Simke, Willy

Date of birth:
January 26th, 1914 (Belgern/Saxonia, Germany)
Date of death:
August 20th, 1964 (Ennigerloh/North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
German (1933-1945, German Reich)


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Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
February 7th, 1942
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
May 1st, 1942
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Second World War (1939-1945)
SS-Hauptscharführer (Warrant Officer)
Zugführer 5. / SS-Panzer-Regiment 2 / 2.SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich" / 4.Panzerarmee / Heeresgruppe Süd
Awarded on:
December 16th, 1943
Simke's Knight's Cross recommendation reads as follows...

"SS-Hauptscharführer Simke is the best of the junior leaders of the II./SS-Pz. Rgt. "Das Reich" and has remained the most outstanding Zugführer. This has been seen in the fighting since 5.7.1943 several times through his personal courage, prudent leadership of his platoon and outstanding bravery. A submission was made on the 15.11.1943 for his promotion to SS-Untersturmführer. It was already suggested in March 1943 that Simke be awarded the German Cross in Gold. This request however, was rejected.

On the 21.10.1943, Simke, with his platoon (3 Pz. IV) stood in reserve in the Uljaniki area when they were ordered to attack enemy tanks. The attack started at 09:30 hours in an area 2 km west of Chodoroff when a group of enemy tanks were reported. Simke was alerted and he moved along the Uljaniki-Chodoroff road with his platoon. He remained on guard, as 20 T-34s had already broken through the main battle line and the Russians were threatening to isolate our positions and roll up the flanks from their bridgehead.

In the area west of Hill 198.6 Simke found the enemy tanks, and recognized the large danger they represented. Despite the strength of the opponent and the unfavourable, completely low open ground, Simke seized the initiative and made the independent decision to attack them. At top speed he plunged ahead, and moved 800m forwards to a convenient hollow in the ground. They then took up positions against the enemy, although this offered nearly no prospects during the firefight. By skillful daring from the outset, as well as boldness and resolution, they successfully surprised the enemy and shot up seventeen of these tanks, standing on the reverse slope. This happened in some instances at a range of just 20-30 metres.

However, by his very rapid and successful action, he succeeded in closing the gap that had developed and once again contained the Russians in their bridgehead, bringing the important heights back into our own possession."
Submitted on December 4th 1943.
Preliminary document and decoration on December 24th 1943 to Pz.AOK 4.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes