- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
- Kommandeur SS-Panzer-Regiment 2 / 2.SS-Panzer-Division “Das Reich” / 4.Panzerarmee / Heeresgruppe Süd
- Awarded on:
- November 13th, 1943
Reitzenstein’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…
"After the ending of the winter fighting of 1943, SS-Obersturmbannführer Freiherr von Reitzenstein, who until then had led the I. Abteilung, took over the Panzer Regiment.
As part of the replenishment of the Division, SS-Obersturmbannführer von Reitzenstein took the responsibility of constructing the heavy (Tiger) Kompanie and the middle III./(T-34) Panzer-Abteilung with new vehicles from the tank factory in Kharkov. In untiring and uninterrupted work, using methodical processes, they exerted themselves and produced enough Russian tanks from booty to equip the III. Abteilung. The I./(Panther) Pz.Rgt. remained in the Reich for further assembly.
Since the renewed actions of the Regiment on the 05.07.1943, and then until the 23.09.1943, Reitzenstein and his men fought at Belgorod, the Mius, in Kharkov, Kolomak and in defensive positions up to Krementschug. In this time they shot up:
- 839 enemy tanks
- 18 assault guns
- 334 AT guns
- 32 guns
- 1 howitzer
- 1 armoured car
Our own losses from this Panzer Regiment are, thanks only to his outstanding leadership, quite modest at only 57 total losses.
This result was produced through the adept Regimental leadership of SS-Obersturmbannführer von Reitzenstein, especially on the 08.07.1943 north of Belgorod. The armoured group of the Division under the leadership of SS-Obersturmbannführer von Reitzenstein had the order to advance to the east, fighting with the bulk of the Division and also to advance to the west and link with the Panzergruppe of the SS-Pz.Gren.Div. "Leibstandarte-SS-Adolf Hitler", which was fighting towards the Psel sector. This was to help relieve the neighbouring Korps, who were engaged in hard fighting further along the front. However, the Panzergruppe were not able to make the connection due to being forced into hard defensive fighting. The leader of the Panzergruppe, SS-Obersturmbannführer von Reitzenstein, decided to make a renewed attack with all available vehicles that day against the enemy tanks who were endangering the neighbouring Korps, once successful reconnaissance had assessed the situation.
This independent decision led to a full success. In hard fighting with the enemy to the front, and in spite of the threat to their flanks from strong enemy armoured forces, 53 enemy tanks and 10km of ground was won in close combat.
This outstanding personal attack by the Regimental Commander was an extremely difficult task. On the right flank of the left neigbouring Korps, a perceived relief had begun. A possible expansion 10km further west was the result of cooperation from the Panzergruppe LSSAH, advancing from the north and south. Through these attack orders, the group fought in the hardest of defensive tank battles, within the framework of the Division, pushing the enemy back.
Also, in all of the fighting of the Regiment, SS-Obersturmbannführer von Reitzenstein personally distinguished himself through exemplary Regimental leadership. At the Mius, he oversaw the destruction of 51 enemy tanks with his Regiment from the 30.07 - 02.08.1943. On the 06.07.1943, he spearheaded the expansion of the breakthrough of the SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt "Der Führer" through the last Russian main battle line in Lutschki (northern Belgorod). His panzers destroyed 81 enemy tanks in the battle of Bogodukhov between the 12. - 16.08.1943. 73 enemy tanks were destroyed near Kolomak from the 12. - 14.09.1943; 60 enemy tanks shot up. On the basis of his courage and the outstanding results stemming from it, I hold that SS-Obersturmbannführer von Reitzenstein is worthy of the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross.”
Submitted on October 17th 1943.
Preliminary document and decoration on November 17th 1943 to Pz.AOK 4.