- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Kommandeur, Panzer-Abteilung 103, 3. Panzergrenadier-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- September 21st, 1944
Haen’s Oakleaves recommendation reads as follows…
“Major Haen has stood at the helm of the fighting without pause since the 01.09.1939 in all the military theatres of Poland, France, Russia and (since the 01.07.1943) on the southern Italian front. After a 3 month recovery period in the hospital due to a severe wound he returned once more to the front. He is an enthusiastic officer who possesses wealth of front experience, a good tactical acumen and great bravery. Three acts of bravery worthy of special recognition are recounted here.
1. After receiving the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross on the 22.12.1942 as a Stalingrad fighter, he once more found himself in heavy combat with the Soviets. On the 12.01.1943 he was the commander of the corps reserve of the XIV. Panzer-Korps (specifically the hard-fought 29. Infanterie-Division (mot)) at a decisive point. With only 6 AFVs he prevented a furious breakthrough attempt by attacking Soviet rifle divisions and tank brigades northeast of Dmijtriewka, one which had the aim of cutting off and destroying the 3. Infanterie-Division (mot), which was deployed at the western tip of the Stalingrad pocket.
In hard and trying combat against the ceaseless onslaught, in which he personally fought in the forward line, he fended off all attacks of the enemy. At the Kasatchi mound alone he and his AFVs destroyed 19 of 35 attacking enemy tanks. The personal bravery of the at the time Hauptmann Haen meant that, rather than being cut off, the 3. Infanterie-Division (mot) could instead pull back to its ordered position. Witnessing this outstanding feat-of-arms was the commanding general of the XIV. Panzer-Korps, General der Panzertruppe Hube. During this fighting the at the time Hauptmann Haen was heavily wounded and evacuated from the pocket by air on the 15.01.1943.
2. During the fighting in Italy Major Haen has led his Abteilung (and his much larger Kampfgruppe in the Volturno valley) to decisive successes. Of particular note from his time as a Kampfgruppe commander was the fighting at Faicchio and Capriati, which was decisive for the whole XIV. Panzer-Korps.
a) On the 13.10.1943 the hotly contested high ground near Faicchio was fought over. The attacking enemy, whose main goal was Faicchio, was held off by Kampfgruppe Haen in a crisis-filled and bitter battle long enough for the left neighbour and the rightly positioned Kampfgruppe Moeller to occupy the vitally important hill positions. This battle lasted two-and-a-half days.
Major Haen led the decisive battle from the foremost line, often personally attacking with his Panzer. He understood that he could seize the initiative of the battle through skillful employment of his infantry units and artillery units. On multiple occasions he countered the oncoming enemy with courageous men and his Sturmgeschützen, inflicting heavy losses on them and especially at Fontana. Here 6 tanks were destroyed.
b) In the course of the further battles of Kampfgruppe Haen, heavy combat developed at Capriati on the 29.10.1943. In this time the weak friendly forces withstood the attacking enemy spearheads (consisting of 3 regiments) during three days of hard fighting. Through the skillful leadership of Major Haen the enemy breakthrough attempt (which would have led to an encirclement) was defeated. The enemy deployed an extremely powerful materiel force against the tough resistance of Kampfgruppe Haen, wanting to outflank it to the west and cut it off from the crossing over the Volturno.
c) In the late afternoon hours of the 31.10.1943 Major Haen and his 3 command vehicles sealed off the imminent enemy outflanking maneuver to the west while inflicting heavy losses on the enemy, forcing them to call off their attacks. As a result the Kampfgruppe could pull back as ordered to its pre-planned positions just north of Capriati on the night of the 31.10.-01.11.1943. This successful defensive action contributed to the ability of the Division to carry out its planned movements during the following day.
3. At the Anzio-Nettuno beachhead Major Haen led his Abteilung to decisive victories. In tough and bitter combat he contributed to the ability of our forces to bring the enemy landing force to a halt.
During the attack of our Division against Aprilia on the night of the 08.-09.02.1944, as the attack of the infantry bogged down, Major Haen decided to assemble his Abteilung on his own initiative and, personally leading at the spearhead, captured the city in the morning hours.
His brave and exemplary steadfastness also played a key role in the subsequent successful defense of the city against all counterattacks. Here the Abteilung knocked out 14 Sherman tanks.
In the following offensive and defensive battles of the Division Major Haen always stood as the soul of the Abteilung in all the hotspots of battle. Under his leadership the Abteilung has up until now succeeded in inflicting the following losses on the enemy in the bridgehead:
- 52 tanks knocked out
- 12 heavy anti-tank guns destroyed or captured
- 240 prisoners brought in
On the grounds of his leadership successes, exemplary readiness for duty and his repeatedly demonstrated personal bravery, I hereby recommend Major Haen for the award of the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.”
Submitted on 13th September 1944.