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Fabich, Maximilian "Max"

Date of birth:
September 8th, 1914 (Berlin/Brandenburg, Germany)
Date of death:
August 7th, 1988 (Berlin/Brandenburg, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
May 20th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 8th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
Unit:
Kp.Fhr., 3. Kompanie, I. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment (motorisiert) "Großdeutschland", Heer
Awarded on:
January 19th, 1942
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
Unit:
Kommandeur, Panzer-Füsilier-Regiment "Großdeutschland", Panzergrenadier-Division "Großdeutschland", Heer
Awarded on:
May 9th, 1945
Fabich’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“On the night of the 04./05.03.1945 the attack of the II./Pz.Füs.Rgt. ‘GD’ against the Korschelken estate failed three times against the enemy’s heavy defensive fire. The execution of a larger-scale friendly attack required the capture of this outlying estate as a precondition the regimental commander, and so Oberstleutnant Fabich resolved to personally take over command of the Bataillon and attack Korschelken for the fourth time at 03:30.

After a barrage by the heavy weapons the first assault troops went in against the enemy, with the regimental commander at their head. The attacked bogged down once again under the heavy fire, with significant friendly losses being incurred. However Oberstleutnant Fabich continued to storm forward with hand grenades and his machine-pistol, and the personal bravery he displayed motivated his men to do the same. Even with this however the enemy continued to pin down the Bataillon with their strong heavy weapons, and as such only a slow advance was possible.

After a three-hour firefight the Bataillon finally reached the enemy positions. The fighting then degenerated into close combat, in which Oberstleutnant Fabich also fully participated. Inspired by the commander’s example of outstanding bravery and willpower, the men in turn fought with iron determination and succeeded in pushing the enemy out of the Korschelken estate following hard and bloody combat.

Oberstleutnant Fabich immediately took advantage of this success and dispatched the I. Bataillon for a pursuit against the fleeing enemy. Meanwhile the II. Bataillon would regroup and reorganize as soon as possible. The commander would also personally take command of I. Bataillon in this moment. He led his men through the forest and reached the southern forest edge with the Bataillon. There Oberstleutnant Fabich suddenly saw a strong enemy mortar position that he and the Bataillon could not take on due to a lack of ammunition.

In the meantime the enemy opposition had been heavily reinforced. Enemy elements supported by tanks thrusted into the woods from the west, with the result that the right neighbouring regiment was unable to capture the village of Konradswalde. The Bataillon too was thereby threatened in the flank. In the forest itself extremely hard close combat again erupted with strong enemy forces coming from the west and south. In this bout of fighting Oberstleutnant Fabich repeatedly plunged into the enemy with his machine-pistol and grenades, and his audacity encouraged his men to give it their all in the same manner. Despite a heroic struggle the Bataillon was pushed back to the Korschelken estate by the enemy superiority. However the estate itself was held against all Soviet attacks.

The enemy continued to bring up reinforcements throughout the 05.03.1945, in particular in front of Fabich’s combat sector. Included among these were about 10 tanks. Friendly reconnaissance determined that the enemy was assembling in regimental strength in the woods at 15:00. Oberstleutnant Fabich immediately realized the danger that this posed, and therefore launched an energetic preemptive attack on his own initiative with the I. Bataillon following a strong friendly artillery, Nebelwerfer and heavy weapon barrage into the enemy assembly area. With Oberstleutnant Fabich at their head, the Bataillon won back the majority of the forest. Oberstleutnant Fabich again stormed at the head of his troops and inspired them forwards with great offensive spirit. At this moment the Bataillon represented the attack spearhead of the Division.

Strongpoint 39.6, located on the western edge of the forest, was held by elements of the III. Bataillon against all enemy counterattacks. Though the enemy continued to bring up reinforcements (included a large number of tanks) from the area around Hollstädt and the Wangnicken estate, they were unable to secure this position. Likewise the signalman’s house on the right wing of the regiment was held in bitter combat. Oberstleutnant Fabich was always at the hotspots of the defense. He galvanized his men to offer up bitter, determined resistance. When a machine-gunner next to him fell out after being shot through the upper arm, he personally picked up the MG and prevented the intended enemy penetration here via impeccably placed bursts of fire.

In light of the high casualties and the lack of ammunition the Regiment was no longer able to weather the strong enemy onslaught, and therefore was pushed back further to the north. A new frontline further north that was easier to defend was created and held against all enemy attacks.

During the fighting on the 04. and 05.03.1945 the Panzer-Füsilier-Regiment ‘Großdeutschland’ captured or destroyed the following (counted) enemy assets:

19 anti-tank guns
2 machine-guns (2 cm)
4 heavy machine-guns
4 light machine-guns
2 light infantry guns
1 anti-tank rifle
37 rifles
20 machine-pistols
232 enemy dead.

Although the Regiment’s composition was made up of 75% stragglers, Panzer crews and scrounged up supply troops, it was nonetheless able to take the Korschelken estate, temporarily occupy the forest south of Korschelken and thereby remove the flank threat for the attacking right neighbouring regiment. This would not have been possible without the personal bravery, exceptional audacity and leadership abilities of Oberstleutnant Fabich. His exemplary steadfastness and personal battlefield actions brought about heavy losses to the enemy and ensured that the unceasingly assaulted frontline was held.”

According to other sources (f.i. von Seemen) the RK was awarded on 19th April 1945.
According to Scherzer the proposal arrived at HPA on 19.04.1945, there is no Karteikarte ; noted down in the book "Verliehene Ritterkreuze" by Major Domaschk : "RK ja". No further handling, case was treated by the OdR Ordenskommission in 1973, it was decided "Yes". It isn't known how this judgment was backed up with any proofs, insight to the files of the OdR wasn't allowed to author Veit Scherzer due to the Bundesarchivgesetz rules (that is : files closed 30 years after death -> open here : 2018). From the point of view of the OdR the award is correct according to the so-called "Döntitz-Erlass", award date determined by the OdR.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
1945
5789th Award.
Anerkennungsurkunde des Oberbefehlshabers des Heeres

Sources

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