Worthmann, Karl-Heinz

Date of birth:
January 18th, 1911 (Hagen/Westfalen, Germany)
Date of death:
July 6th, 1943 (Belgorod/Belgorod Oblast, Russia)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

In service from March 5th 1935.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
August 18th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Hauptscharführer (Warrant Officer)
Unit:
Zugführer, 6. Kompanie, II. Bataillon, SS-Panzer-Regiment 2, 2. SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich", Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
March 31st, 1943
Action:
Worthmann's Knight's Cross recommendation reads as follows...
"On the 11.02.1943, SS-Hauptscharführer Worthmann received the following order from the Division. The enemy, who had broken in with the strength of 1-2 battalions onto Hill 209.4, were to be engaged and driven off the hill by the II./SS-Panzer-Regiment 2 and the II./SS-Regiment-Deutschland.
The initial attack over cover free, open ground was stopped immediately in strong hostile tank defensive fire. It was determined that about 20 tanks were defending. The Platoon immediately opened fire with all weapons and under the leadership of SS-Hauptscharführer Worthmann worked its' way up to the enemy through the use of mutual fire support. Already after the first fire exchanges, a number of defensive weapons were destroyed. The first group, under the leadership of the Zugführer SS-Hauptscharführer Worthmann, advanced with the highest speed against the enemy.
The hostile infantry was thrown back and the advance increased and captured some of the defensive weapons. With that, the firefight continued. The dismounted German infantry could not follow or support the rapidly advancing tank fighting. Regardless of this, SS-Hauptscharführer Worthmann was at the forefront of the attack into the enemy without the security of the infantry. His venture resulted in heavy damage to his frontal armour from an enemy anti-tank hit and also the light wounding of his radio operator. Nevertheless, Worthmann fought on further. Through a second hit the tank was unable to move any further and the driver was wounded. A third hit set the petrol tank ablaze. With this phase of the fighting over and with his tank unusable, Worthmann used the machine pistols, loading and directing the fire against the enemy infantry. He then went with the wounded and transported them back. With the 3 remaining tanks of the Zug he set up a defensive position, until they were shot up or made incapable of fighting. However, 2 more were brought up at this time and fought too, until their tank guns were also damaged. SS-Hauptscharführer Worthmann led a further attack on the hill and threw the enemy infantry back and destroyed them. After observation, the following enemy weapons were destroyed:
3, 7.62cm PaK
22, 3.7 and 4.7cm PaK
2, tank guns
2, artillery guns
Also many light and heavy infantry weapons.
Bloody losses in the fighting of around 100-120 men.
Worthmann is a qualified, outstanding, vigorous and purposeful Zugführer and is an example of bearing, energy and fighting will to his men. He proved himself to be outstanding in all expeditions since the beginning of the year's fighting actions of the SS-Div. "Das Reich", especially on the 5.2, 7.2 and 11.2.43. Referring to these 3 battles he destroyed, through personal courage, several enemy anti-tank guns and gave the enemy high bloody losses.
The result on the 11.2.43 was the clearing up of the enemy break-in into our own lines, which was done with a lack of infantry strength or with his own infantry no longer available for the counterattack. His courageous leadership resulted in heavy enemy losses. He had with only 4 tanks fought a far superior opponent and through his courage decided the successful outcome of the combat and fulfilled the order. SS-Hauptscharführer Worthmann is highly worthy of holding the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross."
Details:
Submitted on March 8th 1943.
Preliminary document and decoration on April 3rd 1943 to Heeresgruppe Süd.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

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