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Geißler, Gottfried

Date of birth:
October 17th, 1914 (Homberg/Rhineprovince, Germany)
Date of death:
July 21st, 2006 (Moers/Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

Gottfried Geißler finally reached the rank of Major.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
Unit:
Stab, Artillerie-Regiment 34, 34. Infanterie-Division, Heer
Awarded on:
March 20th, 1940
Deutsches Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
Unit:
Artillerie-Reigment 70, Heeresgruppe C, Heer
Awarded on:
May 20th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
Unit:
3. Batterie, Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 185, Heer
Awarded on:
July 2nd, 1941
Awarded for wounds received on June 22nd, 1941 and June 29th, 1941.
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Silber
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
Unit:
3. Batterie, Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 185, Heer
Awarded on:
July 2nd, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
Unit:
Chef, 3. Batterie, Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 185, Heer
Awarded on:
August 21st, 1941
On the 28.06.1941 the Vorausabteilung of the 1. Infanterie-Division advanced towards Riga via Bauske. After swiftly taking the latter the advance continued, with the ultimate goal being the Daugava bridges in Riga. After reaching the city’s edge at 10:30, Oberleutnant Geißler and his Sturmgeschütze rampaged through the city and discovered a still intact pontoon bridge. He drove over to the east bank on his own initiative with a squad of flamethrower-equipped Pionieren and 3 other Sturmgeschütze, however just after this the pontoon bridge as well as the nearby railway bridge were both blown up.

Oberleutnant Geißler thus formed a small hedgehog position, and defended against constant enemy attacks for the entire day. However the Pioniere were slowly whittled down, and the Sturmgeschütze destroyed by enemy AT teams one after another. Eventually only Geißler’s vehicle was intact. After being wounded himself twice he abandoned the vehicle along with his crew. Now, as darkness set in, the survivors ran to the river and tried to reach the western bank via the destroyed railway bridge. Engaged by an MG, the last three Pioniere were killed and Oberleutnant Geißler received his third wound of the day. Only Geißler and three other men, all wounded, returned to German lines.

However through this bold deed Geißler had created the basis for the eventual capture of Riga. He would be awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in recognition of his actions.

Vorläufiges Besitzzeugnis was also presented on August 21st, 1941.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
Unit:
Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 185, Heer
Awarded on:
October 6th, 1941
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Gold
Awarded for receiving a fifth wound on August 7th, 1941.

Sources