- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Obergefreiter (Corporal)
- Gruppenführer, 6. Kompanie, II. Bataillon, Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2, 2. Panzer-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- August 4th, 1943
During the fighting of the 2. Panzer-Division in the Orel salient following Operation Citadel, a critical situation began to emerge for the 6./Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2. It became threatened with encirclement and thus potential destruction. Obergefreite Theilen, recognizing the circumstances as critical, decided to counterattack with his own weak forces on his own initiative. Despite strong enemy fire he was able to recapture the old front line with his handful of Grenadiers, firing his weapon from the hip. He inflicted heavy losses on the Soviets and was able to hold the newly reconquered positions against enemy counterthrusts. Through these actions Theilen laid the foundations for the successful breakout of a portion of the regiment which had been encircled by the enemy. He was thus recommended for the Knight's Cross by the regimental commander, and ended up receiving the high award shortly afterwards.