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
- German (1933-1945, Third Reich)
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.
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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- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
- Kommandeur, Aufklärungs-Abteilung 45, 45. Infanterie-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- September 4th, 1941
Awarded for his actions in the Pripet Marshes during the first month of Operation Barbarossa. On the 04.07.1941 his Vorausabteilung managed to secure the town of Pinsk and its surroundings. On the 08.07.1941 Pannwitz launched a thrust into the area Dawidgrodek-Turow (near Olszany), where he took up the fight against strong Soviet 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.
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.
- Awarded on:
- September 16th, 1915
- Photo 1: Wehrkundearchiv
- Photo: Deutsches Wehrkundearchiv
- - DÖRR, M., Die Inhaber der Anerkennungsurkunde des Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres 1941-1945, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, 1993.
- FELLGIEBEL, W.P., Elite of theThird Reich, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003.
- THOMAS, FRANZ & WEGMANN, GÜNTER, Die Eichenlaubträger 1940-1945, Biblio-Verlag, 1998.
- Axis History Forum via Awardholders / unit
- Ritterkreuz Archiv IV/2010, Veit Scherzer, Ranis, September 2010, ISSN 1866-4709