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Abel, Josef (Infanterie-Regiment 217)

Date of birth:
January 3rd, 1914 (Bad Kissingen/Bavaria, Germany)
Date of death:
December 1st, 1984 (Donauwörth/Bavaria, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

Last military rank: Oberleutnant

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberfeldwebel (Warrant Officer)
Unit:
Zugführer 7. / Infanterie-Regiment 217
Awarded on:
November 23rd, 1941
The following newspaper excerpt describes why Abel was awarded the Knight’s Cross…

“… He received the Knight’s Cross for his exceptionally brave conduct during the fighting for the high ground east of Staro Shiwotow. During this time the enemy launched a dawn attack with strong forces that succeeded in penetrating through a frontline gap and capturing a Pak position. At this time Abel was engaged in fierce defensive fighting further to the east, and he made the decision to restore the situation. He assumed command of the nearest friendly machine-gunner and stormed forwards with him. After this machine-gunner became fatally wounded, Oberfeldwebel Abel shot up the foremost Bolshevik troops that had already reached the friendly Pak gun. He then rushed forward to these guns and from here was able to halt and force the retreat of the follow-up Soviet forces.

The bravery and decisiveness he displayed here did not only prevent the loss of a still-operational Pak gun, but also prevented an enemy breakthrough at this boundary position (which would’ve in turn created the danger that the friendly frontline would be rolled up.)”

Here follows another wartime excerpt that provides further insight into the significance of these actions…

“Through a combination of correct decision-making, swift action and extraordinary bravery, Oberfeldwebel Abel enabled the key point of the Staro-Shiwotow defensive position to be held without the employment of the Bataillon reserve. By doing this he significantly contributed to the Regiment’s ability to go over to the attack on the following day and thereby inflict a devastating blow upon the enemy. I therefore hold Oberfeldwebel Abel as worthy of being awarded the Knight’s Cross for this deed.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 26th, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 22nd, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
September 5th, 1942
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Silber
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 22nd, 1943
Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen

Sources

Photo