513, 294. Infanterie-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- June 27th, 1942
During a Soviet tank-led attack SE of Kupjewacha (east of Kharkov) Gefreiter Rietscher succeeded in knocking out 9 enemy tanks. By this action he majorly influenced the subsequent enemy movements in this area, which enabled the Germans to organize their resistance on the high ground to the west. Rietscher thus contributed decisively to the sealing off of a Soviet breakthrough here and the continued defense of the frontline section held by the Infanterie-Regiment 513. He would subsequently be decorated with the Knight’s Cross.
1025th Heer Award
Awarded for preventing a Soviet breakthrough during the German stand along the Mius river in early 1943. The action is described in the words of Unteroffizier Reitscher himself as follows…
“During the whole night I heard the usual humming of tank motors as I lay in a strongpoint forward of our lines. This rumble made me quite literally nervous. We had heavily mined the area in front of us; and so surely not much could come to pass there. But soon we had a nice Christmas present. 4 T-34s were immobilized by track damage in the minefield, while a 5th T-34 moved back and forth like a bandsaw, firing on our strongpoint as it did so. The immobilized T-34s also made life difficult for us with their shelling. I told my Kompanie commander, “They have to go”. However the Pak guns could not be called upon to do this. However I thought of a different way to defeat them and hurried to the front with a truck that was loaded with jerry cans.
The jerry can was now my weapon! I ran to the first T-34, tore open the canister and allowed the contents to spill over the thick steel armour and into the motor. The crew could shoot all they wanted, it would only provide a short reprieve. After putting on an explosive charge afterwards the T-34 burned like tinder. In this way one after the other was destroyed! With a bang and a boom the T-34s blew up with both their ammo and crews. The danger to our positions was removed, and the enemy attack found its end.”
- Photo 1: Wilco Vermeer
- Photo: Deutsches Wehrkundearchiv
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