Thieme, Heinz

Date of birth:
June 7th, 1921 (Meerane/Saxony, Germany)
Date of death:
December 17th, 1943 (Kriegslazarett 2/609 Minsk/Belarus, Soviet Union)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Obergefreiter (Corporal)
Unit:
Richtschütze, 14. Kompanie, III. Bataillon, Grenadier-Regiment 446, 134. Infanterie-Division, Heer
Awarded on:
January 20th, 1944
Action:
Received the Iron Cross First Class, and later the Knight's Cross, due to his achievements during a fierce battle in the middle of November 1943. At the time his division was in the process of withdrawing from Briansk to Gomel/Wetka. After a heavy artillery barrage the Soviets attacked the sector in which Thieme's gun was positioned, behind the main line of defense. By this time the rest of his gun crew had already been either killed or wounded. The following press article describes the events of the day from this point onwards...

"... The Soviets attack the sector of the company in which Thieme is waiting with tanks and about 500 infantry, some riding the tanks and some further back. Rapid fire drives the Soviet tank riders off their mounts, but the tanks continue to roll on. Two great masses, a KV-1 and an assault gun, roam around the main defense line shooting wildly. Why does the AT gun not open fire? Thieme does not let himself be disconcerted. With nerves of steel he kneels at his gun. Let them come! Then his AT gun opens up. Its shots are right on target. The first tank is already knocked out, flames blazing from the hatches. The following KV-1 and assault gun suffer the same fate. The remaining tanks stop, back up and take cover. They take note of Thieme's presence and shoot whatever they can to support their attacking infantry. Suddenly Soviet tanks appear in the rear, emerging from the grey mists. Quick and decisive, the young gunner turns his gun around and fire. Three more KV-1's and another assault gun soon lay burning or immobilized in front of his gun. Following these losses - amounting to five heavy tanks and two assault guns destroyed by Thieme - the Soviets halted their attack."
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources