Lutz, Johannes

Date of birth:
March 11th, 1920 (Laisacker/Bavaria, Germany)
Date of death:
August 26th, 2005 (Augsburg/Bavaria, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 2nd, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
August 28th, 1942
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Leutnant (Second-lieutenant)
Unit:
Zugführer Divisions-Begleit-Kompanie / 116. Panzerdivision "Windhund" / 7.Armee / Heeresgruppe B
Awarded on:
December 9th, 1944
Action:
The following text by Oberst von Waldenburg describes the actions by which Lutz would receive the Knight’s Cross…

“On the 06.11.1944 Leutnant Lutz received the order to participate in a large-scale counterattack, in which his role was to take his Zug and capture the village of Vossenack from the south. The neighbouring formations were to attack it from the north and east. Despite the heaviest defensive fire from all weapons, including direct fire by enemy tanks, Lutz and his men succeeded in taking their assigned portion of the village.

After breaking into the village he was able to grasp the overall situation: The attacks of the other German forces had bogged down in heavy defense fire, and only Lutz and his Zug had managed to get as far as the village. All connection to neighbouring units had been lost. The enemy tanks and APCs had bypassed him to the rear and were currently pushing in the direction of the Mestringer mill. Their obvious goal was to catch the Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung employed there in a flank attack and prevent the imminent encirclement of their American comrades at Kommerscheidt.

In light of this situation Leutnant Lutz made the independent decision to thwart this enemy move to the best of his abilities, at the very least he could throw the enemy into confusion and by drawing closer to the rest of his Kompanie close the frontline gap there. And so, without hesitating on account of the inferiority of his force against tanks and APCs, he attacked the much larger enemy group with his Zug. At the head of his men he personally destroyed 2 fully-manned American APCs and 1 armoured command vehicle in the first attack with Panzerfausts. As the AT weapons of his Zug were thereby expended, he and his Zug were attacked by enemy tanks while still being deployed on open ground. In order to save his men he gathered everyone together and charged the enemy tanks while firing with all their weapons, personally shooting off his MPi and inspiring his men by his example. With a loud “Hurra” they approached the enemy tanks, who were intimidated by this fierce attack and forced to fall back.

Through this action Lutz succeeded in resupplying his men after rejoining the Kompanie and closing the existing frontline gap. His attack also managed to confuse the enemy as planned, and the Americans halted their attack on the Mestringer mill in order to reform in a secure area.

After this was completed 5 enemy tanks drove towards Lutz’s position, making a new attempt to break through to the mill. Immediately Leutnant Lutz hurried into action, procuring 2 Panzerfausts and some hand grenades, and worked his way to within a few metres of the tanks. With the 2 Panzerfausts he destroyed one enemy tank at very close range and set a second one on fire with hand grenades. At the same time the other enemy tanks were destroyed with Panzerfausts by an Oberfeldwebel from the left neighbouring formation. By this the attempted enemy armoured breakthrough to Mestringer mill was once again stopped in its tracks.

Leutnant Lutz, still suffering from the effects of an old wound, was once again wounded twice while leading a forcefully conducted attack on Würselen, however stayed with his men by his own wish. He is the model of an experienced and outstandingly brave frontline officer, who demands the utmost of himself. Through this superbly led operation he prevented a dangerous breakthrough by a much superior combat force against the Mestringer mill, while removing a great danger to the flank of the Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung. He thus made a major contribution to the later encirclement of strong enemy forces south of Mühle, near Kommerscheidt.

Following this action Leutnant Lutz was once again heavily wounded by a shell splinter on the 08.11.1944.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant)
Unit:
Divisions-Begleit-Kompanie / 116.Panzer-Division
Awarded on:
January 15th, 1945
Panzervernichtungsabzeichen in Gold
Details:
Golden awarded by Divisions-Befehl dated 15th January 1945.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
May 22nd, 1942
Panzerkampfabzeichen (ohne Zahl)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
November 11th, 1941
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Schwarz
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
November 9th, 1944
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Silber
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 20th, 1942
Medaille

Sources

  • Photo 1: Wilco Vermeer
  • Photo: Wilco Vermeer collection, the Netherlands
  • - WENDT, KURT, Wir Für Alle, Hamburg, 1996.
    - Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer, Elite of the Third Reich - The Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-45: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, England, 2003
    - Federl, C., Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Panzerdivisionen 1939-1945, VDM Heinz Nickel, Zweibrücken, Germany, 2000
    - Guderian, H. G., From Normandy to the Ruhr – With the 116th Panzer Division in World War II, The Aberjona Press, Bedford, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., 2001
    - Divisions-Tagesbefehl verlening Sonderabzeichen für das Niederkämpfen von Panzerkampfwagen durch Einzelkämpfer in gold, Divisions-Tagesbefehl 116.Panzer-Division, dd. 15 januari 1945

Photo