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Petersdorff, von, Horst

Date of birth:
December 30th, 1892 (Posen/Province of Posen, Germany)
Date of death:
July 12th, 1962 (Prien am Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany)
Service number:
NSDAP Nr. 20.736
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

Horst Bernhard Kurt von Petersdorff

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Hauptmann (Captain)
Unit:
Kdr., III. Bataillon, J.R. 189
Awarded on:
June 8th, 1940
1939 Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 2er Klasse 1914
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Hauptmann (Captain)
Unit:
Kdr., III. Bataillon, J.R. 189
Awarded on:
June 9th, 1940
1939 Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 1er Klasse 1914
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Hauptmann zur Verwendung
Unit:
Kommandeur, III. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment 189, 81. Infanterie-Division
Awarded on:
June 29th, 1940
On the night of the 08./09.06.1940 the 81. Infanterie-Division formed a Vorausabteilung under the command of Hauptmann Petersdorff in order to pursue the fleeing French forces. This Vorausabteilung consisted of the II./I.R. 189, 1./Pi.Btl. 181, Radf.Schw. 181, 3./Pz.Jäg.Abt. 181, IV./A.R. 260 and a Zug of heavy field howitzers from outside the Division.

At around 05:00 on the 10.06.1941 the Vorausabteilung set out for a continued advance. The goal was to reach the Marne river. During the afternoon of this day the unit approached the city of Chateau-Thierry, and the lead vehicles entered the city at around 18:00.

The following report from a contemporary German newspaper describes what happened next…

“The city was still occupied by the French. The Führer of a German Infanterie Bataillon, a Hauptmann (both a WWI and Freikorps veteran), went into the city with a few men in order to reconnoiter it. A few hours later nothing had been heard back from him except the noises of rifle shots and hand grenade explosions. Then the Hauptmann came back with a long and peculiar column: Over 1000 Senegalese riflemen followed him as prisoners…”

Hauptmann von Petersdorff was later awarded the Knight’s Cross for this deed. The official confirmation provides a further comment into the significance of this action…

“… he has distinguished himself as the commander of the Vorausabteilung of a Division through his particular bravery and prudence. He has decisively contributed to the successes of his Armeekorps.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Awarded on:
1916
Eisernes Kreuz 1.Klasse (1914)
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Awarded on:
1914
Eisernes Kreuz 2.Klasse (1914)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
WIA 1917 + 1918
Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz (1918)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
1915
Ehrenkreuz III. Klasse des Königlicher Preussischer Hausordens von Hohenzollern
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
April 1917
awarded for the seizure of the Ferme d'Hurtebise, France
Ritter des Königlicher Preussischer Hausordens von Hohenzollern
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SA-Brigadeführer
Nr.: 20.736
Goldenes Ehrenzeichen der NSDAP
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 23rd, 1927
Ehrenritterkreuz zum Johanniterorden
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
December 5th, 1954
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
April 29th, 1918
Hamburgisches Hanseatenkreuz
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
May 25th, 1912
Komtur II. Klasse zum Friedrichs-Orden

Sources

  • Photo 1: Igor Poul
  • Photo 2:
  • Photo 3:
  • - 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
    - Haupt, W., Die 81. Infanterie-Division – Geschichte einer schlesischen Division, Nebel Verlag GmbH, Eggolsheim, Deutschland, 2006

Photos