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Kiesling, Heinrich

Date of birth:
May 31st, 1909 (Gröppendorf/Saxony, Germany)
Date of death:
June 18th, 1944 (round Witebsk, Soviet Union)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

Heinrich Kiesling was killed on June 18th, 1944. At that moment he served as Kommandeur Grenadier-Regiment 529 with the rank of Oberst.

Promotions:
November 7th, 1943: Oberstleutnant.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
Kommandeur III. / Grenadier-Regiment 768
Awarded on:
June 10th, 1943
Action:
On the 09.02.1943 Major Kiesling led the vanguard of the encircled Kampfgruppe Beukemann (comprising elements of the 75., 340., 377. and 323. Infanterie-Divisionen) in its breakout from the Soviet encirclement ring south of Voronezh. His successful capture of Beslepkino, which Kiesling commenced with only 12 men at first until the rest of his Bataillon could be brought up, was crucial for the eventual successful escape of the Kampfgruppe.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major
Unit:
Führer Grenadier-Regiment 529
Awarded on:
November 7th, 1943
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
Action:
On the 27.09.1943 Major Kiesling and his Grenadier-Regiment 529 found their retreat route blocked by strong Soviet forces. For Kiesling there existed two possible courses of action. He could retreat through a boggy forest that was still clear of the enemy forces, but this would necessitate leaving behind all heavy weapons. Or he could directly breakthrough the enemy lines. Kiesling elected for the latter option.

That evening, Kiesling and his men disengaged from the enemy and began moving through the heavily forested terrain. At about 22:00 that night they encountered the enemy blocking line, and an hours-long battle commenced. The heavy Soviet resistance proved very difficult to overcome however, and the attacked threatened to stall. However at just the right moment a German assault troop managed to find a hidden path through the difficult terrain that led towards the northwest, one which would also permit the heavy weapons to be taken along.

The regiment thus broke contact with the enemy and disappeared through the lines of the surprised Soviets. After a long night march, on the morning of the 28.09.1943 Major Kiesling and his regiment stood ready for defense in the new German frontline with all their heavy weapons and vehicles.

For his exemplary bravery and leadership during this operation, which were both invaluable for its success, Kiesling would be decorated with the Oakleaves to his Knight’s Cross.
Details:
321st Award.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 26th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
May 16th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
August 18th, 1942
Medaille
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
February 13th, 1944
Wehrmachtbericht

Sources