- Second World War (1939-1945)
- 2.Kompanie, SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 2, 2. SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich"
- Awarded on:
- August 25th, 1941
- Awarded for:
- Operation Barbarossa
Unterscharführer Rossner was one of the most successful anti-tank gunners of the Das Reich division in the war’s early stages. He is credited with at least 3 tanks in France and a further 13 in Russia. His most significant action took places during the heavy defensive combat around Yelnya in July 1941. On the 24th of that month Rossner’s Pak 38 was guarding the main road to Yelnya on the northern side of the perimeter, when he was attacked by a force of 8 Russian tanks. Rossner ordered his crew to destroy the lead tank first at a range of 50 meters, which they did without problems. But the second tank turned out to be a flamethrower variant and Rossner and his crew had to abandon their gun to avoid the flame jet. The crew of this flamethrower tank apparently thought that they had neutralized the gun, because they dismounted their vehicle and walked towards it. However Rossner and his men returned and killed the Russian tank crew in close combat. They then proceeded to re-man their AT gun and destroyed the rest of the Russian armour column.
However the next day he was severely wounded, and he died of his injuries on 30 July. Since his Knight’s Cross was only awarded after this time, Rossner was the first member of the Waffen-SS to receive the medal posthumously.