Pannwitz, von, Helmuth

    Date of birth:
    October 14th, 1898 (Botzanowitz/Silesia, Germany)
    Date of death:
    January 16th, 1947 (Moscow, Soviet Union)
    Buried on:
    Mass Graves Victims Communism New Cemetery Donskoye
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, German Reich)

    Biography

    Helmuth von Pannwitz was born in Botzanowitz, Silesia, now part of Olesno. He joined the military at 16 years at the outbreak of the First World War within the Cavalry. Also during the Second World War he distinguished himself as a Cavalry officer. He was involved in setting up the Cossack volunteer forces, the XV.Kosaken-Kavallerie-Korps within the German Wehrmacht. After this he commanded the force in battle.
    He was so popular that the Cossacks elected him as their Feldataman (the highest rank in the Cossack hierarchy, one that was traditionally reserved to the Tsar alone).
    Pannwitz surrendered to British forces on 11th May 1945. As a result of special agreement within the Allied froces, the Cossacks were handed over to the Soviet authorities, which is often referred to as "The Betrayal of Cossacks at Lienz". Most of the Cossack military were to die, be killed, executed or comitted suicide in Soviet imprisonment. As Pannwitz was a German national, he was told by the British that he was not subject to repatriation to the Soiets. Nonetheless, Pannwitz insisted to share the fate of his men and his fellow commanders, giving himself up voluntarily to Soviet prosecution. He was executed om January 16th, 1947 at the Lefortovo prison on the charge of terrorist activities against the Soviet Union.

    Promotions:
    October 19th, 1914: Kriegsfreiwilliger (Einjähriger);
    March 3rd, 1915: Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier;
    March 9th, 1915: Fähnrich;
    March 22nd, 1915: Leutnant (ohne Patent);
    x?, 1918: Patent vom 14-10-1915 erhalten;
    March 10th, 1920: Charakter als Oberleutnant;
    x?, 1933: SA-Sturmführer;
    January 20th, 1935: Rittmeister mit RDA vom 1-11-1933 (61);
    March 31st, 1938: Major (mit Wirkung vom 1-4-1938) (44);
    May 13th, 1941: Oberstleutnant (mit Wirkung und RDA vom 1-6-1941) (17);
    April 1st, 1942: Oberst (135a);
    June 1st, 1943: Generalmajor (19);
    April 1st, 1944: Generalleutnant (9).

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    September 23rd, 1939
    Details:
    Had already received the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 16th September 1919.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    October 5th, 1939
    Details:
    Had already received the Iron Cross 1st Class on 27th January 1917.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, Aufklärungs-Abteilung 45, 45. Infanterie-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    September 4th, 1941
    Action:
    Awarded for his actions in the first month of Operation Barbarossa in the Pripet Marshes. On 04.07.1941 his Vorausabteilung managed to secure the town of Pinsk and its surroundings. On 08.07.1941 Pannwitz launched a thrust into the area Dawidgrodek-Turow, near Olszany, where he took up the fight against strong enemy forces.

    In the battles around Olszay, Oberstleutnant Pannwitz launched a lightning attack that managed to rescue some hard pressed German troops east of the Olszany canal. In the process he also managed to lay the groundwork for the next attack of the Division that resulted in the capture of the territory between Mostwa/Stwiga on one side and Pripet on the other.
    Details:
    467th Award.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberst (Colonel)
    Unit:
    Führer, Reiter-Verband von Pannwitz, 4. Panzer-Armee, Heeresgruppe Don, Heer
    Awarded on:
    December 23rd, 1942
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
    Action:
    Awarded for the successes of Kampfgruppe Pannwitz (consisting of Panzer-Abteilung Sauvant, a Romanian cavalry brigade, a battery from the Romanian 47th heavy artillery battalion (mot), various German alarm units as well as Cossacks and Flak) during November 1942. NE of Kotelnikowo, near Scharnutowskij, his Kampfgruppe annihilated the Soviet 61st Cavalry Division, and thereafter the 81st Cavalry Division near Kotelnikowo proper. A Soviet rifle division was also destroyed near Pimen Tscherni/Nebykow. With this the frontline in this sector was stabilized.
    Details:
    167th Award.
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)
    Awarded on:
    December 20th, 1934
    Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    July 18th, 1941
    (Allgemeines) Sturmabzeichen (ohne zahlen), I.Stufe
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    May 7th, 1943
    Ordinul Mihai Viteazul Clasa 3
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)
    Awarded on:
    January 27th, 1917
    Eisernes Kreuz 1.Klasse (1914)
    Awarded on:
    September 16th, 1919
    Eisernes Kreuz 2.Klasse (1914)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, Aufklärungs-Abteilung 45, 45. Infanterie-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    July 18th, 1941
    Details:
    140th Award.
    Anerkennungsurkunde des Oberbefehlshabers des Heeres

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