Schröder, Wilhelm (Gren.Rgt. 580)
- Date of birth:
- July 7th, 1896 (Sommersell/Westphalia, Germany)
- Date of death:
- July 17th, 1979 (Witten a.d. Ruhr/Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany)
- German (1933-1945, Third Reich)
Besides the EK2 and EK1, Wilhelm Schröder also received the Lippisches Verdienstkreuz (November 1st, 1917), and the Schlesicher Adler 1. and 2. Klasse (October 28th, 1919) for his services prior to the Second World War.
July 1st, 1920: Wachtmeister (Schutzpolizei)
April 1st, 1940: Major;
April 1st, 1942: Oberstleutnant;
September 1st, 1944: Oberst.
August 19th, 1915: Rekrut Infanterie-Ersatz-Regiment 67;
?: Kommandeur, Grenadier-Regiment 580;
?: Kommandeur, Kampfgruppe Schröder.
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- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
- Kommandeur, Grenadier-Regiment 580, 306. Infanterie-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- March 26th, 1944
Schröder’s regiment found itself engaged in the bitter fighting east of Krivoi Rog, with the key features being the numerous hills and crests that surrounded the city. In the neighbouring sector one such feature, Hill 88, was lost to the enemy. Recognizing the importance of the position, Schröder independently decided to retake it even though it was not his responsibility. With the last reserves available to him, a group of 25 men plus an officer as well as a company plucked from his left wing, he launched a counterattack that threw the enemy off the height. In doing so he resolved a dangerous crisis for the division, and would receive the Knight’s Cross for his actions.
Awarded for his successes in commanding a regimental sized Kampfgruppe composed of men from the Heeresunteroffizierschule Striegau during February 1945 in the area around Parchwitz. Taking over leadership of the unit on 21.01.1945, the chronology of events leading to the award is as follows…
08.02. - The I. Bataillon of the Kampfgruppe is encircled in Jürtsch and the II. Bataillon is hard pressed in its battle at Merschwitz. With the last reserves Oberst Schröder cleans up the situation at Merschwitz, and the I. Bataillon succeeds in breaking out towards this town. Later on, when the regimental command post in Leschwitz came under attack from 15 enemy tanks with infantry support, Schröder and his staff are able to break the attack. 8 enemy tanks are destroyed, of which 5 were knocked out in close combat.
09.02. - The enemy strikes from Lüben towards Liegnitz, and in the process encircles Schröder’s regiment. The commander leads his Kampfgruppe through dense forest for 2 days and, on 11.02., is able to cross the the river near Arnsdorf and link up with the division once again.
11.02. - At around 14:00 the enemy launches a surprise attack from Liegnitz and Haynau against the regimental command post in Arnsdorf. Schröder personally leads a counterattack that clears the town of enemy forces. Later that evening the regiment receives orders to occupy the line Großnig—Fellendorf—Steubnitz—Panthenau. Steubnitz, which was already occupied by the enemy, is taken by storm and the regiment entrenches itself along the designated line.
13.02. - The regiment is ordered to occupy the line Bahnhof Wildschütz—Hohendorf—Bahnhof Kosendau. Towards the evening the regiment is encircled again. Schröder leads his regiment from the front and is able to break out across the road and railway line south of Rothkirch.
- - FELLGIEBEL, W.P., Elite of theThird Reich, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003.
- THOMAS, FRANZ & WEGMANN, GÜNTER, Die Eichenlaubträger 1940-1945, Biblio-Verlag, 1998.