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Gräser, Fritz-Hubert

Date of birth:
November 3rd, 1888 (Frankfurt an der Oder/Brandenburg, Germany)
Date of death:
October 4th, 1960 (Göttingen/Lower Saxony, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
September 24th, 1939
Had already received the Iron Cross 2nd Class on September 16th 1914.
1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
October 23rd, 1939
Had already received the Iron Cross 1st Class on October 9th 1914.
1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 1er Klasse 1914
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberst (Colonel)
Unit:
Kommandeur Infanterie-Regiment 29 / 3.Infanterie-Division / III.Armee-Korps / 12.Armee / Heeresgruppe A
Awarded on:
July 19th, 1940
The following wartime excerpt (dated 30.08.1940) describes why Gräser received the Knight’s Cross…

“Oberst Fritz-Hubert Gräser inspired his Regiment to advance forwards into the teeth of a numerically superior and dug-in enemy force along the Aisne river. He did this while leading from the foremost line and amidst the fierce hostile artillery fire. He overcame two battlefield crises and even managed to master a third such situation where the enemy launched a counterattack with 20 tanks.”

This action took place on the 09.06.1940, when the Infanterie-Regiment 29 had orders to cross over the Aisne river and canal on both sides of Asfelda-Ville. Gräser faced very strong resistance from a French force (including elements of the 5th and 46th Regiments from the French 10th Division) that apparently did indeed outnumber him. This defense was made even stronger by French artillery fire from Reims and the left flank, which were out of range of German artillery. Despite these obstacles Gräser was able to achieve the crossing with his Regiment and reach a point 5 km south of the canal by nightfall. It is unknown if all three of the aforementioned crises also took place on this day.
140th Award.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 30th, 1941
184th Award
Anerkennungsurkunde des Oberbefehlshabers des Heeres
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberst
Unit:
Infanterie-Regiment (mot) 29
Awarded on:
February 8th, 1942
Award 67/1
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Generalleutnant (Major-general)
Unit:
Kommandeur 3. Panzergrenadier-Division / XIV.Armee-Korps / 14.Armee / Heeresgruppe C
Awarded on:
June 26th, 1944
Awarded for his leadership achievements while commanding the 3. Panzergrenadier-Division. Of particular note was his unit’s recapture of Aprilia (on the Anzio front) on the 09.02.1944 and its subsequent defense against all Allied attempts to retake it. The Germans claimed Allied losses of 99 tanks in the sector of Gräser’s Division during this battle.
517th Award.
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
September 9th, 1944
Wehrmachtbericht
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
General der Panzertruppen (Lieutenant-General of Armoured Forces)
Unit:
Oberbefehlshaber 4. Panzer-Armee / Heeresgruppe Mitte
Awarded on:
May 8th, 1945
Following a Soviet breakthrough towards Bautzen and the area south of Spremberg in April 1945, General der Panzertruppe Gräser launched a counteroffensive of his own. Over the course of the 21.-22.04.1945 his units managed to close the southern frontline gap, wherein Gräser himself drove very close to the frontline in his command car while being undeterred by the strong enemy anti-tank and mortar fire. He then personally led an armoured group from Barschütz forwards in a decisive attack towards Bautzen. Although Gräser himself would be wounded for the 7th time on this day (the 23.04.1945), the counterattack he initiated succeeded in recapturing Bautzen by the evening of the same day. Gräser would be recommended for the Swords as a result of this successful defensive riposte.
154th Award.
A formal awarding is not known. The number is according to the follow up with the dating.
The recommendation to the award reached the OKH / PA / P 5 on April 29th, 1945. The recommendation was approved by the head of the Heeres Personalamt, General Maisel on April 30th, 1945.
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern

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