- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS- Rottenführer
- Granatwerftruppführer 6. / SS-Totenkopf-Infanterie-Regiment 1
- Awarded on:
- October 23rd, 1942
Hirning’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…
“The main road between Omytschkino and Bjakowo was vital for the German main supply route. The Russians had attempted to cut this route, which was supplying the entire II. Armee-Korps in the Demjansk. area. The enemy had moved an anti-tank gun to this road, thereby blocking this lifeline for the II. Armee-Korps and the SS-Totenkopf Division. Destroying this enemy anti-tank gun with artillery was not possible.
SS-Rottenführer Hirning had told his Kompanie and Bataillon commanders of his intentions to advance to the gun and destroy it. They asked what would what happen after he destroyed it, what if he was captured or killed? Hirning replied, 'I do not know the answer to that, the important thing here is that the anti-tank gun is destroyed. Anything else is insignificant.'
Later, on the 28.08.1944, he crept forwards with 6 kg of explosive charges through the hollow until he came within 30 metres of the enemy gun. He then ran forwards and attached the explosives to the gun. It did not explode and he had to do a fighting retreat back to his own lines. He was shot at by strong enemy fire as well as grenades, but he remained unscathed. He took it upon himself to make a return trip to this enemy gun, and one comrade volunteered to go with him to provide security. They once again perservered and reached the gun. This time, Hirning successfully destroyed this enemy anti-tank gun.
It was SS-Rottenführer Hans Hirning's actions that successfully removed this dangerous threat for the entire II. Armee-Korps. The supply route was re-opened. An enemy success here would have had unforeseen consequences."