Rühle von Lilienstern, Hans-Joachim

Date of birth:
January 9th, 1915 (Fritzlar/Hesse, Germany)
Date of death:
November 26th, 2000 (Frankfurt am Main/Hesse, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
November 9th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
January 22nd, 1944
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Hauptsturmführer der Reserve
Unit:
Führer I. / niederländische SS-Freiwillige Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 48 "General Seyffardt" / 23.SS-Freiwillige-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nederland"
Awarded on:
February 12th, 1944
Action:
Rühle von Lilienstern’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“Recommendation for the award of the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross for SS-Hauptsturmführer Rühle von Lilienstern.

On 20.01.1944 strong enemy forces threatened to penetrate the newly formed battle front in the area Witino — Gluchowo on both sides of the main road from Narwa - Leningrad. Battalion Kampfgruppe Nederland, under the command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Rühle von Lilienstern, was ready and awaiting orders as operational reserve in the area of Witino.

Elements of the Kampfgruppe arrived at the front, where the enemy had already broken-in at Witino with their strong numerical superiority. Using his own initiative, SS-Hauptsturmführer Rühle von Lilienstern immediately launched a surprise attack through the enemy with vehicles. He threw back the enemy and inflicted high losses on them, and in the process closed the gap. For three days the Kampfgruppe held their own, under the heaviest of losses, and struggled alone during the night from 22-23.01.1944 against regiment-strength attacks by the enemy. All during this time, the Kampfgruppe leader personally gathered his messengers and led seventeen attacks against enemy breaches, cleaning up his own sector as well as neighbouring sectors to the right and left. Here, too, the enemy suffered high losses. Crucial to this success was the attitude of SS-Hauptsturmführer Rühle von Lilienstern, who was present in all of the focal points within his area and, through his unparalleled personal conduct, inspired in his men the highest will to resist.

Himself being wounded, he led his Kampfgruppe in the fulfillment of its orders and decisively delayed the further penetration of a far superior enemy. After more than six days of ceaseless fighting against frontal and flank attacks, Kampfgruppe Rühle was still the bulwark of the road from Leningrad — Narwa. His sacrifice prevented the tearing open of the entire Korps front on both sides of the main road, which in turn contributed decisively to ensuring the construction of a new frontline.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources