Reichmann, Heinz

Date of birth:
July 30th, 1919 (Celle/Hannover, Germany)
Date of death:
June 24th, 1944 (Witebsk/Belarus, Soviet Union)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Obergefreiter (Corporal)
Unit:
MG-Schütze 8. Kompanie, Jäger-Regiment 459 (L), 6. Luftwaffen-Feld-Division, Luftwaffe
Awarded on:
January 20th, 1944
Action:
Awarded for his actions during the nocturnal breakout of two German battalions through a Soviet blocking position. During this breakout attempt the two battalions could only escape along a narrow route, with rough terrain including swamps present on either side. Here follows a first-hand description of that action by Reichmann himself…

“In the following seconds we received MG-fire of an intensity rarely ever seen, as the enemy had a number of MGs and mortars in position at this location. Everyone jumps from one bit of cover to the next. I immediately took cover in one of the shell craters in the swamp on the right side of the path, and from here opened fire with my own machine gun. The second MG of our Kompanie was knocked out immediately by a mortar blast, without having even begun firing.

Now I was the only soldier near the front who had an MG, and therefore had to be very careful with my ammunition as I’d already fired off 400 rounds. I was lying in front of the enemy positions all by himself and, by firing multiple short bursts, was able to put one enemy MG after another out of commission. Everything mattered in these minutes, as there were ultimately two battalions behind me that needed to escape. The two battalion commanders paid close attention to the situation, and when all the enemy MGs were silenced they decided the moment to break through had come. With a loud “Hurra” this was accomplished

All our weapons and ammunition of all kinds as well as the dead and wounded could be taken with us. During this breakout both battalions had sustained just 17 casualties. As the last enemy soldiers fled, I positioned my MG on the left of the path in order to protect the withdrawal of both battalions. I was the among the last to leave, providing the rearguard for my comrades until we finally reached our new main battle line.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources